My heart is so full! Today we had our 3rd Annual Network Partners Conference. Last night there was a powerful rainstorm that caused flooding all over the city of Nairobi. Buildings were knocked down by the force of raging waters moving through all parts of the city. This morning there were literally dozens of major highways that were blocked by torrents of raging waters. As we prepared to meet, we thought that many of our network partners would either stay home or be very late. By 9:30, there were only a handful of people in the building, but we were amazed to find over 100 before 10am. People really wanted to be there and the result was totally amazing.
(By the way, this will be a long email, so I hope you can read it when you have a little time. For those of you who care about the results of your investment in Kenya this will be very meaningful.)
Our MC, Simon Barasa, was late due to an impassable highway so we started by asking our orphans to sing a song. After warming up with a little song, they let loose with a song that was sung so powerfully that it brought us all to tears. Here were 17 kids who a year and a half ago were living in hopelessness and now they were singing the following song with unbelievable joy and conviction. Here are the lyrics:
“We are a chosen generation
Called forth to show His excellence
All I require for life, God has given me
And I know who I am
I know who God says I am
What He says I am
Where He says I’m at
I know who I am
Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
It doesn’t matter what you see now
Can you see His glory?
‘Cause I know who I am
I know who I am”
By the time they were finished I was wasted.
The main feature of our gathering was to hear a report (more like a testimony) from each of our Network Partners. These are groups that we’ve come alongside of to help and support. Let me give you a synopsis of some of their reports.
One of the prison officers came all the way from Kakamega to represent the Shikusa Boys Center. He shared the following:
“My boss sent me all the way from Western Kenya to give you this report. Through the assistance of WorldComp, our detention center has become, the ‘model detention center’ in all of Kenya. And this is not our opinion, it is the opinion of the Department of Corrections in Kenya. When they visit our facility these days they simply cannot believe the improvements, and they have no idea that most of these improvement have to do with WorldComp, Kakamega PEFA Church and Dr. George Matimbai (our board President).
Because of your involvement, our main objective now is to make sure that our boys have a personal relationship with Jesus and that they know how to pray and hear his voice. Whenever we see Richard and Valerie at our gate, we welcome them with open arms because they are some of the best friends we have.
WorldComp has done more for this institution than anyone ever has. They have given the boys medicine and medical attention through their medical camps, they have brought us books and inspired us to build the best library in any prison in Kenya, they have bought us beds and hundreds of mattresses, they have taken our boys to a new level in their relationship with Jesus and inspired them to worship with passion, they instituted water baptisms for the boys, they have built us a sport court and supplied us with sports equipment and tennis shoes, and they have brought us mountains of soap, disinfectant and toilet paper. If you come to our facility today you will see that all of our boys have new uniforms, because WorldComp provided us with 300 yards of very fine material. And it’s not the cheap material that the government supplies, it is strong material that will last for years and is easy to repair.
Finally, because of WorldComp we have been inspired to give back to the community. Last month some of our boys volunteered to go to the School of the Deaf in Kakamega and paint their entire facility. Now many of them want to volunteer to work for free on the New Orphanage project in Kakamega and they are very good at masonry, carpentry, tile work and landscaping. So let me just say, we can’t thank God enough for all that WorldComp has done for us.”
This last thing about the boys helping us on the New Orphanage, was huge because we have seen their work and it is beautiful! Coincidentally, for the first time, yesterday they invited a number of boys who had graduated from the detention center to come and spend the day sharing their stories with the other boys. They treated them as special guests and they told wonderful stories of God’s faithfulness to lead them on a path of success in their lives. Now they are going to make a regular event out of this.
YOU THINK THAT’S THE END? I’M JUST GETTING STARTED!
Up next were two medical officers who reported on our 2015/16 medical camps.
“We have now reached the point where we are getting inquiries from medical personnel all over Kenya about our medical camps. The participation is increasing on all sides of the country. Of course many people would like to have a medical camp, but we tell them, “When you become involved with WorldComp, we give back to the community, it is not for ourselves. Medical groups are now joining our medical camps just to learn how we do it! We are becoming an inspiration to many other groups.”
Here are some stats: In 2015/16 we saw and treated over 12,000 patients in 10 cities in Kenya. By God’s grace we are slowly preparing for a glorious future, and as God provides we will make a lasting difference, not only in the lives of people but we will be an inspiration to many medical groups to join us in the fight against disease.
Next up was DANSO (Dandora Aids Support Network Organization)
“Many years ago, WorldComp started providing money for our “Revolving Fund”. Through this fund scores of impoverished people have started successful businesses and are now able to support their families. WorldComp has purchased computers to help us start our Computer Training School, they have given money every month for our tailoring business and now we have evolved into a Tailoring School. WorldComp purchased a candle machine which not only provides a living for a number of women, we now offer training to others around Kenya who need to learn the business. Another blessing is that WorldComp has given us medical camps and included many of us on their staff to give counseling to people who are found to be HIV positive. Among many other things, WorldComp has blessed our group many times with personal support and gifts which we thank the Lord for”.
Lillian, the head teacher at our Kibera Kids Center then shared:
“As you know, our goal is to rescue children from the despair of absolute poverty, to give them a hope and a future in Christ. WorldComp has provided the resources for us to expand from two classrooms to seven and from 19 kids to 160. The children’s feeding program has caused our kids to be happy and healthy. In addition to these things, WorldComp has provided a large amount of school supplies, brought in a city water, built us new latrines and a shower, provided personal support for our school directors and has regularly brought medical services to our facility. As the Lord supplies, WorldComp has committed to helping us to add a second story to our building to double our space in the future.”
The report from the Lenana School
“For the past eight years, WorldComp has been supplying food to feed our kids. We now have 400 children and, because they are fed and healthy, they are excelling in their studies and in sports. Most of our kids go on to high school. No other slum school in Kenya can say this. Not only this, recently an independent research organization from England listed Lenana School as ‘one of the top 20 schools in Kenya’. This is not slum schools, it is all schools. Several of our kids are have gone on to college and are now teaching in the school. WorldComp has often provided support for our volunteer teachers, they have bought sports equipment, uniforms and shoes for our sports teams, which have been #1 in the entire district for the past three years. WorldComp has provided books, electricity, computers, and water to the school. They have also held an annual medical camp in our facility, and as a result of this the community greatly values our presence the community.”
Finally, Violet from the Home of Grace shared:
“What can I say? WorldComp has provided everything for us! They have taken full responsibility for our kids. Without the Home of Grace these kids would be lost somewhere in the slums of this city and subject to the risk of malnutrition, crime, illiteracy, and exploitation. But now they have a home where they are loved and cared for. Recently WorldComp generously provided a number of new things to our home: New bunk beds, mattresses, blankets, books, lockers for each child, clothes, school uniforms and shoes, Bibles, sports equipment, facility repairs, music and dancing lessons and access to city water and even a couch for our office. We also have a new sewing machine which we will use to repair clothes and teach the kids to sew.”
I am sorry this is so long, but I wanted to share it while it is fresh in my mind.
The atmosphere at this conference was so beautiful. The most rewarding thing to me is to see a room full of people who share our vision to help the poor and the needy. As for me, I don’t just want to help the needy. The truth is, most of the people you help will not help anyone else. I want to go beyond helping the poor. I want to help people who will in turn help others. I want to invest in true disciples of Jesus, who will carry on the great commission to serve and bless the world. That’s what this conference felt like to me and I am so totally blessed.