“We are trusting God”
In February of 2012, Richard Makani and I walked 15 acres of land that had been purchased on the outskirts of Kitale. Kitale is the central village in Trans Nzoia county in the Northern Rift Valley in Kenya. It sits about 30 miles from the Ugandan border just across Mt. Elgon and has a population of 162,000 people. I’ve share parts of their story before, but at that time, Richard and his wife Hellen had started a church in town, began feeding orphans in the Kipsongo slum, started a school for them and began an orphanage for 47 of them. As we walked that land and Richard shared his vision for the orphanage the one phrase he kept repeating was “We are trusting God for…”. We are trusting God for an orphanage building. We are trusting God for a dining hall. We are trusting God for tilapia ponds. We are trusting God for a school bus. Richard and Hellen trust God. But as my friend Grant Crotts said, their life is “where Faith meets Hustle!”
Fast forward just under 10 years and Richard and Hellen oversee a truly vast ministry. The 15-acre orphanage now has an administration building, a girl’s dorm, a boy’s dorm, a dining hall, a wood shop, a green house, a barn and 4 tilapia ponds. The school outside the Kispsongo sum is now a 2-story building with programs that feed and educate 350+ children. Seeds High School sits on 8 acres and has a 2-story, 8 classroom educational building, a dining hall, a girl’s dorm and a boy’s dorm and more buildings on the way. The Mt. Elgon School of Ministry now has a teaching building, dorms for the pastors and a brand-new dining hall is due to be completed in a few weeks. Discipleship groups have been started all around the Mt. Elgon area as people are coming to Jesus. The main church in Kitale has spawned dozens of house churches. On Saturday we met in Nairobi to talk about one of the latest projects, the new widow’s center just outside of Kakamega. When I look back at all this I have to ask, “So this is what ‘Trusting God’ is really all about?”! I’m ashamed to admit how little faith I had back on that sunny February afternoon when we visited what I can now only call “holy ground”.
We have named the widow’s center “The Rebecca House” after Rebecca Khasoa, the lady who began ministering to this group of widows several years ago. The first training classes at the center will begin operating in August of this year with tailoring, knitting and crocheting. Each lady will be assigned one of 13 sewing machines and they will learn to operate it, maintain it and make all manner of clothing. They will make school uniforms for sale and will receive a small portion of the proceeds while they are in school and they will learn ‘table banking’ (a savings group) and basic business accounting. Every day they will also be taught the Word of God. If they are able to complete the course and graduate, they will be given the machine and will be able to open their own small business. This is life transformation that will impact generations to come.
The next few days we will be meeting with IMB personnel here in Nairobi to explore potential partnerships. ‘We are trusting God’ to go before us!