Transforming Lives & Communities

More than 800 meet for Mbitin Church building dedication

July 29th, 2014

More than 800 people gathered on Sunday for the dedication services of the new Mbitin Christian Church building located near the Maasai Mara Game Preserve in Kenya, according to William Koya, a long-time leader in the Mara North Cluster and the Field Operations Supervisor for the Community Health Partners clinic.

“People gathered to rejoice, celebrate and witness the work our Lord is doing in Maasai land,” said William.  “People came from all the Mara North cluster of Community Christian Churches — ordained and licensed pastors, our regional overseer Patrick Sayialel from the CCC, local leaders, chiefs and the area Member of Parliament.”

The service on Sunday also included the ordination of the Mbitin church’s pastor, Wilson Parkeyio Karkar, and his wife. 

“Also, during this occasion, 11 people gave their lives to Jesus, two men and nine women, and many sick people were prayed for,” said William. “The people also prayed for rain, and God answered immediately with such heavy rain that all the rivers are flooded!”

Mbitin is a young congregation that began in 2008 and is part of the Mara North cluster of the Community Christian Churches (CCC). In the beginning, the church members used to worship under a tree. The church now has a membership of 218 people: 30 men, 80 women and 60 young people.

“The church was built in two and a half months,” said William. “The total cost was about $18,000. Men and women of this church took a lot of their time meeting every week to raise money to meet the total cost of the construction and raised it in good time.”

CMF also contributed some financial assistance to the building project, according to CMF missionary Lynn Cazier.

“This was built with assistance from CMF of about $5,900,” said Lynn. “The rest of the cost was raised by the Mbitin church and others in the cluster. In well-organized clusters like Mara North, all the churches work together to raise funds for the next building on the list, and then move on to the next one.”

The 30-by-50-foot stone building is complete, except for the final painting, said William.

“We thank God for this and express our sincere gratitude to the whole CMF International for the support and partnership with CCC,” he said.

 

 

Oregon CrossFit gym promotes MoHI child sponsorship

July 28th, 2014

A chance encounter in Illinois between CMF Executive Director Doug Priest and two fellow University of Oregon “Ducks” fans has led to a partnership between CMF and a brand new CrossFit facility in Salem, Oregon.

Doug and Missions of Hope (MoHI) Director Mary Kamau visited West Side Christian Church in Springfield, Ill., last year for the church’s emphasis on child sponsorship in the Bondeni village in Nairobi, Kenya. During a fellowship break between worship services Doug noticed two men wearing his alma mater’s colors: green and yellow for the University of Oregon.

“I immediately accosted them with ‘Go, Ducks!’ ” said Doug, “and the father and son, Terry and Ryan Savage, introduced themselves, noting that Ryan had been to Kenya with a team from the church.”

In further conversation Doug learned that Savages were preparing to start a CrossFit gym in Oregon, and hoped to use some of the income from the gym to sponsor children from Bondeni, where Ryan already sponsors a child. They asked Doug how they could sponsor more children, and a partnership was born.

Last week, Doug and his wife Robyn were in Oregon and stopped by the new Cherry City CrossFit gym in Salem.

“Ryan met us at the gym and showed us around,” said Doug. “At the gym reception desk there’s a photo of a girl from the Mathare Valley, and cards of children available for sponsorship are available to members. Ryan’s dream is to sponsor one new child in Bondeni for every five members enrolled at the gym.”

“The three of us prayed for the success of the gym while we were there,” added Doug, “asking God to bless the desire of the Savage family to make a difference in the lives of the least of these.”

 

 

Mathare celebrates with joy as students receive college placement scores

May 28th, 2014

The entire community of Missions of Hope schools in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, erupted into joyous celebrations recently when the results of the high school exit texts for the first graduating class of MoHI schools were announced, reported CMF missionary Keith Ham.

Keith, who has been there from the beginning of CMF’s partnership with MoHI, characterized that Monday as “the day we all have been waiting for.” Fifty-six high school students took the placement test, which determines their future educational pathways.

“We were hoping that these children, born in abject poverty, could rise about their circumstances and be lifted, through what they have learned of God and His grace, through education and nutrition, and through the many people who have been the hands and feet of God actively serving these children,” he said.

Twenty-four got the marks necessary to move ahead in Kenya’s university system, well beyond anything the community of Mathare has ever seen before. The MoHI student who got the highest result, Clyde, was even hoisted on the shoulders of the kids as they began a victory march into the village.

“Everyone in the village was celebrating,” said Keith. “They were hugging Mary Kamau and acknowledging that without her commitment, love and sacrifice, this day could not have happened. They were hugging each other and singing and dancing and carrying on. It was pure joy!

“It’s the first time that anyone from Mathare Village One has ever gotten such good marks and is entering university based on his marks and tests,” Keith added. “Of the 24 who did well and will move on, several are from Village One. When you know where they come from it provides a different perspective.”

And what are the prospects for the other 32 graduates who didn’t receive the necessary scores?

“Of the 32 remaining who didn’t make the top marks, several of them will enter university through what they call ‘parallel programs,’ meaning they can go to college but they just can’t access low-interest government loans. Others will attend polytechnic schools,” explained Keith.

”My expectations for college-bound kids from MoHI, considering where these kids are coming from, has been exactly this percentage, about 50%,” said Keith. “Entering college here is hard and they make it hard for many reasons. We’re excited to see where the total 56 land in the next few months — 24 in university with government grants and loans, others in community college, others in ploy-tech and still others will land a job.”

