I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
African Kingdom Safari – Part 4
“If any man desires the position of a bishop/overseer,
he desires a good work.”
(I Timothy 3:1)
Dear Ministry Partner,
In this series of reports on our recent time in Kenya and Zimbabwe, we have visited entrepreneurial partners in the slums of Kibera and the African Bush. In this final report, we will visit several more of our strategic partners who are both spiritual and economic Kingdom entrepreneurs. That means they preach and practice a “holistic Gospel” for the whole man or woman.
Most of our American partners are familiar with the names and faces of people like Bishop Trevor Manhanga and Apostle Simon Mkolo, with whom we have been in close partnership for over 3 decades. Each of these men act in an Apostolic role overseeing hundreds of churches in Zimbabwe and surrounding countries that are impacting tens of thousands of people.
Sadly, many of the men who carry the title of “Bishop” have become intoxicated with their ecclesiastical position, power, prestige and perks! They flaunt their leadership by wearing fine suits and long robes. They are caught up in the “smells, bells and hails” of religiosity and “church-anity”! Many live in large houses and are chauffeured around in expensive automobiles. They have fully bought into “upward mobility” rather than the “downward mobility” incarnated by the Lord Jesus. As a result, most of them never “get their hands dirty for Jesus.” They are “aloof” and “above” such earthy, mundane involvement.
But that is not the case with the two bishops you will read about in this report. They are authentic apostolic servant-leaders who are fully “in the trenches” with their people – expending themselves through practical spirituality.
So, jump on the Kenya Airways jet with Patt, the Andy Albright family, and me for our two-hour flight from Nairobi to Harare, Zimbabwe where we will meet and fellowship with these apostolic brothers.
When we arrived in Harare, we were met by Bishop Trevor, pictured at right with Andy and me. After warm greetings and hugs, we loaded in his van for the 4-hour drive to his home city of Mutare. We were going there to do another distribution of goats for widows and needy women.
Upon our arrival, the women were eagerly waiting for us – and for their goats! They had come in from the rural areas for this meeting and distribution. So we joined them under a traditional thatched African Gazebo for a special dedication service.
Bishop Trevor welcomed everyone, and talked about the
"Community Development" arm of his denomination,
the PAOZ or Pentecostal Assembly of Zimbabwe.
The goats were prayed for, and dedicated to the Lord
for the benefit of the needy women.
We also distributed 50 baby chicks each to 7 needy women, along with the food and medicine they need to bring the chicks to maturity. With these initial 50 chicks, they will be able to start a small chicken business to help support themselves.
Additionally, we had the privilege of giving away several bicycles and 50 chickens each to 3 refugee pastors from the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. They had requested help from Bishop Trevor, who passed this need on to us. What a joy to be able to give these sturdy bicycles and baby chicks to these men of God for their ministries among their fellow refugees.
Please click on the picture below to watch a summary of my brief message of encouragement and exhortation to those receiving goats, chickens and bicycles. I think you will be blessed!
But I also want you to sit back and take a few minutes to listen to the passionate exhortation that Bishop Trevor gave to the people who received the goats, chickens and bicycles. So click on the picture below to be blessed and challenged as you listen to him – one of the best preachers on the African continent, or in America!
After our time with Bishop Trevor, we flew to historic Victoria Falls via Johannesburg, South Africa. Through Pastor Simon Mkolo, we have had partnerships and projects in this area for many years. First there was another goat distribution for widows and needy women. As always, each woman received two goats with the understanding that they give back their first kid to another needy woman.
Apostle Simon Mkolo giving out goats to some of the widows
and needy women in a few of the congregations under his leadership.
While I was in the town of Hwange, I went by the Conference Center for a quick visit to check on our projects there. Back in November, we dedicated a large “African Tabernacle” that is now being constantly used by the thousands of church members under Pastor Mkolo. Their Ebenezer Bible College that we have been building for the last few years is also located there. We were thankful to donate a much-needed laptop computer for the College.
I checked on the progress of a new house we are building for Tailos Ncube , who is in charge of the agricultural and goat projects under Pastor Mkolo. By faith we gave the first half of the funds to build his home, $1,500. Now we need a partner to help us finish by donating the second half.
The foundation is poured and door and window frames
and cement are ready for the next phase of the building
as soon as the Lord provides the finances.
