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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.
The Lausanne Standards Movement has selected 14 key international leaders to serve as the voice on the issue of the global church’s role in health and development. These leaders are representatives from America (4), Australia, Russia, Peru, Europe (2), Caribbean, Africa (3) and India. Dr. Florence Muindi, President/ CEO, has been chosen to serve in this network because of the exemplary work Life In Abundance International has been able to accomplish in the African and Caribbean nations through the local church.
The First International Congress on World Evangelization in 1974 was a landmark event in the history of the Church, resulting in the Lausanne Covenant, the Manila Manifesto and the Cape Town Commitment. The Lausanne Covenant “has helped to define evangelical theology and practice, and has set the stage for many new partnerships and alliances.” The Lausanne Movement’s distinct call is to connect influencers and ideas for global mission. Lausanne’s 36 active Issue Networks provide insight for challenges facing the global Church and allow members to share how those issues are being addressed and contextualized within their own regions.
One of the greatest challenges facing the Church is the lack of action to help people everywhere live lives of health and wholeness (Shalom). This was at the very heart of Jesus’ ministry on earth as demonstrated by His integration of His preaching, teaching, discipling, with works of deliverance and healing. This complete integration is rarely demonstrated in the activities of the global Church. Western attempts have been represented by what is commonly referred to as “medical missions” with a strong emphasis on curative care that relies mainly on sick people coming to healthcare facilities that have been built so that they can receive high quality treatment for their disease. This tends to cause those we seek to reach with the Gospel to praise the technology we depend, completely ignoring the spiritual aspect of the disease. On the other extreme—healing ministries of the Church that rely solely on prayer and perhaps anointing with oil to affect a healing of the diseased person deny that our current healthcare resources are God given and complementary to prayer and supplication. Beyond the Church, many Christians still seek the services of traditional healers who rely on satanic sources for treating those suffering from physical illnesses.
The newly activated Health and Development Issue Network aims to:
Connect Christian Global Health leaders and influencers to
Collaborate and share ideas and innovations about how to more fully and effectively integrate ministries of health, healing and wholeness into the work of the Church in order to
Contribute to making Christ known among ALL people.
LIA is honored to be selected as a voice in this global movement, and privileged to be among the 14 prestigious global leaders chosen.
H* is an LIA supporter based in the States who was greatly impacted by Dr. Muindi’s message at Courageous Faith. Below are her thoughts and takeaways from the event:
Several nights ago I had the blessing of attending the “Courageous Faith” event at Southeast Christian Church and hearing Dr. Florence Muindi share her personal testimony. As I listened I was truly struck by the incredible influence God has allowed Dr. Muindi to have on the world around her. I noticed that even those sitting with us at the event expressed respect and interest in the work of Dr. Muindi and LIA, even though some belong to a different faith. I feel sure that they will not easy forget what they heard that night about what Jesus can do in a person’s heart and life.
As I drove home I really thought about the things she shared with us and how much I long to influence my world for Jesus, too. How do we become someone who draws people to Him? How do we become someone that God can work powerfully through? Here are a few things I thought of as I sat down and put thoughts to paper.
Humility. In all manner of speaking and actions, when we listen to Dr. Muindi we see a small woman with a great God. We see Jesus there – not a charismatic personality. We see Jesus because Dr. Muindi does not try and draw attention to her own accomplishments. When there is true humility Jesus has the opportunity to be seen and we are drawn to Him. When we truly see Jesus He is simply irresistible! How beautiful He is when it is He that is glorified!
Single Eye for Jesus. Jesus said we cannot serve two masters. In the West we are trying to serve Mammon and God and the result has been almost total loss of credibility and influence with non-believers. Jesus said “Narrow is the way that leads to life and few are those who find it.” Only by giving up our lives do we find true life in Him. Dr. Muindi exemplifies this beautifully as she tells her story of total surrender to the will of God even when it was different from her own desires
True Compassion. One of my unbelieving friends has expressed to me how many Christians she has encountered that seemed to be very religious. At first she was drawn to them because they knew a lot about the Bible and said their prayers but once she got to know them she was disappointed to discover that they really only cared for themselves and their own families. She wanted to know why Christians were not more missional! This made me realize that the world notices my selfishness and is quite repulsed by it. The world does not really care how much I know my Bible or how perfect my theology is. I am NOT being a light or influencing anyone unless I am truly compassionate and giving myself away to others.
Understanding of God’s work through suffering. I have decided that I will not let believers speak into my life that do not see a role of persecution or suffering as one way that God can work through us greatly. “Indeed, all who wish to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” ~2 Timothy 3:12
As Dr. Muindi candidly spoke about an experience of hers in North Sudan I had to hold my breath. That kind of experience is a great secret fear I have! As I pursue God’s call on my life to reach out in difficult areas of the world I have even asked the Lord to please spare me from that particular kind of suffering, although I have told Him I am willing to die for Him. However, as I heard this part of Dr. Muindi’s testimony I realized deeply that I simply cannot put conditions on Christ. I want Christ and I want Him only. Either He is worth everything or He is not. Either He is the treasure in the field or He is not. If I am to limit what I am willing to do or not do, or to suffer or not to suffer, then I may limit the very thing I long for, which is His power perfected in me!
