Four-year-old Natalia Ochieng didn’t know it, but the day she walked into the medical clinic at Missions of Hope’s Bondeni Center in Nairobi, Kenya, was the turning point in her young life.
Natalia was burned and severely disfigured at age 3 when she fell into a pot of boiling water. The man leading the clinic that day was Dr. Alvin Hartness, a retired pediatrician from Fayetteville, N.C., and a member of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, which is a partner with CMF in Bondeni.
“Our hearts immediately went out to her and her mom,” recalled Dr. Hartness. “Children like this are shunned. She may not have much of a life if she has to live with these disfigurations she has.”
Dr. Hartness, a veteran of many medical mission trips around the world, felt a real burden for Natalia’s situation. When he returned to the U.S., he began praying and searching for people and funds to help her. Through a series of medical connections, Dr. Hartness found a plastic surgeon, Dr. Peter Nthunba of Kijabi Mission Hospital about 30 miles north of Nairobi, who could do the surgeries right there.
“Dr. Nthumba and I emailed back and forth, and he said if I could raise the funds, he believed he could do all of Natalia’s procedures there at Kijabi Mission Hospital,” he said. “This act of compassion saved thousands of dollars in medical and transportation costs.”
Dr. Hartness and his wife Shirley went right to work, contacting friends, relatives and church members, and by the end of November has raised more than $4,000 and wired it to the hospital.
“Natalia had her first procedure Dec. 17 and tolerated it well,” he said. “She is now in the stage of stretching the skin with saline infusions. George Kimani, the nurse who has been shepherding Natalia and her mom from Mathare to the hospital, says she is a very good patient.”
Natalia has also now been accepted into the MoHI school in Bondeni, and is sponsored by a Sunday school class at Snyder Memorial church.
Things are going well, but Dr. Hartness emphasizes that the family needs continued prayer and financial support for additional surgeries, transportation, meals, and other logistics. If you are interested in helping support Natalia and her family with your prayers and funds for her ongoing plastic surgeries, please contact Dr. Al Hartness at email@example.com for more information.
Unity and outstanding church growth were the themes of the January meeting of the leaders of the Mara North cluster of Community Christian Churches in Kenya, reports David Giles, Director of Church Catalyst Ministries for CMF. Mara North is one of the 27 clusters that make up the 170 congregations in the CCC.
“As each Kenyan leader began to report on the growth and challenges in his church, all the leaders were amazed and excited to hear how God had been working among them,” said David. “In just three months, from November 2013 through January of this year, 196 people have been baptized and four churches have been planted.”
Although these leaders often feel inadequate for the task of carrying the Gospel and discipling believers, they were reminded yet again that they are not alone.
“The growth in these churches in Kenya is not simply the work of missionaries, although many strong and dedicated people have served in this capacity, nor is it solely the fruit of the work of the national church leaders, although many wise and courageous Kenyans have led the way for their people,” said David. “Each of us is blessed to join God for a time in His work, but the work is indeed His.”
The leaders will meet again on July 6.
“We are waiting with great anticipation to see what God is going to do with His Church in Kenya between now and then,” said David. “We are already looking forward to the reports of His goodness and are proud of these men who are united in His purposes.”
This past year was a good one for the churches of the Narok Central Cluster in Masaai, Kenya, according to Kenson Otuni, a key Maasai church leader who serves in the Ewaso N’giro congregation and as manager of the Ewaso N’giro Training Center for church planters.
“There was unity, cooperation and good teamwork among all our leaders in 2013,” he reported recently. “We were able to plant churches in Esupetai, Oldonyio-orashha and Orgilai, and plans are underway to open a new church at London Estate in the northern part of the town of Narok. In addition, 48 people from those churches gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized in 2013.”
The Narok Central Cluster is one of a dozen or so church clusters in Kenya that comprise the Community Christian Church. Each cluster of churches has leadership and fellowship and work together to oversee the efforts in the cluster and initiate new ministries.
“We are experiencing God’s presence in our cluster,” added Kenson. We are doing well and expecting God to do more powerful things through us in 2014.”
