Bryce Homes in
Kenya – Water Filtration for All, Small Business Project Going Well, the Threat
of Disease, and More
We are happy to
report that all of the twenty-four Bryce
Homes in Kenya now have water filtration
systems. Understand the Times began to
place water filtration units in each
Bryce Home in June after Roger Oakland,
founder and director of Understand the
Times, returned from visiting the homes
this past spring. Many of the children
and widows were suffering with disease
and sickness because of unclean and
contaminated water. In a June report,
It became apparent that one of the
greatest needs for our widows and their
families was water—both uncontaminated
drinking water and water for other basic
needs (bathing, washing clothing, etc.).
Where our families live in a remote
area, they are required to walk long
distances to get water from streams,
ponds, or community boreholes and then
carry the water in five-gallon pails
back to their houses. Not only is there
the problem of the water source being a
long distance away, such water also
contains many pathogens that are the
cause of serious life-threatening
Understand the Times was able to obtain water
filtration systems from a company called Sawyer that provides such filters to
many organizations that help the poor around the world. The Sawyer filters are
inexpensive yet durable and easy to use. Thanks to Understand the Times and
Lighthouse Trails readers, we have been able to purchase enough systems so that
each of the Bryce Homes in Kenya have one. In addition to the water filtration
systems, the families will all be receiving a water collection system as we have
mentioned in the past. Some of the families already have them, and we hope all
the families will have them soon. This allows for the collection of rain water
that can be used for drinking, bathing, cooking, and personal hygiene
Small Business Opportunity (SBO)
We are also pleased to report that all of the Bryce Home widows now are
participating in the Small Business Opportunity (SBO) program started by UTT.
The small home-based businesses are up and running. As we have explained in
other reports, UTT gives each widow $75 as a start up amount. She, in turn, buys
raw materials or finished goods that she sells. Florence 2, the overseer of the
project (and one of the Bryce widows), checks in regularly with each widow to
talk about the progress and to remind the widows to save enough of their
earnings to turn around and buy more material or product. The testimonies coming
in from the widows have been wonderful. Each of them is testifying how this and
the other Bryce Home projects have changed their entire family life. And best of
all, when we hear these testimonies, they give the glory and thanks to God.
Solar Panel For Pastor Achilla
We are grateful for some special donations that came in that helped to pay for a
new solar panel system for Pastor Achilla’s house. The decision was made to
purchase the system after he had gone without electricity for several weeks,
making extreme hardship not just for his family but also for the Bryce Home
project. Being as Pastor Achilla is the head director of the program, it is
essential that he be able to use his computer and also have light in his home.
During any given week, many people come by Pastor Achilla’s house for some kind
of assistance or to have a meal. We have found Pastor Achilla to be a very kind
and giving man, and we are glad we were able to help set him up with solar
energy. As God provides, we would like to see all of the Bryce Homes have solar
panels in the future. Currently, most of them do not have any form of electrical
or solar power.
Vitamin C And Ebola
As you can imagine, many of the Bryce Home families suffer from poor health.
Most of the widows became widowed after their husbands died of AIDS. Needless to
say, some of the Bryce Home widows (and children too) have HIV. For privacy
sake, we don’t mention which ones do, but even if that wasn’t an issue, there is
the ongoing threat of disease and sickness to all of the families. After hearing
that Vitamin C could possibly help those with Ebola, we decided to try to make
sure that the Bryce Home families each had a small stock of Vitamin C if they
became sick with Ebola or other similar diseases. While we know that this is not
a sure cure, it is an affordable and easy-to-obtain substance that can help
improve the overall health and immune system.
Please join us in prayer as we ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance in moving
into the next stages of development for the Bryce Homes in Kenya. It was just
about 3 years ago that the project was launched after Roger Oakland made a trip
to Kenya where he saw the tremendous and dire need in the lives of these
Christian families in Kenya. Since then, twenty-four families have become Bryce
Homes in Kenya. New houses have been built, clothes and bedding purchased,
family agriculture developed, latrines have been built, cookstoves and stove
pipes installed in all the new homes, and much more. And best of all, the widows
and children are being taught the Word of God by Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson,
and other area pastors who have discernment; and many in the community are
turning to the Lord in seeing His goodness and mercy. What many of them are
saying now is, “God has not forgotten us.”
