Jiggers: the Scourge of Village Life in Africa

Kingdom Driven Ministries is just a convenient vehicle through which saints around the world contribute to the work that God is doing, whether it be in expanding the Kingdom, discipleship, meeting medical needs, providing food for the hungry, or developing clean water sources. We are blessed to have many indigenous brothers and sisters working with us on a daily basis to see that this work is done efficiently and with integrity and compassion. One of our deacons, Silas, felt the Lord’s leading to spend much of his free time during the month of October coordinating with other brothers to reach out into a number of fellowships and communities to remove jiggers.

A jigger infestation of the feet

A jigger infestation of the feet

Jiggers, or sand fleas, are the scourge of village life in Africa. Though they can be minimized by regular bathing and removed one-by-one with a razor blade, one quickly turns to many because jiggers live abundantly in the dirt, and most home construction here is dirt-floor and mud walls. Jiggers conveniently implant themselves in any part of the body that maintains prolonged contact with the dirt—typically the feet, as folks usually walk barefoot, but it can be the knees (if they are kneeling, for example, to weed their crops by hand in their fields), or evens legs or arms (particularly in the case of impoverished children who do not have sleeping mats but rather sleep on their dirty clothes or even directly on the dirt floor). A single jigger is uncomfortable; an infestation is downright excruciating, as  layer upon layer of jiggers lay eggs and reproduce in their human hosts. They are active at night, preventing sleep. Approximately $20 worth of investment enabled our brother Silas to alleviate the suffering of many in our communities, and we praise the Lord for putting it on Silas’s heart and for providing financially through His people. We hope to continue this work as the Lord leads. If you would like to contribute toward this initiative, or other works like it, visit www.kingdomdriven.org/donate.

Silas hard at work

Silas (wearing the mask) hard at work

 

A New Lease on Life

Imagine with me, if you will, being a young man and the sole support for a wife and three growing children. One child is in school and you must pay for her uniform, books, and other supplies, even though her education is technically “free.” The other two children must be cared for and you are happy that your wife can be invested in the things of home while you make yourself available to work.

Unfortunately, you live in a small village. Opportunities for work are rare, though you sometimes get day labor, usually swinging your jembe (hoe) and weeding fields of maize. You make a few hundred shillings—really, just enough for the day’s needs. Only the Lord knows how you will pay the school expenses when they become due. To stretch your shillings you might only have tea for breakfast and lunch, then a filling meal of ugali and greens for supper. You persevere, doing what you can each day. “Give us this day our daily bread” is your reality.

013Such was the life of Anthony Mirundu. He and his wife, faithful adherents of a local denominational church, trusted in God for their provision. Yet an unexpected turn of events put their faith to a very real test. A small growth appeared on Anthony’s wrist. Over time, it grew aggressively. The sight of it was appalling; finding work became increasingly difficulty as Anthony could no longer hide the disability. While some families would still be able to survive by growing a crop of maize to last them through the year, Anthony was not so fortunate. He does not own enough land for farming, and the family was even too poor for him to seek medical care.

In time, things got bad enough that Anthony was brought to Kingdom Driven Ministries in hopes of getting some medical assistance. He was sent to a local hospital for scanning and consultation. It was determined that the growth on his wrist was cancerous, but the cancer had not yet metastasized. Anthony was concerned, yet relieved at the same time. Unfortunately, his only option was an amputation of his arm at the elbow. Though the idea of such a radical surgery and resulting life change was daunting, the alternative—death from cancer—was certainly not desirable, either.

It has now been almost two months since Anthony’s surgery. He has physically healed and has learned to do life with some limitations. Yet, as a man and the sole support for his young family, he feels at a loss and, to a point, despairing of his future. He can no longer work a jembe in the fields. His wife can do the work, but that leaves her often busy and unable to care for needs in the home and with their small children. For her to work outside the home is just not practical at this juncture. How can they pay for their oldest child’s school needs and get the few daily things they need: maize, soap, oil, sugar for their breakfast tea?

We would like to assist Anthony in setting up a small business that would permit him to have an ongoing source of income for his household. We have talked about him raising and selling chickens, or perhaps opening a small shop where people can buy staple goods. There don’t seem to be any shops locally, so such a business might be profitable for Anthony. We will continue to ask questions and assess what might be best in his situation. What we need at this juncture is for someone with a heart to help, to step up and offer hope to Anthony and his family. A financial gift of $150 or even $200 could set Anthony up with something that, ideally, will be self-sustaining and support his family on an ongoing basis. What a blessing, in many ways, this will be to a man who continues to trust God in spite of such challenging circumstances.

