“Please sing and shout, beat your drum, play the harp and thank our Almighty God, for we have hit an ocean (of water) at Ololchura!”
The excitement in CMF missionary Gene Morden’s words leaped off the computer screen last week as he reported the big news: after two long years of searches and surveys, prayers and persistence, water has been found on the campus of the Ololchura School in Masaailand, Kenya.
There were many times along the way when it looked like the dream of a well for the Ololchura community would never come to pass, in spite of the funding provided for the project by Crossroads Christian Church, Corona, Calif., according to David Giles, CMF’s Director of Church Catalyst Ministries.
“We had one unsuccessful attempt to drill, and a driller who ran off with our deposit,” said David. “Some of the surveyors said there was no water at this drilling site, but Gene (Morden) had so much faith in Brother Dario, a water douser, that we stepped out on faith and drilled where he told us to.”
“I had experience with Brother Dario, a water douser in Turkana, who has a 98 percent success rate throughout Kenya, compared to the scientific methods that yield less than a 50 percent success rate here,” said Gene. “He came to Maasai and marked where he thought water would be found at three different schools and all three were successful. So the more I prayed, the more I felt like we should try to drill at the spot he marked at Ololchura.”
The drillers, from Christian Relief Fund, began drilling on the spot marked by Brother Dario, and hit some water at 35 meters, just as the water douser had predicted.
“They kept going then because there wasn’t enough water there (at 35 meters), but they hit the ocean at 170 meters,” Gene said. “They test-pumped for 24 hours and the static level of the well stayed at 26 meters throughout with a very high flow. I am now praising God for this because it will greatly reduce the cost of the water pumping system. The drill team says this is the best well they have ever seen!”
“We were on our last bit of hope,” adds David Giles, “and then we hit the ocean. We are thanking God for this, as well as Gene for his hard work, the drillers from Christian Relief Fund and our funding partners at Crossroads Church for sticking with us through this long process.”
A team from Africa Fire Mission will depart Oct. 30 for Nairobi, Kenya, for another round of firefighter trainings and fire prevention education with Missions of Hope International (MoHI) and fire professionals in the greater Mathare Valley community, reports Dave Moore, the founder and director of the non-profit based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“We’ll be working with MoHI and community members in the Mathare Valley to develop new community fire prevention initiatives,” said Dave. “I will also be trying to make connections with more upper government officials in Nairobi again on this trip.”
A container filled with equipment and supplies was shipped to Kenya in late July. While they are in Kenya, the AFM team will distribute the supplies and officially donate the firefighting equipment to the Nairobi Fire Department.
Dave will also spend two days in Turkana in northern Kenya to see the MoHI school there and meet with various government officials.
“As far as we know, there is currently no fire protection in Turkana, but there is a growing government infrastructure,” he said.
The AFM group of six will travel and work with a team from LifeSpring Christian Church, Cincinnati, which will provide a medical clinic and a VBS program. Nancy Moore, Dave’s wife, will assist the MoHI staff to develop an assessment tool that MoHI can use with families in order to measure change in the Mathare Valley.
Africa Fire Mission is holding a fundraiser to support its work with firefighting and community fire protection on Sat., Oct. 4, at the Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati. Go here for more information and tickets.
A small team led by outreach leader Brian Smith of Agri-Stewards, Lebanon, Ind., recently visited Kenya and Tanzania to share how the principles of “Farming God’s Way” (FGW) can help farmers there increase their crop productions.
First stop: Arusha, Tanzania
The team first visited Megan and Michelle Moss, sisters who went to Kenya and Tanzania with Agri-Stewards in Feb. 2013, and are now CMF missionaries.
“Our biggest project was re-plumbing a large garden area,” said Brian. “We brought some T’s and valves and got to work.”
The team also took over items to consider as micro-enterprise opportunities: a 10-bucket Chapin drip irrigation kit and a hand-crank corn sheller.
“I would guess that 95% of the corn is still picked and shelled by hand in Africa,” said Brian. “You wouldn’t believe the excitement we created when we demonstrated that simple device.”
A final project was helping BUV Tanzania, another CMF ministry project, add a planter to its lineup.
“We adapted a Yetter 71 single row unit to a two-inch tube to slide into a receiver and assembled it in the BUV shop, then gave it a trial run,” he said. “I believe a lot of mechanization can be accomplished with the BUV, including threshing, shelling and grinding.”
Second stop: Eldoret, Kenya
The goal of this stop was to introduce four communities to the principles of FGW and trainer Ryan Boonstra. Each community invited Ryan to return in February to lead the trainings so they can increase their harvests.