For those who may not realize it, this project is supported solely by UTT and LT
readers. If you would like to help support these dear families,
click here to go
to the Understand the Times donation page for the Bryce Homes in Kenya. There is a short piece,
answering some questions about the program. Also
check out our newest slideshow (see below) for recent photos of the Bryce Homes
in Kenya. And thank you for your prayers and support.
Five Things You Might Be Wondering
1. Does the Bryce Home project have a U.S. building that it must maintain?
Answer: No, there are no U.S. overhead building costs whatsoever.
2. Does the Bryce Home project have a staff
it must pay?
Answer: The pastors in Kenya who run the program are compensated for their
time, but there is no paid staff in the U.S. or Canada.
3. How much of the donations from Lighthouse
Trails and Understand the Times go directly to the Christians in Kenya who are
in the Bryce Home project?
Answer: 100% of the donations received
4. How much accountability is there in the
Bryce Home project?
Answer: Roger Oakland, director of Understand the Times and founder of the
Bryce Homes International, travels to Kenya once or twice a year where he meets
with the three Kenyan men (Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter) who are
running the program from Kenya. He also meets with each Bryce Home family during
these visits. In addition, both he and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have
regular communication through the year.
5. Is there an emphasis on teaching the Word
of God to the Bryce Home widows and children?
Answer: Definitely. While the program does put donations toward practical
needs such as housing, food, clothing, water purification, latrines, standard
education for the children, and start up money for agriculture and other
businesses for the widows, there is regular instruction in the Word of God
presented by Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, Pastor Lawrence, and Pastor Daniel.
While visiting our Bryce Homes in Kenya
in March of 2014, it became apparent that one of the greatest needs for
our widows and their families was water—both uncontaminated drinking
water and water for other basic needs (bathing, washing clothing, etc.).
Where our families live in a remote area, they are required to walk long
distances to get water from streams, ponds, or community boreholes and
then carry the water in five-gallon pails back to their houses. Not only
is there the problem of the water source being a long distance away,
such water also contains many pathogens that are the cause of serious
It was also obvious to me that there was
a very doable solution to this problem. When I returned from Kenya, we
reported on the need to collect water from the roofs of the newly
constructed houses that our donors have helped to build. Since then, in
these past three months, we have been able to construct three
water-collecting systems that cost approximately $500 each. Eve troughs
collect water runoff when it rains that is then drained into large clean
plastic tanks that store the water. The tanks are situated at the corner
of each house, and the water can be obtained by opening a valve whenever
Below are the photographs of the three
widows and the water-collecting systems that have been constructed so
Widows Finter, Terri, and Benedetta are
overjoyed and very appreciative for the way the new water-collecting
systems have transformed their lives. The following is a short testimony
that Finter sent to us through Pastor Achilla, which expresses her
appreciation in her own words:
I am glad and glorify the Lord Jesus for
provision of this water tank. It has enabled my family to get clean rain
water for drinking. Because of this, the common infections brought on by
water-borne diseases, especially cholera and dysentery, have ceased.
Myself and the children have now been
relieved from the burden of transporting water from the river using
buckets carried on the head. Simply, it has given us peace.
The people in the village have also
surprised us as many come to request even a glass of rain water to
quench their thirst and even to take with them to their homes. I have
always given the testimony of God's favor whenever people come for
This provision of the Lord has reminded
me of the LIFE GIVING WATER which our Lord Jesus gave to the Samaritan
woman (John 4:14). May the Lord be glorified. Amen. Thank you to all the
people who have stood with me. May God do to you the same as you did to
me. By doing God will’s, may He reward you all.
God bless you all,
In the future, as funds become
available, we have plans to construct more of these water-collection
systems in the remaining Bryce homes that we have built with metal
roofs. In the meantime, we are working on a plan to supply Sawyer water-
treatment/filtration systems so that all of our 24 homes will have a way
to purify water for drinking.
During the month of June, Pastor Achilla
and an associate will be picking up 10 of these units from a supplier in
Nairobi. At the same time, they will receive instructions on how to
maintain the units so that clean and uninfected drinking water will be
available for these 10 homes. The remaining 14 homes will also receive
these same units as soon as possible.