After my brief visit in Hwange with our partners there, I returned to Victoria Falls to meet with Pastor Taison Mumpande. Pastor Taison is the pastor at the church we built there a number of years ago. But he is also a gifted Kingdom entrepreneur who has a growing tailoring business, producing tee shirts for tourists, and uniforms for various businesses. Last year we helped him expand his business by buying him two more heavy-duty sewing machines. Now, because of his high monthly rent, we are helping him build his own building for $6,000. It will be larger than the one he is currently renting and will make it possible for him to hire and train more people – especially unemployed Christians.
I hope you will help me to help Pastor Taison expand
his business as a real Kingdom Entrepreneur!
Before leaving Victoria Falls, we took the Albrights on a one-day safari to the Chobe National park across the border in Botswana. It is one of the best wildlife safaris on the African continent, with huge elephant herds viewed from a boat ride – close up and personal!
We finished our visit to the Vic Falls area by taking the Albrights on two of the most unique wildlife experiences in Africa – walking with lions and riding elephants. Both of these wildlife experiences are operated by Zimbabwean friends of mine whom the Lord sovereignly networked me with many years ago. It is truly a unique “African Kingdom Adventure” that really gets your adrenalin pumping!
While I love these wildlife experiences that let you enjoy God’s incredible world, the greatest thrill is to be a Great Commission Christian on a life-long “spiritual safari” through which you see lives changed by the Gospel for both time and eternity! It doesn’t get any better than that!
Thanks so much for traveling with us through these email reports from Kenya to Zimbabwe. I hope you have been blessed, encouraged and challenged as you have met some of our beloved partners in those countries and visited the Kingdom projects you help make possible through your prayers and partnership.
Continuing His Kingdom Adventure,
JL & Patt
Africa Kingdom Safari: Part 3
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.
I must bring them also. They too will
listen to My voice, and there shall be
one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)
FROM AFRICA TO ABACO…
Dear Ministry Partners & Friends,
When you receive this email, I will be ministering in Abaco, Bahamas – but it will not be from a Caribbean cruise ship or a condo on the beach! It will be in the “Bahamas bush!” Yes, there is plenty of “bush country” all over the 700 Bahamian Islands – most of which are uninhabited. While the total Bahamian population is less than 400,000, the population of Haiti is between 8 – 10 million! That’s what makes the Bahamas an attractive magnet for Haitians seeking jobs and a better way of life.
At present, here are some 5,000 legal Haitian immigrants in the Bahamas, but there are between 20,000 – 50,000 illegal ones! The majority of the immigrants are Haitian children, filling the schools, and overwhelming the educational system.
Sadly, most of these illegal Haitians immigrants either live in the “Bahamas Bush” or in crowded “Haitian Slum Townships” composed of makeshift shacks with little or no electricity, running water, plumbing or sanitation. And most of them have no steady job or employment. They live from day-to-day and from hand-to-mouth. The needs among the Haitian population in the Bahamas are almost as great as in Haiti. And that’s why we are there – and have been so for over 35 years.
I will share more about that after finishing my current series of reports on our recent time in Africa. This third installment takes us to the “African Bush.” So buckle your seat belts for our chartered flight to Northern Kenya for our ministry among local tribal people there – primarily the Samburu Tribe and Turkana Tribe…
FLYING TO THE BUSH…
Loading our chartered AIM AIR caravan to fly from Nairobi to South Horr
as the Albright Family prepares for their first experience of African Bush Flying!
After a 1 1/2 hour flight, we land safely on the dirt runway
in Kurungu, where we load up the Land Rovers to take
us to the Sports Camp.
SAMBURU SPORTS CAMP…
Our team is met by our beloved Samburu-Rendille partners,
Stakwell and Francesca Yurenimo, and their oldest daughter, Wendy.
We are thrilled to finally see our newest "Samburu grandchild" Victoria.
Since we had to leave our 12 grandchildren at home, Patt enjoys
being grandmother to Victoria. Jane and Haleigh immediately
make friends with some of the local children.
VISIT TO A SAMBURU VILLAGE…
After a brief orientation at the Camp, we walked to a local Samburu village,
accompanied by the ever-present children. Patt met the mother of the
young Samburu man who purchased the goats for the
upcoming distribution to needy women.
Andy & Jane not only met this dear Samburu mama, but also some of the
sheep and goats to be given away. Jane & Haleigh are immediately
drawn into the heart and hut of this dear lady, who welcomed
us so warmly.
Andy, Spencer, Jane & Haleigh are amazed and awed at the
very simple pastoral life of the Samburu people.
