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LIA Center, Kenya Groundbreaking – April 7th 2016

March 10th, 2016 | Posted by | LIA News | Events | Home Page | LIA News | Uncategorized
Proposed LIA Center, Kenya

Proposed LIA Center, Kenya

Many years ago, Dr. Florence Muindi, LIA’s founding president/CEO took a prayer walk along Lake Langano in Ethiopia. During that time, God asked her to dip her hand in the sand and grab a fistful. HE then revealed to her, “As many as are the grains of sand in your hand, so will be the leaders who will be empowered through the work of Life in Abundance”.

The LIA Centers in Kenya and Jamaica are the establishment of God’s words to Dr. Muindi at Lake Langano. LIA’s training centers serve to train churches, organizations and community leaders around the world with LIA’s community development model and how to implement it in their own communities. This is a model that has been implemented, refined, monitored, evaluated and replicated with hundreds of churches in twelve countries across Africa and the Caribbean.

Ground Breaking

Former LIA International Board Chairman Dr. Peter Okalet and Dr. Florence Muindi with members of the LIA Senior Leadership Team at the Phase 1 & Phase 2 groundbreaking ceremony on May 4th 2014.

We know first-hand that training is the key factor to empowering people to participate in and own the transformation of their community. This is why developing our training centers is central to the mission of LIA. It is our goal that through our training centers, ministries in various communities, countries and continents can be equipped to serve the poor and the vulnerable for the long term.

Clerk of Works, Nelson

Nelson, the Clerk of Works overseeing construction of Phase 1 & 2

On April 7th Life in Abundance will be breaking ground on the 3rd and final phase of the LIA Center in Kenya. Phase 3 will be the accommodation wing for the center, having 21 rooms with a few additional meeting rooms and lounges. It has been a wonderful journey of faith as we work to see the LIA Center building project completed and we continue to see the favor of God on this vision. We’re most grateful to the partners and friends of LIA who have believed in this vision and have come alongside us to cater for 45% of the building cost of Phase 3. This is no small miracle and we are so grateful.

We still have a long way to go and funding for the building project is still coming in. So please celebrate with us as we break ground on April 7th and pray for God’s hand to be on all aspects of this project: from the provision of funding, to the approval of plans, to the laying of bricks. Thank you for choosing to be a part of this journey with us.

LIA Center, Kenya

Life in Abundance Center, Kenya

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the project.

 

 

 



LIA-US Team Memo

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted by | Home Page | Leadership | LIA News | USA

We are overjoyed and humbled at what God has accomplished through the work of Life in Abundance (LIA) the past few decades. We have high hopes and eager expectations for what the Lord will bring to fruition as we continue to put our hand to the plow the coming seasons. As we deepen our impact within the countries we serve, strengthen and grow our partnerships and finish our 2014 – 2016 strategic plan, we approach the Father’s throne with boldness, confident that He will provide exceedingly and abundantly what we ask according to His will – to God be the glory.

As with any ministry, we have teams in place with talented and impassioned people that support the work that we are called to do. We are incredibly grateful for each sibling of the Kingdom that makes up our diverse and unified family.

We want to take this time to introduce our LIA-US Team, whose home base is established in Louisville, Kentucky. Our LIA-US Team holds a place near and dear to our heart and plays a critical role within the ministry of LIA. We took the time to interview each team member and asked them to explain their role within LIA, what aspect of the model and mission resonates most with them and what they look forward to in the days ahead.

Join us as we celebrate these family members and pray the Lord would bestow His favor and blessing on their families and give them clarity and vision in the roles they serve within Life in Abundance.

 

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Carley Buckingham | Executive Director

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

Leading and shepherding our LIA-US team. Our role in serving the whole consist of walking with the partners the Lord has gifted us; individuals, Churches & Foundations, telling the real-time-story of LIA, advocating, walking with folks who say “Yes Lord” to partnering with us in Short Term Mission opportunities. It’s joy, pure joy to advance alongside our LIA-US team.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

I love the local church, I honor and hold high the way the Trinity imagined the local church to lead, shepherd, serve, restore, heal, encourage, enrich communities – LIA holds high this picture of the local church, her role in a community, believing we don’t need to reinvent systems and structures to restore communities – the Father has already designed it LIA simply chooses to partner with His original design. It’s beautiful, just stunning when you really see this at work for the first time – I remember walking the roads of Kisumu, Kenya when this “clicked” for me – I stopped in my tracks…”this works, this really works, this is His design…”

