In 2017 we started our first base in Kisumu County, Kenya. Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya, where 60% of the population live in ‘Absolute poverty’ (which is defined as a severe deprivation of basic human needs e.g. food, water and shelter). Currently we work in a village about 10 minutes outside the port city of Kisumu on Lake Victoria. The village has been badly impacted by HIV – most of the population are elderly widows living with young grandchildren, with the middle generation having passed away from AIDS. The elderly caregivers often struggle with sickness or are too weak to work in an environment that relies mostly on manual agriculture. As a result, many children are sent to relatives to work as cleaners, guards or cattle farmers or too often are put into orphanages.
Over the last few years, with the support of Every Life Uganda, we have started to walk alongside the families of Kisumu. Our team work to see all that Jesus has in store for them come to pass. Have a read below to see what that looks like.
Every Saturday we hold Children’s Discipleship for up to 100 children in the village – a group for vulnerable or orphaned children in the area. We play games, worship, learn from the bible, have a snack, perform dramas and songs and generally have a great time!
The turnover of children can be quite high – the mortality rate is such that children are regularly orphaned and send to children’s homes or distant relatives. But despite this, our numbers have continued to grow and the children have astonished us with the emotional, spiritual and relational changes we see in them.
One of our core values in Every Life is relationship; our aim is that all we do flows out of healthy relationship both with God and with each other. As part of this, we spend a large part of our week doing ‘Frontline’, which simply involves going into the village just to spend time with people, pray and assist the community in any way we can.
Sometimes that means helping an elderly widow with her crop harvesting. Other times it means providing emergency medical expenses or providing food parcels. And sometimes it means just sitting, asking someone how they are and being able to listen.
Whatever it looks like, we know that building trust and relationships will not only help us to identify the root issues of poverty but will also allow us to speak into these problems.
As we seek to ‘Do everything in love’ (1 Corinthians 16:14) we create a firm foundation to build upon in the community.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Out of ‘Frontline’ we build relationships and bring people into community through Life Groups. Our Life Group teaches business skills alongside other important life skills to empower the families to change their circumstances. For those who want to stay on we also teach about Jesus and love to see certain Hope coming into the lives of those we meet.
We pray that as we continue to work and see improvement in the village that we will be able to reach more people. We hope to be able to run more Life Groups in addition to expanding our work with the teenagers. We hope that through this we will see long-lasting change. Please keep the people of Kisumu in your prayers.
Stories of Hope
Catherine cannot walk – her legs have become too stiff and her sight isn’t good. All seven of her children died from suspected HIV and she is cared for by her granddaughter, Rachel. Rachel should be at school but there is no money for that and it’s as much as she can do to provide food for both of them. Yet Catherine sings for joy when she sees us coming and tells us how faithful God has been through her struggles… Read more…
Stories of Hope
We met Leah in 2017 after the murder of her husband. Unfortunately, she had almost given up on life and was struggling with three young children. Leah couldn’t get the basics that her family needed to survive and was having difficulties with others in the community. However help arrived just in time… Read her full story here. READ MORE…