GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Rethink ing Humani t ar ian Aid
Daniel talking with David Lucy talking with Linda Daniel talking with Daniel
Dickson talking with Jasmine Simon talking with Ashley
George talking with Marion Anne talking with Rhonda
Mary talking with Sharon Lydia talking with Emory
Hannah talking with Jessica Becky talking with Louise Lavenda talking with Lou
GLOBAL CONNECTIONS UPDATE
e hope this newsletter finds you well. In July, Patrick Mungai—Director of Limuru Children’s Centre will have been a member of the Global Connections family for nine years. Fortunately, he would tell you, he considers us family as well. We first met Patrick in 2005 on our first trip to Kenya. Since then, we have spent countless hours with his immediate family and his extended family, which includes everyone at the Children’s Centre. Both of our families have grown. Everyone who visits Kenya with Global Connections immediately views Patrick and the LCC as family. There are past friends in your life with whom you may not be able to speak very often but you would still consider them friends. It’s the same with Global Connections and the LCC. Even though there are only 42 kids living at the LCC right now, countless children have passed through the Limuru Children’s Centre and we still consider every one of them family. Many people have visited, worked and volunteered in Kenya through Global Connections. We have all been to Patrick’s home numerous times and some of us have even spent many nights there. However, he has never had the opportunity to visit our home. Finally, in April and May, Patrick will be able to visit the South and the homes of many members of the Global Connections family. Thank you all for being a part of this Global Family.
Patrick and Patrick Kung’u
Jessica Rees Linda Mitche Samuel Kiar
Samuel Kiaru off to school
When we first visited Kenya in 2005, there were 12 kids living at the LCC – ages 3-8. Though some of those kids have come and gone, a majority of them are still with us. Now, they are 14-19 and entering the expensive ages of secondary schools, poly-technical schools and colleges.
p2 | Spring 2014
‘No one has ever become poor by giving. — Anne Frank
VIEWPOINT LCC Facing New Educational Challenges... Newspapers sounded alarms as headlines rolled off Kenyan press during the Mississippi Team’s January-February trip: • “How ‘D’ students end up in varsities; Colleges are breaking rules in quest for profits.” • “How students who fail KCSE end up on degree course.” • “Colleges deny offering places to students with poor marks.” • “Schools snub bright girl who made 425 marks.” • “Quota system triggers exodus from private primary schools.”
What’s this all about? It appears that many public primary and secondary schools are not measuring up and their students are making low marks on the entrance exams to secondary schools and colleges. Many Kenyan families have sacrificed to get their students into better private schools. And now, colleges are being required to accept more public school students without regard to the lower test scores many of the students make. Bright students from private schools are being shut out of the colleges to make room for students with lower entrance exam scores. LCC had five of its students fail their entrance exams to secondary schools and faced the dilemma of sending the students back into the village to make a living or find a way to help them make a life for themselves. Luckily, the Mississippi Team, working with LCC, was able to get seven students admitted to a Polytechnic, enabling them to pursue trades that will provide them a living. What does a parent do? What does LLC do? Should children invest their time and limited funds in what may be a substandard education? Or do
you send them to the best school for their abilities? These are questions that LCC leaders must carefully study as this situation develops. For now, LCC has transferred several students from lower ranking academic public schools to higher ranking private schools, hoping they’ll be able to catch up academically. Many of the public schools are overcrowded, with 60 to 70 students in a classroom sharing books and desks; sometimes sharing a teacher with another class; and some teachers are not qualified to teach. The better schools cost more, as one would expect. Therefore, as LCC’s primary Allegra and Gladys operational sponsor, Global Connections must strive to secure additional support for scholarships for the orphans at LCC as well as the day scholarship students from the village. As we continue to monitor the educational scene in Kenya, we absolutely must secure additional funds to cover the added costs of private schools. It’s time for those of us who love LCC and its efforts to improve the lives of children to become more generous and to identify new donors and work to raise scholarship funds. No doubt, we must focus on getting our Godchildren and the day scholarship recipients the best education available for the most reasonable investment, remembering always, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
Allegra Bingham p3 | Spring 2014
VIEWPOINT WHY WE BECAME A GODPARENT Or what we like to call our ‘starfish project’ and why you should too. Lu and I traveled to Kenya this past summer. Until that point, I had been participating with Global Connections on a volunteer basis doing some small office tasks. I knew the profiles of the kids existed and I knew of the Godparent program and how it worked. It bothered me to choose a child off paper if that makes sense. I just felt called for a greater connection before I committed. We traveled to Kenya during July and participated with the Mississippi team. I photographed while Lu did some construction work. I had specifically prayed that we would be presented with an opportunity to address a specific need, hoping it would be with a specific child. One afternoon Patrick (the director of the LCC) asked that Anna and I accompany him to a child’s home. He wanted to check on her and see how she was doing. We traveled down the road and were humbly welcomed into the home of Margaret Wangechi. She was the only one home. We were able to visit and tour her home. I was humbled to the point of tears. Patrick spoke with Margaret privately and learned of a few issues that needed addressing. We were able to leave her with means to ensure that her family would have a good meal that night. That visit will forever haunt, humble, and motivate me. We returned to the car and spoke with Patrick about Margaret’s needs. Margaret is somewhat of a “hybrid” to LCC. She has a home with her mother and sisters. In order to continue in school and thrive, she needed help. She is an extremely smart young girl of 14, but she needed certain things to help her fit in and thrive at school. Patrick had said if she just had a sponsor, she could do amazing things. HELLO.... I had prayed for a specific need...God pretty much slapped me in the face with that one. I very much connected with Margaret. She just needed a few things to help her feel like she “fit” into her school scenario. She had the skills and the definitely the determination...she just needed an encourager with a little financial support. We can do both by the grace of God. We have the means with God’s will to change her life.