WORK DAY AT THE CAMP…
After enjoying a leisurely walk into one of the nearby Samburu villages, we all returned to the Camp for a time of hands-on work. We never go or take teams to be just tourists or spectators – but to be participators.
Patt handed out new rakes to the ladies who are in charge of the
grounds. Good gardening tools like these are almost
impossible to find in Kenya. She also distributed new smocks
to Mikelita and to all of the dear sisters who work at the Camp.
A visit to the "Samburu Tree House" that we have been
building for the past several years. This Tree House is
in a beautiful Acacia Thorn tree, where I am enjoying my
second childhood! It is a wonderful "Upper Room" in which
to sit, enjoy the scenery, pray, and meditate.
Andy & Spencer put up the new signs that we brought over for the Camp.
Patt, Francesca & Mikelita draw up plans for a new, outside "Wash House",
which we will begin to construct soon. Currently, all of the washing for the Camp
is done outside where it is dirty and dusty.
It will take only $1,000 to build the new "Wash House", and we
are praying for a partner for this project.
SHARING GIFTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT…
Andy enjoyed giving some of his company's shirts and a new
iPad to one of Stakwell's associates, Samson Lempirias. These
are a timely blessing as Samson just graduated from College and
is teaching at a local school. His life is the fruit of Stakwell's ministry.
Note: Because I have constant requests for good used laptops or iPads, please keep us in mind when you upgrade to a newer model. Your old one can be a GREAT blessing to one of our national partners! Just mail them to us and we will hand-carry them to strategic partners.
SOUTHERN COOKING SAMBURU STYLE…
After a day of work and activity at the Camp, it was time for the Albrights to enjoy their first traditional Samburu meal of “goat and rice!” Yum! As you can see, the goat was freshly killed!
Ever since New Directions days, I have told people who travel with me that this must be their motto: “Where He leads me I will follow; what He feeds me I will swallow; and where He lays me I will wallow!” So remember that when you ask to go on a mission trip with me!
TRIP TO LAKE TURKANA…
One of our days was spent on a driving trip from South Horr to Lake Turkana. Formerly there were on-going hostilities between the Samburu and Turkana tribes because they are both pastoralists who rustle each other’s cows, goats and camels. But through the ministry of Stakwell and the Sports Camp, much more tribal tranquility has been established. Stakwell has also been reaching out to them with water, food and relief supplies in times of need, and we have conducted goat distributions to needy women and given Solar Digital Players to many in their native language.
So, jump in the Land Rover with us and let’s go north a couple of hours to the Lake Turkana region …
Andy says to hop in ... we always have room for one more - African style! This seat
is for you ... so buckle your seat belts for a hot, dusty, and bumpy ride!
On our way to Lake Turkana, we stopped briefly at a local clinic
to give out some sterile child-birth kits which were generously
donated by a friend of Jane's. The smiling nurse just so
happens to be Francesca's sister!
VISIT WITH THE TURKANA TRIBE…
Historically, the Turkana have lived primitively, and have been a rather wild and uncivilized tribal group. They also have been largely unreached with the Gospel. However, through the consistent and compassionate outreach of people like Stakwell, their lives are now being touched by the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Patt and one of the Turkana mamas.
Note: Most of these women are in polygamous marriages so life is very hard for them. When we stopped to visit them, they immediately asked us if we brought more Solar Digital Players (they called them “radios”) since I had given out some there before. Sadly, I had to tell them no. But when I return in December, I plan to take in another 50 players in Turkana and 50 in Samburu. I hope many of you will help sponsor one or more players for $25 each.
Because of the desert living conditions where it is extremely hot with little water,
surviving everyday is a challenge to the Turkana people. Due to the practice of
polygamy there are many children and sadly, the infant mortality rate is very high.
There are few trees in this desert region, therefore the women
have to walk long distances to find wood for cooking. The Turkana children have
little or no childhood, and begin working at a very young age gathering firewood,
carrying water, and tending the animals. Few attend school.
Jane & Haleigh met their Turkana contemporaries, who live a life vastly different
than what they have always known in America. We finally made it to
Lake Turkana, where it is hot, dry and desolate, with rocks that look like
big pieces of lava. It is a wonder that anything can survive here.
The Albrights pause for a family picture with Lake Turkana
in the background.