Finter’s testimony perfectly fulfills
the vision Understand The Times and Lighthouse Trails have for our Kenya
Bryce Homes Program. While we feel compelled to let our readers know
about the physical needs our families face and come alongside and assist
them, this is only part of our goal. More important is the fact that
these families are now sharing the light of the gospel to those who live
nearby, and the love of God is spreading to others.
In a future report, I will be sharing an
update about our Small Business Opportunity Program for widows. For as
little as $70 per widow, we are able to provide seed funds to the widows
who will be able to start a small business which provides an avenue
We thank all those who have partnered
with us in the Bryce Homes Kenya Program. When we first met the widows
and children who were to become the Bryce Home families, most of these
widows were living in mud shacks with grass roofs (that leaked badly
during rainy seasons) or old deteriorated plaster houses that also
leaked. The floors were dirt, and both the children and mothers did not
have adequate beds and blankets and often had only one meal a day.
Cooking was done in an open fire on the dirt floor (which caused a
terrible fire-threat and respiratory problems because of the smoke). The
children’s clothing were little more than rags, and most of them
couldn’t attend school because they had no government-required
Today, the lives of these Christian
widows and children have completely changed. This is an incredible
testimony of the Lord’s goodness and mercy. And your support has made
the success of this program possible.
Please scroll down to read all of the reports.
Report 11 Final Report
From the Kibera Slums to a Homa Bay
Another chapter of
our Bryce Homes Kenya story relates to an amazing transition that has
occurred for Pastor Vitalis and his family who have spent years in the
Kibera slums of Nairobi living in deplorable conditions and
circumstances. I met Pastor Vitalis for the first time when I arrived at
the Nairobi International airport on my first trip to Kenya in November
of 2011. As I had a layover of several hours before connecting with a
flight to Kisimu, Pastor Achilla had arranged for Pastor Vitalis to meet
and help me make my connection from one terminal to another.
Pastor Vitalis was
my first contact with anyone from Kenya. He told me about his experience
living with his wife and large family in a mud shack in the slums of
Kibera. At the time, we were in the process of considering expanding our
Bryce Homes Program to Kenya. He showed me a photo of where he lived and
the number of children he was caring for, most of them orphans whose
parents had been killed by the tribal massacres that had devastated
Kenya as the result of a recent political election.
We had a meal
together which brought up the topic of food. When I asked him how he was
able to cope with such a large family living in the poverty conditions
he had described, he opened up and gave me more details. “At best, there
is only enough food to have one meal a day”, he said. Then he made a
statement that I will never forget: “We usually eat some rice or beans
just before we lie down at night so that hunger pains do not keep us
The following year
on my second trip to Kenya when I was accompanied by my friend Byron
Hardy from Canada, our connection from Nairobi to Kisimu was not
scheduled until the following afternoon. This gave us time to get some
rest as well as an opportunity to meet with Pastor Vitalis and his
family in the Kibera slums. As his family had become part of our program
by then, I wanted to see for myself the conditions they were living in
and how we could help them.
Pastor Vitalis met
us at our hotel, and after we hired a driver, we headed off to the
Kibera area, which was about thirty minutes away from where we were
staying. Finally we arrived and found a place to park. Both Byron and I
were somewhat hesitant about stepping out of the vehicle. I have been to
many slum areas before in other parts of the world. What I was seeing
with my own eyes this time was as if I had landed on another planet.
We walked through the winding trails
over very rough terrain. It was difficult to navigate the open streams
of sewage that flowed everywhere. Garbage was strewn everywhere although
in a few places it was concentrated in open piles. As Byron and I were
the only white people in the area, we felt somewhat conspicuous. Finally
we arrive at the Vitalis home. The door was a sheet that provided
privacy from the outside world. Inside there was another sheet dividing
the mud hut into two rooms. Byron and I were offered the two chairs that
were in the one room. We were asked to sit down and were offered a
sliced bread. The children crowded around, and the entire family was
As Pastor Vitalis
had been part of our program for over a year, I was able to ask him some
questions regarding what differences his family had experienced. As I
looked around from the location where we were doing the interview, a
myriad of thoughts flooded my mind. While we were attempting to come
alongside and make a small difference, the impact on the lives of this
family was of paramount importance. Then I thought about the area where
we live in Canada and the United States and the luxuries of life
everyone takes for granted. Then I thought out loud: if only I could
transport some of the people who live in abundance to this location so
they could see, hear, and smell the sights of the slums of Kibera.