p4 | Spring 2014
When we first arrived in Kenya, I was overwhelmed. I had to focus. I had to decide to make a difference. To do that, you make a difference in one child. Sure, there are millions that need you, but you have to come to terms. I told Lu, I can’t do this on the third day. By the end of the trip, I had prayed focus into that trip. God told me to kick this task into gear, to find one child to change the world for, not to change the world for all. When in all reality, they did way more changing of my world....but then Anna Puckett reminded me of this story: “Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, ‘Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?’ The young boy paused, looked up, and replied ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,’ the youth replied. ‘When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.’ The old man replied, ‘But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.’ The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, ‘It made a difference to that one!’” —Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley So, although the ‘Godparent’ program is a good name, that’s not what it is to us. It’s the ‘starfish project’. We only hope we can encourage Margaret and help her to reach her goals with the means that God has provided to us. She encourages us more than we do her I assure you. If you are not a part of this program and have an interest, please contact me personally, I’d love to share our experience with you.
Margaret and Katie
- Katie/Lu McCrary
IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY
hat began as a group of church ladies trying to help children in their village survive has grown into “something pretty big”, said the founder of the Limuru Children’s Centre (LCC) as she paused early this year to reflect on the organization’s decade of service. Rachael Wairimu Njeru, better known as CuCu, started what led to LCC in late 2003. From a feeding program and later a day care, Rachael’s dream has grown into an orphanage, baby centre, feeding program for day students, a scholarship program and two pre-school programs. Through the last decade some 400 children have experienced life-changing benefits from the services provided by LCC. Reflecting with her was her son Patrick Mungai Njeru, who is serving as the LCC Executive Director, and her granddaughter, Maureen Wairimu, who has worked as the office manager/accountant and is now assuming more responsibility for LCC management. Rachael recalled how it all began. “I was sitting on my sofa – alone – and I heard a voice speaking to me. The voice told me that I had food. That I cooked food, ate it and then had leftovers. In my heart I knew I couldn’t eat leftovers three times, so then I fed the leftovers to the dog and chickens.” The same voice asked me, ‘How many children are going hungry with nowhere to get food?’” After that experience, she found two church ladies to help her identify children who were needy and going without meals; there were many. Rachael decided to bring the children together to feed them and began working to accomplish this. “There were about 140 children going without meals,” explained Rachael. She and her friends found a deserted building in Misri, a slum area in the middle of the Limuru village; and then they got a group of ladies to help. “A few of the women would come with a small amount of food; others would come to help, but bring nothing.” “So many children were suffering in the village,” she said. “It was heart-breaking.” Rachael was wearing herself out working to manage the feeding program while trying to raise funds. Then Patrick chose to get involved, but he wanted to stop his mother from this work. “It was just too much!” he added. “But she had her dream.”
CuCu cooking Christmas Dinner
So Patrick, who was out of work as a truck driver, began to help his mom raise funds for her dream. He went to churches seeking assistance. After a presentation to the Tigoni Baptist Church, Pat Dixson went to see where Rachael was feeding and caring for the children in Misri. Pat got involved in 2004.
Pat went on to rent the facilities where the LCC is today. The owner of the facility put on a new roof and didn’t increase the rent. He also later finished out the upstairs of the building.