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If you would like to assist, you can donate toward Great Commandment needs at www.kingdomdriven.org/donate. You can note at checkout that it is for Anthony. And regardless of whether nor not you can help financially, please pray for this need, for Anthony and his family, and for his continued spiritual growth and perseverance in time of trial. God bless you.

Why Malaria Treatment Matters

The monthly gifts we receive towards our medical missions program are the lifeblood of our work here in the village, where many impoverished people often have to choose between food and medicine. Everyone likes to hear about the impact of their generosity. Photos and stories are a great way to give that feedback, and we strive to let folks know that what you are doing makes a difference! But sometimes at the end of the month, as we try to faithfully report how many and what maladies have been treated, it seems that everyone “just” has malaria. Perhaps there’s really nothing glamorous about treating a bunch of people for malaria, but don’t think it’s nothing. Come with me as I introduce you to Silvia, the daughter of one of the wazee (“old men”) in our fellowship.

Silvia

Silvia exhibited symptoms of malaria in 2010; she was a normal, 19 year-old village girl who lived at home and helped with the daily tasks of fetching water, making meals, and whatever else needed to be done. At the time, money simply wasn’t available to treat her, but that so often happens here. Many don’t have 100 shillings ($1) to buy malaria medicine, so they go to the local shop and get a small package of two “Mara Moja” tablets (the equivalent of Excederin). The fever goes down temporarily, the body aches subside, and if you asked them if they took medicine, they will say, “Yes!” But the malaria is still there. The fever may never go down below 100 degrees Farenheit, even with the Mara Moja. But it’s better than it was, it allows for some sleep, and things seem better for a few hours. Then what? This cycle can go on for days, even a week or more.

Such was the case with Silvia. And unfortunately, because of the delay in proper treatment, her malaria took a turn for the worse…it crossed the blood/brain barrier and became “cerebral malaria.” Treatment, in this case, is usually too little and too late. But she lived, praise the Lord. Even so, now she has frequent epileptic seizures and takes daily pills (when the family can afford the 90 shillings to get a month’s worth of medication). She has also visited our District Hospital more than once for psychological examinations and medications. On good days, she can function in a normal manner. But there are many not-so-good days. Her father has sadly reported that “she only wants to get married and raise a family like other girls her age!” but he knows that, because of her physical and psychological deficiencies, she will be at home with him until he can no longer care for her. And then what?

Another young mother of two small children in our community was likewise affected by cerebral malaria and, as a result, abandoned by her husband. She struggled to care for the children on her own for a time, not realizing her new deficiencies. Thankfully, eventually she returned to the family home, where the grandmother brought her now-malnourished children to KDM. After emergency medical interventions, they are now ongoing recipients of monthly, nutrient-dense food packages through our malnourished children’s food program. (This is another significant area where our donors don’t get dramatic feedback…but they are faithfully, quietly making a difference!)

These are the effects of untreated malaria.

We thought of Silvia recently when our own 8 year-old son, Micah, came down with malaria. We are fortunate that at the first sign of fever, we can take him to the local clinic for a test. He got an immediate injection of malaria meds (the first of three daily injections) and a Diclofenac injection for his fever, as he was nauseous and vomiting and couldn’t take oral medication. We were thankful to see improvement within just an hour, and saw a light at the end of the tunnel  when he was able to enjoy spaghetti supper with the family without vomiting. But by the next morning his fever was back up and his nausea had returned. We went back to the clinic for his second injection, and he immediately fell asleep on the couch when we returned home. I (Cindy) was working in the kitchen preparing lunch a couple hours later when Micah came in to talk to me. I could see that he looked a little “out of it”–his eyes didn’t seem to be focusing on me. His voice wavered, and I realized quickly that he wasn’t even speaking in coherent sentences. He would enunciate a few words, then falter off into mumbling. Trying again, he seemed to be trying to communicate something totally different, but still with the same result. I put my hands on his head, prayed for him, and sent him back to the couch with some rehydration drink, hoping for the best.