The results were a very sweet moment for Keith and Kathy Ham and the many others who have worked for years with Missions of Hope.

“It was one of those moments when everything just comes together,” he said. “For a moment you can see the big picture. For a moment, all of the work, effort, tears and especially prayers seem to culminate in something that makes absolute sense.”

 

Cyclists cross Alps and raise funds for MoHI school

May 23rd, 2014

A British man living in Dubai will ride across the Alps next week while raising funds for a Missions of Hope International school in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

Tim Hooker, his American wife Fiona Petrocelli, and their son Quinlan became acquainted with the work of MoHI, CMF’s child sponsorship partner in Nairobi, when they were planning a luxurious safari holiday in the Masaai Mara in 2011. Fiona wanted to add a different perspective to the trip by spending a day doing some type of service for local people.

“Some friends of ours put us in touch with Mary and Wallace Kamau at MoHI,” said Fiona. “I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed, so Quinlan and I collected 100 pairs of used Crocs from friends and teachers at his school, and passed them out at the Baba Ndogo school.”

“The school was very tiny then, 200 children squeezed into a makeshift building made of corrugated tin,” said Fiona. “It was heartbreaking to see the condition of most of the children’s shoes, but such a joy to see the smiles on their faces as they walked away with their new, used Crocs. But then we ran out of shoes, and the only response we could make was to say we would come back next year with more!”

Upon their return to Dubai, Fiona sent photos of their day at Baba Ndogo to Crocs UAE. Moved by the photos, the company donated 800 pairs for Fiona and Quinlan to take back to Nairobi, which they did in April 2012. These visits became the subject of a photography exhibition staged by Fiona in Dubai in January 2013 to raising awareness of life in the Mathare slums.

Given his family’s close connection with MoHI, Tim Hooker, an avid cyclist who completes challenging rides with a group of friends every other year, decided to add a fund-raising challenge for MoHI to this year’s ride.

“This year the group, which called itself the ‘Jebel Raiders,’ decided to take on the Raid Alps (the name of the ride course), and added a day to tackle the Alpe d’Huez, a famous climb often featured in the Tour de France,” said Fiona.

The ride is 835 km from Lake Geneva to Antibes on the Mediterranean coast, and includes 19,000 meters of ascent. The group flies out of Dubai on May 29, and the ride will take seven days.

“Two members of the group and their families had heard about our experiences in Mathare and were keen to raise money for the kids of Baba Ndogo School,” said Fiona. “At some point they, too, want their children to have the experiences that Quinlan has had of seeing how many people in this world live and provide a balance to what is a very privileged upbringing here in Dubai.”

The cyclists set a goal of raising $5,000 to sponsor two children through their entire elementary years at Baba Ndogo School, and reached that milestone by May 19. Contributions are continuing to pour in, and the total now stands at nearly $7,000. You can follow the Jebel Raiders on their ride across the Alps here and make a donation to support their efforts on behalf of Missions of Hope here.

 

Past troubles pave the way for new leadership training program

May 14th, 2014

Missionaries love to share good news, but most will admit they are understandably hesitant to share their discouragements and struggles. Here CMF missionary Joshua Barron shares some past difficulties that have now led to some very good news.

A number of years ago, before we arrived in Kenya in January 2007, CMF founded Narok Bible Training Institute as a venue to train elders, pastors, and other leaders in the churches we were planting among the Maasai. This venture was not a success, but while it was quietly fading away, a CMF colleague of ours was laboring with some Maasai church leaders to establish Mission Institute East Africa. This had a top-notch curriculum and a wonderful missions emphasis, but unfortunately, this venture failed also. All of this was as frustrating and as discouraging as you might think. The only good news at the time was that in the far northern deserts, the Turkana Bible Training Institute was still going strong.

Eventually, the resulting dearth of ministerial training opportunities for the Maasai believers began to finally be felt. Maasai churches and church leaders began to recognize the need for their church leaders, elders, pastors, and teachers to receive quality training and discipleship to equip them for their ministries, and began to push CMF to help them renew this type of ministry. For our part, we pretty much refused to start something new, but we let them know that we would joyfully assist them in whatever ways possible in anything that they began.

So steam began to build. In 2012, Community Christian Church leaders sitting in a meeting with two CMF missionaries demonstrated a desire and a willingness to step forward. In that meeting, they requested that I should be the one to lead in helping with that task. The CCC churches formed a committee and appointed me to chair it.  (While we were on furlough, our teammate Joe Cluff took over for me.) A uniform curriculum for the new training institute was set and the Community Christian Bible Training Institute (CCBTI) is in the process of being born.

Turkana Bible Training Institute is the first campus for the new school. The church leaders on the steering committee of the Kajiado Training Center in Ng’atataek contacted the CCBTI committee and asked for help to establish another branch campus, Kajiado Bible Training Institute. Classes will begin there in January 2015. The best news is that the Kajiado Bible Training Institute budget is (at least on paper) self-sustaining, and will not require the large financial subsidies needed by the previous schools.

Seven of the Kajiado Training Center committee members have said they will be among the first KBTI students, and they are willing to pay the higher fees necessary for the budget to be met. Pray with us that in January 2015 a bright morning really will dawn for the new Community Christian Bible Training Institute and all of the CCC churches.

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