Patrick, Rachael, Maureen
“Mum and the ladies kept coming. There were prayers everyday, feeding every day. While they were cooking and serving the meals, the ladies taught manners and hygiene and other things. The number of children kept growing. We reached 170,” explained Patrick. When the school year started in 2005 the top floor of the original building was finished and LCC accepted its first boarders. Rachael and Patrick give lots of credit to the extended Puckett family and the work they’ve done since the family’s service trip to Limuru, Kenya in 2005. From that meaningful trip, Global Connections was born, and Mississippi Team trips began in 2006. “That was the turning point of the whole program,” they said in agreement. Many other caring individuals have stepped up to meet needs – big and small – at LCC. Among them are Ian Hedderly, Linda Richman and Joe Dowd, and hundreds of others from around the world who have provided time, talent, knowledge and financial support for the continuous improvement of LCC facilities, increases of staff, and just in time funding to keep multiple programs going. Patrick gradually assumed the administrative duties of LCC. “I felt I didn’t belong here,” he said. “But mum always said, ‘forget it, there’s a reason you’ve been put here.’ I kept asking God why I was here, but I’m grateful now to have the opportunity.” “Mum set out to get the village kids some help and while she was doing that, our family just grew into the plans,” he added. Today, Patrick’s son Alex is a preschool teacher at the Kamirithu Branch; son Robert works at the LCC Chicken Farm, and Maureen is gradually phasing into more administrative duties to free Patrick for other duties. This spring the Baby Home will be moving to the LCC campus. The original LCC building has been remodeled to accommodate this move. (See related story on page 9) CuCu is still on the scene. “She always has an interest in the children and what they’re doing. The kids still call her to come and talk to them,” said Patrick. As far as her granddaughter stepping into an administrative role with Patrick, “It’s her choice and her responsibility. They are carrying on the family tradition of caring for children,” said Rachael. (See article written by Francis and Jane 1 on the next page for additional historical information)
It Takes a Family to Awaken a Village of Support... p5 | Spring 2014
DEDICATED, LONGTIME LLC EMPLOYEES SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE Hello! My Brothers, Sisters and Friends,
Francis and Jane
David and Francis
I take this chance to praise the Living Almighty Heavenly Father for where LCC is now. LCC was first known as ODCC, which means Orphans’ Day Children’s Centre. The ODCC was first started by Cucu (Grandmother) Rachael Wairimu. She was the founder of the Centre. In 2003, through her vision, the LCC Centre was established to assist the needy. She ran it first as a feeding program and nursery school. She rented a house in the Misri Village (the slums in Limuru); formerly the house was used as a church. The house was one room as a whole and was used as a class, kitchen, office and had a stove. The children were sitting on the floor; we had no seats. If you viewed the house from outside, it seemed as it was falling.
When Mr. Patrick Mungai saw what his mother (Rachael) was doing, he realized it was a difficult endeavor. He went to the Tigoni Baptist Church and informed the members about the Centre. After that we had Mrs. Pat Dixson and Lucy, who were attracted by the [church] announcement, and they came to see what was going on. Their hearts were moved to help the Centre. Actually Pat Dixson moved the ODCC to where it is now. Mrs. Dixson started paying the rent, supplying the food and other things. In 2004, Mrs. Dixson opened the boarding section of ODCC and it has expanded from the original six boarding children to the current number. Mr. Mungai became very much involved in the development of the Centre and that’s when they changed the name from ODCC to LCC – Limuru Children’s Centre.The ladies who were assisting CuCu were after money, but when they noticed that there was no money, they left. That’s when CuCu, Jane Wangari 1 and Jane Wambui 2 actually came to the Centre. The Centre was controlled by Mrs. Dixson well, and everything was going smoothly from then until now. In July 2005, we met our friends from America, now known as the Mississippi Team. Some of them in this first group were Peter and Elizabeth Haworth; Lizzy Haworth; Anna and Al Puckett; Bailey and Grace p6 | Spring 2014
Cartwright; Marimac, Pam and Walt Pannell; Pam Panell, Salt and Susan Jones; Bo Jeffares; Bill, Lucy Anne, Madison, Macy and Houston Walker; Linda Holden; AB Puckett; and Benton Pitkanen. Plus, there were others whom I may not recall. They stayed at the LCC for about two weeks. These people changed the minds of most of those at LCC to love God so much and to love to work at LCC. Actually, the prayers of Mississippi Team members have changed very much the LCC. I refer to CuCu as Moses who was left around the river and rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, who I see to be Mrs. Pat Dixson. Mrs. Dixson actually nursed Moses up to the time he matured. Then the Mississippi Team members I refer to as angels of God who guided the Israelites not to be harmed by the enemies, being the Eygptians. From where I am, I see the Mississippi Team as the angels to lead us and guide us back and forward. The prayers we receive from Mississippi Team members make us to count blessings of LCC, not only for helping the orphans but also the children who are in need and live with their parents. We have hope because we have the blessings of life for the LCC and us too because of the Mississippi Team. May God bless and give more life of happiness and victory to our Rachael Waimuri and her family; to Mrs. Dixson and family; LCC Director Patrick Mungai, whom the children call Uncle, and his family; and the Mississippi Team with their generations, too. I cannot forget the sponsors – may the Almighty Father bless them plus all workers of LCC with their unity be blessed.
God is great for all things. Amen.
Francis and Jane 1
A TEACHER’S PASSION BECOMES HIS MINISTRY David Kimani, better known simply as ‘Teacher David’, has been part of the Limuri Children’s Centre since it opened its pre-school. With a master’s degree, Teacher David could be teaching at a university. However, his love of little children is his passion. A visit to LCC’s K-Branch preschool quickly produces evidence of Teacher David’s passion. The preschoolers hang on his every word as he leads them in reciting the alphabet or writing their ABCs in the classroom. On the playground, the children demonstrate their love of Teacher David as he leads them, like the Pied Piper, through games and physical exercises. To the right, Teacher David shares his thoughts about being a preschool teacher.