Other good news this past year concerned a long-standing dispute between the community and the Ewaso N’giro Training Center.
“In the last few years, the leadership of the Center was turned over to the cluster, with Kenson Otuni as manager, and now the issue has completely died down,” said David Giles, CMF’s Director of Church Catalyst Ministries. “We are happy to hear from Kenson that there is now a relationship of peace and love between the churches and the community.”
Many really good things happened in CMF ministries in 2013! Here are just a few highlights we came across as we looked back over the past several months:
GOOD NEWS from our Child Sponsorship partners, Missions of Hope International (MoHI) in Kenya:
- Twenty-eight students from the original class in MoHI’s first school took the national exam for college entrance and placement in October. MoHI began with 50 children in one school in 2000, and has now grown to nearly 11,700 children in 19 schools.
- About 2,000 new students enrolled in MoHI schools in January 2014.
- 89 percent of the 277 Class Eight students passed their exams to enter high school recently. The national average is just 40-50 percent.
A NEW CAMPUS MINISTRY was launched by our Globalscope division earlier this year when six campus ministers arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February and March. The ROOTS ministry is the seventh focused on sharing Christ with international college students, and joins thriving Globalscope campus ministries in Chile, England, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Thailand. An eighth ministry will be launched in Montevideo, Uruguay, next year.
CHURCH PLANTERS in Africa graduated from two CMF training facilities this fall. There were 13 graduates in December from the Turkana Bible Training Institute in Turkana, Kenya, who completed 18 intensive week-long classes. An additional six church-planter families from Bagamoyo, Tanzania, graduated from the training facility in Arusha, Tanzania, in November.
THREE MEDICAL CLINICS in Africa expanded this year or are making plans to do so in the very near future.
- A modern maternity clinic was added onto the Community Health Partners Clinic in Mara Rianta in the Maasai Mara game reserve in southwest Kenya this fall. More than 5,000 women a year will now receive up-to-date maternity services there. The total cost of the facility was around $125,000 and was funded by several British foundations that offer safaris in the area.
- The CMF medical clinic in the remote town of Aygali, Ethiopia, is making plans to expand with a permanent, concrete block building by the end of 2014. The Aygali Community Health Project clinic run by CMF missionaries Craig and Allison Fowler currently treats approximately 1,000 patients a month, plus another 70 to 300 mothers and babies in a monthly vaccination clinic. Recent changes in the country’s health policy require an immediate upgrade to concrete block for continued licensing and operation of all health facilities. The new clinic will be complete with a pharmacy, guard house, latrine and water system.
- The Ivory Coast Clinic in Abengourou expanded this year to include maternity care and hospitalizations. After the purchase of an adjacent property and renovations on the existing structure, the new clinic is now open for pre- and post-natal care and hopes to be equipped for deliveries within the coming year. The new building hosts offices for CHE social workers and the expanding CHE program, which will soon include a child sponsorship program. This new facility is providing opportunities for more women and children to not only hear, but experience, the good news and compassion of Christ through quality medical care and health and nutrition classes.
THE CMF ASIA TEAM hosted four short-term teams from U.S. churches this summer. The visitors assisted the team at three different Bible camps, touching the lives of more than 200 Asian students in grades two to 12.
NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN CHURCH in Pachuca, Mexico, added a new worship center to its facility in October. The church was launched four years ago with 14 people and the help of CMF missionaries Greg and Vicki Syverson. The new 2,000-square-foot multipurpose room tripled the church’s space and will be used for Sunday worship, sporting events, concerts and children’s programs. The 140 church members themselves raised almost $10,000 for the nearly $35,000 project.
LONG-TERM CHE TRAINING of nationals in Mae Ai, Thailand, a small town north of Chiang Mai, led to the successful development this year of an aquaponics unit that grows fish and edible crops in a symbiotic system and is paving the way for further community projects. CMF missionary Jeff Prus is assisting the Mae Ai team leaders – Chen Chai and Jom – with growing corn and other vegetables through aquaponics and raising pigs. The food and pigs will be sold and the funds used to help the community. The team has set up a training center that will develop projects such as immunizations, a recycling program and school scholarships.