Wouldn’t they be willing to invest just a cup of coffee per day to
assist a Christian family in need who lives in these conditions?
God Answers Prayer
Moving Pastor Vitalis and his large
family of 16, which includes 10 orphans that he and his wife provide
care, has been on our list of things to accomplish in Kenya for some
time. When Lighthouse Trails and Understand The Times decided to do a
special fundraising program in
December of 2013
focused on adding latrines and new homes, moving Pastor Vitalis and his
family out of Nairobi became a priority. As Pastor Vitalis was born in
the Homa Bay area and grew up there, he was known to the chief in that
region. When he inquired about the possibility of moving back, it was a
matter of him making a trip to see the chief and securing a deed for a
plot of land.
Once the land was
secured, plans could proceed with the building of a home when funds
became available. When our donors heard about this need, they responded,
and we were able to go ahead with construction. Pastor Achilla traveled
to the site and hired a builder to clear the property of bush
and start the project.
When I arrived in
Nairobi on my March 2014 trip, Pastor Achilla met me, and we spent the
night in a hotel. The following morning Pastor Vitalis and four of his
children met me at the hotel, and we discussed the upcoming move to Homa
Bay. They were enthusiastic about the move, which should occur around
the middle of April. All sixteen children will be registering in a new
school located near their new house.
On my final full
day of touring the Bryce Homes, we were able to
start early in the morning and drive to the location where Pastor Vitalis’ new house is presently under construction. While we first
travelled towards Homa Bay then northward to the location by a paved
road, eventually we branched off to a dirt side trail. After what seemed
like an eternity, we approached the site where construction of the new
Vitalis home was taking place. As we got closer, I could see that the
area looked like a paradise compared to the Kibera slums where they are
Vitalis’ house is partially constructed, it will only take a matter of
another couple of weeks to complete the process. Wooden poles are dug
into the soil and provide the structure for the walls. Smaller branches
are attached to both sides of the vertical poles.
Metal sheets supported by wooden rafters
form the roof. Then water is mixed with dirt to make mud that forms the
walls and floor. Finally when the mud dries, plaster is made from mixing
cement, sand, and water, and the walls and floors are coated. Windows
and a single door are added, then the house is complete.
When the house is
finished, it will be painted inside and outside so that it will be
white. As well, a latrine/shower will be built on the property, a cook
stove and chimney will be installed, and eventually eves troughs will be
added to capture water off the roof for storage in a large plastic tank.
surrounding the home where Pastor Vitalis and his family will live is
extremely fertile. Fruit and vegetables can be grown, and livestock can
provide meat, milk, and eggs. In the near future, the family will be
able to participate in a small business program and work towards
self-sufficiency. Pastor Vitalis can start a Christian fellowship in the
area and spread the gospel.
What a Miracle!
from hell to paradise, from the Nairobi Kibera slums to a fertile area
near Homa Bay, from my perspective is a modern-day miracle. While some
may insist that miracles require demon deliverance, being raised from
the dead, or cured of a terminal disease, the Vitalis family story shows
me God can be involved in changing impossible situations to bring hope
and a real difference in people’s lives. While this story is just one
example, it reveals how God is working in Kenya through the Bryce Homes
Kenya Program. This is God at work in a supernatural way using ordinary
people and ordinary circumstances.
Now think of this!
There are also 23 other Bryce Homes in Kenya that have their stories to
tell. On this trip, I made the decision to increase the number of Bryce
Homes from 20 to 24. This means there are now over 150 lives being
impacted that can share testimonies about the goodness of Jesus and the
difference the Bryce Homes Program has made to their lives.
Is it possible this
is only the beginning and that God has a plan for us to share this
vision on an even broader scale? As support is provided from individuals
and churches who seriously care about missions, we are committed to
follow the Lord, wherever and however He leads.