“Many people believe that to survive in this world a person must be tough, strong, unbending and harsh.” Many times people are called into a ministry they cannot comprehend. They understand the ministry while at the middle of the mission or sometimes toward the end. When I joined the teaching ministry I thought I would end up big (in people’s minds and perceptions) as a university lecturer. But I found an angel’s profession: teaching little innocent children. As I have grown, I have come to understand that this is a great and noble ministry I’m doing – this teaching. My work at LCC has been accompanied with challenges as every new class comes – children who have never seen a teacher, a classroom, a book or a pencil. Sometimes communicating is a problem, regulated eating, playing, etc. This sometimes challenges the children and their teacher. The classroom set up is also an issue with the children. When I think of such issues I just conclude that it’s not me who should be in this profession. But I do understand that, if not me, who else?
AT THE BEGINNING, I THOUGHT IT WAS
NOT ME, BUT NOW I KNOW
IT IS ME!
I thank my God for granting me this noble opportunity to serve these angels. The time I have done this work has really made me grow in all dimensions. The interpersonal relationships have grown. The little children have taught me a lot – thus making me believe I am in the right destiny. My prayer is that my children in LCC K-Branch will grow and become the people God wants them to be. By the time I will be aged, we shall meet and they shall rejoice. By that time they will be doctors, lecturers, architects, engineers and professionals in many other fields”.
p7 | Spring 2014
CHRISTMAS IN KENYA? It was something I’d wanted to do for years, and finally, the right time came in 2013. We were a small team of three with big plans for hosting the 6-8 kids (from the LCC who didn’t have extended families) come to our house for a week over Christmas. We arrived in Kenya on December 13th and spent our first week visiting friends and projects, purchasing supplies, and planning for our week with the kids. We developed a daily schedule including small group discussions, art activities, outdoor fun, and more. We planned menus – Italian night, Mexican night, and more, hoping to expose the kids to different foods and cultures. We ordered groceries for the week and began to get excited. At some point during the week, Patrick suggested that a few additional kids join us. They were with their families in the village, but he was concerned that they wouldn’t have much of a Christmas because of the poverty. We agreed and adjusted our plans to accommodate a few more. The night before they came, I spent some time in prayer. I remember specifically praying that I be broken and poured out over the next week. Servant-hood isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I like to be comfortable and in control. But I also thought that to really connect with these kids, I would need to be willing to pour myself completely into them. Wow. Was I clueless as to what was to come. The next afternoon, Patrick
arrived with a car full of kids. They flooded into the house, and I started counting heads. 15. More than we had expected, but still manageable, I told myself. Then Patrick turned and told me he was going to get the second group. That evening, the meal I had planned for 12 fed 22 with leftovers. By the next day, we were at 27, and by Christmas Eve, we had 32 kids living in our house. I asked Patrick, “where will they all sleep?” And he said, “No worries, Kate. We can put three in a bunk. They’re used to that.” And so we did. We assigned bunks and sleeping positions (head, feet, head) to each bed. Some of the older girls were able to have their own bunks. At the end of the first day, I was exhausted and panicking. The groceries we’d purchased for the week were already half gone. The menus and other plans went out the door… we were in survival mode. Broken and poured out… on the first day. We were forced to completely give up control and rely on prayer and faith. And I have story after story of God’s faithfulness in providing for our every need during that week.
Lauren serving dinner
Our kitchen was equipped for feeding 15 or so. I had three pots and a handful of utensils. Each meal, I would fill the three pots and pray that there would be enough food. Each meal, there would be a plate of leftovers. It was the modern day story of the loaves and fishes – a beautiful examAs you can see by all the smiles on the faces of the ple of God’s faithfulness. It didn’t matter children on the front page of this newsletter - the if we had extra guests for dinner – there LCC children had a wonderful treat! Several from was always enough for everyone to eat the Mississippi Team traveled to Limuru this Janutheir fill…and leftovers as a reminder of ary and February and surprised many of the GodparGod’s faithfulness. The kids volunteered ents with a special phone call from their Godchild. to help in the kitchen, and we assigned This was a wonderful gift to Godparents to be able dish washing to different groups at each to talk directly with their sponsored Godchild, hearmeal. We learned to work together as a ing about their daily activities, school work and their family… a really big, loud, and hungry faith. It was also exciting for the Godchild to talk family, but a family full of love and conwith their Godparent who was thousands of miles nection. away from them and know that their Godparent is thinking of and praying for them daily. Thank you all On Christmas Eve, we built a bonfire and who made this conversation possible. It meant a lot invited our friends to celebrate with us. to both Godparent and Godchild alike!” For dinner that night, we hosted close – Linda Mitchell, Godparent Program Coordinator to 60 people for a huge meal and celebration of Christ’s birth. We ended the evening with candlelight caroling in the p8 | Spring 2014
dark. It was beautiful and memorable. This was most real and special Christmas of my life. On Christmas Day, Patrick brought over a sheep, and the older boys helped slaughter and roast it in the backyard while the girls cooked pilau (Kenyan rice). This was a real treat for the kids and provided a much needed day of rest for me. My experiences in Kenya always provide life lessons and new challenges for me to overcome. In the midst of the panic and chaos of our first few days as parents to 32, I learned that growth and faith live and flourish in the midst of desperation and fear. And that in giving up control (or more accurately, having control ripped from my grasp), I was actually just getting out of God’s way and allowing him to work His magic in the lives of these kids and in us.