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I’m excited about the deeper work. LIA has spent it’s initial 25 years establishing the work – in the years ahead it’s time to deepen the work, to lean into the countries/territories the Lord has gifted us and pick up the plow in new communities. For example, in one country we may be active in 3-5 communities, I dream of the days we’ll be active in 30-40 communities. In fact, we have communities who are “in waiting” who have learned of our work and have requested we come to their community and walk with them. As the Lord grows & strengthens partnerships, would we continue to steward well His resources and advance His work in the communities He calls us to.

 

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Amy Walker | Church & Missions Engagement Director

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

In this role, I have the honor of engaging with our church and para-church partners—cultivating & strengthening existing partnerships and cultivating new relationships.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

LIA has had a huge influence on my perspective of the local church’s role in the community regardless of where you are in the world. I love that every LIA project is implemented through the local church and this positions the church to be the light and hope in a community and promotes unity in the body of Christ.

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

First, I have the honor of spending the next few weeks traveling with Dr. Florence to visit different partners throughout the country.  I am excited to personally meet some of our church partners and to learn from Dr. Florence how to cultivate LIA’s relationships. Second, I love the people that the Lord has brought to the LIA-US team and I’m excited to see how He grows the capacity of the ministry.

 

Jay Muindi

Jay Muindi | Advancement Director

(1)What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

My role is to ensure that we do a good job stewarding the wonderful relationships and partnerships the Lord has brought our way. Part of my role is to strategically develop ways to engage with our foundation partners, donors or anyone interested in walking with us in service of the poor and vulnerable in the communities we serve.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

LIA works to ensure that communities are self sufficient through “wholistic” development. Meaning we not only work to address the physical/material needs of a person or community (food, water, shelter etc.), but we also seek to affect the spirit and the mind, meeting the needs of the whole person. For it is in the wholistic transformation of a person that we believe people truly find dignity and purpose. I see this as the embodiment of Isaiah 61, and that resonates with me.

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I am most excited to see what relationships God brings our way this year as we work to address the needs of the poor and vulnerable around the world. Already, within the first two months, we have made amazing connections in Sicily as the LIA model is being used to address the refugee crisis and in Burundi, a country that is in a very difficult spot at the moment. In line with our 2014-2016 Strategic Plan, we will also be starting programs in Burundi, Uganda and DR Congo as well as expanding our partnership operations in Europe.

 

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Jordan McGuire | Short Term Missions Coordinator

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

I coordinate with our church and para-church partners to go on short-term trips to see and participate in our work on the field.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

I resonate the most with how the LIA model focuses on the whole person. To focus simply on the material aspect of development or to focus simply on the spiritual aspect of the person, I think it can miss the whole of the gospel.  God is restoring people to right relationships with Him, where they find their dignity in Him, and can serve His Kingdom through sustaining themselves and helping to bring restoration to others.

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I am excited to see teams return from their trips and apply what they learned to their own contexts, communities and cities.

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Joy Peterson | Executive Assistant

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

I assist the US Executive Director with high-level projects as well as manage the daily tactical operations of the LIA-US Office.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

The transformational development model of LIA is a powerful framework for sustainable work rooted in the Gospel and empowered by the local church.  It is effective because it addresses the root causes of poverty while breaking cycles of dependency and restoring a person’s God-given dignity.

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

The hope of the Gospel is for all people. I’m excited to see this hope come to the refugees pouring into Sicily through pastors trained by LIA, and this same hope come to hard places like Rwanda and Bruindi as we move into the Lakes Region. Beyond all of this, I’m most excited to see prayer continue to be the foundation for all that we receive vision for and put our hand to.

 

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Nicole Welty | Finance Manager

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

I am in charge of record keeping, reporting, and advising.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

I love that the model is set up to truly encourage growth. There is no plan to stay in a community long term, which helps the communities truly become self sufficient and real change to occur.

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I am truly excited about the financial position of LIA. The new financial processes are healthy and I cannot wait to see how God will continue to bless LIA.

 

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Steven Walker | Communications Director

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

I am commissioned to tell the story of God’s work through Life in Abundance. I oversee all communication pieces i.e. website, social media platforms, print and digital marketing materials.

