Full Report On Roger Oakland’s Recent Trip to the Kenya Bryce Homes

To read more about the Bryce Homes in Kenya or to donate, click here. This missions project is founded by Understand the Times and is supported solely by UTT and Lighthouse Trails readers. There are now 24 Bryce Homes in Kenya.

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International

We have 7 Reports posted from our recent trip to Kenya. Please scroll down to read them all.

Report 7: Kenya March 2015 Community Church. Final Report

When we started the Bryce Homes Program in Kenya, our goal was to transform the lives of a few families. Without a planned strategy, the transformation of these lives through the Bryce Homes Program has developed into radical changes that has now impacted entire communities.

The area I am writing about in this report is a location where we have founded six Bryce Homes over the past four years. This remote country village was ravaged by poverty coupled with the terrible problem of AIDS. The majority of the families were widows who had no hope. Through the leadership of Pastor Achilla and his team, we were directed to invest in these families. New houses have been built along with latrines. Food and clothing has been supplied on a monthly basis. Water collection and water purification systems have given them clean water. As well, all of them have started their own small business programs so they are moving towards self-sufficiency.

However, there was one more step that became obvious. These families needed a place to gather and worship together. As with many villages in Kenya, Christian families gather together in the open for worship, hopefully under the shade of a tree. This is how it happened for the six families.

Pastor Achilla located an acquaintance of his by the name of Lucas who was willing to pastor in this community. He started commuting to this community to share the Word of God. As meetings were held, more and more of the community saw the benefits of his teaching and joined the meetings.

The church started to grow and has continued to grow ever since. Recognizing what God was doing, we announced that we would go ahead and construct an actual building so that the church could meet under a shelter. The funds for this church construction have been realized because of a generous donation, and the church is now in the process of being built. We held a dedication service while we were visiting the widows in this community. Several leaders and elders spoke, and the children of the community sang songs.  Bryce Homes in Kenya

Pastor Lucas and his family will be moving there as soon as we can construct a home. He has a heart for youth and will also be working with Lukio, the principal of the girls school in this same community.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

During the meeting, a number of community members, including the chief of the community, gave testimonies. A man who was a drunkard and was a wife beater stood up and gave his testimony of his conversion because of the gospel message he had heard. Immediately his wife stood up and gave her testimony and confirmed that what her husband had said was true.

This model that we see developing in this community provides a template of how true Christianity should work when widows and orphans are looked after by the body of Christ. Is it possible that God will use the Bryce Homes Program in other places and similar results will be produced?

Many of the widows are talking about how they are now planning on working together to help other widows in whatever way they can. Pure and unadulterated Christianity is operating the way that the Book of James states will happen when we switch our priorities from property to people. If you are a supporter of this program, you are making a great difference.   

 Report 6: Kenya March 2015 Water Collection and Water Purification

Life in the rural areas in Kenya is very difficult. If one were to define the area of greatest difficulty, it would be centered on the fact that water is difficult to obtain, especially water clean enough to drink. Many water-borne diseases are encountered by drinking dirty water obtained from rivers and ponds. As well, the climate is prone to producing long dry spells, and water sources become very difficult to find.

It was for this reason we began to research ways we could assist the Bryce Homes to find ways to collect water in tanks from the run off from roofs into large plastic tanks.  To date, 13 new homes with metal roofs have been built for various families. We have added rain gutters for collecting water during the rainy season so they now have a source of water located right at their house. This has been a huge improvement. The only problem is that when the dry season comes the water has to be rationed. Right now, the area where our Bryce Homes are located is going through a long drought period.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

Collecting rain water is only one step. Another crucial aspect is to treat the water for drinking purposes, especially if water has to be obtained from rivers and ponds for drinking. In order to do this, we have implemented a water treatment filtering program this past year that has worked well.

With the exception of two families who have had problems with the plugging of the water filter, all others were very pleased with the results. The water tastes very good, and it is also something that can be given to neighbors who are requesting a drink of clean water.  Water is filtered from one pail to another by gravity and though a fine filter that eliminates pathogens.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

Report 5: Kenya March 2015 Small Business Programs

Since establishing the Bryce Homes Program in Kenya, our goal has always been to assist widows and poor families and encourage them to work towards self-sufficiency. While we have provided food, clothing, and other essentials for life on a monthly basis through the support that has come from our generous donors, we feel we must do all we can to encourage the Bryce Homes we are supporting to become a blessing to others.