The rest of the afternoon passed with some uncertainty, we being very concerned at the possibility of cerebral malaria and what it could mean. However, there was not much that could be done outside of prayer, as he had already begun treatment. Thankfully, by the next morning, Micah had returned to himself. After his third injection, he was back to complete health. But it’s not lost on us that the outcome could have been far different. It was for Silvia, and for others that we know in our village. And, if we did not have faithful donors assisting with timely malaria treatment for our community and folks in our fellowships, the statistics in our area might well be far worse.

Doctors at our partner clinic, Solonamu Medical Centre, helped us to understand the risks associated with malaria a little better. They acknowledge malaria as perhaps the worst disease in Africa. The World Health Organization reported almost a half-million deaths from the disease in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, the majority of them children. Severe malaria, and its permanent health effects, typically occur as a result of delayed treatments, particularly if the delay is a week or more (which we have found is not unusual). Cerebral malaria is among the complications that arise. Other complications can include liver or kidney failure, or rupture of the spleen. Untreated malaria can lead to chronic re-infection, as the parasites “hide” in the liver and re-emerge at a later point in their reproductive cycle.

Aside from the physical effects of the disease, there a couple of other problems associated with malaria: one, folks typically can’t afford both a malaria test AND medicine, so they usually self-diagnose and self-treat. The over-use of certain drugs (even when malaria is not actually present) has led to resistance to some types of anti-malaria drugs commonly used for treatment.

Secondly, when people are affected with malaria and don’t get treatment, mosquitoes can spread the infection to others. This is significant to everyone, but particularly to pregnant women, as malaria infection during pregnancy can lead to many ill effects for the developing baby, if an immediate miscarriage does not result. (This is particularly relevant to me, as one of our babies became a miscarriage statistic due to one of my bouts of malaria a couple years ago.)

However, as more and more people in a community are able to get proper diagnosis and treatment, not only is their individual health improved and risks avoided, but fewer people in their community will be infected with the disease. Though it is unlikely that malaria can be eradicated in endemic regions, the effects can certainly be ameliorated. Lab confirmation of malaria and timely treatment are vital! This is the work of KDM: referring the sick to the clinic, and getting them treated as soon as possible when symptoms of malaria occur. Sending someone to the clinic, getting them tested, and medicine in the form of tablets or injections might only cost $8 or $10 (with the cost of transportation by piki piki included). We rely on our donors to accomplish this every month…so know that when we are “just treating malaria” (even if there aren’t any dramatic stories to tell), you are making a significant difference in someone’s quality of life, and in the overall health of a community at risk. God bless you for your heart and your generosity toward this work.

If you are not giving regularly toward KDM’s Urgent needs/Medical fund and would like to, feel free to visit www.KingdomDriven.org/donate.

Faith Anita: Preliminary Medical Update

Faith

Faith

Perhaps you remember our first report of 6 year-old Faith Anita, whose deformity of the spine/neck was debilitating her, and whose family has been financially unable to get her the care she needs.

At that time, while we had a great deal of sympathy for little Faith and wanted very much to assist her, we were also not in a position to report with certainty her condition, or what would be needed to complete her treatment. But we thank God for granting us an opportunity (through those who so compassionately gave for this need) to take over the process of restoring Faith’s health and future hope.

After several visits to medical institutions here in Kenya, we were assured that the disease can be treated, though it will be a lengthy process requiring further financial resources.  Preliminary laboratory tests and x-ray scanning reveal that Faith \is suffering from advanced scoliosis, in this case an exaggeration of the thoracic curve that causes a pronounced hump or backward bend in the upper back–a so-called Gibbus deformity that pitches the shoulders and neck forward of the normal gravity line. This condition has greatly hindered her physical growth and limits her ability to walk straight and upright. It has also been socially debilitating as far as her friendships and her ability to engage in schooling as other girls her age do.

According to the local orthopedist, the next step is radiology scanning to determine the best course of treatment. There is a possibility of stents placement, which will help in straightening the thoracic spinal cavity. (Stents placement is a surgical process.)

Thus far, your generosity has enabled us to begin the process of healing for Anita, and now we need your help to continue! Though it is difficult to get accurate estimates for medical procedures here, we have been told that the next phase of her care can be addressed for approximately $250.  Once again, we  invite anyone interested to lend a helping hand by giving at www.KingdomDriven.org/donate. You can earmark the funds for Great Commandment/medical or make a note at checkout that your gift is for Faith Anita. As our Lord has promised, you will store up for yourself treasures in Heaven as you bless little Faith in her time of need!