 (2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

At the heart of sustainable transformational development is the testimony of God’s grace in my life. He is the God that sustains me (Psalm 54:4), transforms me (Romans 12:2) and equips me (Hebrews 13:21) to glorify His name and testify to His goodness. As we serve the poor and the vulnerable (Galatians 2:10), we declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. (Psalm 96:3). The model and mission of LIA is essentially the mission of Jesus. We are transformed from within and then disciple our neighbors while impacting the community around us. The model just works.

 (3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I give God praise for allowing me to be a part of this ministry. He is beyond imagination. I look forward to the impact the training centers will have on leadership teams as they are equipped to bring sustainable transformation to their communities. I also look forward to visiting Africa and seeing the work of LIA first hand. It will be glorious! My prayer for this year would be, as it reads in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we with unveiled faces would contemplate the Lord’s glory and be transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord.

 

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Yonas Melesse | Grants & Compliance Manager

(1) What’s your role on the LIA-US team?

My role is proposing and managing grants from a variety of foundation, church and para-church organizations. I am responsible for researching grants, writing letters of intent, proposals and grant reports to donors.

(2) What about the mission and model do you most resonate with?

I have been inspired by LIA’s commitment and strategies in empowering the local church as a means to attain sustainable community transformation. When I was working as a Program Manager in LIA-Ethiopia Country Office, I noticed that the local churches that received training and support from LIA started community outreach activities that actually granted them acceptance and recognition in their communities, and of course opened doors for them to do evangelism freely – the core of their existence!

(3) As you look to the days ahead, what are you most excited about?

I am so excited that new partners are being added to our grant maker portfolio and LIA is currently strengthening its internal capacity to enhance fund-raising capabilities by improving its communications with partners and implementing impactful programs in countries where we operate.

 



President’s Annual Letter – Vision 2016

February 5th, 2016 | Posted by | Home Page | Events | Home Page | General | Home Page | LIA News

Dr. Florence

Dear Partners & Friends,

Since the birth of LIA in 1995, beginning our work among the Maasai in Kenya, establishing LIA-Ethiopia in 2000 and dedicating the LIA Training Center Kenya in 2015, our mission remains unchanged as we continue to serve the poor and the vulnerable. In faith, we travel this journey to fulfill this mission, and continue to partner with the Lord as He establishes His kingdom on earth.

The Lord has granted Life in Abundance a clear vision for 2016, which can be summed up into three assignments:

Deepening Our Impact

The Lord has been gracious to us and has allowed LIA to expand into ten countries across Africa and the Caribbean. This year our assignment is to grow in depth and fruitfulness as we deepen our impact in the current countries we serve.

In addition, we will focus our efforts on strengthening our training centers in Kenya and Jamaica.

We know first-hand that training is the key factor to empowering people to participate in and own the transformation of their community. This is why developing our training centers is central to the mission of LIA. It is our goal that through our training centers, ministries in various communities, countries and continents can be equipped to serve the poor and the vulnerable for the long term.

Growing our Partnerships

As we stand in awe of what God has accomplished through the work of LIA in 2015, we also give the Lord praise for connecting us with partners who share in our vision and work. With the Lord’s favor, we will focus on strengthening and growing our partnerships in the United States and Europe.

This spring and fall marks two seasons when we will visit and further cultivate relationships with our partners. This will be a time of intense travel for our leadership and the US team. Please pray for guidance and favor as we set schedules around these seasons, asking that God will open doors and lead us, for His glory.

Additionally, in September 2016, LIA will be hosting an event for all of our church partners. This will be a time of envisioning, networking, mutual encouragement and fellowship as we all gather around a single table. This will be a significant two-day event with great opportunity. Join us as we dedicate this event for kingdom purpose.

As the story of God’s work through Life in Abundance unfolds, our prayer for 2016 is that our partners will bare witness to lives sustainably transformed as we serve the poor and the vulnerable for His glory.

Completing the Strategy

In 2014, our Senior Leadership Team in partnership with our International Board formalized a three-year strategic plan. We have seen great accomplishments over the last two years, and our desire is to finish strong.