LCC BABY HOME Dear LCC Friends, We are excited to share great news with long – time friends and well-wishers of the Limuru Children’s Centre. Because of your continued support, LCC is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and has impacted the lives of thousands of people. Many of our first students now have technical college and university diplomas and are leading productive lives as a result of your investment in the work of LCC.
Front of renovated Baby Home
We are continuing to grow and expand our services and are renovating our ‘old’ facilities to bring the Baby Home to the main campus. Construction for this project is in full swing, with completion expected in the near future. The babies and their caregivers will have a sparkling fresh new home in the original building (in what used to be the office and boys’ dormitory). The office is now on the second floor. Baby Home facilities will include a kitchen, laundry area, playroom, sick room and baby bedroom, as well as overnight accommodations (bonding room) for prospective parents, guest accommodations for volunteers, Baby Home offices for Tesni Anderson (Manager) and shared social worker and a therapy/ treatment room.
Back of renovated Baby Home
Other construction at LCC features a new fence around the perimeter of the campus, kitchen upgrades, playhouse removal, a new septic tank, a shed for fire wood, new sidewalks (built last summer), new toilet facilities, and other smaller projects. We’ve worked diligently to blend the new construction into the existing facilities and to ensure that the Baby Home offers a friendly environment reflecting comfort, warmth and security. BENEFITS Having the Baby Home and the orphanage on the same campus offers benefits such as less travel by shared employees, the availability of older girls to learn care giving skill while assisting with the babies, shared positions of accountant and social worker, and streamlined operations.
Meg and I had a great experience and feel so blessed to have been part of this group and to have been involved with this ministry. We look forward to future involvement with Global Connections and LCC. We are also excited to have
sponsored baby Kelvin from the LCC baby home. — Jason Ebert
We are pleased LCC will be positioned to provide special services for babies and young children in our community who also need the therapy and treatments Tesni provides. In addition, we are organizing our book collections into a more formal library for our LCC children as well as for use at designated times by children in the surrounding community. Sincerely,
For more details please contact: Patrick Mungai: firstname.lastname@example.org Tesni Anderson: email@example.com A.B Puckett: Ab@globalconnectionsonline.org p9 | Spring 2014
LCC SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS As the Limuru Children’s Centre celebrates its 10th Anniversary, there are hundreds of children in the village of Limuru who have quietly benefitted from the LCC Scholarship Program through the years. These students received scholarships to pursue primary and secondary education through the generosity of Global Connections’ scholarship donors. Most likely, these students would otherwise have been unable to earn their primary and secondary school certificates. The scholarship program has numerous success stories. A few of these successes are highlighted below:
Fridah Muthoni Mbiuta, was a scholarship beneficiary from 2006 to 2009. Her story is an amazing one. She writes: “Back in 2005, when I was doing my primary level exams, my mum and teachers used to encourage me to work hard enough to get good grades so that I would be admitted to one of the best schools. I did the best I could and, come January 2006, I got an admission letter to one of the provincial schools in my county, Kijabe Girls’ High School. My family was proud of me and I was grateful to God, even though I kept worrying where school fees would come from since my mum could not raise the money. God answered our prayers through LCC and Tigoni Scholarship Fund. I was able to report to school with all the necessary requirements for my admission. They paid my school fees each term. All through my high school life there was never a day that I was sent home because of a lack of school fees, LCC made sure that a check was ready at the beginning of every term. I am grateful. My four years in high school ended in the blink of an eye and it was time to leave in 2009. Thanks to LCC I was able to clear [complete] my high school level while many others had to drop out due to a lack of fees. Some used to miss a whole term due to a lack of fees, but that never happened to me. After school I had to find something to do. I went looking for a job at a nearby Conference Centre [Brackenhurst, where the Mississippi Team stays]. God is faithful, and I started there p10 | Spring 2014
as a casual employee. In 2011, I was employed on a permanent basis and, with a few savings, I did an advanced diploma in Business. I am still working at the Conference Center as a receptionist and am looking forward to continuing with my studies. This far I have come by the hand of God through His good servants – LCC and the Tigoni Scholarship Fund, who helped me when I had despair of ever getting a high school education. Hope was finally found and I could see a promising future. The encouragement I got from the LCC family is what has contributed to molding me to the person I am today. Thank you for helping a needy child without even knowing who I really am. Thank you for supporting me and having faith in me, I will forever be grateful to you for giving me a chance to go to school. May God give you the necessities to keep supporting other needy children who have promising futures. May the Almighty bless the work of your hands and peace be with you, always, now and forever, so that in all that you do, God’s name is magnified.”
