Sorry for the huge email earlier. Had a glitch with the size of the picture included. You should be able to read the whole story now. Thanks for praying with us for this family.
As you well know, life is not always clean and easy. Decisions made can be accompanied with a major learning curve and can be really messy. They can turn out to make us realize that we may have either made a terrible mistake or the most brilliant choice. One thing that we always are reminded of are that there are no mistakes with God and he has every step of our lives planned out. The other thing that we are reminded about, pretty consistently, is that all of the brilliant choices we make are God’s as well.
We wrote recently about our Kenyan friends who moved to their new house. We are glad to report that they are so very happy and finding new health with this change of location. We are also glad to see this as such a positive thing in their lives. Our families have such a long history together and we have shared much with them and their family. There is one aspect of the story that you may also want to know about that is about much more than moving to a new house. Let us tell you this story.
Sampson and Mary (the people who moved to this new house) have a son named Stephen. He is their fourth born child. He is grown up and has his own family living in a place called Maai Mahui – which means “hot water” in Kikuyu. Stephen worked at RVA for ten years in various areas but mainly in the laundry where they wash all of the clothes for the boarding students. It is rare not to see Stephen smiling and greeting people with joy. Stephen had taught himself how to drive cars and ride a piki (motorbike), how to use computers, and manage finances. These are generally good skills that we expect and value but not skills that a majority of Kenyans have – believe us, we witness incredible things almost on a daily basis in these areas.Through all of the years of us knowing Stephen we would be hard pressed to find another Kenyan with such a strong testimony of faith and integrity. For as long as we can remember Stephen, along with his family, have sought to help those in need. Sometimes at their own expense and always with the statement “God will provide”. Several times we have thought that if we were to find ourselves in his shoes we may not have as much faith as he does.The unique quality of Stephen and his wife, who is also named Mary, is that they tirelessly help those around them. Several years ago Stephen was in Maai Mahui town and saw several boys running around in ragged clothes. He approached them and asked what they were doing and where they stayed. He found that there were many children left alone since their parents had either left them or had died. His heart believed that there was so much more for these kids so he began to feed them and give them clothes. He realized that no matter what he was doing they were still living on the streets and learning behaviours that were not productive to the community. So instead of just stopping and giving up he went and found a way to have some of them come and live with him and his family. He went through the government process to be licensed as a children’s home and ended up taking in two homeless boys and two homeless girls, in addition to his own three children, to be part of his family. Stephen tells stories of the incredible changes that he sees in the children that he has in his home. The behaviours and attitudes that those children came with would be too unbelievable for many to comprehend. However, he and his wife have relentlessly pursued these children to change them for the better and provide a much better life.
Stephen was not finished though. He has been very involved with the Assembly of God churches in the area of Maai Mahui. His pastor recognized the leadership that Stephen could provide and through a series of events Stephen ended up leading the youth and then leading the Men’s Bible study in twelve churches. Stephen was so very glad to be be used in such a useful way. Things were moving forward and Stephen was making plans to go to Bible school so that he could be used in more ways in the church. Stephen resigned his job at RVA to pursue these new avenues of ministry. This is where decisions made start to look like a terrible mistake. He found himself in the proverbial “hot water”.Stephen would be characterized as a dreamer. He and his wife see the potential that they can change the world – one homeless child, one church youth, and one man through a Bible study at a time. They are not the type of people that rush headlong into things just to regret them later. However, there was a very good point made in a meeting that we had recently that has a very good Kenyan application of donkeys. Stephen and his wife saw that they the donkey and cart that they had was getting too old and too small and they needed a new one. The problem was that they got off of that donkey before they had the new donkey and bigger cart in place. After resigning the good paying job at RVA several income making schemes that they started to create income had failed and actually had become a money pit using up their savings very quickly. Stephen found himself in a situation that many of us would not want to be in – unable to provide for the family and children that he had taken in. Stressed and overworked with no income from the church and the other sources of income had fallen through Stephen needed help.
Recently Stephen met with four missionaries, including Todd, who have been involved in various ways with what Stephen has been doing. He told us that he had no way to support his family, pay school fees, and that potentially he would have to send the children that he had taken in off the streets to distant relatives who will probably send the children away as they would not be able to provide for them either. If Stephen was to continue these ministries he either had to make one ministry the priority and put aside the other one so that he could work to have an income or continue to be unable to provide for his family. He has the wisdom to recognize that he can resign ministry but he could not resign his family. Stephen is in a very difficult place but would you be surprised to hear that again he has hope that “God will provide”.
Stephens story is not done. He is wrestling with decisions that he thought were the right ones but finding that those decisions have resulted in a difficult situation for he and his family. Would you pray with us in these specific areas for Stephen and his family?
- Pray that they will be able to continue to help the children that they have taken into his family.
- Pray that someone else will take his place in the ministry at the churches with the Men’s Bible studies so that he can find work and that he will not be pressured to continue.
- Pray that Stephen will be able to find full time work and maybe even get a job back at RVA.
- Pray that Stephen will be able to pay for the school fees for the seven children that he has. Education is precious and not easy to get in a good quality setting.
- Pray that Stephen and his wife will be able to gather around them a strong, wise board of advisors that will be able to guide and direct them in their work. They see themselves taking more children in but are unable to in their current situation.
- Pray for wisdom and patience. They are in need of finding trustworthy people who can help without being greedy and selfish about what they can gain from Stephen.
- Pray that God will provide. As of now they are able to provide food to eat but they have significant bills to pay in order to send the children to school and provide food in the coming months.
If you are interested in helping please contact us to let you know how we can help you help Stephen and his family.