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.
“…we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”
Early on Easter morning, we began assembling. By ones and twos at first and then by groups until there were about forty of us. We gathered together briefly to worship the Lord through singing and reflecting on a devotional from God’s Word. We prayed and then boarded the hired vans and began our day long journey through the stunning landscape of the Rift Valley. The vehicles went higher in elevation as we headed to our destination. Six hours later As we drew nearer, we entered the town of Iten, which is the home of world famous athletes that come from the region. I could understand why the champion runners would have such endurance; the hills and valleys where they trained were phenomenal. As we descended deep into the Kerio Valley, we finally reached our destination. We were to spend the next six days together at the Cheptebo Conference Center, working on a task that seemed to us at the time, monumental. (And even now, upon reflection).
A couple of weeks earlier, my friend Anne, had casually asked me, “Did you receive a phone call from anyone?” I answered, “No, I don’t believe so.” She then told me that she had given my phone number to her sister- in-law, (the National Director of Scripture Union, Kenya), who was working on some children’s materials for Bible instruction and that I should expect a call from her. Days later I received a call from a representative from Scripture Union who explained that they and a coalition of other ministries were working on a project that involved developing Bible curriculum for school children from grades one through eight. He provided a letter which invited Hope Anew Ministries to participate and also explained the rationale for the project. In Kenya, since 1968, the government has perceived the value and need for children to be instructed in the tenets of their faith. They made provision through legislation, for children to be instructed in Pastoral Program Instruction (PPI) once a week in doctrines specific to their faith. Whereas other faiths had well developed materials for instruction, the Protestant branch had materials that were out-dated and not relevant to the current happenings in society and they could not be accessed by the schools. Teachers used this valuable time for other subjects because of inadequate materials that could not aid them in preparing to teach PPI. Imagine. Such a significant opportunity for the Word of God to be taught to ten million children in the Kenyan school system, is in danger of being squandered. After learning about this situation, the weight of what we were being invited to take part in, settled on us heavily and we felt that there was no way we could decline to be involved. This is what Hope Anew Ministries is all about: “…So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful refusing to give their hearts to God. Finally, we reached our destination; this was to be home for the next six days! We made the decision for me to attend and to invite my new found friend, Damaris, who is an indigenous missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship, to come along. The day after we arrived, we met together for introductions and to be briefed on our assignment. Among us there were pastors, teachers/educators, missionaries, youth workers, and even a person with a background in forestry! As I listened to the introductions, I was greatly encouraged to find myself in a room of over forty brothers and sisters in the Lord who were passionate about seeing generations of children come to know Jesus as Savior and become discipled in his Word. We were divided into eight groups and given instruction on our goal for the week; we learned that the scope and sequence of the curriculum had already been prepared. The charge was given to us to develop 33 Teacher’ Guides and 33 Learner’s Books for each of the eight grades. In six days, we would need to complete a total of 528 lessons! To say that collectively, we felt overwhelmed by the task and in awe of the potential impact our endeavor could have on millions of children, is an understatement. Together we worked on lessons for students in class two! We are holding our certificates of appreciation. Damaris with one of our team mates We divided up the lessons among the five of us that were assigned to develop the material for second grade children. I had never been involved in an undertaking such as this one and I felt totally inadequate as I tackled the first lesson . I was reminded that in God’s Kingdom, this is the best condition to find oneself in order to see that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. We all worked diligently on our lessons, at times not even wanting to stop for scheduled breaks and meals. This continued right up until the night before we were scheduled depart the following day. We could never have completed the 528 lessons in our own strength, wisdom and ability, but God infused us with his and the task was completed on schedule! It was such a privilege to be involved in such an effort that will impact generations of children and their families. The next stages of the project include bringing in curriculum specialists within Kenya to edit the material that we prepared, approval from the curriculum development office within the Kenyan government, printing the materials to conduct a pilot test in select schools, training teachers and volunteers in the use of the materials, and final printing to be ready by January of 2015 for distribution in schools throughout the country. All of this will need much prayer and financial resources, but we are confident that God will be faithful to clear the way!
The long awaited arrival of the Maisonville family took place on the 29th of April. It is always exciting to see dear ones at the airport, rolling their carts of luggage and earnestly looking for us as they clear immigration; we were especially delighted to meet Mark, Maureen and Kristopher. This is the culmination of a long journey that had begun in 2008 with our initial meeting at the Villages of Hope in Zambia. We could not have known at the time that it was God’s plan for us to be co-laborers together ministering to the children of Mukuru Kayaba slum here in Nairobi.
God has answered our prayers for their safe arrival with all of their luggage and the provision of a home to live in close to us and within walking distance to the center! Now the work of setting up their household, transitioning into the culture and ministry begins. We are all filled with joy at our reunion and the anticipation of the things God will do!
Receive greetings friends from all of us at Hope Anew Ministries,
We hope that you are beginning to enjoy the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere after what we understand has been a hard winter.