Anthony’s Surgery Successful–Prayer Request

It with a mixture of joy and sorrow that we share the report of a successful surgery for Anthony Mirundu.  We are so thankful for those of you who have made it financially possible for him to have the tumor on his wrist evaluated in recent months. Though the report of cancer was disappointing, it was not a surprise, and we were happy to know that there was as-yet no metastasis. Anthony was given hope through the possibility of amputating his arm at the elbow, an option that he embraced in hopes of prolonging his life for his wife and young children.

On Thursday last week, at around 9 pm, the surgery was finally completed. Though he is now handicapped, both KDM and Anthony know that it is better to have lost partial use of a limb than to experience the slow growth of cancer and its inevitable consequences. We pray that this experience will cause Anthony to contemplate eternal things and perhaps draw closer to the Creator who loves him.

We also ask that you all pray fervently for Anthony during his recovery period, for the inevitable life transition that this will be for him. Life won’t be the same again to him, his family and friends and community may not treat him the same, but we know that the LORD remains the same. Please remember Anthony in sympathy and compassion of Christ.

 

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Mission Uganda: Carrier Family Update

As of this writing, the Carrier family has moved from Kenya to Uganda and we have been adjusting to our new home and community for about the past two weeks. For the most part, the transition has been remarkably smooth, mostly because we’ve been in Kenya already and there are many similarities. As well, Marc and Isaiah both spent quite some time in Uganda as our home was being built, so we were pretty much in move-in condition when we arrived.

We had to drive our large family in two shifts: Marc with the older children, the two dogs and three cats, and some of our household supplies and tools on trip one. On trip two, the younger children and me (Cindy) with clothes, school books, and whatever else remained of our household items. The animals needed more paperwork to cross the border than most of us people did, but they made the trip unexpectedly well and have adjusted as can be expected. Except for our big German Shepherd male, Rex…he had been in the habit of getting out of our fenced yard in Kenya in order to “sow his wild oats,” as they say. In this regard, he was incorrigible, and we were constantly repairing the fence where he ripped holes in it with his teeth or where he dug under to escape. Here, we proactively engineered our fence to be “Rex-proof,” and we are happy to report success! However, Rex is not exactly happy with the new arrangement and has taken it upon himself to chew anything and everything that gets left outside overnight. In lieu of any such items, he has consistently uprooted one of the trees in our front yard. We dig and re-plant, he digs and uproots. And repeat. But at least he stays in the yard.

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Rex, who is ashamed, yet unrepentant, about his tree-digging escapades

Handwashing station

Hand washing station

We began our life in Kenya with no electricity or running water. Here, Isaiah had spent enough time before our arrival that we were wired for solar, with lighting in every room. However, our attempt at digging a borehole (which we would develop into a well) dramatically failed, so we are back to fetching water, washing dishes outside and sponge-bathing in basins, etc. Isaiah made a pretty neat set-up in our dining area for easy hand washing and also a spigot for drinking water, which adds a small level of convenience. We quickly discovered that although the locals drink the lake water, it’s really not a great idea. (It’s brown…has stuff floating in it…and is kind of swampy-smelling.) We add some bleach to it and use it for laundry, bathing, dish washing, and hand washing, but one of our neighbors gets us clean water for drinking and cooking from a local school (about 4 km away) for a decent price as often as we need it. Praise the Lord!

I’m sure the Lord allowed the failure of the borehole, as afterwards a KDM donor who had previously funded a water project in Kenya offered to assist with digging a community borehole on our property. It will be developed with a pump for clean water. That project is now underway, and we look forward to what it will mean not only to us, but our entire community.