Andy & Stakwell point to one of the many hills that will soon
be equipped with wind turbines through the "Lake Turkana Wind Power
Project," one of the largest wind farms in the world with
over 200 wind turbines. Stakwell has been a crucial part of the
development of this project over the past 5 years. (Please click
here to visit their website, Lake Turkana Wind Power).
On our drive back to Camp, we saw a young Turkana girl walking along with a
new born goat, so we picked her up and gave her a ride back to the village.
TREE PROJECT IN SOUTH HORR…
While it has been a long process of over a dozen years, we have been doing all we can to help the Samburu and other local pastoralists widen their vocations to include gardening. We’ve also introduced tree planting to help reforest their area. It has not been an easy shift. But little by little they are catching the vision. And as their gardens grow, they are enjoying the taste of fresh vegetables. On this trip in, I not only took some vegetable seeds, but also some tree seeds and books on the Neem, Moringa and Jatropha trees, which are now being called “Miracle Trees” because of all their benefits to both people and the environment.
These two friends and partners, Philip Lekenit (left) and Peter Cheptumo (right),
are key leaders in the gardening and reforestation effort. Philip tries the
hand-cranked "oil press" we brought for the pressing of seeds.
Some of the healthy new trees grown from seeds we brought on our last trip here.
The trees are being grown in the winstrip trays developed by Aart VanWingerden.
Andy enjoys a few moments of fellowship with members of the Farmers
Association, who blessed us with some of their fresh fruit!
GOAT DISTRIBUTION FOR NEEDY WOMEN...
Since Andy and his company had raised and given funds to buy goats for needy women and children, we had a major goat distribution while we were at the Camp with Stakwell. This was the real purpose of our trip.
Stakwell explains to Andy how the women were chosen to receive two goats each.
Two of the very poor elderly Samburu mamas come to receive their goats. One is
blind, and is being led by the other.
All of these women are very poor and needy, and it is a joy to bless them with
two goats each. The first two goats are given to a dear old Samburu widow. In the
picture on the right, the blind woman "sees" her goats through her hands and
fingers. Because she has handled goats from her childhood, she can "see"
more about goats with her fingers than we can see with our eyes!
When we first came to Samburu country, I was head of NDI, and am still
perceived as such. So the goats were all marked with "NDI". The crippled
lady in the middle picture was thrilled with her gift of a sheep (and a goat,
not pictured), as were each of the women. For us, it may not seem like
much, but to these pastoral women, a goat is the "gift of life."
Patt, Jane & Haleigh enjoyed a few moments with the women and their new goats.
Because Andy raised goats as a young boy, he especially loves this program.
The Albright family with some of the women and goats before they left
for their villages.
Patt and I would like to thank the Albrights and their business associates who have made this goat distribution possible. And we also want to challenge many of you reading this report to begin now to plan to “give a goat” this Christmas to some needy person. The average cost is $35 per goat. We will remind you of this opportunity in November when we send out our annual “Christmas Gift Giving Brochure.”
Before we continue our "Kingdom Adventure Safari", please click on the picture
above to see a brief video of the goat distribution, sure to bless your heart!
VISIT TO LAST YEAR’S GOAT DISTRIBUTION…
Because Patt did a goat distribution this past December when she was in South Horr conducting a Women’s Conference (please click here to review that trip), we wanted to walk to a local village to see how they were doing.
This dear sister, Mikelita, who works at the camp,
received a goat and a sheep in December. She proudly
shows one of her new kid goats born since
the December goat distribution.
Patt was shown one of the kid goats born from that same distribution,
named "Patt" in her honor! Please join Patt and me in this
life-giving "gift of goats" in the Name of Christ. We will
even name the goat after you!
MINISTRY TO THE MORANS…
One of the previously unreached people groups in this area is the Samburu Morans (warriors). Because Stakwell was a Moran when God linked us together in partnership, we began reaching out to them through “goat roasts.” After a time of traditional singing and dancing, we would provide a goat for them to kill and eat – which is a special treat for them. Animals are only killed and eaten at special events like circumcisions or marriages. So these “goat roasts” opened both their stomachs and hearts to us, and to the Gospel! Over the last decade, many of them have accepted Christ and become “Morans for Jesus.”
Because of this unique cultural event not often seen and experienced by outsiders, it is always a joy to invite friends like the Albrights to a “Moran Dance” and “goat roast.”