Last year while in Kenya, the vision for a Small Business Opportunity Program was born. We let our donors know that for a small sum of $75, we could provide seed funds for each family to start a small business where the family could use its own ingenuity to work toward self-sufficiency. Many of the families had already been hoping and praying for such an opportunity. When the funds were provided, they immediately went to work. The results have been very encouraging.

While visiting every home this year, I interviewed the widows and asked them to tell me about their small business program. Their comments were 100% unanimous that the program was changing their lives and giving them hope they never had before. Many of them had actually been able to save funds and expand their businesses by buying goats and chickens. One of the widows had bought a goat; the goat had two offspring, which she was planning to sell and then buy her own cow.

The SBO Program has many different trades that are being practiced. Some are making and selling donuts; others are making and selling clothes. Some are planting gardens and selling vegetables at the market. Others buy rice, maize, and dried fish and resell it to neighbors in the area.

Bryce Homes in Kenya  Bryce Homes in Kenya

Pastor Achilla’s 18-year-old son, Washington, has come up with a plan for raising broiler chickens and has constructed a shelter for them behind the family’s house. He has been studying how to raise chickens as he wants to be able to pass this knowledge on to other young people in the Bryce Homes Program. In this way, the Bryce Homes can help other poor families who are not even part of the program.

Bryce Homes in Kenya  Bryce Homes in Kenya

We spoke with several people on this trip who are not part of the program who told us that the Bryce Homes Program is making a major difference in Kenya. It is our prayer that the program will continue to expand as more and more catch the vision and invest in the lives of others. Through this program, lives can be transformed and encouraged to assist others who are in need by spreading the love of Christ.

Report 4: Kenya March 2015 Solar Lights

The majority of the Bryce Homes Kenya widows live in areas where they do not have access to power. This means that when the sun goes down in the early evening that the houses have no light. In order to provide time at night for children to do their homework, paraffin candles and torches have been used as a light source in the past. Candles are another cost that widows cannot afford and as well the smoke from the paraffin and torches is not healthy.

It was for this reason that our Bryce Homes Kenya leaders suggested a program to purchase solar lights for our widows in remote areas. We started out by purchasing four lights on a trial basis and found that they worked very well. Earlier this year, the Lighthouse Trails Winter Fund Program sent out a request in a newsletter so that solar lights could be purchased for all the widows. Just before traveling to Kenya, we were able to forward the funds for the purchase of these lights. The lights were distributed as we visited all the homes.

Bryce Homes in Kenya  Bryce Homes in Kenya

The widows were overwhelmed with joy when they saw the solar lights. Not only does the solar energy provide power for lighting their homes at night, but there is also the addition of a device so that cell phones can be charged as well. All of them told us how they would use this new technology to set up a small phone charging business by charging 10 shillings for neighbors to charge their phones.

Now the children will be able to work on their lessons after the sun goes down. We also purchased Bibles for all the Widows, and they were very excited they would now be able to have Bible studies with their children each evening. Not only would they have light but now they had the Word of God in their own homes that would light up their lives.

What a blessing it is to see what God is doing in Kenya. The lives of so many have been touched by those who have cared.

Bryce Homes in Kenya  Bryce Homes in Kenya

Report 3: Kenya March 2015

Yesterday was a very busy day. We visited eight Bryce Homes located in one of the cities as well as the surrounding area. Two of the homes are located several kilometers away and the journey there is over very difficult roads. As the weather is very hot and dry, the travel and getting in and out of a vehicle many times is very tiring.

All of the widows we met yesterday gave testimony of the tremendous changes that have occurred in their lives, and they glorified God. Each year when I am here, there is always one or two widows that leave an indelible impression on me as they share where they were and now the changes that have come to their lives. This year has been no exception.

