Back in January, students met to talk about their 2023 resolutions, and one of the resolutions stated that they wanted to pursue a closer walk with God. I reached out to 5 of our college students in our program on What’sApp and asked them to explain what this looks like in more detail with the following questions in order to understand what discipleship looks like in their lives:
Mercy is in her 2nd year at Kenya Methodist University pursuing a degree in community nursing.
Isaiah is in his 4th year at Kenyatta University pursuing a degree in education & library science.
Linda is in her 4th year pursuing a bachelor’s degree in commerce at Pan Africa Christian University.
Peter is in his 1st year at Machakos University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science studying statistics and programming. Charles is in his 3rd year in his diploma program in procurement and logistics at Kenya College of Accountancy.
Responses on our What'sApp conversation to the question, “What does walking with Jesus look like for you at school and at home?” included prayer, bringing their needs and struggles to God, and including Him in whatever they are doing.
When they answered, “Who is supporting your walk with Jesus at school and at home?”, they mentioned family, Children of the Kingdom staff, Christian fellowship groups at school, and friends.
And their responses to the question, “What do you want your walk to look like a year from now?” were about their hopes for maturity and continuing to make their relationship with God a priority.
I was so encouraged by these university students’ answers that pointed to deep roots of their faith. Thank you so much for your investment in their roots going deeper!
With that, here is a prayer I adapted for the students who were so gracious to share their responses with me. Please join me in prayer for them and for all of our students in Children of the Kingdom.
Based on a prayer by Douglas McKelvey titled “A Liturgy for Students & Scholars” in Every Moment Holy.
International Women's Day 2023
Since 1911, people around the world have celebrated women’s accomplishments on International Women’s Day (March 8). This year to honor this day, we celebrate two women in India and in Kenya who have made incredible strides in their communities.
Debra Ejore, now 24 years old, is a Turkana student who joined the Children of the Kingdom sponsorship program when she was six years old after her parents died in 2006. Life was not easy for her and her two brothers, and they struggled to get food and school fees. Shortly after her parents died, she was added to the Children of the Kingdom sponsorship list. Through the years, she attended Kawalase Primary School, Our Lady’s Girls High School, and St. Paul’s University majoring in accounting. While this is a predominantly male dominated field, she worked very hard in her math classes, received her bachelor’s degree, and graduated with honors. Even before her graduation, she secured her dream job as a finance officer at a reputable humanitarian women-led organization called “Echami Aito” (the love of a mother).
Saroja Thota is an outstanding Dalit woman who has made it far in academia, and she has recently obtained her doctorate in biotechnology from Andhra University, India. Her research at the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) focused on reducing the carcinogenic agents in tobacco, and she is enthusiastic about continuing molecular-level research in her career as a scientist. Saroja not only excels in her scientific pursuits but is also an active participant in outreach and ministry. She directs a women's empowerment program in India through the Messiah Gospel Ministry, which has successfully helped hundreds of women graduate from sewing programs. She is also a passionate Sunday school teacher supporting many of the students in the Children of the Kingdom program, and she is a talented Kuchipudi dancer.
New Year's Resolutions
‘Tis the season for new year’s resolutions. Our college students in Kenya used this as an opportunity in a meeting this week to kick off the new year with a time to reflect on past performance and to set some goals for the year to come to help them achieve their academic dreams and career aspirations.
They looked at strengths and weaknesses along with barriers and opportunities that may be in their path for the coming year with our director Veronica Lemuya and with alumni in the program who came to encourage the students.
It’s encouraging to see what they wrote out as their 2023 resolutions:
What are your goals this year? Take a moment to take stock of your own journey and of what’s really important to you, and consider writing your student to encourage them in the new year with a fresh start. We look forward to updating you on your students' progress towards their respective goals in the new year. Happy 2023!
He Came With Love
by Madeleine L’Engle
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Giving thanks for God's immeasurable gift of love and
wishing you a very merry Christmas from around the world!
Over 500 Club
Over the summer, we crossed the line of having supported over 500 students in Kenya with school fees through the years through the ministry of Children of the Kingdom. (We just added our 509th student to our list!)
Celebrate with us over the lives that have been impacted through this work since our humble beginnings in 1994. Below are a few success stories of some of our students who are making their way in the world using the gifts of education to be servants in God's kingdom.
Look How Far They've Come
As I am going back through old pictures to find my son's kindergarten picture to contrast to his senior year picture for his first day back to school, it's amazing to see how much he has grown and how far he has come.
In light of that, I wanted to share these photos of some of our students in India to let you have a glimpse at how far they've come!
On Malcom Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast, there is a recent episode called "I Was A Stranger and You Welcomed Me." As I listened in, I could not help thinking about the sponsors and partners in this ministry who have made a difference over the years through their kindness and generosity.
Gladwell tells the story found in the archives of the US Holocaust Museum of Cheil Rajchman who escaped the Treblinka concentration camp in 1943. By his count, he survived the war because of eleven acts of kindness. And the lesson here is this: “lots of people, doing little things, can very quickly add up to a lot.” After telling more stories, he concludes, “Once you start looking for this pattern- of many small acts of kindness, adding up to a lot- you start to see it in all kinds of places.”
A recent example came to mind as I was listening to the podcast: a sponsor sent in a very generous gift because they had a sense of abundance in this past year and felt led to give to Children of the Kingdom. Little did they know that I had just been told of a need for one of our first students who entered the program in 1995. She now has two children of her own with no family to support her. She needed help with housing, and we were able to use these funds to build a house for her and for her children.
Others have sent funds for distributions this summer, and many children and families have been fed. Students on our waiting list have been given the opportunity to go to school through sponsorship who would not have been able to attend without support.
Listen in to the podcast for some inspiration, and keep your heart open to how the Spirit might be nudging you to live out Matthew 25:35 today with an act of multiplying kindness.
I sent out an email a few weeks ago requesting support for some food distributions this summer to bring some relief to those who have been so vulnerable due to the drought in Kenya, and a few very generous donations arrived allowing us to send funds for four distributions in Nabwe-pus, Nayanae Angikalalio, Lomopus, and Lokoyo villages. A little goes a long way, and we are grateful for the response from this community.
St. Teresa’s quote below is so true that Christ has no body on earth but ours. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ in this broken world.
Drops in the Ocean
There is so much need in the world with the continued Covid crisis, the needless war and devastation in Ukraine, global political unrest- just to name a few things that come to mind.
In Kenya, the severe ongoing drought has brought devastating loss to livestock and has brought the threat of starvation too close to home for many.
Amidst all these bigger events that threaten to overwhelm us, we believe we must still turn to those local and individual relationships where we have connections.
To that end, one of our sponsors donated relief funds for a recent distribution to a neighboring village to Lodwar, and our Kenyan director Veronica Lemuya organized this effort to provide much needed support.
One of our new ministry partners, Munesh Verma, in Lucknow, India was able to gather children together for a recent food distribution for Covid relief.
These are drops in the ocean, but each local and individual drop matters.
We would like to do three more distributions over the summer, and it costs $500 for each one. If you are able to contribute to this need, please donate below.
Our Next Top Chef?
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."