After the dancing is over, the feasting begins! This goat gave its
life for the celebration! Because the killing of the goat and the
drinking of the blood is x-rated, we will not show it. However,
the Morans enjoyed seeing it on Andy's iPhone. Please
click on the picture below to catch a glimpse of the
Samburu Morans dancing and celebrating! The still photos
included in the video are by Tierney Farrell from our visit
last year, and the video is from this trip.
FLYING FROM THE BUSH…
After an incredible cross-cultural experience in South Horr with Stakwell, Francesca, scores of children and the Camp Staff, it was time to pack up and head to the dirt airstrip to catch our chartered plan that would fly us back to Nairobi out of the African Bush. As always, those who travel to South Horr with me always leave a part of their hearts with the people – just like the Albrights did.
Andy, Jane, Haleigh and Spencer paused for a picture with Stakwell and
Francesca before leaving the Camp. At the "Kurungu International
Airport", our AIM AIR caravan was right on time, always an event that the
children love to watch.
Our AIM AIR pilot, Jeff Barnett, unloaded a drum of fuel for the plane for
our trip back, which Stakwell helped pump into the tanks.
Andy also took a turn cranking in the fuel - not an everyday experience
for a world traveler such as Andy! Checking to make sure all the
luggage was ready to load. As you can see, everyone traveled light!
Stak helped our pilot load all of the luggage for our flight to Nairobi
and then on to Zimbabwe. Another new friendship and
partnership formed through the Lord!
This picture of one of my Mzee (old man/elder) friends and me is a good place to close this report. I have known him for years but he still has not accepted Christ. It was for elders like him that we held an “Mzee Conference” on my last trip to Kenya and Kurungu. It was an historic break-through. We will have a follow-up Conference for them this December. Again we will be giving out Solar Digital Players with which we need your partnership. As I shared before, I plan to take in 100 players – 50 in Samburu and 50 in Turkana. There is no higher priority than sowing God’s Word in people’s hearts and minds.
LEAVING YOUR HEART IN AFRICA…
Years ago I took a successful retired businessman from America to Africa with me. He went very reluctantly. But the trip transformed his life … his marriage … his priorities ... everything! His name was Bud Chittenden. After visiting Kurungu, he “adopted” Stakwell as a teenager and sponsored him through school and Bible College.
Bud went on to take many trips with me to Africa and then to Asia. He had a great impact everywhere he went. But after his first trip to Africa he told me: “I left my heart in Africa!” He asked us to bury his ashes in South Horr at the sports camp after his death – which we did.
In my last report, I shared a video that his wife Maribell recorded for her home church. Please click below to view a music video that we produced for Bud’s funeral celebration. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it. But let me give you a WARNING: It may change your life!
Thanks again for accompanying Patt, the Albrights and me on this latest “African Kingdom Adventure Safari.” My next installment will pick up in Zimbabwe with Bishop Trevor Manhanga. Please don’t miss it!
In His Love for Africa,
JL & Patt
(Africa Mission: Part 2)
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need
but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue,
but with actions and in truth.” (I John 3:17-18)
George Odhiambo, Kingdom Entrepreneur in the slums.
Dear Ministry Partner,
In my first report earlier this week, I shared about a dedicated and dynamic agricultural entrepreneur, Philip Kabiru, and his wonderful Umoja Project. “Umoja” is translated unity. Thank you for your prayers for Philip, his new “goat project, and his “drip irrigation garden” that we are partnering with him.
On a side note, many years ago, God used the verses above from I John to “arrest” the heart of another agricultural entrepreneur, Aart VanWingerden. As a result, he started “Double Harvest,” an agricultural mission dedicated to helping needy people in underdeveloped countries to feed themselves through better farming and gardening.
The Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya
But in Kenya, there are, sadly, many slums, ghettos, inner cities and refugee camps in a world where there is no room for growing a single plant – much less planting a garden! The Kibera Slum in Nairobi is just such a place. It is considered to be the largest single slum on the African continent with 1.5 million people “living” in one square mile of intense squalor, filth, poverty and hopelessness – with little or no sanitation, electricity or running water. We have been involved there for over 3 decades, doing all we can to provide physical and spiritual food for some of the children – along with education and medical help.
Many years ago when I was ministering in Nairobi, I was confronted with a group of “Street Children” eating from trash bins and dumpsters in the Kenyatta Market of Nairobi. George Odhiambo was one of those little boys. As he recounts his story: “We hung out there because it was a place where people ate food. When they ate meat, they would throw away the bones that we would then gnaw on for any scraps of meat that might be left!”