The major elements of the strategic plan yet to be accomplished are:

  • Completing Phase 3 of LIA Training Center, Kenya
  • Establishing Blue Wings Aviation
  • Implementing LIA’s model of transformative development in Uganda and Burundi

While there is much to be accomplished, we serve a God that is mighty and able, and we are ready to see the wonders God has in store for us.

As we look to 2016, our mission remains steadfast while we serve along side the poor and the vulnerable in the dominion the Lord has given us. We shall declare His glory and facilitate his marvelous deeds among his people. We shall see life come in fullness in our acreage. The Lord will establish His kingdom as we put our hands to our plow in 2016. Amen.

In Christ,

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Dr. Florence Muindi
President/CEO
Life in Abundance International



Q&A with Dr. Girma Begashaw – LIA’s new Chief of Operations

August 19th, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | Leadership

Dr. Girma

Dr. Girma Begashaw joins LIA as the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Dr. Begashaw has over 35 years of work experience with International Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), serving in senior leadership, organizational development and technical training roles. With a technical background in Civil Engineering, Dr. Begashaw also holds a Masters and Doctorate degree in Leadership Development.  He is a married, a proud grandfather and currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We asked him a few questions to get to know him a little better.

Tell us about your calling and conviction to serve the Kingdom?

First of all my calling and conviction starts with Jesus Christ. He saved me. He gave me salvation. He is my Lord, He is my shepherd, He is my hope. He gave me purpose, He answered my questions, He transformed my life and I am indebted to Him for life. That is why I also want to share with others the blessing of the wholistic life that I have received. Because he transformed me physically, socially, economically and mentally. It is because of that transformation that I feel obliged to to take part in the great commission. That is my purpose and calling in life.

What drew you to LIA?

I have been involved in Christian ministry through the NGO set up for over 35 years. I have also been an active member of my local church in addition to various initiatives within Christian ministry circles. So all this prepared me to serve as Chairman of the LIA International Board for a season and now I feel called to play a more active role in this ministry. A ministry that focuses on declaring the gospel through words, deeds and lifestyle. LIA’s vision and mission is aligned with my passion and it inspires me daily to work in service of that.

What are you most looking forward to in your role with LIA?

There are two important expectations I have for myself. First, is to play my part as a member of the leadership in LIA and shape what LIA looks like going forward as it advances into the next phase of development. Second, I want to build our efficiency as we work to put in place the right systems and the right people to carry us forward. All while being committed to building our capacity, encouraging one another and developing a leadership team that is both empowered and skilled enough to take LIA to the next level. My expectation is that LIA will expand in depth and width. Meaning that we need to ensure that as LIA grows in geographical width it will also grow deeper in the impact it is having when implementing its model.

What will be your role as the Chief Operations Officer?  

LIA has a three person leadership team. There is Dr. Muindi (CEO), Carley Buckingham (Executive Director) and myself. We will be the ones setting the direction and leading LIA International. More specifically my role will be to oversee LIA’s program operations and venturing into promoting and developing local in country recourse mobilization.



New Beginnings: Rwanda [Video]

July 24th, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | General | Rwanda

“Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge – a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information.”

I pause, and look up from Philip Gourevitch’s book; We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. The road winds and bends over rolling hills and through the valleys and the rain forest that so neatly carpets the land. This is Rwanda; a country that prior to 1994 was hardly visible to the world.

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It’s about a six-hour drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to Cyangugu where LIA will be holding their first ever envisioning seminar in this region. Cyangugu town sits on the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hugging the banks of the beautiful lake Kivu. As we drive into town the sun is setting over the horizon you can see the fishermen setting out for the night. They’ll be back in the morning singing loud and rowing strong as they’re bringing in the night’s catch. The next morning however there would also be another chorus of singing coming from a different part of town.

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As church leaders from Cyangugu and across the border in DRC gathered together the next day, it was clear from the strong handshakes and enthusiastic hugs going around that it had been quite some time since they last gathered together. The agenda for this gathering was to learn about transformational development. Over forty churches were represented and as the session started Dr. Muindi took to the front of the room to answer the question; what is LIA’s call in Rwanda?

“When I first came to Rwanda a year ago I visited Cyangugu. That visit clarified our call to this region. Every Monday, LIA as an organization takes time to pray for the nations and for some time now we have felt God calling us to the Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda) and we did not know how or when but we knew He would open a way and make things clear, so we just kept that in prayer.”