Hannah Wairimu, 19, was a day student scholar from 2007 to 2012 when she came to live at LCC. She finished Umoja Primary School in 2010 and then went to St. Anthony’s Dressmaking and Knitting School, where she now has an attachment (internship). She will complete her attachment in July and will receive her certificate from St. Anthony’s in September. She plans to open a dressmaking shop in Limuru. Hannah radiates confidence in her sewing ability and has a bright future. “LCC has changed my life. Before I came to LCC, I had nothing, but now I will be leaving this place with my three certificates. So LCC helped me a lot,” said Hannah, who will have a Grade 3 Dressmaking Certificate. “I would like to thank all the Mississippi Team for their support. I would like also to say to the Team, ‘never give up’ because of these kinds
of things. The children love you and they need your support. Your help has brought me far,” said Hannah. “May God bless you and expand your territory,” she added. Hannah is already putting her skills to work to help at LCC. She made 28 uniform shorts for boys and 14 uniform dresses for girls in the LCC Preschool Program based on the LCC campus. She made these in the LCC Common Room, using a sewing machine provided by Global Connections funds. Hannah, whose secondary entrance exam scores made her eligible for continuing her education, chose to go to St. Anthony’s so she could learn a trade and help provide financial assistance to her mom.
Esther Wairimu of Limuru, 20, is beginning her third year at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Esther says, “Patrick (Mungai) is like my dad. I want to do well in school to please him. I just love him and appreciate all he’s done for me.” Esther was the recipient of an LCC Scholarship, continuing to live at home with her mother. She made a good score on the KCPE, the secondary school entrance exam and went to a girls boarding high school in Nairobi. “My mum died when I was in Class 4 (high school senior). I then lived with my aunt,” she said. “I would always bring my school reports to Patrick at LCC. When I was home for the holidays, I would try to help out at LCC doing whatever I could. My education has always been important to me, so I wanted to give back to LCC because it made my education possible,” explained Esther. “Patrick has been an encouragement to me even when I was no longer in the LCC Scholarship program,” added Esther, who raises funds for her education semester to semester through part-time work and the contributions of others. During her recent break from the university, she spent time at LCC helping set up the LCC Library.
With two years of university behind her, Esther possesses a keen hope for her future. “Throughout the years, I’ve felt that God has a big plan for me. It is important for me to do well. I want to be able to give back to LCC,” she said. She is majoring in accounting with an added emphasis in human resources management.
Philip Ng’ang’a Njau, 23, was also an LCC Scholarship recipient and has just recently received a diploma in Technology Aeronautical Engineering (Avionics Option). He received certificates from the Limuru Town Primary School and the Mururia Secondary School through the LCC Scholarship program. “I am so grateful for the support of the LCC Scholarship program which helped me complete my basic education,” said Philip during a visit to LCC. “It laid the groundwork for me to be in a position to go to college and earn the diploma I now have.” After completing his secondary school work, Philip attended the Mwathi Foundation Computer Training College, Lift College and then completed his diploma in Technology Aeronautical Engineering at the Technical University of Kenya. He has worked part-time jobs to help pay tuition for his post-secondary studies. “I am ambitious, self-motivated and can work under pressure with minimum supervision,” said Philip in his curriculum vitae profile. That’s exactly what he did as an avionic intern at Aircare Aero Services where his duties included preparing certificates of airworthiness, repairing faulty headsets in aircraft, cleaning aircraft equipment and much more. Philip is now seeking employment where he will be able to use his aeronautical skills.
Susan Echwa Nangorot, 18, came to LCC at age 17. Her father and mother work on the LCC Chicken Farm. “LCC has been a big help
to me,” said Susan. “It helped me to finish primary school and provided me food and clothes, in addition to an education. I’m happy for that.” She finished at Primary School and then completed Beauty Therapy and Hair Dressing School. “I plan to work hard in hair dressing so that I can earn money to go to high school. I have dreams of becoming a doctor or a journalist,” added Susan.
Daniel Mburu, 19, is from the small village of Molo. His sister, Esther Wairimu (not the Esther previously noted) is an LCC student who recently enrolled in Polytechnic studying vehicle mechanic. “My parents died while we were very young, so we are pure orphans. At home, we struggled a lot and had no one to take care of us. Fortunately, by God’s grace, the Limuru Children’s Centre came to our aid. LCC really added value to our lives and made us realize our destiny. May God bless the Mississippi Team for giving us courage and hope,” reflected Daniel. “When I came to LCC I joined the Limuru Mission Primary School, Class Six. I continued working hard at school until I cleared Class Eight. I did my Class Eight in 2011. After that I was taken to Kamirithu Polytechnic where I am studying to be a motor vehicle mechanic. With the knowledge and skills gained in this program, I’m now serving an attachment in a Limuru garage,” he said. Daniel likes socializing and making new friends. His dream is to become a mechanical engineer and he’s working hard toward achieving his dream. His dream will require him to complete secondary school.
LCC STATS EDUCATING: 223 children EMPLOYING: 23 adults
came to LCC in August 2000 and was a Class Five student. “I came because my mum, as a single parent, could not provide for my basic needs, but at least she could put food on the table for my younger siblings and me. I am so grateful that LCC was able to take me through primary school, high school, and God willing, I will be able to enroll in college very soon,” explained Caroline. “LCC and Global Connections have also worked hard to help me get better medical attention due to my allergy. I now have clear vision, but I do go to the hospital from time to time for an eye check up,” she said. Caroline also shared about her experience living at LCC. “LCC has been my home and I’ve really enjoyed being here. I have learned a lot from everyone. There is love and care and parental understanding. But, above all, the presence of God is truly in this place. Without Him, there is nothing that we can really accomplish.” Caroline said, in expressing appreciation, “Thanks to God and to Global Connections. May God bless you all as we celebrate this wonderful milestone. I love you all!”