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Boys with snake skin

So, yes, we’re on Lake Victoria, which is a big excitement for the kids. They spent quite a long time observing a species of monkey different than the ubiquitous Colobus monkeys of Kenya. We’ve studied all the local species of snakes (at least, until our “Reptiles and Amphibians of East Africa” book got left outside and chewed on by Rex…ugh…), and when Jonah, Micah, and Enoch went down to the lake one afternoon, they found a Black Mamba skin about 6 feet long! Though I’m glad they didn’t meet him face-to-face, we now make sure they do all their adventuring in pairs or threes. All carry hefty wooden sticks (for confirming that brush areas are clear of snakes, and for defending against any snakes that chance to be laying around!) and big kids carry pangas (machetes), just in case. Our access to Lake Victoria is disappointingly inadequate, as it is very overgrown, marshy and muddy. We’ve decided to try and have it cleared, in hopes that we will one day be able to walk into the water, maybe even from a beach, or at least launch a small boat (something all the children are looking  forward to).

 

 

Our local “market days” are Wednesday and Thursday. I’m enjoying that this local outdoor market is within walking distance and on the lake. Many of the vendors and shoppers come from islands on the lake–here’s a handmade wooden boat used for ferrying passengers on shore for repairs, about 50 feet long:

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The selection at the market is not really what we’ve been used to in Kenya. Fruits and vegetables are pretty limited, which I find difficult, but fish, as you can imagine on Lake Victoria, is plentiful and cheap–a welcome change! We’re having to adjust our eating habits once again as we rely on market days for fresh food, since the local shops really don’t offer much by way of variety–only staples like flour, sugar, baking powder, rice, oil, and eggs. It’s quite a trip to get any unusual items that we use with some regularity, like my instant coffee, margarine, simple seasonings, vinegar, and “Irish potatoes” (white potatoes, as opposed to the local sweet potatoes), so that’s an adjustment as well.  We definitely appreciate that Ugandan food prices, thus far, seem to be better on the budget than those in Kenya.

Mission-wise, things are progressing slow-and-steady. Because Marc and Isaiah spent some time here before our move (along with our Kenya evangelists/teachers Lazarus and Nashon), there was a small fellowship already established prior to our permanent arrival. Marc has been teaching a small group of guys a couple of days per week, as well as meeting up with many of them during the week for one-on-one conversations and discipleship. Nashon has been living on our compound in one of two small mud houses, so he also visits with a lot of the guys and continues to teach seekers and evangelize in new areas locally. In Kenya, we had to start the mission with a mzungu face because we didn’t have a Kenyan partner for quite some time. It is nice that now our goal can be realized: minimizing the mzungu so that a sustainable, reproducible mission will develop–hopefully more quickly than it did in Kenya. I would say that Marc is a bit uncomfortable with the comparatively slow pace of the mission; he had been very busy in Kenya and enjoys being productive with his time, especially as concerns the things of the Kingdom. Yet I have heard him counsel many others that “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.” Perhaps this is just a time when he needs to take his own advice!

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Nashon at home

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Thanks to all those who have supported us financially and especially through prayer as we have transitioned to Uganda. We look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in this new place!

The Story of Faith Anita

Not too long ago, Veronica, wife of John and mother to 6 year-old Faith Anita, came to visit us at Kingdom Driven Ministries with her little girl. Here is their story, in her own words:

“In the year of 2012, when my daughter was 3 years old, we saw a small node on her back but we never knew what it was. We thought it was something that would go away after a little while, but to our great surprise it kept on growing and growing until it became a huge mountain on her back.” As we interviewed her, Veronica’s eyes filled with tears, but she continued. “We thought of taking her to hospital for medical assistance, but before we took the step, another bad luck came upon us; my husband was fired from his work as a watchman, and so we were unable to afford even our own meal. We were forced to watch our daughter’s condition deteriorating day after day. We thank God for bringing Silas our way, who shared with us about Christ and linked us with Mzee Timothy.”

As you can see in the photos, this painful deformity has affected little Faith normal growth. We yearn to help this family and bring new hope to them. We are likewise sure that many of our faithful supporters will be moved with compassion to help this young girl. However, we are not even sure what to ask for. We are not doctors, and Faith has yet to see a medical professional regarding this problem; we would only surmise that it could be scoliosis or perhaps spinal TB. In either case, treatment might be in the $200-$300 range, but a smaller amount would at least get us started with a consultation at the local hospital. Depending on the diagnosis, we could then move forward as we have ability.

If you wish to help Faith, you may give to Urgent Needs/Medical or earmark funds in a note at checkout at www.KingdomDriven.org/donate. Please pray for provision for this need and that Faith can get the treatment she needs.