Kenya Report 10
The Bryce Homes in Kenya are not all located
in one concentrated area. At present, there are twenty of them scattered
in the area. As you can understand
administering a program to widows and families in such an expansive
region is characterized by many difficulties. However, this is how our
Bryce Home Kenya administration team has set up the program. This
expansive outreach spreads out the support and gives opportunity to
share the gospel over a wide area. This is the vision of the Bryce Homes
Kenya program incorporated from the beginning.
The families situated in the area
are all located within a few miles of each other. The widows and the
children in this area are regular attendees of Pastor Achilla’s or
Pastor Nelson’s churches. Delivering food to them is not such a huge
task. In every case, a vehicle carrying supplies is able to drive close
to the homes to make the drop off. In a few cases, the driver has to
make a detour from a trail and head across an open field or pasture
dodging the odd tree or large rock. Delivery of monthly food supplies
can be accomplished in several hours.
Not so for two homes or the six homes clustered in the
area. To reach these eight homes all in one day is a challenge. There
are three major obstacles – the roads that are not fit for vehicles, the
cows and goats who share these trails, and the weather. While the first
20 miles of the trip can be made on a modern paved road, this
is the only portion of the trip that is reasonable. The
road branches off and becomes a winding trail where drivers do their
best to navigate rock piles, cows, and washouts that act as speed bumps
and hinder speed beyond a few miles per hour.
However, these goat trails, as I call them,
remain passable as long as it has not rained recently. There is still
another major hazard. My experience has shown me as the result of
several of these trips, if there are dark clouds forming in the sky, you
better be prepared for a flash flood as small lakes of water and rivers
form in seconds making your way impassable.
As it is not possible to carry thousands of
pounds of supplies on the backs of a few men to their final
destinations, the drivers are determined to transform their vehicles
into “boats” and treacherously proceed crossing huge mud holes and small
Finally, after encountering several of these
“near-stuck” experiences, the delivery mission finally reaches its
destination and the goods are dropped off. In some cases, it is just
impossible to reach the vicinity of the home by vehicle and Nelson,
Achilla, and Walter load the bags on their backs and carry them by hand.
On occasion, motor bike drivers come along and help carry the supplies
on the final leg. All in all, monthly deliveries are riddled with adversity and hardship and always take more time than
expected. If you start out at sunrise, you can expect it will be after
sunset by the time the days activities end.
Perhaps as you read through this report, you
are asking the question: If there are plenty of widows and orphans in
more accessible regions, why would you choose to
travel into the wilderness into areas that are nearly impossible to
reach? I have to admit, after my first experience of being shook up and
thrown around in the front seat of a van for over 12 hours, I was asking
the same question. However, now after seeing what God is doing in these
remote areas, I have a new outlook and have grown to appreciate these
widows who were chosen to be part of the Bryce Homes Program because God
is not a respecter of persons including whether or not they live in
In fact, it seems God is blessing the widows because they have suffered even
greater hardship because of the location in which they live. Pastor
Achilla, who himself was born and raised in the Kenya, has felt a
responsibility to assist widows and children who have been left
fatherless from the very beginning of the program.
I will never forget the first time I visited
Kenya. When we arrived, we were met by
a large group of children and about twenty widowed mothers who were
singing songs welcoming us.
Most of the widows and orphans gathered
there that day had never seen a white person before. However, in their
desperation, they sensed that God had not forgotten them in their misery
and that possible help was on the way. While their hopes and dreams may
have seemed impossible at that time, we have now seen God’s hands at
work. Through Lighthouse Trails and Understand The Times, donors
worldwide have caught the vision and assisted us so we have been able to
supply food for eight families on a monthly basis as well as build six
new homes and six new outdoor showers and latrines in the region.
Testimony frShow Miracles
All six widows sponsored
shared testimonies that revealed how thankful they are to God for
answering their prayers. Isolated in a remote area when they were forced
into a situation to look after their children alone was an unbearable
situation. Because other families living in the community were as poor
and desperate as they were, there was no way to reach out and ask for
Chief Jared, who oversees the community,
made a special trip to the area and followed us around as we visited each
home. As an appointed representative to the community by the Kenyan
government, he told us that what he has observed and reported is being
discussed by many other communities and true Christianity is being
observed in action.