Gilbert Ng’ang’a Kuria, who was an LCC Scholarship recipient, completed a diploma in pharmacy from the Kenya Medical Training College in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2012. He sent a card to LCC which said, “Heartfelt thanks. Words are often inadequate to express my joy for your invaluable help, support and patience. I say thank you for being there during my time of need. God bless you so much.”
LCC FULLY SUPPORTING:
• 56 children
75 families to allow children to remain with their families in the village (LCC providing educational fees)
(Ages infant—19) • 42 children living at
p11 | Spring 2014
FOLLOWING A CALL Before I share my most recent experience in Kenya, I have to share how I came to my decision to return. When I was asked to go with a very small group in January, I was immediately drawn to the idea. There was only one problem. I would leave behind my 20-month-old daughter for a few weeks, by far the longest I had left her. Although my husband was in full support, many close friends and family were not. Still, I felt that I needed to go visit my Godchild, Gladys, to support and encourage her in her studies. She would soon sit for her high school admission exam. If she did not make the “marks”, she would be unable to attend high school. It felt as if I was choosing one child over another, making the entire decision a gut-wrenching process.
Coming to a Big Decision: I struggled with the decision for over a month. I thought about it night and day. I was the only one who had not bought a ticket. In the final week I began to intensely seek God’s answer. Driving to work Monday I told God I needed a clear answer. That afternoon I mentioned to a close friend that I wished I could just pick up a crossword puzzle and it would just have ‘G’ and ‘O’ on it. Just after hanging up the phone, my daughter Lea, who knew very few words at the time, was riding in the backseat and yelled “GO!” I responded and said: “Yes, Go Dawgs Go!” (We had been working on this). Then I turned around and looked at her and asked: “What did you say?” Was the one person I was afraid to leave giving me permission to go? I didn’t know what to think. Later, I spoke with a godly woman from my church
Florence and Linda who told me to ask God to confirm it by two or three other people. That sounded like good idea, but I didn’t ask Him right away. On Wednesday, I met with a friend who went to Kenya with her husband last summer leaving their two small children home. We had a great lunch, but there was no obvious confirmation during the meeting. I was down and confused. The next morning, I finally decided to ask God to confirm my decision in two or three people. Within five minutes, I received a text message from my husband, Bo, with a devotion talking about God’s whispers. Within a few minutes my close friend Anna had emailed me a devotional reminding me to look to God and trust Him. Not an hour later, my friend Katie texted me with yet another devotional on having faith. At this point, it was obvious. I felt like God had quit whispering and was now yelling. I had gotten my three confirmations and I was ready to GO!
Top row: Estther, Maureen, Martha, Lucy, Mary, Florence, Julia, Esther Bottom row: Linda, Kimberly, Christine, Caroline
p12 | Spring 2014
We arrived without incident. On the way to Brackenhurst, Patrick, the director of Limuru Children’s Centre, explained that 6 boarders did not make the “marks” to attend high school. He was frustrated, discouraged, and didn’t know what to do. I knew immediately that I was supposed to be there; thinking only of my Godchild’s education at the time. We then reunited with our LCC family. I was amazed at the beautiful young woman Gladys had become. She’d made significant improvements in her studies and had been moved to a school with a better educational structure so that she could continue to improve, which was great news! She seemed to be valuing her education. All the letters I had sent over the past several years had sunk in and she was taking the right steps toward her future. With that in mind, I had to ask myself, “What am I going to do for the next two weeks?” As the day unfolded, I began to see that Gladys was only a small part of why I was there. As the team met with Patrick he explained the Kenyan educational system, their culture, and
the options for those who had failed their exam. We realized that their next steps didn’t matter unless they were walking with God. Did these girls know their heavenly Father? Did they know how to seek his peace and direction for their lives? We wanted them to know how much God loved them and that there was no test that had to be passed in order to gain his approval. Each day we spent time encouraging and loving them. All of my experience as a children’s minister, a parent, a sister, and as a friend came into use as I labored to serve these special daughters of God. Many different aspects of the identity God had blessed me with throughout the course of my life had equipped me for these two weeks. Unconditional love for a child is unexplainable and can only be lived. I adopted 10 more girls on this trip. Not officially, or even as a Godparent, but spiritually. A connection was made that will bind them to me in thought and prayer as often as I think of my own Godchild, and perhaps even my own child. The conditions that these girls live with are too much to explain in this letter and can hardly be understood by those of us who live with all of the amenities of the West. I often struggle to understand why my life is comfortable while others are born into terrible situations of disease, abuse, or abandonment. How can we explain the Father’s love to a child without a father or mother? I believe this is our call as Godparents - to show them this love. We asked each of the girls if she knew how much her Godparent loved her; and each one, with a big smile said: “Yes!”
