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!
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 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.
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.