Good Tidings of Great Joy!
Veronica Lemuya, our new director, has hit the ground running and has already done more in a month than most people are able to pull off in an entire year. After just one week in the office, she had already made rounds to visit several families and students in the program to survey the needs of the community. She found that the majority of families whom she visited were struggling to put food on the table, and they also needed more information on COVID-19 and on precautions to take to prevent the spread of the disease. She reported that adolescent girls needed sanitary pads as these are normally distributed at boarding schools, and many of them cannot afford them now. Her visits were also important to let families know they had somewhere to turn if they were in need of resources and support. Being on lockdown means that people must stay at home, but homes might not always be safe as some students might be at higher risk for sexual/domestic abuse during this time of COVID-19.
From her initial report, we worked on a budget to pay for some of the most pressing needs that families shared with her including food and other supplies as outlined in the caption above. We were able to draw $15,000 from our 2019 Rafiki Run contributions and from other generous donations for this emergency fund. Over the last two weeks, she recruited former Children of the Kingdom graduates and others in the community to help with the distribution. Veronica shared that some of the volunteers expressed how meaningful it was to be a part of the distribution as they were able to see the needs of the community for themselves, and it was a way for them to give back to the program which had supported them.
She reported that this verse below was the theme verse of the distribution:
Veronica shared, “I could see the joy in the eyes of the children and their mothers. Many were breaking down in tears. I could hear them saying "Ejok noi" (Turkana for “Thank you”) and "Asante Sana" (Kiswahili for “Thank you”), and they wanted me to convey that message from the Turkana children to the Children of the Kingdom family in the US….The entire exercise was an eye opener to me. It’s a call to pray, to reach out to the children, and to give them a shoulder to lean on sharing with them their challenges and walking with them step by step.”
The stories around the world of health care workers who are sacrificing so much in order to save others is incredibly inspiring. We are so grateful to share that a few of our very own Children of the Kingdom graduates are making a difference in this time of global crisis as health care providers.
Devera Bapanamma Bhargavi joined the sponsorship program in 2015, and this gave her the opportunity to pursue nursing school. After she graduated, she got a job at GSL General Hospital in Rajahmundry, India, where she works in the pediatric ward. The hospital converted many of the wards to support COVID-19 patients, and she has been given a charge for one of the wards. We are so grateful that she is a light in that hospital providing hope in this time of great need.
Lorna Lokuwam Lojock was first sponsored in 2005. She had always dreamed of being a doctor when she was little, and her dream came to fruition in 2017 when she received her degree in Clinical Medicine from Kenya Methodist University. Lorna shared the following statement: “I thought I wouldn’t make it at times. But with the help of our Almighty Father, I opted for the Clinical Medicine course which equipped me with so much knowledge and so many skills to help my people with different health conditions in the village. I graduated and got registered with the Clinical Officers Council. Having my people's interest at heart and seeing this as the best way of giving back to the community, I have had the opportunity to create a difference in my society and especially in this period when the whole world is fighting COVID-19. It takes some time in the evening to walk around my village to create awareness and educate our villagers on how to protect themselves and practice good hygiene. I have been able to help those who have become sick at night and expectant mothers who have not been able to reach the hospital, and I have been able to treat snake, spider and scorpion bites so that they are no longer a threat to people like they have been in the past. The support has been immense, and I really thank God for Children of the Kingdom.”
John Kospir joined Children of the Kingdom in 2008 after a difficult childhood losing both parents when he was young and living in poverty. In 2016, he joined KMTC-Embu Campus to pursue his studies in community health nursing.
He shares the moment when our former director in 2008 told him that someone had stepped up to be his sponsor. “At that moment after I heard that, tears started rolling down my cheeks because I realized that God has answered my prayers as He makes a way where there seems to be no way thus bringing back my hope in life making me realize my potential in life. I thank my sponsors for taking the initiative to help me get the opportunity for a promising life. Thank you for choosing me as your own child and taking that initiative of paying my school fees. May God bless you abundantly.”
He chose to enter nursing because he wants to come alongside people when they are in pain and in need of consolation and support just as he has been supported through this program.
Thank you for your support that is training up and equipping students to become servants in this time of great need.
Over the last year, we have been thinking and praying about a number of changes to our program in Kenya to improve our connections with families and to provide warm and welcoming spaces for our students to flourish.
I am pleased to introduce to you to our new director in Kenya named Veronica Lemuya. She was actually our first coordinator for Children of the Kingdom in the mid-90's, and we are so grateful that she is returning to us now to support the children. She brings experience from her previous service with USAID, the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar, World Vision International, Equity Bank Limited, and Oxfam. Her heart for ministry, her passion for justice, and her vision for sharing God's love with children to equip them to be servants in the Kingdom make her the perfect fit for the role.
She has only been in the position for a few weeks, but she has been an incredible asset and has stepped up to support families and children in need during the quarantine in Lodwar, and it is clear that God has brought her to this ministry for such a time as this.
In celebration of Mother's Day, I asked Veronica what she loves most about being a mom, and she said that she enjoys watching her boys grow physically and spiritually. She also loves sharing with them about their day to day life experiences and giving them moral support and guidance.
We take this time to honor Veronica and her mama's heart for her own boys and also for the hundreds of children she is serving as our new Kenyan director for Children of the Kingdom.
Watch this video below as a salute to Veronica and to mothers everywhere, and take some time to thank the women in your lives who have loved, mentored and mothered you.