Below is a testimony shared by one of our current college students who is getting her degree in hospitality management. We celebrate her success and give thanks to God for her journey!
"My name is Caren and I am now 21 years old. I was brought up in a Christian family by my auntie, and I am the third born in my family. God has been faithful to us, and He has been our provider, our sustainer, and our hope always.
I was privileged to get sponsorship from the Children of the Kingdom in 2016 when I started secondary school. Among the five children in our family, I’m the only one who got a chance to attend high school and college. I never take this precious opportunity for granted, and I always appreciate my sponsors Patrick and Angie. They have shown their love, care, moral support, prayers, and financial support, and they have ensured that my school fees have always been paid and that my academic life could be a success.
Being in Children of the Kingdom has allowed me to pursue my academic dreams without having to struggle to find school fees. It has given me an opportunity to grow socially, academically, and spiritually, and the program really has encouraged me to work hard in my studies and to serve God. For this, I am filled with joy and gratitude.
I completed my primary education at Benam Primary in Kitale and at Kanamkemer Primary in Turkana County. In 2016 I joined Salvation Army Nawoitorong Secondary School in Lodwar, and in 2021 I joined Amboseli Institute of Hospitality in Thika. I will complete a foundation diploma course in hospitality management this summer which will allow me to work in any institution, and then I will continue my studies for another 9 months before I graduate.
I have learned a lot of things in my courses, I have interacted with different people, and I have so experienced so many things. (See below for some of my creations!)
"I am so grateful for the encouragement of the Children of the Kingdom staff. In particular, Veronica has been my number one teacher in life. She has really inspired me and has shown me the essence of working hard in life. She is a role model to many young ladies in Children of the Kingdom.
My great appreciation goes to Children of the Kingdom for the incredible support through the years and for giving me an opportunity to pursue my dreams. May God bless you all."
At the end of fall quarter at my university, I was in a meeting with another professor, and she was telling me that she was actually enjoying the time she was spending grading finals. As we were masked in this meeting, she may not have seen my look of surprise as that was not how I was experiencing the days of long hours staring at the computer trying to get through four classes of grading that quarter. Grading is not why most people go into teaching as it can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s part of the job in working with students. She explained to me that she had just read an article called “Grading as Spiritual Discipline” by Marybeth Baggett that offered a compelling invitation to view grading through another lens. Rather than just cranking through the tasks for the end of the quarter, I could recognize that I did not need to compartmentalize my life but could see this too as a formational growth opportunity and a chance to connect with students by praying for them as I grade and give feedback.
She writes, “Every paper I receive, I now intentionally remind myself, is another opportunity for me to put my faith into practice… With each paper I turn to, I have the choice either to affirm the humanity and vocation of the student at the receiving end of my feedback or to fall back into my old mechanistic practice.”
I read this at the same time that I was also compiling the year-end reports and letters for Children of the Kingdom. It was easy to make the connection with my grading to the administrative work I do for Children of the Kingdom. This could also be a space for me to pray for God to reveal Himself and His love to the sponsors and to the students. While I still can fall back into the mechanistic practice of updating spreadsheets and receipts and managing student lists with the end goal of checking things off my list of things to do, I am grateful for this reminder that there is another way to get the job done.
May you know that as I send out the annual reports and the year-end receipts that I am thanking God every time I remember you and am praying for His blessing on you, and I am asking for God’s grace to continue to transform me through the work.
And perhaps this will help you with the next tedious task that is before you in your day whether that be dishes or grading or laundry…. May God meet you in that place and draw you near.
The 1947 Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street is about a little girl and her mother who are surprised by the gift of a house for Christmas from Santa Claus. We have good news to share- much better than this Christmas classic- about one of our students in Kenya and a real Christmas miracle that just unfolded over the last few weeks.
One of our students named Melvin is an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle along with her three siblings and five cousins. The house they lived in did not have enough space for all of them, and some of them had to sleep outside which was dangerous for the children.