By faith, we began feeding 12 of the most needy children a bowl of soup and several slices of bread each day. Over the next few years that number grew from a dozen to over 500 children receiving 3 nourishing hot meals a day – along with spiritual education and informal schooling.
George stuck with the program all the way through primary school, secondary school and Bible College – supported by one of our ministry partners, Bud Chittenden, who is now in heaven. And while George could have “walked away” from Kibera after his Bible School graduation – he chose to go back … stay back … give back! He has been in Kibera ever since.
After his Bible School Training, George opened his own ministry for poor children in Kibera – especially “street children” who are still living as he once was. He appropriately named his ministry the: “Adventure Pride School & Feeding Center.” Today, he has a staff of 12 teachers and 4 support workers – all supported by faith.
Through George’s vision and oversight, over 200 needy children are educated and fed daily. Like him, many have now finished Primary and Secondary School and are hoping to find jobs. Some are hoping to go on to college.
In time, George married a “street girl” from the program. Together they are raising their 3 children in Kibera. When we were together, George shared that it would not be a good example for him to send his children outside Kibera to better schools. So, like the Lord Jesus whom he serves, George is a living example of incarnational theology: “…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Just as Patt and I took the Andy Albright family (Andy, Jane, Haleigh and Spencer) with us into Kibera for a visit, we want you to join us now for a quick walking tour – with police escort – into the bowels of Kibera. There we will visit George’s “Adventure Pride School & Feeding Center.” As you walk down the dirty and dusty paths, you will be happily greeted by smiling children saying in broken English: “How are you?!”
The Albright Family: Haleigh, Jane, Andy and Spencer with George as we enter the
Kibera Slum. At right are just a few of the thousands of children in Kibera,
most of whom will live out their entire lives in this
dense human jungle of diverse need.
Andy and Spencer Albright pause for a picture with our two police escorts,
now required for people entering Kibera due to a rise in crime by
"street gangs." Andy enjoyed getting to know our police escort,
Dennis, a fellow believer, as we walked into Kibera.
George introduces our team to one of his classes filled with eager students.
George introduced one of his students who started in the Pride program
as a small child, and is now going to enter the University!
After enjoying a wonderful program of singing and reciting Bible verses, our team had the joy of helping with the noon feeding program. For Patt and me, it was going full circle when we began with George as a little boy!
The Kibera children line up for their noon meal of ugali (corn meal)
and spinach. Andy helps to serve the chidren their spinach.
Jane, Haleigh, and Spencer take turns spooning out the ugali, a meal that the
children get everyday.
Ugali is to Kenyans what mashed potatoes and rice are to Americans!
Thanks for helping us feed hungry and needy children like these.
Hayleigh and her new friends in Kibera!
After visiting the school and feeding program, we made another brief visit to George’s home nearby in Kibera.
Patt outside the small three room mud and stick house, on her right,
that George and his family live in near the school. George at the entrance
to his rented home from my last visit to Kibera a few months ago. In gracious
Kenyan fashion, George greets us with the word: "Karibu" which means "Welcome!"
The kitchen that also serves as a storage room. Patt, Marilyn Franck,
and Maribell Chittenden in George's home on our previous visit.
Patt with George outside his newly cemented plastered rental home,
made more secure from weather, rats and cockroaches.
While George directs the operation of his program for needy children, his wife works as a domestic day worker washing clothes for more prosperous people in Nairobi – whenever she can get day jobs. She earns an average of $2.00 a day to help George support their family!
Before our trip to Kenya, George sent me an email and timidly asked us for a refrigerator for his wife: “Tell Patt that my wife sends her greetings and will request her to buy us a fridge to keep the rats and cockroaches from entering our food.” When we visited his home on our last trip, we asked him to let us cover the decaying mud walls of the small 3 room house he is renting with cement plastering to make it more secure from the rain and weather. That cement plastering is now almost completed. He said that since his house was close to the public toilets, the cement plastering helped keep out the rats! Needless to say, we are working to raise funding for that fridge now, at an approximate cost of $500! We just have to find one in Nairobi that can survive the Kibera slums and is not dependent on electricity since there is little to none in Kibera!
One final challenge: I will be returning to Kenya and Kibera in early December for two weeks. It’s my way of preparing for Christmas. At that time, I plan to help sponsor the annual “Jesus Christmas Party” for George’s children – just as we did last year. It is the high point of the year for the children with a special meal and their own soda – a rare treat for children of Kibera! We also buy and give them a small gift.