Dr. Muindi pauses to let Obadias, the LIA Regional Coordinator, translate. The room is silent with everyone’s eyes jumping back and forth between Obadias and Dr. Muindi.

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“There was another training taking place here in Cyangugu and I attended with my husband, not to serve but just to be an observer. So one morning as I sat down with my husband and another friend for breakfast a beautiful Rwandese woman decided to join us at our table. She was a student at the ongoing training.

She couldn’t speak English or Swahili so we didn’t have much of a conversation beyond good morning.

As one of the servers was coming around to our table, they accidentally tripped and dropped their serving tray on the floor. It slapped the floor with a loud bang, almost like someone had dropped a hard object. Immediately the lady sitting at our table shot up from her seat and started having a panic attack. Though we couldn’t really talk to her we did our best to try and calm her down .

When she eventually controlled the shaking and tears; we were able to understand by way of a translator what was wrong. Her name was Sarah and she, like so many other Rwandese, lived through the horrors of the 1994 genocide. As the tray slapped the floor it brought back painful memories of the day she lost her husband and her children; taken by machete welding neighbors.

That incident with Sarah weighed on me heavily. As I sought some more understanding from the pastors attending the training, I realized what I saw was extremely common. I realized a felt but unmet need. As ‘coincidence’ would have it that same day, I got word from one of LIA’s partners, all the way in America whose inquiry could not come at a better moment. He asked me, “Florence when are you going to start doing work in Rwanda?” He had no idea I was in Rwanda and had just witnessed a great need.

A few days later as I took my seat on the plane headed back home to Kenya I sat next to a woman who was a missionary in the neighboring country of Burundi. In our conversation, she told me of a curriculum her team had just finalized, prepared to facilitate inner healing to victims of trauma through the local church. Yet another ‘coincidence’.

As we parted ways, I shared my email contact and requested her to share the curriculum with me. By the time I arrived home from the airport, the curriculum was in my inbox. I was in awe of God’s leading. It could not have been clearer. He indeed wants to facilitate healing through the church in this region. That is why we are here.”

Back to Philip Gourevitch; “I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, the horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.” 

Maybe the legacy of such darkness is the light of God and the church healing a nation that the devil meant to steal kill and destroy.

– by @LIASojourner 

 



Welcome: Rev Mutinda Musyimi – Director of Training

July 23rd, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | Home Page | Leadership

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Rev Mutinda Musyimi joins the LIA team as the Director of Training at the LIA Center, Kenya.

As the Director of Training Rev Mutinda will be responsible for establishing a dynamic training function in line with LIA’s vision and mission as well as coordinating all training activities in the various Country Offices.

Rev Mutinda Musyimi is an ordained Church Minister and in addition to pastoring several churches Rev Mutinda has previously been a High School teacher and a University lecturer.  He taught communications at Daystar University in Athi River, Kenya where he also served as a University Chaplain for four years. Rev Mutinda is married to Jennifer and they are blessed with three children.

We asked Rev Mutinda to share a little more about himself so you might get to know him a bit more:

What drew you to LIA?

A number of things but the bottom line is that it was an opportunity to serve God. That’s the main one, but specifically it was the kind of holistic approach that is here at LIA. I have seen many churches and organizations whose main focus is only the preaching of the word but as far as I’m concerned the approach that Jesus Christ took was very holistic. He fed the poor, he healed the sick, he was there to give guidance and equip those around him for greater things.

I come from a very humble background and I have gone through several struggles in life. Those struggles have given me a very soft spot for those who are less privileged. It gives me such joy to see someone who is less privileged empowered because though I am not a rich man I am a different person from what I was and it is because I was empowered. So I might even say I have a selfish agenda in being here because it gives me so much joy to see someone empowered in this life!

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What are you most looking forward to in your role with LIA?

Seeing people trained, because information is power. I am looking forward to seeing as many people – both rich and poor – trained and empowered to break the shackles of poverty and retrogressive traditions.

I also hope to create a great pool of professionals who will not only come and train people but also be inspired to continue to be agents of change in their spheres of influence.

Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing the new LIA Center in Kenya become a beehive of activity. Not just busy to be busy, but busy with the Kingdom work. I would like to see the LIA Center become a place to retreat for many people. A haven where they can get away to learn, be inspired and draw closer to the lord and the kingdom work.