Final stop: Missions of Hope’s Joska Farm, Kenya
Agri-Stewards has previously spent time working at Joska, but on this trip, the group planned to teach the full FGW curriculum, with two days in the classroom and a full day of demonstration.
Thanks to the FGW training by Pius Mutie in March 2014, the Joska farm had thrived, said Brian.
“The highest yield in the surrounding community was 20 bushel to the acre,” he said. “At Joska they harvested 54 bushels to the acre! Many had taken notice of our plot, and assumed the white guy had brought magical seeds. They were shocked to learn that we had used a local variety.”
Pius Mutie led the extended training, and taught in Swahili.
“I believe the participants understood the teaching at a deeper lever than ever before,” said Brian.
Other accomplishments at Joska included harvesting some sweet potatoes that were planted in March.
“We planted these as an experiment to see how well they would do in this soil and climate,” said Brian. “We were very pleased with the results, and learned that sweet potatoes are a prized snack at Joska School during their tea time!”
Agri-Stewards hopes that the farmers who have been taught Farming God’s Way principles will be willing to break from their traditions and seek God’s ways.
“Many Kenyans have been taught conservation agriculture methods, but prefer to go along with the crowd and not break tradition,” said Brian. “Only God can bring true, lasting change.”
The people of two Maasailand villages now have clean water wells in their communities, thanks to the efforts of CMF missionary Gene Morden and a team of expert drillers, reports David Giles, CMF’s Director of Church Catalyst Ministries.
“We had three bore holes in process in Kenya and all were dry and getting nowhere,” he said. “Gene took over and oversaw the process. We just hit water at Miton, a very dry area in the Kajiado district, and now in Isinon.”
The people of Isinon were literally overcome with joy when the water came in, reported John Keshe, the water coordinator at the drilling site.
“Almost the whole village, men, women and children, were standing there watching the drilling process, waiting with expectation,” he said. “When the driller hit an aquifer at 235 meters the people shouted, applauded and sang as they ran around the drilling machine shouting ‘Thank you, God! God is good!’ The kids started right away to play with the gushing, muddy water. As the good news spread across the village, some women came running with water cans and babies on their backs, thinking it was ready to fetch!”
Funds for the Isinon well were provided by White River Christian Church, Noblesville, Ind., said David Giles.
“Dee Zook, a member of White River, had the vision for helping the Isinon community,” added David. “She was a key voice in raising the funds for the well.”
The drilling team is now headed for the village of Olochura and hopes to hit water there, as well. Please pray that the people of this community will also soon have the blessing of a source of pure, clean water in their village.
A second container of fire-fighting equipment and other supplies is on its way to Missions of Hope and the fire departments of Nairobi, Kenya, thanks to the efforts of fireman Dave Moore and Lifespring Christian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Africa Fire Mission, the Cincinnati, Ohio, based non-profit started by Dave to provide high-quality fire-fighting equipment and training for fire departments in Africa, packed and shipped the container of equipment this past weekend. Volunteers from Lifespring Church and various fire departments across Ohio and Kentucky gathered at the facilities of Master Provisions in Florence, Ky., to assist the staff there with the loading and packing.
“Almost everything in the container is going to Missions of Hope,” Dave said. “In addition to the fire-fighting equipment, we have medical supplies from FAME, sewing machines, clothes for the kids at the Joska School, child sponsorship packets, welders, wood working equipment, beading supplies, musical instruments, and concordances and other ministry items requested by MoHI.”
The container also holds three pallets of medical supplies that will be delivered to two other health clinics in Nairobi that are supported by FAME.
“Since there was extra room in the container, we were happy to use the space to get them the supplies they needed, too,” said Dave.
Africa Fire Mission provided all the fire-fighting equipment and FAME provided the vast majority of the medical supplies, although some items were provided by churches, as well.
“In addition to Lifespring, we had churches from Kansas, Illinois, Arizona and California send supplies to us in Cincinnati to be a part of the container shipment,” said Dave. “Our organization and Lifespring Church, with the help of some other churches, organization and individuals, provided the $16,000 in shipping costs for the container.”
The container is scheduled to arrive in Nairobi in early October, but won’t return to the U.S. MoHI is purchasing the container and will use it for storage of farm equipment at the Joska School.
“A team from Africa Fire Mission and Lifespring Church will arrive in Nairobi at the end of October to distribute the supplies and officially donate the fire equipment to the Nairobi Fire Department,” said Dave. “We are just so thankful for the individuals, churches, fire departments, communities, organizations, and missions that have made this year’s container a reality!”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.