In December of 2009, Lighthouse Trails became aware of a mission work in Kenya with Pastor Achilla.
We learned that this area in Kenya is highly impoverished, but at the same time, the pastors of this region are very hungry for the truth. Too often, in third-world countries, rather than being benefited by missionary outreaches, they have become the targets of the peddlers of apostate or unbiblical religion. These pastors, aware of this problem, have endeavored to, like the Bereans, search out the Word of God as discerning Christians. This is where our and Understand the Times books and articles have been of a great help. We also learned that because of the great poverty, some of these pastors have never even had a Bible of their own. So, just over a year ago, because of the donations of Lighthouse Trails readers, Pastor Achilla was able to start buying Bibles (some in English and some in the Luo language) to meet that need. Since then, many pastors from further distances heard about the new Bibles and have traveled to _______ to see if they might get one too. One photo that really captured our hearts shows an elderly pastor holding up a Bible; he is so moved with emotion that he appears to be at the point of tears. These are genuine believers in Christ who give of themselves sacrificially for the sake of the Gospel.
As we became aware of the needs of this area, we felt not only compelled but privileged to help in what ways we could. It began with sending books and money for Bibles. As we began sharing with Lighthouse Trails readers about our new brothers and sisters, they began donating too.
Recently, as many of you know, Roger Oakland of Understand the Times went on a humanitarian trip to both South Africa and Kenya. While in Kenya, he met Pastor Achilla and several of the pastors who are working with Pastor Achilla. Roger stayed with them for one week, meeting with many pastors and believers. Some of them already knew of Roger, having read his book, Faith Undone. This was a very eventful visit for Roger where he was able to present his material on discernment in sessions that sometimes lasted for hours. Roger saw a hunger for the Word in these pastors that he had not seen anywhere else in a very long time, but he also wanted to see the living conditions of these people and scout out the possibility for starting some orphan homes. As you probably know, Roger planted orphan homes in Myanmar named Bryce Lodges in memory of his son Bryce who died in a fatal car accident in 2001.
Roger soon learned that there are orphan homes of an informal sort already in place in _________). What has happened is that there are a number of Christian widows who in spite of their own poverty have taken it upon themselves to raise orphans in addition to their own children. So, the plan is to work with these widows to help them in their need – and the need is great. As you can see in the videos at the bottom of this article, several of the women and children are wearing old and torn clothing. Some are sleeping on little or nothing for mattresses. Some actually have no blankets of their own. Then, too, their dwellings are in disrepair. Typically, what you find are small homes made of earthen brick with thatched roofs and dirt floors. Some have metal roofs that are very old and are leaking. With the thatched roofs, due to famine, cattle will come in their hunger and pull some of the thatch material off the roofs, causing terrible leaks. Now that the rains have come, it is difficult to keep bedding dry inside, and the floors in many cases have turned to mud. Simultaneously, the walls are gradually absorbing the rain.
From a practical point of view, it would be easy for these wonderful Christian people to be discouraged and in despair (and we’re sure at times they are very much discouraged), but they are acquainted with hardship and sorrow, yet they have put their trust in Jesus Christ. At the same time, we at Lighthouse Trails and Roger at Understand the Times see a highly achievable opportunity to help these people who are so destitute. Helping these people would cost relatively very little. Thatched roofs can be replaced with metal ones (for about $300 – $500 a roof if you include new framework). Clothing and food can be purchased. Plans for growing food and starting a food bank near the discipleship center that UTT and LT hope to purchase for them are underway. And the widows have already begun to weave beautiful baskets that Lighthouse Trails will purchase at a fair market price and sell to Lighthouse Trails and Shepherd’s Garden customers.
We think that those of you who have prayed for and donated to this mission project feel as privileged and blessed in being a part of this as we do here at Lighthouse Trails. We want to personally thank those who have participated. We know that most of our readers give to their own churches or to well-established Christian organizations; we will not tell anyone where they should give their money to; but for those who have no trustworthy place to give, we ask you to consider this worthwhile project where both the physical and spiritual needs are met. With so many mission societies and churches now incorporating contemplative and emerging ideologies into what is now termed “missional,” we believe the model of mission work that Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times is attempting to do in Kenya stands out from the “new missiology” in that we will work to meet both the spiritual and physical needs while not forsaking the integrity of the Gospel and the Word of God.
As for ongoing plans for the orphan homes, Roger Oakland has described in some of his updates that starting in 2012 Understand the Times will be providing regular monthly support for the orphan homes. As donors come forth, we will add to UTT’s support so that each of these homes has enough to be sustained every month. Already we have one Lighthouse Trails reader who is giving $25 a month to one family and another who is going to give $100 a month to another family. This support will go toward food, clothing, household repairs and needs, medical needs, and school and Bible lessons for the orphans.
P.S. We’d like to recommend two items to read: one is an article called “Race for Africa.” It chronicles the many exploits against Africa over the last couple of centuries, including the most recent of the Purpose Driven movement. The second is a book called A Good Difference, the true story of a young Kenyan couple.