What do you do other than oversee training and the LIA Center?

As part of the Senior Leadership Team I am responsible for helping lead and guide this organization both here at the HQ and in the country offices. I will also be using my gifts of preaching and teaching. That is what I have done most of my life and that is what I hope to continue doing in varying capacities.



Restored Health and Renewed Hope in Haiti

May 14th, 2015 | Posted by | Haiti | Home Page | Health

Beaudouin, Haiti

Haiti is nearly synonymous with “aid.” For decades it has been crippled by the influx of international relief funds, resources, and services. As the first nation in western hemisphere to gain independence from its colonizers, Haiti’s rich history of strength and determination has been maligned by news headlines that tell a story of aid dependency, corruption and crippling natural disasters.

What the Life In Abundance team sees is different from the stories told by the news headlines. Our local church partners in Jacmel have dozens of people determined to break the cycle of dependency and poverty, working hard with what little they have to build a sustainable future for themselves and their families.

Haiti’s first introduction to Life In Abundance was through our primary health clinic (PHC), located in the Beaudouin community – a largely secluded informal settlement of vulnerable people displaced by the traumatic earthquake of 2010. Most of the homes are either small wooden boxes built by a relief group, or a collection of USAID tarps strategically strung together to provide just enough shelter. Some residents have been able to find work outside of the community, but the majority have very limited access to reliable income. It is in the very center of the Bedouin community that the LIA PHC team carries out their amazing work.

In Beaudouin, many young women become pregnant between the ages of 15 and 17. Because of a lack of education and, in some cases, a lack of family support, many of these young women have no idea how to care for themselves in the pre- and antenatal stages. The clinic welcomes these women into their care, providing the necessary check ups for a healthy pregnancy as well as emotional and spiritual support.

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One of these young women, Marah, is especially grateful for the clinic. She moved to Beaudouin after the earthquake, and a few years later she got married and became pregnant. To maximize the health of her child, Marah wanted to make sure the baby was well monitored. She went to the LIA clinic for her initial tests because it was so close to her house. A week later she went to a government clinic to compare services. Marah said that one visit was all it took to convince her that LIA was the right clinic for her. She noted that all of the tests at the government clinic were the same ones that LIA used. Marah also felt encouraged by the morning devotions lead by local pastors, the friendliness of the nurse and doctor, and the follow up prayer that everyone offered her. She knew that there was no need to go elsewhere.

Marah had a healthy pregnancy and headed to the government hospital to give birth because the LIA clinic does not yet have funding for a proper birthing center or OB-GYN. A few weeks after returning to her small housing unit with her baby girl, Letchnaica, the little one fell ill. Marah immediately brought her baby to the clinic. There tests, care, and proper prescriptions were provided. Within a few weeks Letchnaica was back to being a healthy bundle of joy. Marah often tells her neighbors about visiting the clinic and remains friends with the staff and local pastors.

LIA Country Representative, Auguste Zephyrin, has noticed a marked change in the dependency mindset throughout Jacmel based on the community’s loyalty to the clinic as well as other church partner programs. He looks forward to strengthening bonds with our current church partners to try and eliminate that crippling way of thought. “My vision is to see the community developed, not to wait for help. Through LIA, Jacmel can be transformed and I know the model can be a good one for the community to develop.”

Despite a lack of funding for Haiti, Christ has repeatedly shown the LIA Haiti team that his grace is sufficient for our work, and his power is made perfect in our weakness. We look forward to witnessing the Lord’s expansion of the local church and his transformational plan for the region of Jacmel and the country of Haiti.

If you would like to partner with LIA to serve the most vulnerable around the world, consider joining our Spring Pledge Drive.



Ruth’s Eye Opening Training

April 2nd, 2015 | Posted by | Kenya | Economic Opportunity | Kenya | Kenya | Kenya Blog | Kisumu | Home Page | Leadership | Home Page | Micro-Enterprise | Uncategorized | Kenya | Vulnerable Children

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One of the programs that LIA is rolling out in the impoverished fishing community of Kisumu, Kenya, is the guardian program. In this program guardians of at risk youth are identified and the local church – and in partnership with LIA – servers to not only support them but empower them to uplift the children that are in their care.