Africa Fire Mission, a year-old non-profit based in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently presented a 20-foot container of firefighter clothing, training materials and medical equipment to the city of Nairobi, Kenya, in a ceremony attended by Evans Kidero, the governor of the city.
The organization was founded last November by Dave Moore, a 20-year fire-fighting professional, following a mission trip to the Missions of Hope schools with his church, LifeSpring Christian Church, Cincinnati. Its mission is to build and increase the sustainable capacity of fire departments across Africa.
“I really had no desire to visit Africa last year, but my wife convinced me,” said Dave. “Mary Kamau (director of MoHI) asked me to help with fire safety in the schools while I was there.”
Dave soon realized that there were serious issues with fire safety in Nairobi.
“There are about 150 firefighters protecting a population of five million folks,” he said. “Compare that to Cincinnati, where we have 850 firefighters for 350,000 people!”
When Dave asked the chief of the Nairobi Fire Service during that first visit what he could do for them, he was surprised by his response.
“He didn’t ask for money or materials, he asked for more training,” said Dave. “He said he knew they’d never be able to afford the kind of equipment that we have over here, but with training, they could do their best with what they had. That attitude really changed my heart, when I saw they had the right motivation.”
Dave returned to Cincinnati and spent a year forming the organization, raising funding and collecting the materials to ship to Nairobi. LifeSpring Church contributed funds to pay for shipping the container and provided temporary office space and a place to load the container. FAME provided the medical equipment. Dave headed back to Nairobi in early November.
“We were nervous about the container arriving on time, but the Kamaus got it fast-tracked through customs,” he said. “We had a great ceremony with the kids, singing and dancing and putting on the gear. And we were thrilled when Gov. Kidero arrived – it was his first-ever visit to the slums!”
Africa Fire Mission plans to continue its relationship with MoHI and the Nairobi Fire Service and also expand into Turkana and Tanzania, the other areas where MoHI is planning schools.
“Our first goal is to train the fire department, but we also want to develop our relationship with the governor,” said Dave. “All of this is being done with the goal of connecting MoHI to the government so they will improve services in the slums.”
Stephen Radle is a marathon runner, but he’s not running just because he loves it.
In the past year and a half, Stephen, a member of Generations Christian Church in Trinity, Fla., has run three marathons with the added purpose of raising awareness and funds for CMF’s Hope Partnership with the Missions of Hope schools in Nairobi, Kenya. He has recruited his friends, family, and co-workers to sponsor his racing by contributing funds for the construction of the school that Generations is helping to build in the Mathare North slum of Nairobi. Stephen has already brought in several hundred dollars and is planning to raise even more.
Stephen ran most recently in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, and this time he was wearing a running shirt designed by CMF graphic designer Megan Bitting to promote CMF and Missions of Hope.
Hayleigh Scott, a member of the Nashua, N.H. family that raised $33,000 last year for shoes for students at Missions of Hope’s Joska schools in Nairobi, Kenya, is making slow but steady progress in her recovery from a life-threatening bout of pneumonia.
In a post yesterday on his blog, Andrew Scott notes that his 14-year-old daughter is now talking, walking and even starting to do a little homework, and that her room at Boston Children’s Hospital, “once full of machines, is starting to get a bit barren.”
In response to the many requests from family and friends as to how they could help Hayleigh and the Scott family during this time, Andrew suggested that they make a donation to Sole to Soul, the CMF fund established by the Scotts to collect donations for the shoe project. As noted in the project description, 100 children at Joska lost their brand new shoes in a fire that broke out in one of the dorms on the day after the Scotts distributed them.
“More than any other member of our family, this injustice really bothered Hayleigh,” said Andrew Scott. “So if she learns after leaving the hospital that her time of trial generated donations to buy those kids new shoes, she would be thrilled. It would give real, tangible meaning to what she is going through right now.”
More than 5,000 women a year will now receive modern maternity services at a newly-constructed facility at the Community Health Partners clinic at Mara Rianta in the Maasai Mara game reserve in southwest Kenya.