I end this note with an excerpt from Mother Theresa’s book, which I am currently reading, and ties in so well. Mother Theresa is another person who earned the right to be heard with her service and humility.
“When our sisters were in Ceylon, a minister of state once told me something very surprising. He said, ‘You know, Mother, I love Christ but I hate Christians.’ So I asked him how that could be. He answered, ‘Because Christians do not give us Christ’; they do not live their Christian lives to the fullest.” Ghandi said something very similar; ‘If Christians were to live their Christian lives to the fullest there would not be one Hindu left in India.’ Isn’t it very true? This love of Christ should urge us to spend ourselves without ceasing.” ~ Mother Theresa
*Due to the nature of her work with individuals in sensitive countries, we have decided to withhold this supporter’s name for security reasons.
Over the last year, we’ve made great strides to keep you better informed on LIA’s progress and the work we are doing. This year, we are continuing to build on those efforts, so you can celebrate the progresses we share together and all that God enables us to do for the Kingdom.
Dr. Muindi wrote a letter to the LIA family casting the vision for the ministry in 2013 – where LIA is headed, what we are excited about and the challenges we continue to face. Read the letter in its entirety.
If you have questions or feedback for Dr. Muindi, please sent them to us here.
If you have not heard Dr. Muindi’s story or about how LIA began, set aside an hour and listen to the podcast. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to hear it all straight from the woman who founded this ministry.
ADDIS ABABA (ETHIOPIA) – Life in Abundance (LIA) believes that every child should have an opportunity to rise to their God given potential in life. Unfortunately, many of the 60,000 to 100,000 children living on the streets of Addis Ababa miss that chance.
This is precisely why LIA launched the Merkato Integrated Street Children Prevention and Rehabilitation Project in 2007. The three-year program, recently completed, serving 150 at-risk children ages three to seven and thirty-seven former street children ages fourteen to eighteen in the Merkato District of Addis Ababa.
The Mathare Valley is a place where the local water supply (the river) has become the slum’s waste system, trash system, and playground for the young.
The Valley is dependent upon the water; however, it is the slum’s most dangerous asset – threatening both children and homes with its ability to rise with untimely rain. And while the homes, unemployment, and health concerns are an embodiment of both the local and global poverty issues, it is the “mind-set” that is the gravest concern here.
The reality is that unclean water, incredibly low wages, and poor health are simply “normal” to people living here in the slums. Unfortunately, this way of life has become acceptable, and acceptable is the greatest hurdle to overcome.
We are excited to invite you to join us as we explore the questions of, ‘what is poverty’ and ‘what is normal’ through the stories and imagery of the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
Our second documentary, ‘This Is My Normal’ filmed in the Mathare Valley community is set to premiere:
On March 6th we hosted our first ever fund raising dinner in Nairobi, Kenya. A unique message was prepared and presented by LIA President Dr. Florence Muindi and our documentary film ‘This is my Home’ was shown giving a glimpse into the reality of our ministry.
The keynote speaker for the evening was none other than His Excellency Daniel Arap Moi, 2nd President of Kenya. We are thankful for his encouraging words, time and thoughtful endorsement of our mission!
The President drew much media activity and we are excited to share a clip from Kenya Television Network covering the evening. The translations for the clip can be found below.
Thank you to the guests of this transformational evening, for your partnership and support of LIA. We also want to thank former President Daniel Arap Moi for his presence and message shared at our event.
LIFE IN ABUNDANCE INTERNATIONAL GATHERING DINNER-NAIROBI
“MOI ON TOGETHERNESS”: MARCH 08, 2010
Reporter: Retired President Daniel Arap Moi talking at a fund raising gathering dinner insisted to the Kenyans and Africa in general not to look unto people who do not deeply recognize their problems to seek solutions. He said to do that, is same as African continent being unable to cater for its responsibilities.
Moi: Most often Africans behave as if they expect sympathy from someone somewhere. We have a lesson today that an African scholar (Dr. Florence Muindi – LIA President) can abandon a promising career and rise to her feet.
Reporter: He said the steps to help those less fortunate in life and the sick is important. He praised the efforts of that organization (LIA) to help in areas of health, noting that the fight against HIV and Aids and food hunger is important though young people loose direction in today’s life.
Moi: I can not say there is a shortage of good people in this world. But I can say, there is a shortage of people who are willing to inspire and encourage others.
Reporter: Ret. President Moi asked the main donors of that organization (LIA) to reflect on putting their headquarters in the country (Kenya).
Moi: Because this is an African driven initiative. It is only fair that Nairobi becomes the headquarters.
Reporter: The celebration took place in one of the hotels here in Nairobi.