Greetings from Nairobi!
It is our prayer and hope that this update from Hope Anew finds you at rest in your spirit and full of joy! Please click on this link to Sway.com, which is where we have prepared our newsletter for this month.
There you will find more photos and videos of various activities that have been going on at Hope Anew.
May God’s awesome grace & peace strengthen you hearts!
With gratitude for all of you,
Greetings to you!
The months of June and July were full of opportunities for hospitality. Whether we were doing the hosting, or the recipients of invitations to visit, the times of fellowship has been enriching. We also have great news in that God has opened some doors for us that allow us to reach more children with the Gospel.
We have prepared a video for our latest update, so please take a fifteen minute break to catch up on the exciting things that have been happening at Hope Anew.
Grace & Peace,
“God’s Word must be so strongly fixed in our minds that it becomes the dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. One of the most effective ways of influencing our minds is through memorizing Scripture. David said, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You”
Towards the end of last year, we embarked on a Scripture memorization program with the girls who participate in the Sewing Hope: Crochet group. Those who desired to own their own crochet hook and yarn, could “earn” these items by memorizing Bible verses grouped into themes such as, God’s Plan of Salvation, Bible Promises, Jesus and His Cross, How Can I Be Sure I am a Christian?, How Can I Grow?, etc. For each verse correctly recited, five points are given and when a parpticipant reaches 100 points, a crochet needle is provided. They can then go on to earn more points in order to acquire their own skeins of yarn. We are excited about this because the Word of God is being hidden in their hearts and it will not return to Him empty, but will fulfil the purpose for which it was sent. (Isaiah 55:11) They are also learning a new skill that they enjoy and can develop.
When the schools are in session, activity at the center slows down, but we still have schools in the slum visit the center. They make use of our facility for recreation, library, watching DVDs and using our rooms for other activities. We are thinking that we can use this down time to begin going to one or two of the schools in the slums and provide Bible teaching to the students. We are fortunate in that the Kenyan government makes allowance for religious instruction inside of the schools. Please pray that God will open a door for us to begin this outreach. In the picture below, one of the schools is using one of our rooms for teaching music.
Visit With the Dentist Anyone?
We hope this finds you all doing well. You have not heard from us for awhile, but rest assured that we have been well and quite busy. You will be happy to know that we survived the August school break! We had lots and lots of children and we are grateful to God that there were no serious injuries during the various activities at the center. During the third week of August, we held a full week of discipleship and we were honoured to host three missionary ladies from Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Kenya who assisted in the outreach program. The three ladies came daily for five days and over one hundred children were reached. It brought back memories for Kimberly of when she was on staff with CEF fourteen years ago! Over twenty children who indicated a desire to know the Lord, were counselled.
On August 23rd, we were delighted at the opportunity to take a group of 17 youth from the slum who frequent the center for a day trip to Karura forrest. This is a park located in the outskirts of Nairobi and endowed with a clean, serene and beautiful surrounding. None of the youth had ever visited the park, which is a twenty minute drive away (without traffic!).
The purpose of the trip was to build relationships in an informal yet fun filled environment which we hope will enable us to relate and engage well and hopefully earn the right to speak to their lives. This became necessary after we noticed that a number of teen youth had been coming to the center on a regular basis but we lacked a focused outreach to their particular age group. The history of Hope Anew ministry has mainly focused on children ages 4- 12 but it’s becoming clear that a gap exists from ages 13 -17, so in obedience to the Lord’s direction, we have begun to make a concerted effort to reach out to them. We are calling this youth group “Luke 2:52 Youth”. This is in keeping with the goal of Hope Club, which is to teach children how to grow in wisdom, in favor with God, in favor with men, and in stature (preventative health measures). Naturally, teenagers need to continue to grow in these areas also.
We thought that you might like to take a look at what we have been up to over the past several weeks, so we prepared a video for you to enjoy.
On any given day at the Hope Anew Child Friendly Space, you may find a touching sight. You will see Edwin, one of our activity co-ordinators, walking hand in hand with a pre-schooler or two, who have attached themselves to him. As they stroll around the recreation area together, the youngsters giggle and skip happily with their tall hero; they just seem to be drawn to him. During Hope Club, the teaching is often interrupted by the little ones because of frequent trips outside, fighting over chairs, moving around chairs, crying, etc. A few weeks ago, Edwin approached me and asked if he could create a class for the preschoolers. This request has given birth to a new club called Baraka Ndongo (Small Blessings). Each Saturday during Hope Club Baraka Ndongo group gathers together to play games, sing, hear a short Bible lesson and learn a memory verse and work on a craft.
Edwin and Irene taking a stroll around the center.
Meanwhile, Christopher has begun ministering to the group of youth ranging in age from 13 to 16. We are also very excited about this development because this age group is very vulnerable of the changes that are taking place in their lives as they transition from child hood to young adults. It is our desire to reach out to them and provide them with opportunitities to hear and respond to the Gospel, receive counseling, take part in recreational activities and learn new skills.
We have also begun Explorer’s Club which is a discipleship program for those children who are interested in having a more in depth time of learning God’s Word. We are using materials that are produced by The Mailbox Club. We meet once a week on Saturdays where we go over the lesson, answer discussion questions, pray and children work on the puzzles contained in their book. After the lesson,
Kimberly corrects the answers and writes encouraging notes and rewards the children with stickers.
Discovering God’s Creation in Hope Club
Recently in Hope Club, we took some time to learn interesting facts about butterflies, such as the fact they have tastebuds on their feet in order to taste the leaves before they lay eggs on them! Afterwards, the children worked on a butterfly scratch art craft that was donated by a friend of our ministry. They were really delighted to design their own butterflies.
For the month of June we have been pleased to welcome a young man by the name of Dakota Sams from Delaware, USA; he came to volunteer with Hope Anew. It is especially encouraging for us to reflect on the fact that Dakota used to attend Kimberly’s children’s church class at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Newark, Delaware, in his elementary years. Who could have ever have known that all of us would meet together again in Nairobi, Kenya!
Dakota has been assisting Mark with various projects around the center and practicing Swahili with the staff and children.