In 2011, Lighthouse Trails partnered with Understand the Times to launch the Bryce Homes for Widows and Children in _______ Kenya. Roger Oakland, founder and director of Understand the Times (UTT), traveled to the region to meet with Pastor Achilla and Pastor Nelson, who were to become the Kenya directors for this missions project. Several Bryce Homes were started right away as Roger witnessed the extreme impoverished conditions under which these Christian families were living as victims to national poverty, AIDS, disease, and sickness.
We are blessed to say that as of the end of 2013, there are now twenty Bryce homes established in Kenya. All of the parents in these homes are committed believers in Jesus Christ. Sixteen of the homes are run by widows with both their own children and orphaned children; and four of the homes are run by husband and wife teams (Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter, the accountant and treasurer). The Bryce Homes program is run under the auspices of Understand the Times, International, which is a non-profit organization that has Bryce Homes in several other countries as well. Lighthouse Trails has focused primarily on helping to support the Bryce Homes in Kenya as we had originally come into contact with Pastor Achilla and the community of brothers and sisters there and introduced them to Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, who, after traveling there on a scouting trip, decided to add this region to the already established Bryce Homes program.
The response from Lighthouse Trails readers has been remarkable. The donations coming from LT readers have helped provide the needed funds for Understand the Times to build 10 new homes (more still needed) replacing very dilapidated ones, feed, on a month-to-month basis, the mothers (and the 4 fathers) and children of all the Kenya Bryce homes, purchase school uniforms (something required in Kenya for children going to school), install new cook stoves and chimney pipes into the new homes (replacing open fire pits on the floor), paint the new houses inside and out, buy new clothing and bedding and some furniture for the homes, and pay for emergency medical needs.
When we launched the program in 2011, we held a special December offering at Lighthouse Trails, and the response was overwhelming (in a good way). It allowed immediate emergency food to be sent to the families (many of whom were eating just one meager meal a day at that time) and also the construction of new homes for some of the most dire situations. From there, both UTT and LT donors have continued helping to support the Bryce Homes in Kenya.
Just a side note, but an important one, Lighthouse Trails also launched a program, which we call the Widows Basket Project. About one dozen widows in the area (not all Bryce widows) are making hand-braided baskets, selling them to Lighthouse Trails at a fair market price, and we in turn are selling them to our customers (all money goes into production costs and widows’ pay). The baskets are beautiful, and it is our hope that this will spawn future projects where these families can start businesses to support themselves.
This brings us to the present and the reason we are reaching out to our readers with this winter offering appeal. Our first phase for the Bryce Homes in Kenya is completed in that all of the current Bryce families have suitable housing, adequate food, clothing, and bedding, and safe and healthy cooking stoves. There are also some agricultural activities taking place with some of the families who live on enough land and have nearby water supplies to grow some of their own food.
Our next phase is a vital one for the health and wellbeing of the families, and that is latrines. In sixteen of the Bryce homes, there are no latrines (outdoor toilets and washrooms), which means that the health of the children and widows is greatly compromised. The structure you see above is a photo of the proposed latrines for our Bryce families. The photo to the left is a view of the front. One room is a washroom. The Bryce latrines will have just two doors, not three.
The cost to construct each latrine is $480. This will mean a needed total of $7680 for all sixteen latrines although in six of the homes the hole has already been dug, which will bring the cost of those six latrines down to $350, leaving the total at $6900.
If our Winter Offering raises more than $6900, it has been decided that a well will be built for two of the more remote Bryce Homes to share – the homes of Widow Lewnida and Widow Alice. Between the two homes, there are 13 children. With a well, the two families would be able to grow some of their own food, raise some chickens and perhaps goats (for milk). The cost to build the well is $1000 plus a few hundred more to build a pump house and holding tank.
To all of the Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times readers who have donated to the Bryce Homes in Kenya, the Bryce families and the LT and UTT staff say thank you. And please know, this is not just a mission project for the physical needs of these brothers and sisters – it is an effort in helping to raise up children who will love the Lord, understand the times in which we live, and serve Him wholeheartedly when they become adults. Through Roger Oakland’s discipleship when he travels to Kenya and also materials sent from both UTT and LT, the pastors and the widows are learning about the Word of God and about spiritual deception and how to avoid it. They in turn are teaching the children the ways of God through His Word by the Holy Spirit.
If you would like to donate to our Winter Offering, there are three ways you can do that. Please designate that the donation is for the “Winter Offering,” which will guarantee it is used for the needs we have discussed above. If donations happen to exceed those needs, Every penny of all donations go directly to the work in Kenya. The donations are tax deductible through UTT. Thank you from all of us at Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times. Be sure and watch the slideshow below.
THREE WAYS TO DONATE (choose one):
1. Through the Understand the Times website (you can use Paypal or your credit card – choose from one of the donate buttons). You can designate the donation on the paypal website. (Note: when using Paypal, remember to designate the donation for “Winter Offering” where it asks for “Special Instructions.”
2. Mail donation checks or money orders to either location below.
P.O. Box 27239
Santa Ana, CA 92799 USA
P.O. Box 1160
Canada S0L 1A0
3. For your convenience, donations can be called in to the Lighthouse Trails office. We will take your credit card information and process the donation through UTT. You can call our toll free number at 866-876-3910.
Below are some recent group photos of the various Bryce Homes in Kenya:
The following video has live footage of one of Roger’s trips to Kenya in 2012.
To watch various slideshows of the progress that has occurred in Kenya, visit our Missions for Truth website.