Earlier this year, LIA initiated a new orphaned and vulnerable children program in the Mathare slum in Kenya. This program aims to equip six churches in Mathare slum to improve the lives of its community in an integrated way. As part of this equipping, LIA will support the local churches in meeting the needs of 50 at-risk families and an additional 20 youth living on the streets.
Last month, I had the joy of worshiping at Deliverance Church, meeting the pastors and some of the women of families who are being served.
Already this year, so much has been accomplished:
- The churches have been trained through LIA’s signature “Training of Trainers” program and members of the church body have been trained as community health evangelists
- 50 at-risk families have been identified and regular visits to their homes have been made by the trained members of the church
- The guardians of these families have received training on effective ways of saving and 30 of these guardians are ready to begin their first economic empowerment activity
- Even better, the guardians have begun to seek the advice of the local church on various spiritual, emotional, financial and social aspects. Four of these guardians have already accepted Christ in this short season!
Overall, the local churches are reporting a restored sense of hope in these hurting families! At Deliverance Church, I was able to experience the joy of some of the beneficiaries as they displayed some of the beautiful jewelry they make as an economic empowerment initiative. (This morning my daughter, Claire, left for school wearing one of those necklaces). Jessica, a mother of four, is one of those women. For the first time, she is able to provide a more healthy life for them. What a blessing to experience transformation.
Thank you for equipping the local church to meet the needs of these beautiful faces. This is what it looks like to Transform. Together.
If you’d like to support this program for future years, please consider making a gift.
– Tom Kemner
Ana Lossing is one of LIA’s 2014 Mi2 interns, serving with us for three months in Kenya. Mi2 is a global internship program offering college students a unique three month experience of real-life missions and development in healthy and effective missions models.
Yesterday, we visited the medical clinic at Kibera slum, outside of Nairobi. Kibera is the largest slum in Africa, and possibly the largest in the world. At the clinic, they have Mother and Child Healthcare, a general medical clinic, a pharmacy, a lab, and dental services. The offer their services at a very minimum price, so the people in Kibera can afford it, but it can still be self-sustaining.
Life in Abundance (LIA) helps manage this clinic and partners with 13 pastors (4 of whom are pictured above) from Kibera to help holistically transform their communities.
How do they do this? LIA mainly works by mobilizing the local church, so these pastors are the ground people for this ministry. The pastors know their communities and the needs, so LIA works with them to help develop programs, and LIA equips them to mobilize their communities as well as their local resources in order to transform their own communities.
For example, one of the main projects in Kibera is the shoe project. The leaders in the church identified individuals that would benefit from this economic opportunity, and LIA, in partnership with the churches, brought in a person to train these individuals in shoe-making and helped connect the Kibera communities to where they could obtain the supplies. Now these individuals, and others that were taught by the first group of individuals, have expanded this opportunity, using the skills they learned to make many different kinds of products to sell.
Carole (who we work with at LIA) told us of one woman in Kibera who was caring for her 3 grandchildren. Not only was she living in poverty, but she suffered both emotionally and psychologically after losing her 3 children. She was identified by her church as someone who could benefit from this shoe project. In the beginning, she would not talk to anyone; she would come and do her work and then leave. But after just 2 weeks in this program, she began to talk to people; she was happier. She is now a successful business woman, and is even wealthy enough to move out of Kibera, but she has chosen to stay because she loves her community.
This is the kind of transformation that LIA works for: transformation of the whole person, of the whole community. And they want the community to own that transformation, to know that they were behind the renewal of their community. Furthermore, they want the local church to be returned to it’s rightful place, the place it was intended to be, of being the engine behind community renewal and restoration, so that through his bride, Christ is glorified.
Please pray for a dental assistant, software that will allow easier recording of pharmacy services, and the ability to offer child delivery at the clinic.