As previously reported, there are a number
of projects we are praying about for the Bryce Homes Program in Kenya.
These include capturing water from roofs in storage tanks, water
treatment in order to purify drinking water and implementing small
business opportunities so families can work towards self-sufficiency.
This will make a huge difference and will open up the
possibility that more widows and orphans can be added to the program.
As well, we have a plan to add a
pastor/evangelist devoted to teaching the Bible and being a spiritual
leader for all of the families in the area. In the near future, we have
plans to build a small church so that families can gather to worship. By
a church, I am not referring to an elaborate building with stain-glass
windows and a paved parking lot.
A wonderful miracle is underway in the area. May God continue to pour out His blessings as the months go by
as prayers continue to be answered and the gospel continues to be
spread. My heart has been touched by what I have seen and heard and am
committed to tell others so that they know about the good work God is
doing through the Bryce Homes Kenya Program.
Widows to Become Self-Sufficient
Life in Kenya is difficult enough. However,
when a mother who has several children loses her husband to the ravaging
disease known as AIDS (or some other all-too-common disease in Africa),
her life becomes a horror story. Imagine if you can what happens when
the man who fathered your children and provided food and shelter for
your family suddenly dies and you are left alone. How does a widowed
woman, who barely survived before the death of her husband,
continue to live and support her children when she is on her own? Can
you image the despair and hopelessness that overcomes her?
Families with widows as the only parent
brought about by AIDS makes up 60% of the population according to one
government official. Worse yet, in many
cases both parents have been wiped out by this disease and grandmothers
who are also single are called upon to raise their grandchildren. They
have no income, no food, and no way to make their quality of life
While there are government agencies and
global fundraising organizations dedicated to looking for solutions to
the problem of AIDS, the fact is, there are a myriad of widows left
helpless in dire situations. Families go to bed every night hungry and
crying for food. The clothes they wear are nothing but torn rags. They
huddle under thatched leaky roofs when it rains and shiver on mud floors
without any mats of blankets so that sleep is impossible. Such is the
life of countless fatherless families who belong to the family of God
and the body of Jesus Christ in Kenya.
The widows in the Rarea that God has called us to reach out to and care for are all
Christians. When we met them, they were regular attendees of Pastor Achilla’s church or cared for by associate pastors who volunteered their
services to care for those more needier than themselves. Pastor Achilla
is well known in this region, not only as a man of God but a man who has
great compassion for the poor and needy. Whenever and wherever I have
traveled with him, people approach him and greet him. He is a true
pastor that makes people a priority and loves and cares for those in
Before we partnered with Achilla and his
team, he was already doing all that he could to encourage widows.
Numbers were being added to his small congregation on a weekly basis.
The burden to minister to their needs seemed like an insurmountable and
It was this attitude and vision that caught
my attention in November of 2011. The Bible encourages members of the
family of God to reach out and care for widows and orphans and respond
accordingly. In the book of James, chapter one and verse 27, we read:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit
the fatherless and widows in their affliction….”
Such a concept is a foreign idea for most
churches and church leaders today. Their concept of spending the
resources they have been given by their supporters usually goes towards
buildings and empires that can be seen as marks of success. Missions
programs that invest in lives far away are not good “business”
decisions. “Real religion” in the modern world has turned God’s Word
upside down. It is more about “more for us” and less and less for
others. Widows and orphans are forgotten about and ignored.
This westernized mentality that drives the
purpose-driven, church-growth mindset has always troubled me. For years,
I thought and prayed about how this could be changed. Then there was a
breakthrough. As our ministry was in the process of moving towards our
Bryce Homes International Program that was born in 2006 in memory of my
son Bryce, it seemed that a partnership with Pastor Achilla and his team
in Kenya would be a perfect fit to fulfill God’s calling upon my life.
This partnership, which later expanded to include the promotion by and
support of Lighthouse Trails, has now proven itself for over three and
one half years.
The Road from Dependency to Self-Sufficiency
However, when God is truly in the lead, one
never stands still or in one place. God is almighty and sees what is
best and the steps that are required to move on. While the Bryce Homes
Program has been a great success, there has been a question or concern
that has been consistently at the forefront of my mind. While food has
been provided on a monthly basis along with clothes, homes, and latrines
to make life easier, there was something missing.