Gladys and Kimberly
I want to personally thank all of the Godparents who love and support these children. As my husband likes to say, “We can’t change the world, but we can change the world for one person”. I also want to thank Anna Terry for the vision you had for this program and Linda Mitchell for keeping it going strong. What a gift it is to be a parent in any shape or form. I am so thankful for the opportunity. In Christ’s Love,
p13 | Spring 2014
CAN YOU HELP? Dear Global Connections Friends, Godparents, Donors and Supporters,
We need your help! January is the beginning of the school year for our kids at the LCC and this is the first time our team has witnessed first hand all the responsibility that Patrick, Maureen, Esther and the House Moms and Dad have to do to get our kids ready! Our team spent several days taking the kids to get their school books, measured for uniforms, taking them for interviews and tours of the poly-tech campus. The weight of responsibility for each child’s future becomes blazingly obvious during this time of year. Big decisions are needing to be made. We hope that we are making the best choice so each of our LCC children benefit, learn, grow and build the foundation for their future. Patrick has made the decision to pull 9 of the children attending ‘free’ public school out because there are 50-60 kids to each teacher. Based on the scores of our boarding students versus these kids — the boarders are doing significantly better on pivotal national exams. Moving these 9 students into boarding schools will allow them to stay closer to the LCC and avoid dangerous
commutes to and from school. Those of you who have visited Limuru understand the safety concerns for children walking to and from school. Our team has been mentoring our LCC girls and took several of them to tour the poly-tech school that offers courses in: hospitality/catering, sewing and fashion design, beauty, computer technology, electrical, mechanical and construction. Several have decided based on discussions with Patrick and Maureen and last years school marks, that tech school would be a better option. The GC team took the girls to get the boarding needs which include mattress, sheets, toiletries, books, and uniforms. January’s visit has opened our eyes even more to the importance that must be put on the education of our kids. Our Misssissippi Team’s summer trips with new back packs, pj’s, hats, soccer balls, birthday celebration, and Misssissippi Day is always fun and something our LCC and the community look forward. But, if we’re really going to make a difference, we need to make the best choice for each child when it comes to education.
This is where you come in... there has been a recent 16% price increase on food across the board. Moving our 9 students out of a 5060 student classroom into boarding schools, identifying opportunities with our students for technical education vs. traditional schooling — all comes at a cost. Our Godparents are instrumental supporting their child’s monthly expenses. But, our costs have gone up yet our $100 monthly donation remains the same…could you give more? Our supporters who make yearly contributions or our Gift of Hope donors ...could you give more? Our GC friends who follow our updates on our website, Facebook page and newsletter who haven’t donated but have thought about it ...could you start? Could we all share what we know about the Limuru Children’s Centre with our friends, families, church groups, rotary clubs, women’s group, supper clubs etc?
For the sake of the children in our care, I hope the answer is Yes.
Poly Technical Students St. Stephens Students p14 | Spring 2014
PAT’S FEEDING PROGRAM PERSEVERES FOR 20 YEARS Pat Dixson’s feeding program has been providing food for the elderly, poor, and HIV positive women in Limuru, Kenya, for 20 years. And, Pat has no intention of stopping it any time soon. Pat, assisted by long-time volunteers Peter, Francis and others, provides basic food supplies to over 400 individuals every two weeks throughout the year. The food supplies distributed include: maize meal, beans, corn, rice, one loaf of bread, animal fat, matches, paper to start fires, and 100 schillings (about 83 cents) for them to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, Pat also collects used clothing she secures from friends and churches and distributes the items occasionally at the feeding program. Many of the food recipients walk long distances to pick up these needed supplies. Pat also provides notes to physicians when asked, so those who seriously need medical attention can receive it. Pat is dedicated to this humanitarian service and works diligently to maintain funding to sustain the feeding program. Global Connections and Mississippi Team members support this program,
which can always use more funding as Pat continues to encounter increasing costs. In addition to operating this feeding program, Pat continues to provide assistance to several preschools, helps with LCC, and with many other charitable projects. She always seems to find a way to support those projects which make a difference in the lives of those they touch. While Pat sometimes comes across as a bit intimidating, her heart is big, kind and caring. Pat models the spirit of Proverbs 31:20:
“SHE OPENS HER ARMS
TO THE POOR AND EXTENDS HER HANDS
TO THE NEEDY.” Linda Holden and Pat Dixson
p15 | Spring 2014
NON P ROF I T ORG U.S. POSTAGE
PA ID Columbus, MS
GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Rethinking Humanitarian Aid
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED Global Connec tions P O B o x 96 3 0 C o l u m b u s , M S 3970 5
In f o @ G l o b al C onn e c t i on s O nlin e.or g w w w.f a c e b o o k .c om /gl o b al c onn e c t i on s .or g 6 62. 327.4 676
Global Connections has a new look! www.globalconnectionsonline.us
In This Issue 2 3 5 6 8 9 10 12 14 15
| | | | | | | | | |
Global Connections Update Viewpoint Importance of Family LCC Teachers Christmas in Kenya? Baby Home LCC Scholarship Recipients Following a Call Can You Help? Patâ€™s Feeding Program