In this report, I want to bring to your attention a 26-year-old widow we have added to the program by the name of Franciscar. She has only been with us for about three months, and this was the first time I had met her.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

When her husband died, she was left with three children and no income. While I was there, I looked into her dwelling and could hardly believe my eyes. She, her sister, and four children live in a one room mud shack that has one small dirty mattress on a dirt floor. They have no furniture.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

Bryce Homes in Kenya  Bryce Homes in Kenya

Franciscar said she was so desperate before she was invited to become part of the Bryce Home Program that she was contemplating her only hope for survival was to run away from the situation. She could not sleep because she was so worried.  She and her family had nothing to eat. When she became part of the program, she said, “I saw the hand of God in my life.”

Now that she has been part of the program for three months, a miracle has changed her life. She is able to have food, clean water, and the family takes vitamins that we distribute monthly.

The video interview I did with Franciscar caused me to shed tears as she was speaking. There are so many professing Christians in the West who have never experienced the desperate situations that members of the body of Christ are facing worldwide. Why is it that we who have so much want more and those who have nothing are neglected and ignored?

While I do not usually make commitments while I am at a location, this time I did. In the past, we have constructed 13 new homes for widows in Kenya, but none that were needier than this woman. Certainly God will provide through his people for this incredible need. I told Franciscar that we will be constructing a home for her, and her family will be on our priority list.

Report 2: Kenya March 2015

We have been in Kenya now for three days in one of the areas where we have Bryce Homes. We are distributing the March monthly support of food and other materials. While this is not a new experience for me, I am grateful that Tom Worthington is along and able to witness the great things God is doing here in Kenya.

At each home, I have been interviewing the widows on camera so that I am able to gather footage and documentation to verify that all our programs are working as planned. While we have learned there will be a few adjustments in the future, for the most part, the Bryce Homes Kenya Program has been a tremendous success. When the video documentaries are produced and posted on YouTube, our supporters will be able to see and hear for themselves how their resources have impacted so many needy lives.

With the slow Internet connection we have here, sending photos is very difficult. Later reports I send will include more photos.

I am including one photo of a Bryce Home we will be adding. This is Pastor Lucas and his family who will become Bryce Home 25 and will be moving to the location where we are constructing a church. This is the area where there are six Bryce Homes already located and the potential to reach the entire community with the gospel.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

Pastor Lucas is presently living in an area that is far away from the area where he is pastoring and the location of the new church. He commutes on a weekly basis to attend the church work. Now that we will be building his family a new house they will be able to remain together in one place.

In a few days we will be visiting the church location to see the progress as well as to visit the Bryce Homes in this region.

Report 1: Kenya March 2015

This report is coming from Kenya. Tom Worthington and I arrived here a few days ago. This is my fifth trip since 2011. Tom is a pastor from Crown Point Indiana who has a tremendous heart for missions. Together we have been on several missions trips to various places in the world. He also helps UTT with the Bryce Homes ministry in the country of Myanmar.

Bryce Homes in Kenya

After arriving in Nairobi and spending the night there, the following day we met our team and began our travel within the country of Kenya. While my reports will be mentioning various names, we have made a decision in these reports not to describe the locations where we are working. As a point of clarification, the Kenya Bryce Homes Program is not located in one particular area but is spread out through various communities. While initially the program began with five homes we now have expanded the number to twenty four.

It is our goal while we are here to visit all the Bryce Homes in Kenya. We have introduced a number of new programs since my last trip so it is important that we assess the progress first hand. Over the next several reports I will be sending photos of the Bryce Homes we have visited as well as providing information about the various programs. These include the Vitamin Project, the Small Business Opportunity Project, the Solar Light Project, the Water Collection and Water Purification Project and the construction of many new homes and latrines.

We will be visiting a remote area in Kenya where we have six Bryce Homes. This area has been transformed by the program. We are now in the process of constructing a church there and will be moving a pastor and his family there to serve in this community.

For now, let me say what we have seen so far shows God is being glorified in Kenya through the Bryce Homes Program Many lives are being changed. The following reports will document the details.

To read more about the Bryce Homes in Kenya or to donate, click here. This missions project is founded by Understand the Times and is supported solely by UTT and Lighthouse Trails readers.

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