Ruth is one of these guardians. As the sole provider for her five grandchildren, four boys and precious baby girl, it is no surprise that every waking moment is devoted to her children. Ruth, who’s gray hairs betray the youth in her face, lives on the outskirts of Kisumu in a community called Nyawita. Nyawita is one of the poorer suburbs of Kisumu town.

When asked about her grandchildren its clear that her primary priority is that they go to school and do well. Many of the residents in Nyawita do not have much more than an 8th grade education, and as a result work low wage, unskilled jobs. Ruth is adamant that her grandchildren have a better future so that is why her local church in Nyawita felt it was important to stand with her for the sake of her children.

“Its bad luck to say your age” Ruth says “and I need luck because I want to be around to see my grand children become professors”. So in her old age –that will not be mentioned—Ruth was equipped with economic empowerment and resource mobilization training through her church’s TOT. Through this training Ruth confesses her eyes were opened as she discovered how to work smarter, not harder. This not only allowed her more time with her grandchildren children but also helped her to start saving, eventually joining a revolving fund set up by LIA in her local church.

The revolving fund group is made up of other guardians of at risk youth in the community of Nyawita and although the purpose of the group is resource mobilization, they also there to support each other through the challenges of trying to raise children in Nyawita.

“My ambition is that my grandchildren never need to worry about anything other than succeeding in school. I invest my energy in them because they are the future and they deserve a future.”



A Place to Call Home

March 19th, 2015 | Posted by | LIA News | Events | Kenya | Home Page | Leadership | LIA News | Uncategorized

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Now I just want to tell us the story of Life In Abundance, because for some of you this may be the first time you have heard it. So I just wanted to walk you through our story. Where did we come from? How did all this begin?

Dr. Florence Muindi stood at the front of conference room one with a subtle breeze drifting in from the windows. The room is still fairly bare and the walls not yet finished but you almost don’t even notice. Every eye in the room is fixed on Dr. Muindi, hanging on every word as she narrates the journey that has lead us to this day, and there is a collective sense of awe. Not at the beautiful structure that we sit in – wall paint aside –but at the wonder that is God’s word made manifest.

It was upon the shores of Lake Langano, in Ethiopia, where Dr. Muindi received the vision for this training center. “One morning as I was strolling by the lake I heard God speak to me. He told me to dip my hand in the sand and grab a fist full. He said to me, as many are grains of sand in your hand so will be the number of people that will be trained in transformational development through the ministry of LIA.

She then hurried back to the room asked her two little boys, Kyalo who was 4 at the time and Jay who was 8, to join her in playing a game. Soon realizing that they were being roped into helping mom count grains of sand they quickly became creative with excuses and pealed themselves away from the table full of sand.

That was in 1998, and though it wasn’t clear how that word would come to pass, it never left her. When the seed was planted in 2004, as Life In Abundance grew and opened an office in Kenya then years later identified a plot of land for a training center, gathered the funds, identified an architect and that architect started drawing up plans, Dr. Muindi admitted that the whole process didn’t seem real. That it was miraculous to watch the vision God had given her, actually becoming a reality.

What you see before you today has not been accomplished by our hands or by our effort, it is God’s and we are gathered here to bear testimony to that. However this is not the end, this is just the beginning of greater things to come

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As people proceeded outside to plant trees and wander around the office facilities it was hard to escape from using the word ‘Home.’ In addition to being an international training and main office to the LIA Kenya and International teams, this facility gives Life In Abundance a home where the mission and vision of LIA can live.

So as the trees grow taller, and the roots run deeper, our prayer is that God would continue to grow His mission through LIA by widening our borders and extending our impact. Our goal, as so eloquently expressed in the words of Psalms 96, is that we may continue to declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

LIA staff will officially move into the new Headquarter building at the beginning of April.

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Guest Post: Progress in South Sudan

March 12th, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | Children | Home Page | Health | Home Page | HIV/AIDS | Home Page | Leadership | Home Page | Micro-Enterprise | South Sudan | Home Page | Water and sanitation

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Flatirons Community Church began supporting LIA’s work in South Sudan shortly after the country gained independence in 2011. Ron Barnes, Faltirons’ Global Outreach Pastor, graciously shared his experience about the leadership’s most recent trip to visit the work in the young country. Though they were scheduled to visit more areas, the current conflict in the country prevented safe travel and they were only able to see three of the regions they support. Though disappointed they were not able to visit Maper, they were more disappointed to learn about the severity of the conflict and how it was affecting their friends living in the area.

