By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times International
I am writing this as I travel back home from Nairobi to John Wayne Airport in Southern California. As I have 23 hours of flying time, I am able to process my thoughts with regard to the seven days spent on the ground in Kenya. While I was confident last November that God had led me to visit Kenya, my return visit has confirmed the beginnings of a unique work that has the potential to develop further and bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
My vision for poor and orphaned children started several years ago when I visited Myanmar for the first time and saw the tremendous needs of orphans and widows. Soon a plan to work with national Christians to provide aid along with sound biblical teaching unfolded in memory of our son Bryce. We rented large homes with the goal of housing about 20 children in each home and found dedicated Christians who would oversee the homes and make sure the children were educated, fed, and properly clothed.
From one home, the program expanded to five homes, which we now call Bryce Lodges. We now oversee over 80 children in Myanmar. The children are individually sponsored by people from around the world. Our cost for renting the homes and providing financial assistance for the leaders and helpers comes from donations given to Understand The Times designated for Myanmar.
As time passed, I felt the Lord leading me to expand the Bryce Lodge program to other countries. Last November, I traveled to South Africa and Kenya in order to see what doors God would open there. And this past February, I visited the Philippines with the same vision in mind. While our experience has been very good in Myanmar with our program there, it became apparent to me that there may be an even better way to accomplish our vision to reach orphans by working through local pastors and their churches. Our vision was to provide resources from our donors to be administered through pastors and church members. We would also commit ourselves to assisting in education and Christian education so that children in hopeless situations would have an opportunity not only to be given hope for their futures but also to be salt and light to their communities and ambassadors for Jesus Christ.
When I left Kenya in November of 2011, my vision was for Understand The Times to provide for three to five homes there. These homes would be overseen by Pastor Achilla. The families would be made up of widows and grandmothers who were looking after orphans and the poor.To see photos, read the rest of this commentary, and/or donate to the orphans and widows in Kenya, click here.