The new building that houses the maternity division of the clinic was funded by the Maasai Mara Charitable Trust, a Christian organization based in Great Britain; the Governor’s Camp, a long-time African tour operation; and by the PD Foundation of Kuoni UK Travel, a British travel organization that arranges excursions in the Maasai Mara. The total cost of the facility was around $125,000.
The grand opening celebration for the facility was held on Oct. 4, and was attended by representatives of the donor organizations, including Peter Diethelm, Executive Chairman UK and USA, Kuoni Reisen.
The clinic will offer child welfare clinics, HIV/AIDS care and treatment, out- and in-patient services, an ante-natal clinic, and laboratory and pharmacy facilities. Clinic staff have already assisted five mothers with deliveries at the facility, vaccinated several children and tested numerous people for malaria and HIV.
John Sangkok serves as director of the Community Health Partners’ clinic, which was originally established by CMF missionaries. The clinic serves a population of about 20,000 people.
Twenty-eight students from the original class in Missions of Hope International’s (MoHI) first school are part of the group of 48 students who will take the national examinations for college entrance and placement on Oct. 21-22. MoHI began with 50 children in one school in 2000, and has now grown to more than 10,700 children in 19 schools.
The national exams are required for all students who wish to continue their educations in Kenya. Test results will not only determine if they get into a university, but also the one to which they will be assigned. Please keep these students in your prayers as they prepare for this important milestone in their futures:
Students from the original MoHI class who are taking the test are the following:
Ann Muthoni Maina, Belinda Akinyi Ogolla, Brian Gereshon Arogo, Clyde Mukhanzi Shitsukane, Edward Kamau Kiiru, Gloria Nyairabu Nyambane, Jennifer Ndanu Mailu, Jennifer Nduku Mailu, Joan Wambui Njeri, Juliet Wanjira Njau, Kabatla Munyithya Mutinda, Malik Ndidi Mutoka, Mary Achieng Agaga, Phyllis Njoki Muraguri, Priscillah Wanjiru Waweru, Maria Rose Wanjiru, Roseline Aluoch Obiero, Salim Maina Wangui, Samuel Chege Mwangi, Samuel Kathiru Macharia, Saumu Zuhura Bashir, Sophia Wanjiku Mbaria, Stephen Kinuthia Wambui, Stephen Mambo Kanini, Steven Machariam Nyambura, Teresiah Njeri Nyambura, Timothy Kiragu Wanjera, Wyban Mwangi Kanyi.
These students will also be taking the exam:
Anthony Mwangi Wangui, Caroline Wanjiru Kanene, Carolyne Wanjiru Muriithi, Charity Wairimu, Cynthia Zeby, Dennis Gatitu Maingi, Duncan Mwangangi Kitivi, Elizabeth Ng’endo Njomo, Eunice Njeri Nyambura, Irene Wanjiru Macharia, Josephine Ashienge Mbuya, Leah Wairimu Maragara, Martha Auma Agaga, Mary Wairimu Matandi, Mary Wambui Grace, Maryanne Wanjiru Wangari, Maurine Wanja Mavete, Rodney Oduor Ogoll, Simon Simiyu Wafula, Teresia Wambui Mwangi
Keith and Kathy Ham, CMF missionaries working with the urban poor in the Mathare Valley slums of Nairobi, Kenya, were recently honored with the Ministry Award presented by their alma mater, Hope International University, Fullerton, Calif., during the 2013 Spirit of Hope Celebrity Concert and Awards Gala.
The award cited the Ham’s “outstanding work, including educating and feeding 10,000 children who are living in communities in the Mathare Valley. Through community development, health education and spiritual encouragement, the Hams are able to reach out to the parents and families to provide life and career skills. … Through their efforts in Kenya, living conditions have been improved, jobs created, families strengthened, communities developed and churches have come alive.”
The Ministry Award also includes induction into the HIU Ministry Hall of Fame. This unique honor has been given to only “a select few who have gone above and beyond to exemplify Hope University’s mission to serve the Church and impact the world for Christ,” according to the university.
Congratulations, Keith and Kathy!