Steve and Ann McGregor from Charles City, Iowa have sponsored Melvin, and when they found out about her living situation, they offered to help build her a house for Christmas adding to funds raised from the last Rafiki Run. And within just a few short weeks, the materials were purchased, and the construction was done between December 3-6.
On Friday last week, Melvin came home from boarding school not expecting to find a new house on the site of their property, and she was crying tears of joy.
Today (December 20), Bishop Kaaleng (founding pastor of Children of the Kingdom) and Veronica Lemuya (current Children of the Kingdom director in Kenya) gathered a small group of former and current Children of the Kingdom students along with church members and other people in the village to come together for a house blessing.
May you and your family have a very merry Christmas, and may you be blessed knowing that your gifts to Children of the Kingdom really are making lasting difference and helping to make miracles unfold in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Kenya and in India.
This fall, we have had several students graduate from programs, and there is much to celebrate as we recognize the achievements of their hard work through the years. In the midst of a world that seems very dark right now with weariness from Covid-19 still being an unwelcome guest along with political divisions and global challenges, good news is hard to come by. So take a moment to read this letter written by one of our top students, and give thanks to God with us for what He has done in and through her life through Children of the Kingdom!
My name is Deborah. I’m 22 years old. I was brought up in a Christian family and am the first born in my family. God has been gracious and full of unending love, for He has been our provider, our sustainer, our hope, and our every good thing. I was privileged to get sponsorship from Children of the Kingdom at a young age. It was all God’s doing through the hands of the concerned individuals that I got this opportunity and the blessings of being a child in this program.
Being in Children of the Kingdom has really transformed my life from all angles, and it has given me the opportunity to learn a lot of things. It has given me the joy of being an ambassador of Christ, and it has gifted me the happiness of pursuing my academic life with minimal struggles. I have not only turned out strong spiritually, but also socially, academically, and economically, and I can proudly look back with assurance that I have lived up to Children of the Kingdom’s commitment to equip us to be servants in the Kingdom. I’m so grateful.
My loving parents are pastors at International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Nataparkakono. We are a happy family, and I have one sister and two brothers. God has always seen us through, and everything has always turned out for the good at the end of every single struggle.
I started my primary education at Loyo Primary School from class one to class three, and I later transferred to Lodwar Girls Primary School in 2010 from class four to class eight. In 2014, I managed to score high marks for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. My primary level learning experience was a success through the help of Children of the Kingdom which gave me support with finances, school uniforms, books, pens, and all other academic necessities.
I later on joined Our Lady’s Girls Secondary School from 2015 to 2018 for form one to form four, and I managed to pass and get my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. My education journey was challenging as I was learning different things every day, and nothing was easy compared to my primary level education. But my full time gratitude goes to God and the entire Children of the Kingdom family at large for their moral and financial support.
In September 2019, through the continuous support from my sponsor and from Children of the Kingdom, I joined KCA University and I took a diploma course in procurement and logistics management. In addition to school, I had the added responsibilities of managing many things as an adult. Through the help of my loving parents, I was able to cater for my other expenses outside my school fees.
I finished my diploma studies in April 2021, and I was privileged to secure an internship opportunity in the Ministry of Health Services and Sanitation in Turkana. This helped advance my learning in the classroom into a practical zone of experience as I was able to acquire skills and gain knowledge in the field. This was a big breakthrough for me as I can proudly tell myself that learned so much through this experience.
I graduated from this part of my program with a diploma in Procurement and Logistics Management. I’m so grateful and I am so proud of this accomplishment.
I started the next step of my program to earn my degree in the same course in September 2021, and it’s my prayer through the support of my sponsor and Children of the Kingdom at large that I will complete the program.
I want to start by deeply thanking my sponsors, Jane and Brevard Haynes, for their love, moral support, prayers, and financial support. Thank you for always ensuring that my academic life could be a success. I pray that God will bless you abundantly.
I wish to sincerely thank all involved in the Children of the Kingdom organization, , especially Madam Director Veronica Lemuya for always being a supportive and understanding mom, a caring and loving friend, and always being my number one teacher of life. She really inspires me and shows me the essence of working hard in life. Being a girl child in Children of the Kingdom, Madam Director has been always an easy person to approach not only as one who challenges gender narratives but also as an understanding mom; she is a role model to many young ladies in Children of the Kingdom.