A Grand Opening….of Sorts
At Hope Anew, we continue to experience God’s grace as we serve the children at the center. The month of March was a culmination of a journey we started in October last year in the construction of bathrooms at our center. We received a grant of approximately $6,000 dollars from GOAL Kenya, the organization which handed over the daily operation of the center to Hope Anew, to assist with the construction of both the sewer line and the bathrooms. The construction of the permanent bathrooms is indeed a blessing, for not only are they more hygienic and easier to maintain, but also cost effective. Prior to the new bathrooms, we were using portable toilets which had to be emptied once a month at a cost of $138 dollars. During the rainy season, the cost would go up twice or even three times due to water runoff which made it an unsustainable expense.
A group of children from five different schools which access the center were invited for the opening ceremony. They presented songs, dance and poems during the occasion. We even had a saxophonist perform a number for us! After the ceremony, refreshments were served to our guests.
Evangelizing & Discipling
Towards the end of March we saw seventeen children come to the Lord in one day! Here is how it happened: we had been holding a series of classes for our staff on how to lead children to Christ; we were using Child Evangelism Fellowship materials. On the last day of training, after completing the classes, one of our staff took the opportunity to gather children together and begin using the Wordless Book in order to present the Gospel and seven children received Jesus into their lives. Later on that day, after we finished our Hope Club, we gave an invitation for children who were interested in speaking with us about receiving Jesus into their lives, to remain after the club. About twelve or thirteen stayed and out of that group, ten of them invited Jesus into their hearts!
Imagine our joy that day! Not only the excitement of children being born into God’s Kingdom but also the delight of having our staff take the initiative in sharing the Gospel and multiplying ourselves as child evangelists so that more children can be reached.
It has been our desire to disciple children who have begun their new walk in the Lord in a more structured way. During the second week of April, we managed to contact the Child Evangelism Fellowship office in Kenya. We were invited to pick up some discipleship materials for children that are produced by The Mailbox Club. This will aid us immensely in following up with the new believers. Please pray for this endeavour; that it will really help us in getting the children grounded in God’s Word.
Another praise and joy is the arrival of the Maisonville family to join our team at Hope Anew! They will arrive here on April the 28th. Mark, Maureen and their son Kris will truly give us a much needed boost in our work with the children. Mark is a master craftsman and he will be able to use his God given skills to train some of the kids who may be interested in learning carpentry and the use of various tools. His coming also means that the center maintenance issues will be handled in a more professional way. His wife Maureen has an experienced background in education of over 25 years and she will be responsible for our tuition program. Kris, their son, is an accomplished artist and he will use his creative skills in our art and crafts program at the center. Kindly pray for their safety as they travel and also that all of their luggage will arrive here with them and especially, a shipment of their household goods which they have shipped will be cleared at the port of Mombasa without too much difficulty and at a fair, affordable fee.
How Can You Pray?
That the Maisonvilles are arriving this month.
Also thanks giving for the provision of funds for bathrooms construction.
- Provision of a home for the Maisonville family within walking distance to the children center as well as a smooth transition after their safe arrival.
- Pray that The Mailbox Club discipleship ministry will bear much fruit.
- Pray for the health and safety of Hope Anew Staff and the children who frequent the center.
Thank you brothers and sisters for your prayers and support! May the Lord continue to bless you as you partner with us in the various ways that he has laid in your hearts. May the Lord Jesus refresh you and continually fill your hearts with joy and gladness!
In His service,
Growing As Jesus Did
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and men.”
The Blessing of Shoes
Children giving gifts to other children
A year ago, we received an email from a representative at our mission sending agency asking us if we would be willing to receive 400 pairs of children’s shoes that children from Faith Assembly Church in Houston, Texas had collected. During this time we were holding Hope Club over the public toilets in the slum and we wondered how we could distribute them to the children in the community without becoming overwhelmed, but we agreed to take them trusting that the Lord would show us what to do.The shoes were shipped to Annapolis, Maryland where a container of clothing to benefit Hope Anew Ministries was being packed for shipment to Kenya. The container arrived in December of 2013, and through trial and frustration was finally cleared from the port of Mombasa to travel to Nairobi.Through the providence of God, we were now at a location where over 100 children visit the Hope Anew Child Friendly Space (HACFS) on a daily basis including non-formal schools within Mukuru slum.
Several weeks ago we received news that there had been a fire in one section of the slum and homes where families had been living and a couple of schools had been devastated. Deadly fires spread very quickly with intensity within the slums because of highly flammable building materials and congestion. Fortunately, there had not been loss of life but victims had lost everything. We had developed a friendly relationship with the founder of Shalom Academy which was one of the schools that had been burned. Without a doubt we knew that the shoes that we had on hand because of the generosity of children thousands of miles away, were meant for these children who had lost much.
On February 14, it was our deep joy to be able to surprise unsuspecting teachers and children with the gift of shoes! We think that this beats chocolates and flowers any day! (For more photos)