Karibu Nairobi

It’s been another busy two weeks with several visitors from the States. NHI Directors, Sandy and Karen Baird, arrived with a team from Texas to volunteer with our school and business project. It’s always a joy to have the Bairds in town. Also, I was happy to host my friend, Julie, from Atlanta and show her my beloved Kenya. In addition to working in NHI’s Kibera projects, Julie and I relaxed in Limuru at a local tea plantation and went on safari. I’m very grateful this friend would travel half way around the world to visit me!

Kiambethu Tea Farm in Limuru - beautiful region in Kenya

Kiambethu Tea Farm in Limuru – a beautiful region in Kenya

Then, my good friends, the Jepsens, arrived. Bob and Pat are on the Board of New Hope Initiative and are here not only to visit our work but to do some work themselves. It is such an honor to have them here, but it is also a lot of fun! They have been sorting through test scores and attendance records and piles of hand written papers to analyze the performance of our school. This will help us to identify areas of academic improvement and student learning gaps and to communicate with our donors how our school is improving. It has been such a blessing to have them here working alongside of our Kenyan staff.

Our class 8 students are currently preparing for the KCP (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). This exam determines if and where they will attend high school. It is the most important test they will take. It sets the course for the rest of their lives. Though today is a Kenyan holiday, the class 8 students came to school to study. The Jepsens tutored them in math and science for several hours. Please be praying for these students. The exam starts November 3rd.

Both engineers and former ExxonMobil employees, the Jepsens know how to tutor in math and science!

Both engineers and former ExxonMobil employees, the Jepsens know how to tutor in math and science!

It’s the right thing to do.

My role at New Hope Initiative (NHI) is a strategic role. NHI desires that the projects we support around the world set goals and vision for the future and work toward accomplishing those goals. By setting goals and vision, NHI projects can grow and impact more and more individuals living in poverty and for many years into the future. NHI strives to have sustainable programs that are led by well trained, competent leaders. My role with NHI is to support and encourage these strategic initiatives of setting goals and vision and training leaders. The role fits me well. I am a business, strategic thinker. I like to think hard about problems and figure out ways to solve them. I like to see people and projects grow and improve and be a part of that growth. And, I like to think how we can leverage our projects and our influence for the advancement of the gospel.

Welcome to the Child Blossom Center, a special needs orphanage sponsored by New Hope Initiative

Welcome to the Child Blossom Center, a special needs orphanage sponsored by New Hope Initiative in Hyderabad, India

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit NHI’s special needs orphanage in Hyderabad, India. God showed me how all the strategy in the world could never justify what we are doing there. Only what we read in Scripture and when we understand God’s heart for orphans can we justify why NHI supports this orphanage. These kids will never be leaders. These kids will never be pastors, teachers, influencers. They will be lucky to make it to their next birthday. Several years ago, a major donor of the orphanage pulled out and it would have been the perfect opportunity for NHI to drop the entire project. I asked Sandy Baird, Founder of NHI, why he stayed. His response was “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Sometimes as Christians, we have to make hard decisions especially when it comes to limited resources like money. Many US churches want to see the money they give make maximum impact for the gospel. And, I understand that. But sometimes, we must only look to Scripture and the heart of God and do things because they are the right thing to do. They are the things God cares about. They are the things Scripture commands of us. Even if they have absolutely no strategic value.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
    is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

The best strategic ideas will not make these kids different. But caring for them the way Jesus instructs us will make them feel loved. It will help them see there is a God that loves them just as they are and that He sent His Son to die for them so that one day they might have perfect bodies without sickness and have joy that will last forever. They can know today that though their parents have abandoned them, that their country and community have rejected them, they have a Father in heaven who accepts them and who has adopted them into His eternal family.

The majority of the kids in the orphanage are severely disabled or have significant specials needs. There are also several "typical" children who live there.

The majority of the kids in the orphanage are severely disabled or have significant specials needs. There are also several “typical” children who live there.

Doing crafts with the kids!

Doing crafts with the kids!

Leadership Training for the staff and church leaders.

Leadership Training for the staff and church leaders.