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A Desperate Call for Help

Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries

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Several years ago I came to the conclusion that living a fulfilling life has nothing to do with gathering possessions or being driven to succeed. While some people measure success by the number of acres they own or the houses they have in various countries, there is more to life that counts for eternity rather than the pocket book. Following the death of our son Bryce, God gave me a vision for a program to assist children that the world would consider to be “underdogs.” This has brought our family true blessings.

The Bryce Homes International Program is now in its 11th year. Starting with one facility and 20 children in one country there are now over 70 Bryce Homes in six countries assisting well over 250 children. As God’s people catch the vision the program continues to expand.

As I write this commentary I am in the country of Kenya which I have now visited 7 times. Our Bryce Homes Program continues to grow here in a miraculous way that only can be described as a miracle of God. Several of the widows and their families who have been with us from 2011 are now well on the road towards self-sufficiency. Not only these widows have testified that through their desperation and the support that was offered to them when they were hopeless brought them to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now they have the vision to reach out and help others around them who remain hopeless because of their desperation. They know Jesus Christ as their Savior not only spiritually but also physically. I heard these testimonies today and have recorded them on video in case you may think I am exaggerating. My heart has been touched when I have visited widows and their children before. Today, I was shaken as never before. Maybe it takes time to ask the right questions as widows very seldom will tell you their problems unless you inquire. In order to keep this commentary short I will give you one example. In other commentaries I will add more.

Widow Phoebe was added to our program to replace another widow who married a man that had offered to provide for her family. Of course, young women in the 20’s and 30’s who have been widowed are not done living. We welcome this step as long as they marry a Godly man.

Further, in Kenya, while becoming a widow is difficult enough, there is another factor that must be understood. When women lose their husbands, the husbands relatives immediately delegate the young lady to a lower class, based on tribal and cultural beliefs. Brother-in-laws that are often drunkards demand to marry them for the convenience of another sex partner and when that fails they demand the widow get off what they say is their inherited property. When the poor widow refuses to move the so-called relatives threaten her life with murder.

This was the testimony of Widow Phoebe. She and her four children live in a one room mud hut with one bed (the name of the area is withheld). When I looked in the shack I saw a hen laying an egg on the only bed in the single room. The children had to sleep on rags that Phoebe collected at the dump because they did not have a single mattress. The roof is full of holes and leaks like a sieve when it rains. In Kenya it rains almost every night.

The view from the front of Phoebe’s shack is very impressive. In fact, I commented while I was there that she could sell the view to people who were building mansions in North America for a million dollars or more. However, the burden she was bearing due to her situation and the threats on her life were unbearable for any human.

How can this be in God’s creation? Isn’t there any justice? Obviously not in a fallen world. Satan hates mankind and is the father or lies, disease, death and man’s fallen nature. But the fact remains, here was a 25 year-old Christian women who had lost her husband, her reputation and was slandered as her children were starving.

I was reminded of a statement my own dad made when I was a young boy. He wanted me to be a farmer and I wanted to be a medical doctor. He said he had chosen the farming profession because he found it easier to deal with nature than human nature. Years of living have proved this statement he made to be very accurate.

Now for the crux of this commentary. We cannot solve every problem for every Christian widow in Kenya who is living in absolute poverty and despair. But we can make a small difference, one by one. The proof is verified by testimony and happy faces that praised their Lord for what He has done. The first step will be to find property with land for a house and garden. The second will be to build a home that we can construct for the amount of money most people spend on eating out in one year or attending sports events.

Last year we found a widow in the exact situation as Phoebe. This year instead of stepping into her mud shack we met with her in her new home containing furniture, a kitchen, and beds provided by supporters of the Bryce Homes Kenya Program. She also has a latrine and takes a shower in private rather than trying to hide in the bush as neighbors pass by and peek through the branches.

If it were possible to convey to you in words my joy as I write this commentary I certainly would. I am unable. Perhaps someday you will travel with me to Kenya and experience what I experienced today and see the hand of God in action. If you can’t afford the trip, later I will be posting the video of her testimony which I am trying to communicate.

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