Today I had probably the most encouraging and productive meeting I have ever had in Kenya. I met Emily, who is 2nd in charge of the Department of Children’s Ministry in Machakos. Emily is one of the most impressive combinations and competence and compassion that I have ever met. She loves the Lord and truly loves the children of Kenya with the love of Christ, which allows her to do her job with great integrity and skill. Emily is a new transfer to Machakos from Nairobi. A few months back she came to visit Esther’s home to inspect. We now know that following poor advice from various government officials over the last few years has added up to a number of issues that need to be corrected. When it comes to documentation, legal paperwork etc, there is even more red tape here in Kenya than the US. Emily could have really thrown the book at Esther and devastated the program. Instead, Esther found favor with her and she saw Esther’s heart and saw the excellence with which the children were being cared for. She even snuck into a food distribution with the grandmothers and was amazed at the job Esther has done there. So instead of threatening to shut us down, she is actually going to help with the process of establishing a CCI (Charitable Children’s Institution). Not only will this protect the legitimacy of the program, but it will also open doors to receive government funding, grants, etc and to establish a legal entity to operate on the land.
I received the list of every requirement and all of the necessary steps to receive a CCI. You must have a minimum of 20 children for a CCI, so one can imagine the list of requirements for staff, resources, housing etc is extensive. But we now have a clear vision to work towards. While most organizations would have to get everything perfect first, Emily is actually encouraging us to take our time and just make consistent progress. She has even suggested constructing new temporary structures at O and E’s current home in order to establish a CCI there first.
In fact, she trusts Esther so much that she was the one who asked her to take in the new boy, Brian. Emily said that has found Machakos to be an area with one of the worst issues of orphans in the country. And at this point she is more interested in saving the kids than doing things by the letter of the law. In short, Emily is an answer to prayer. This process has also caused Esther to find a clearer vision and focus for the future. I’ll share more about that as we talk and as trip progresses.
Yesterday Bo and I traveled with O to visit a fellowship in Nairobi. Although it was not in the bush, it was a hidden place. We turned off the main highway that goes into the city and started winding our way through alley ways. The neighborhood was very poor and the streets were filed with mud, trash, and a few skinny cattle picking through the trash to find food. Many of the residents there are trying to transition from the slums and find work. The leader of this fellowship, Abednego, met Onesmus through a divine connection. He had previously worked as a successful expert in the oil industry before the Lord told him, “I need all of your time and My people need you.” There were about 35 people in the fellowship today and it was one of the stronger fellowships we have visited. It was so encouraging to see a mature group who are hungry to receive the Word of God.
Bo shared on love and I shared on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. We prayed for the people and saw the Lord move powerfully with repentance and the power and fire of the Holy Spirit. Onesmus carries this fire constantly, so it makes our job easy to turn this part over to and allow him to bring the power of God.
I’m leaving soon to pick up Vanessa and Taylor from the airport. I’ll update again once back in Machakos. Thanks for praying!
Click link below to see some of the kids dancing at the church service. They were pretty great.