Weekly Mama’s Meetings

The core vision of Kingdom Driven Ministries is the Great Commission: making disciples and teaching them to obey all that Christ 044commanded. A part of that vision is, of course, empowering women through discipleship and mentoring. Our main focus is to see that women in our fellowships and community are not neglected nor left behind in their spiritual development or in the work of Kingdom expansion. As in every community, women play a central role in shaping society, and their impact is no less felt in the church body.

In the initial stages of discipleship, it was not an easy task to gather women for ongoing meetings. Most women are necessarily preoccupied with the everyday tasks that demand their attention: gathering water and firewood, making meals, caring for children, and oftentimes doing the work of a small business. Nevertheless, we thank God for enabling us to mentor those who He brought our way. Despite their small number, we have found consistency in their commitment to weekly Bible study, prayer, and fellowship, and for that we cannot help but praise God.

In these Tuesday Mama’s meetings,  they typically discuss one lesson from the Bible, using our guide book, the Discovery Bible Study. This involves a time of sharing prayer needs and praying corporately for one another and for needs in the community.

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Another thing that they strive to do in these meetings is to meet one another’s needs when possible. They have resolved to walk with something little, in case one of them is in want of daily necessity. In this way everyone is prepared to contribute to solving the need; indeed it is a pleasant to behold this concern for one another.

Recently, two sisters, Judith and Mary Stella, tried to explain to me the wisdom behind their giving and contributions. This is what they told me:

“During our Bible studies, we discovered that in the Kingdom of God, is better to give than to receive, and we found out that the only way we can store our treasures in heaven is by helping one another in time of needs and wants. That is why we choose to practice to do that,” said Mary Stella. Judith added, ” We also believe that, to be in communion with Christ, we must be in oneness with each other. Serving one another is to serve Jesus himself. We have discovered that our compassion and love for another grows strong, and that is why we are strong, although we are few in number.”

These weekly meetings rotate from house to house each week. Among the few mamas who have committed themselves to this band of women are Judith, Mary Stella, Annet, Mary and Maureen.

It’s our prayer that they will grow strong in the way of the Kingdom and bear much fruits. Please think of these Kenyan women in your prayers as they strive to walk in the light and truth of the gospel of Christ Jesus, our Lord and King.

For those women who have not been able to regularly attend weekly meetings due to the burden of daily responsibilities, we have hosted an annual “Mama’s Meeting,” where all the women from our dozen or so satellite fellowships gather at the “mother church” for day-long teaching and, of course, a good lunch. There, they received teachings pertinent to women, wives and mothers as well as a call to take responsibility for their ongoing personal discipleship in Christ. They were also encouraged to meet as often as possible with other Mamas in their area.

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Judith

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Mary

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Mary Stella, who has been faithfully facilitating these weekly studies for almost a year now.

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Maureen

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Annet

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing Evangelism by our Indigenous Leaders

During the month of June, our main teachers and evangelists, Lazarus and Wafula,  have been actively engaged in sharing the gospel with the lost, leading them to repentance, baptizing those who surrendered, encouraging many of our existing churches, organizing church meetings and laying strategies of planting more churches in different villages of East Africa, especially Kenya and Uganda.

Both Lazarus and Wafula have been attending weekly wazee (church elders) meetings every Tuesday. Following that meeting, they participate in a leadership meeting of a handful of wazee who are being trained as indigenous leaders for our church network. The two men actively oversee our churches, participate in solving problems, and encourage their brethren with the Word of God. Through their weekly Discovery Bible Studies with the wazee, they have been able to identify men who are capable of sharing the Gospel with others and setthem apart for more training on evangelism and church planting.

On their separate missions, Lazarus has been preaching at different places in town and the villages in  our county, as well as West Pokot county here in Kenya. He has also recently started a discipleship program with football players whom he used to coach before he surrendered to Christ; we are looking forward to reaping a harvest from these young people, and we pray that the Lord will strengthen him more in this ministry.

Lazarus and his wife, together, have been sharing the Gospel with different families in different places. During the month of June, they visited more than five families, looking for “men of peace” with the aim of planting new house churches.  They have established strong rapport with the families and will continue to minister to them in coming months.