Since we sponsor a number of these “Jesus Christmas Parties” for our Children’s Homes, we need your financial help too for these Christmas events that bring so much joy in the midst of so much need! It will bring great blessing to you and to them! So I hope you will send or set aside some money now to help with these “Jesus Christmas Parties” – which is what Christmas is all about!
Last year's "Jesus Christmas Party" with George in Kibera.
Before leaving Nairobi, we gave George an early Christmas gift of a small iPad donated by the Albright Family. We plan to take a larger laptop to him for his ministry on our December trip. If you have a good used one, we can always use them for strategic partners like George.
I also had a wonderful meeting with a group of graduates from NC State in Raleigh, who are working with college students in Nairobi for two years. We have networked them with George, whom they have already fallen in love with!
Thanks for joining Patt and me and the Albright Family on this walking tour of Kibera to meet our dear “Kibera son,” friend, brother and partner, George Odhiambo. Patt and I look forward to your partnership with him and his children as God leads and enables you – especially for their “Jesus Christmas Party” in December.
I am also thankful for my decades of partnership with Larry Warren, who continues to live in Nairobi with his wife, Mary. We partner together with George and have done so since he was a small Kibera “street boy” – but now a Kibera Kingdom Entrepreneur!
In His Love for Kibera,
JL & Patt
PS: Maribell Chittenden has been a dear friend and partner ever since our college days. She and her now deceased husband, Bud, went to Kenya and Kibera with us many times over the years. It transformed their lives, marriage, priorities, giving – and eternal destiny. After meeting George as a young boy in Kibera, they “adopted” him as one of their “Kibera children,” along with several others. They faithfully sponsored him through school and visited him annually with us on trips to Kenya.
Click on Maribell’s picture below to watch and hear her heart-warming story of how Kibera and kids like George helped transform their lives into Great Commission Christians. She recorded this video for her home church in Charlotte, NC.
After you have watched this brief video by Maribell, I encourage you to forward it along to some of your other close friends so they too can be touched and transformed by Kibera into a Kingdom Entrepreneur for God’s glory and the good of others in spiritual and physical need!
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,
doing something useful with his own hands,
that he may have something to share with those in need.”
Dear Ministry Partners,
Patt and I have just returned from two weeks of travel and ministry in Kenya and Zimbabwe, Africa, where we have been involved for over 3 decades. While flying over, I read a timely article on the new emerging “Middle Class” in Africa. That means people who have advanced economically to the degree that they have some “disposable income.” But what blew my mind was the standard used for putting a person in the “Middle Class” category. It was those whose who had moved from zero income or $1.00 a day – to those now earning $2.00 a day! Can you imagine?! That's light years from the standard of our American "Middle Class!"
Think about trying to feed yourself…cloth yourself…pay your rent…send your children to school…buy medicine – while earning a meager $2.00 a day! You can’t even buy a small cup of coffee at Starbucks for that little amount of money! And yet millions of Africans struggle onward and upward living below a poverty line we can’t even begin to comprehend!
Obviously the Apostle Paul faced similar challenges in the First Century Church. Many of the new believers were poor and needed support – especially the widows and orphans. Others were converted to Christ out of a lazy and sleazy background where they “lived off others” as thieves. They were not unlike many of our second, third and fourth generation welfare recipients in America who “steal from us” through taxes, entitlements and scores of other governmental programs based on welfare rather than workfare!
While our government encourages and indulges this indigent life-style based on endless give-aways, Paul exhorted the new believers of his day to “…steal no longer," but rather to “…work, doing something useful with his own hands.” Only then could they move from being a “taker” to a “giver” and demonstrate the principle established by the Lord: “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive” (Acts 20:35). As a result of this spiritual and economic transformation through hard work, self-support and self-sufficiency, they would “…have something to share with those in need.”
That’s why it has always been one of our top priorities to empower people economically. Sadly, there has been a tragic and unbiblical division for decades between the “spiritual gospel” and the “social gospel.” But, they are two sides of the same coin of Christian compassion. One without the other is only a “half gospel.” Therefore, to propagate one without the other is to practice a truncated and unbalanced Gospel. The true Gospel is wholistic -- as demonstrated by Christ and Paul. While it starts with evangelism, it does not stop there. It moves from evangelism to edification…to equipping…to empowering. That’s why spiritual empowerment must always lead to economic empowerment.