Flatirons supports LIA’s work in South Sudan and many leaders and members of our church have been on trips to the field. We were excited to return to reconnect with friends, and the staff, and to bring encouragement. Our team was able to witness the LIA International Training Center dedication ceremony in Nairobi and then went on to visit our friends LIA is working with in South Sudan.

On arriving, we spent the first few days in Yambio, the capital of Western Equatoria State, along the border with the DRC. A team from Flatirons had visited this same community in October and told us great things, so we were looking forward to meeting everyone and learning what all was going on. We were not disappointed. We visited six churches in six different communities who had all participated in LIA trainings. As Paul, the local LIA coordinator, introduced us to each community, we were amazed to hear over and over, “because of the training of LIA our eyes were opened.” The training LIA does is focused on helping the local church see how they can impact their own communities with minimal outside assistance by building up local leadership and using local resources. Most of the churches had determined that the best initial solution to the issues their community faced was to start some sort of nursery school to provide structure for and help numerous children get a head start on their education. It was great to see this focus on education, especially since there had been very little access to any education across the country for decades, due to conflict and very little development. Many of them had also begun agriculture projects to generate income and supplement the nutritional needs of vulnerable people within their communities. Other initiatives included outreach to HIV+ women, building a home for a local widow in the community, digging a well to provide water for the community, and expanding a church building to accommodate more people for worship.

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After we said our goodbyes to Yambio, we moved on to Rumbek and had a great time reconnecting with friends. It was challenging to see and hear stories of the issues related to the fighting. Many are caring for extended family and friends who had been displaced because of the conflict. Though a difficult season, I believe it was good for us to visit and listen as our friends told of the challenges they faced. And I am confident that the training LIA provides will be very helpful in Rumbek and Maper as the need to care for IDPs and refugees creates some unique and difficult challenges to overcome. We’re praying that the peace process we heard about while we were there will take hold and allow more freedom for people to focus on how they can positively impact their community.

Finally, we visited Juba. We were very happy to be able to briefly visit Richard, LIA South Sudan’s Country Director. He has recently struggled with some health concerns that forced him to go to Khartoum for treatment. Though his recovery will take some time, it was encouraging to be able to visit briefly and pray with Richard. We were also able to see some fruit of LIA training in Juba. At one church, in particular, one of the men who had been trained spoke very eloquently about how his “eyes had been opened” and stated that if someone gives you a handout they really don’t love you, but if they help you learn how to get what you need, that is real love.What an amazing reminder and testament to the model God has given LIA!

Though we’ve been to South Sudan to see the work before, this visit offered us a great picture of what LIA does and how very effective it is. For many of us living in the Western world, there is a great temptation to see things develop toward what we know in our lives and communities and to bring many outside resources. Unfortunately, when we interject too many of our own ideas and resources we can unintentionally cripple a community. The results can be confusing when we try to solve a problem that they do not see as a problem. But even worse, the results can be devastating when we communicate that only we can provide solutions to the challenges they face.

I’m not saying there isn’t a role for those of us living in the West; there definitely is! Most of us have been blessed with much more than we need and we must remember that we are only blessed by God so that we can be a blessing to others. We must be wise as we seek to bless others so our blessings don’t become curses. Though development can be a complex thing, it seems to me there are a couple of basic things that would help us ensure our desire to be a blessing, will truly bless.

Let’s get to know people and become friends before we begin to act. Let’s listen well and work hard to understand a situation before we act. Let’s be careful not to take an opportunity away from the local church where they can follow-up and much more effectively point people in their community toward Jesus. Finally, let’s do things with people instead of to or for people.

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Our whole team learned some important things on this visit:

  1. We learned at the dedication of the LIA training center in Nairobi that taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the work God has done is very good. I think that is a lesson we can learn better from our brothers and sisters who are part of LIA.
  2. We got to see a great example of the power of God through LIA’s training in equipping the local churches.
  3. We were able to see and appreciate some different expressions of Christianity lived out that will hopefully bear fruit in our lives.

I am grateful for the partnership between LIA and Flatirons Community Church. I am thankful even for the challenges that lead us closer together. I look forward to where God will lead us together.