Lazarus with a young couple in Cherengany

Also brother Lazarus went for a mission trip to Uganda for about a week, to strengthen and encourage the saints in the church plant that has blossomed in recent months. While there, he shared the Gospel with people of a new village near Lake Victoria, where he baptized one man by the name of Patrick. He also visited the saints in two other villages and encouraged them to hold firm to the faith and the cross.

Several people have also been baptized in our local Kenya fellowships as Lazarus has shared the Gospel of the Kingdom and led them to surrender to Christ, repentance, and baptism:

  •  Eunice – Bidii church
  • Peter – Birunda church
  • The couple Gladys and Patrick – Birunda church

 

Baptism at Birunda

On the other hand, brother Wafula has been laboring in training more evangelists by taking them out for field work and showing them how to go through this ministry of evangelism. Among those disciples that he took to the field to train on two-by-two evangelism were Silas and Mzee Maurice (from our local fellowship). We are so glad to report that they, too, have been successful in the ministry and a couple of new saints have been baptized and added to the flock of Christ as a result of their efforts.

Wafula, being a former imam, had resolved to minister to the Islamic community, especially starting with his own household. This month he had been sharing the Gospel with his father and encouraging his mother in the faith (she was recently baptized with permission from his father). Wafula’s father testified at the wazee meeting that he visited, that he is ready to repent and surrender to Christ; however, his is a polygamous man with three wives and understands that repentance involves becoming the husband of his first wife only. He asked for some time to put his household in order: finding places for the other two women and figuring out the logistics for their continued provision. We pray and hope that the Spirit of truth will convict him and lead him in the way he should go. Please pray with us!

Wafula and Silas baptizing a  man into Christ at the local fellowship

Wafula has also been active in organizing and coordinating church meetings and helping in church discipline affairs. Visiting churches and the sick in the fellowships has been part of his routine this month.

Please pray earnestly with us  that the Lord will continue to strengthen and empower His servants for the glory of His kingdom.

Shoe Repair in Kenya

A cobbler, or shoe repair person, was once not an uncommon sight in America and other developed nations. Nowadays, however, it’s oftentimes cheaper to buy a new pair of shoes than fix an old pair, if it’s even possible to get old shoes fixed. Yet in developing nations like Kenya, shoe repair is still one of the most vital of crafts.

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A shoemaker at his stall

This skill was first introduced by Asians who were employed by the British administration, to make and repair the colonial officer’s shoes. It was not until the Asians were deployed for the task of constructing the East Africa Railway line that the natives of East Africa were trained in the craft of shoe making and repairing.

Over the years this craft has been growing incrementally in different parts of the region, attracting many people to it–often, those without school education who would benefit from learning a skill through apprenticeship.

During the infancy stage of the shoe repairing industry, many people looked down on it and named it, “the work for the disabled and handicapped folks.” This was because of its simplicity and stationary nature. But this perspective has changed due to inadequate employment opportunities, thus forcing even those with education and physical ability to plunge into shoe making industry.

 

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Shoe repair in Kibera slum

The craft of shoe making and repairing is one of the easiest skills that can be learned and mastered. It is also one of the cheapest as far as startup and material costs. Because this craft is not being taught in public school, the only way of learning is through apprenticeship or personal training.

Experts in making and repairing shoes are often employed in big shoe stores in major cities. The shoe stores are typically owned by the Asian people who started the industry in the region. Those who are fortunate enough to find job in the major stores will earn higher wages compared to those who are self-employed.

Most of the small  shoe repair shops are found in highly populated regions, where they can have contact with many customers. Perfect regions for this industry are slums and small towns. However, it is also a successful niche in villages, where people cannot afford to buy new shoes when theirs are worn out or broken.

Repairing a broken shoe is more affordable than buying a new one. Often the charge of repairing a shoe is not more than  20-50 KSH (20 to 50 cents), compared to maybe 1000 shillings for buying a nice pair of work or school shoes. But even flipflops, which might cost $1, are worth repairing here!

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A collection of flip flops and sandals, all repaired for less than $1.

Indeed, the industry of shoe making and repairing has been a great relief to many poor people who had no hope of being otherwise profitably employed. Is true that many families are being sustained and children educated, through the craft of shoe making and repairing. One successful shoe-repair entrepreneur commented,

038I really love this craft of shoe making and repairing, it is a good job and has good money to sustain a man and his family. When my leg was amputated, I thought my life was over and my hope was gone, but God is good He gave me something to do.”