My great appreciation goes to the rest of Children of the Kingdom staff for their support and for giving me an opportunity to pursue my dreams. May God bless you.
As we all take time to reflect on the challenges the pandemic has brought to us, we would like to highlight a handful of heroes who have devoted themselves to supporting children and families in Kenya over the last 18 months.
Martha serves as an administrator in the Children of the Kingdom office in Kenya, and she is a mother of one child. During Covid-19, she has shown herself to be a strong leader as she has supported children through some very difficult times. She goes the extra mile (literally) to make home visits to children in the program, and she knows the children and their families well. During times when the community went into lockdown, it was not easy to get information about how the children were faring, but she made a way to keep the connections and to continue to show support. Her big heart and unconditional love for the children has been a motivating force in supporting the work of Children of the Kingdom ministry.
Pastor Wilson Lopungurei
Pastor Wilson is the father to a boy named Victor who is currently being sponsored in our program. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, he has supported children in Kakuma which is a town in northwestern Turkana County, Kenya. It is the site of a UNHCR refugee camp, established in 1992. Even though Pastor Wilson has his own health struggles with diabetes and high blood pressure, he has made continued efforts to reach children and their families in the refugee camp and host community. For some of the children that our staff could not reach in the refugee camp, he made it possible to deliver food and supplies to them with his motorbike, and he gained access to the refugee camp through a pastor’s organization he was a part of. We are so grateful for Pastor Wilson serving as the bridge by providing support for these families during a critical time.
Please consider making a gift to support these everyday heroes.
In our June post and our July update, we shared about Children of the Kingdom’s small scale farm in Lodwar, Kenya that has supplied nutritious food for children and families in the community. Students studying agriculture in our program have been able to apply their technical skills and training in a time when it has been most needed due to food shortages and strain on the community due to Covid-19. The land has been provided by the KVDA (the Kerio Valley Development Authority), and Veronica Lemuya, our director in Kenya, continues to lead students in projects like this that deepen community partnerships and offer opportunities for empowerment and success. More pictures of the continued joy of the harvest are below.
As a follow up to our last update about the Children of the Kingdom farm in Kenya, this update will be sure to encourage you on this summer day to see the bounty of watermelons in Lodwar. They have harvested over 1000 watermelons (yes, watermelons!) - sharing some with schools, selling some in the market, and giving some to families in need in the community.
"Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over." Proverbs 3: 9-10
The Covid-19 pandemic along with the looming drought in Kenya has left many people very vulnerable in the Turkana region. Children of the Kingdom students studying agriculture in colleges came together this spring and brainstormed ways they could apply their skills to make a difference in this crisis. Along with Veronica Lemuya’s help, they asked the government to give them a piece of land to plant some crops which then would be sold at low prices and shared with those in need. This property is located by the river, and they are using a solar-powered drip irrigation system. See below to see some of the fruits of their labor and the way they are giving back to the community. Seeing watermelons growing in the desert is guaranteed to bring you some hope for the days ahead.
India's second wave of Covid-19 has been devastating, and Ratnakar Thota (our director in India) has shared the sad news that friends of theirs have died this past week from Covid.
We were able to send funds over for some supplies to keep families healthy while we wait for the vaccine to become available for them, and Ratnakar gathered a small team that was able to distribute items to families last week. We are grateful for the generosity of Children of the Kingdom donors who made this possible.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that "about 12% of Indians have received at least one dose. The number of shots administered daily has fallen steadily since a peak in April due to shortages. What’s available is going overwhelmingly to those who live in cities. The pandemic is laying bare the frailty of public health in rural India. It’s further exposing the inequality."
I share this reflection from Cameron Bellm and ask you to continue to pray for God's mercy and grace to abound for our Children of the Kingdom families in India.
"Where is God when terrible things happen?
Right in the middle of it,
holding us close.
Walk straight into his comforting arms."