Today we met with the 15 leaders of our AIDS Network Group. Valerie and I are so proud of the work that these wonderful people are doing on behalf of individuals and families infected or affected by AIDS. When we began working with them 10 years ago, they were a group of people who had come together and found new hope in Christ. They had no resources, but met together to encourage each other in the Lord. As time has gone by the Lord has led them to do things to help each other survive and thrive. Our assistance in microfinancing has enabled more than 50 members of the group to start businesses to support their families. They have also started three major enterprises to raise money to help people in the community. They have an established sewing business that makes hundreds of uniforms for slum school children, along with a great assortment of Kenya clothes. With the help of WorldCOMP they have established a very successful computer school that has a constant enrollment of over 25 young people. Using a candle-making machine donated by Dave and Donna Stubbert they are now set to market their, non-drip candles in the local department stores. We became and answer to their prayers today when I gave them the money they needed to pay for the Business License and the stickers that will go on the packages of candles. They have named their candles “DANSOLITE”. This business will keep 6 woman working full time and will be a great source of income. Look for these very shortly in your local Safeway Store! Just Kidding!
We sat in today on a time of training for the leaders. Our entire Danso leadership team are now community health care workers who provide counseling for AIDS prevention and management. Today they were learning how to deal with a very big problem in Kenya; Child Abuse! They were learning to detect the signs of child abuse in the community, what steps to take to prevent it, how to properly report it, and how to work their way around a corrupt police force that often turns a deaf ear to this problem. We love and admire these people so much and feel honored to walk alongside them to empower them to be a light to a troubled community.
We had a wonderful day yesterday with our Home of Grace Orphans. Because of our frequent visits, the kids really have come to view us like a Grandmother and Grandfather. We presented them with new play shorts that were made by Terrilee Hamann and Joan Oltman. They were made from very colorful pillow cases and they were the rage. All of the kids needed new shoes, even though we bought new ones just 3 months ago. The reason for this is two-fold; first they have to walk down a gravel road to school and back, and second because they are very, very active. We have a new manager at the home named Violet. She has a college degree in social science and is just amazing with the kids. She is out today buying new shoes for the kids. All the kids are so very happy. For those of you who are sponsoring an orphan, I will have some new procedures to put in place when I get home that will streamline communications and that will assure that any gifts given to the kids get their without being stolen or taxed beyond their value.
We had a miracle yesterday with Kathy Pryor when we made another trip to the Kenya Surveyors Office, in regard to the lease of their land in Mombasa. Kathy had been told by her contacts to go to the office and check on the status of their lease. When we got there the office we were supposed to visit was closed and locked. Welcome to Kenya! But we decided to enter another office close by and ask about the status of the lease. There was woman working in the office who felt sympathetic to our plight, but said she couldn’t help us. Val however, just kept on talking and explaining to the woman how long they have been waiting, how critical it was that this lease be renewed and how Kathy lived in Mombasa and had to make a long and expensive trip to get to Nairobi. Finally something clicked in this woman and she became our “angel”. Within a few minutes we were standing in the presence of the Deputy Director. He and his whole staff were doing everything within their power to help us. We found out that the people that Kathy was working with on the lease were not the people who could get the job done. They were, however, the guys Kathy was referred to. The Deputy Director gave Kathy his absolute assurance that he was on it and he also shared with her how the procedure works and gave her insights where to go from here. Here in Kenya things can get messed up so easily. “Everything requires a Miracle!” As we were walking out the door the lady who had become “our angel” also assured Kathy that she would not rest until the job was done. What a blessing! Thank you Lord!