It was a joy and privilege for Patt and me to travel with two local friends, partners and entrepreneurs on this trip with us – Andy and Jane Albright, along with their two children, Haleigh and Spencer. Through their company, they have partnered with us in several of the goat initiatives in Africa. They made it a “Christmas Gift Giving Initiative” with their employees this past year and, as a result, dozens of goats were bought and given to the needy through our partners in both Kenya and Zimbabwe. We'll have more photos and reports on that in the next few weeks, but we hope that many of you will follow their example by beginning now to do some “early Christmas shopping” and set aside similar funds to help us provide goats for needy people – especially widows and orphans.
Through the pictures below, it is my privilege to introduce you to a new partner – Philip Kabiru. He is the man shown with me, Andy and Jane. Philip was introduced to me by my long-time friend and partner, Dr. Jim Seymour, who had first invited me to Zimbabwe, Africa in 1983. Jim is now a pastor in Raleigh and continues to travel to Africa yearly. While leading a Peace & Reconciliation Conference after the past presidential elections (resulting in much tribal conflict), God networked him with Philip.
Jim was so deeply impressed with Philip’s dedication, humility, vision and work ethic, that he began sponsoring him with further agricultural training, raising the funds through his church in Raleigh. Because of my years of agricultural involvement, Jim connected me with Philip. The rest is an on-going story of Kingdom Entrepreneurial partnership that will bless many in Kenya spiritually and economically. His agricultural project is known as Emoja, and is based on a 3/4 acre plot of land that we hope to help expand in the future.
Philip is the top of his class in college. That achievement is especially amazing when you read his daily schedule he shared with me in a recent email:
“Dear J.L Williams…here in college my day starts at 5:00 AM or earlier depending on schedule of activities, which entails 60% practical and 40% class work. We have to tender livestock by 6AM and then proceed for breakfast from 7.30-10.30 AM. I have to work in my garden and sometimes having community outreach to the surrounding community. From 11AM we enter class till 4PM, though we usually break for lunch. From 5PM we usually have garden practices once again till 6.45PM. After supper we go for private study which is optional till 10p.m., except Wednesday when we usually hold fellowship from 7.30- 9.30 PM."
Philip concludes by saying:
“This tight schedule has trained me to remain focused and be closer to God.”
What a joy to invest in that kind of Kingdom Entrepreneur!
So be blessed and encouraged by the following pictures in this report on Philip and his “goat project” we have helped him with – starting with a “goat barn.” Because of his training, he will be running a much higher quality of goat program than others we are involved in. He will be breeding a higher quality of goat with the local ones to increase milk and meat production.
Here are the pictures of the “goat barn” we helped him build for $4,000. It is now the best of its kind in the region and will soon be filled with high quality milking goats that will generate high protein milk and income. It will also be a training facility to teach other Kenyans how to increase their quality of goat, milk and meat under Philip's mentoring.
When we visited Philip, it was also a joy to be able to bless him with a new iPad for his ministry, as well as several drip irrigation kits for his intensive organic gardening.
Thanks for investing with us in Kingdom Entrepreneurs like Philip. They are the hope for Africa and the hope for the Kingdom of God there!
Because we were in so many places with so many partners, I will be sending out a series of reports in the next couple of weeks so I do not overload your computer – or your brain! Just know that you are helping Patt and me make a BIG difference in the lives of strategic people – one partner at a time!
In His Networking Love,
JL & Patt
PS: Be watching for "Part 2" in this series in a few days. In it we will take you from the farm to the Kibera slum – the largest on the African continent.
… “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns
where we preached the word of the Lord and
see how they are doing.”
Dear Ministry Partners,
Loving greetings in Christ from Nairobi, Kenya, on our way to Zimbabwe. Thanks for praying us through this first part of our trip, which was mostly in the African Bush. (Please click here to see our report from last week).
Patt and I have just completed another goat distribution to needy Samburu women – most of whom were widows. These old mamas especially touched our hearts. One was blind, and 'saw' her two new goats with hands and fingers that have handled goats all of her life!
Patt distributing goats to the Samburu women.
These goats were made possible through a ministry partner I will write more about upon my return home in a week. Until then, I wanted you to see the 'first fruit' from our previous distribution this past December. These kid goats are the 'first born' from that distribution. They named the white one 'Patt!'
Patt with the 'first born' kid goats from the December distribution,
and with her namesake 'Patt'!
Thank you for your prayers and support that make all we do possible for "...the least of these.”
JL & Patt