During my recent trip to Kenya in December visiting students and families in Children of the Kingdom, one of my biggest joys was getting to meet with some of the alumni from the program who shared wonderful updates about where their lives have taken them. In this amazing group, there were parents, teachers, government officials, nurses, directors of organizations, accountants, and nutritionists.
What stood out to me the most was their deep and committed love for God. It was clear through our conversation that they are such men and women of character and integrity, and it made me so proud to see how they truly are this ministry’s dream come true.
For almost 30 years, our mission has been to share God’s love through the gift of education to equip students to be servants in the Kingdom, and I had the chance to see the fruit of this work of so many who have come alongside and invested in their lives. It was even more powerful to hear how each of them is in turn investing in 5-10 dependents (outside of their families) to provide them with opportunities and support. This impact is beyond what we could have imagined.
Below are a just a few of our beautiful sons and daughters of the King who have graduated from our program over the years and who are bearing such good fruit.
Dr. David Kamar Imana is the head of operations at Caritas, a humanitarian and development arm of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar, Kenya. He also teaches part time at the university in Lodwar.
Flora Lemuya is a teacher who loves working with students and who shared that the opportunities she received through the program "made her somebody."
Stanley Esekon is an administrator for the Lodwar Municipality for the Turkana County Government.
Ann Ekiru is an assistant in human resources for the County Ministry of Health and Sanitation Services.
Mark Mekede is the Communications Officer for the County Assembly of Turkana.
Rose Natudao is a registered nurse serving patients at the Lodwar Clinic.
Below is a prayer I wrote in honor of those who are a part of Children of the Kingdom:
Lord, help our brothers and sisters
in Children of the Kingdom
to make something
beautiful for You with their lives.
May their words, choices, and actions
be offered as true expressions of worship 
Help them to love you from deep within,
with the strength of their arms,
the thoughts of their minds,
and the courage of their hearts.
 From Morning Prayer from Every Moment Holy
 From the beautiful translation of Matthew 22 from the First Nations Bible
Though many are sharing messages of cheer for 2024, I am writing with some difficult news to start off the year. I was just informed that one of our wonderful young college students in India was killed by a motorbike on Saturday as she was going to work. As a way to grieve and mourn her loss, I wanted to share pictures of her here and to ask for prayers for her family.
for when you've lost someone far too soon
“There are spaces of sorrow only God can touch.”
-Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking
"God, this. This is impossible.
This grief is too much to bear.
If there was a tight order
to the world that you made,
it’s come unspooled
and no one will wind it up again.
God, I feel it coming,
that ache for the stories that will never be told.
And an anger rising
when I remember
what never should have been.
Worst of all--God, could anything be worse?--
it is so beautiful
the way this grief is a language of love.
I am lovesick with this much sorrow.
Teach me to speak this new mother tongue.
Show me how to memorize
so I can never forget
what they gave and what is gone,
and what we were owed
by a world robbed of their presence.
Hold me by the edges
for I am coming apart.
And nothing but love
will find me."
The Lives We Actually Have
Mahima with her sponsor Marcia Murray from a visit in 2012 above
and other images below from visits in 2012, 2014, and 2018
"Be merciful to us, O merciful God, for we have lost one we loved, and there is no earthly balm to unmake this sadness. Only the ceaseless, tender work of your Spirit can braid bright strands of comfort across this weave of earthly sorrows."
- Douglas McKelvey, Every Moment Holy
In this weary world we live in,
may you experience God's deep abiding joy,
may God give you a thrill of hope,
and may you know the wonders of His love
today on Christmas and into 2024.
'Tis the season for Christmas gatherings and parties with all the hustle and bustle of the season. I had the opportunity to be in Kenya this past week, and I got to attend the best Christmas party of the season for the December Children of the Kingdom banquet last Saturday. Our theme for the event was based on the following psalm:
As we remember that God counts the stars and calls them by name, so much more can we know that God knows us and calls us by name. And not just any name- but as children of the King!
Below are some pictures and videos of the joy we shared together at the banquet with singing, dancing, and celebrating God's love for us all.
Thank you so much for your support of Children of the Kingdom in making this celebration possible! JOY TO THE WORLD!!
A mother’s prayer is always a powerful thing, so as the crisis in the Middle East enters another heavy week, I offer you this beautiful and needed prayer by Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum and Sheikha Ibtisam Mahamid (translated by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie) along with some beautiful pictures of some of our sponsored children in India with their mothers.
God of Life
Who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds
May it be your will to hear the prayer of mothers.
For you did not create us to kill each other
Nor to live in fear, anger or hatred in your world
But rather you have created us so we can grant permission to one another
to sanctify Your name of Life, your name of Peace in this world.
For these things I weep, my eye, my eye runs down with water
For our children crying at nights,
For parents holding their children with despair and darkness in their hearts
For a gate that is closing and who will open it while day has not yet dawned.
And with my tears and prayers which I pray
And with the tears of all women who deeply feel the pain of these difficult days I raise my hands to you
please God have mercy on us
Hear our voice that we shall not despair
That we shall see life in each other,
That we shall have mercy for each other,
That we shall have pity on each other,
That we shall hope for each other
And we shall write our lives in the book of Life
For your sake God of Life
Let us choose Life.
For you are Peace, your world is Peace and all that is yours is Peace
And so shall be your will and let us say Amen.
Here in the US, many students have just gone back to school to kick off the 2023-24 school year (while some are now already a month into the new school year). Below are a few recent photos of our students in India and in Kenya at their schools along with a benediction for students for this back-to-school season.
"Beloved one, as you begin anew, may the light of curiosity and truth of love guide you on this journey back to school. May you find the courage and humility to be both student and teacher, knowing that we all hold wisdom to share.
May your hearts remain open to the stories woven into the pages of textbooks and the lives of your fellow travelers. Let the diversity of thought and experience expand your horizons and deepen your love for the world.
In the stress of deadlines and assignments, remember that your worth is not measured by grades alone. Embrace the process, the questions that lead to even more questions. May you experience moments of challenge and grace, laughter and learning as gifts.
As you gather with friends old and new, may you build connections that bring goodness to you and the community around you. Be gentle with yourselves, for learning is not just about acquiring facts but about allowing transformation and growth, too.
So, go forth with the grace of a learner's heart. May you approach each day with a spirit of wonder, ready to engage, explore, and evolve.
And as you venture into this new season of learning, may you always remember: you are enough and you are so very, very loved.
Now go get’ em,"
We asked a few alumni from Children of the Kingdom to write about their experience with our program. These letters show the difference that sponsorship made in their lives and the impact that can be made in others’ stories as well.
Here is one letter from Samson (pictured on the right below) in India.
Dear Children of Kingdom,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. My name is Samson, and I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for the immense impact your organization has had on my life. Through your unwavering support and sponsorship, I have been able to overcome adversity and pursue my dreams, achieving milestones I never thought possible.
Growing up in Rajahmundry, I was faced with numerous challenges. My father, unfortunately, became handicapped due to an accident, and my mother worked as a daily wage laborer under a mason to support our family. Financial constraints often made it seem impossible for me to receive an education and build a better future for myself.
However, the moment I was introduced to the Children of Kingdom program, my life took a turn for the better. Your organization recognized my potential and provided me with the means to pursue my dreams. With your support, I was able to complete my technical education in electrical engineering and even secured an apprenticeship with the Indian Railways.
The knowledge and skills I gained during my education and apprenticeship opened doors of opportunity for me. Today, I am proud to share that I am working in Hyderabad, in a prestigious company within the electrical field. The sense of pride and accomplishment I feel is immeasurable. I owe this success to your unwavering support and the opportunities you have provided me.
Children of Kingdom has been a guiding light in my journey. Your dedication to empowering children through education is truly commendable. By investing in my education and providing the necessary support, you have helped break the cycle of poverty and uplifted me and my family.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the sponsors, donors, volunteers, and staff members who have worked tirelessly to make Children of Kingdom's mission a reality. Your compassion and commitment have transformed my life and the lives of countless children like me. Your support has given us hope, inspired us to dream big, and provided us with the tools to turn those dreams into reality.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I have received through your organization. I am committed to making the most of these opportunities and giving back to my community. I want to be a beacon of hope for others facing similar challenges, just as Children of Kingdom has been for me.
Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for empowering my dreams and believing in my potential. Your organization's unwavering support has given me the strength to overcome obstacles and achieve what once seemed impossible. I am forever grateful, and I promise to pay it forward by making a positive impact in the lives of others.
With profound gratitude,
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.
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.
‘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!