The purpose of designing the Bryce Homes
Program was never to become a welfare agency by becoming a never-ending
pipeline guaranteeing assistance perpetually so that entire families
could grow up depending on others instead of helping themselves. Such a
system, in the long run, would be harmful and destructive. I pondered.
There had to be a better way so that through time a transition could be
made from total dependency to self-sufficiency.
One of the main purposes and objective of my
March 2014 trip to Kenya was to investigate the possibility of adding
another dimension to our program. I wondered if any of the widows had
ever thought about small businesses they could start that would
subsidize the support they were receiving through the Bryce Homes
Program. The results were delightful. Every single widow that I
interviewed immediately responded to the question. I have many of these
responses recorded on video and will later publish the report as a short
What surprised me was the fact that none of
the widows had to think about the answer to my question, even though
they had not been told beforehand what question I was going to ask.
Every single widow already had prayed and dreamed about a time in the
future she could set up a small business and not have to rely upon donor
support. In fact, many of the women had previous experience with the
small business they were desiring to start before their husbands had
passed away. The death of their husbands had not only left their
children fatherless and without their main source of income but also the
widow herself, who had been a secondary bread winner, was no longer able
to continue as all her efforts had to be concentrated on helping her
When you see and hear the responses the
widows gave me when I told them about the coming Small Business
Opportunity Program, you will discover for yourselves why God has been
leading us in this direction. For now, I will show a photo of the widow
and then briefly describe what kind of small business she wanted to do.
Small Business in Kenya
I must say that I was somewhat surprised by
the entrepreneurial enthusiasm I sensed from these ladies who range in
ages from 25 to 75. The concepts of making, buying, growing, and
reselling were not new to them. For most of them, they or their parents
had small businesses at one time in their lives. This is what life is
all about in Kenya. This is how people survive and make a living. When a
widow becomes a widow, she not only loses her husband, she also loses
her potential to have a job. Worse yet, she knows that she becomes a
liability to the community rather than an asset.
Knowing what I now know and seeing the
countryside through eyes that have been opened wide, a flood of ideas
and thoughts have poured into my mind. There is now a way to move on and
start small business experiments one by one. It is not a matter of
purchasing or renting buildings or forming a corporation with a fleet of
cars or hiring staff. Each widow and her family can establish her own
business right in the area where she is located. The widows may have to
rent a “piki-piki” from time to time to catch a ride to the bigger
markets where they will secure the goods they are going to resell, or
they may have to set up a temporary “Kiosk” or display table. Although
these costs are next to nothing in our standards, for them a penny is
more than they can afford. What they need is “seed capital” to get
started. Once they get going, their own creativity, coupled with hard
work, perseverance, and good business practices, will become their
lifelines to the future.
How Many Products are
Sold In Rural Kenya
Supporting Small Business is a Positive
Solution for All
I see the small business program as having
many positive benefits. While developing a small business, the whole
family will participate and reap the profits in several ways. Rather
than growing up expecting others to provide for them, the children will
learn principles that come along with working hard for a living, and
then this knowledge can then be passed on to the next generation. One of
the requirements we will teach and enforce is accountability. Financial
records will be kept and overseen as a way of measuring the progress and
success of the program. We are already considering one of the widows to
oversee records and encourage the women.
Now, think of this. What if these newly
founded widow-entrepreneurs were to add another dimension to their lives
and develop into widow-evangelists impacting the people and locations
where they buy and sell their goods. A number of them plan to walk
around their neighborhoods and play the role of door-to-door saleswomen.
What a perfect opportunity to share the love of Christ and tell others
about the good news and become door-to-door evangelists.
I am convinced this idea to assist our
widows to start up small business programs has been inspired from above.
In the future, we will be establishing a special project and letting you
know what will be required to assist with the startup funds. While this
figure has not been determined as yet, the amount is expected to
minimal. If you are a business man or business woman, you will
understand most businesses start out with an idea and then through time
have the potential of growing. What would happen if some of our widows
were eventually able to support themselves and even consider helping
others less fortunate than themselves?
Like James stated under the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit, genuine or real Christianity is demonstrated when
Christians are given the vision to support widows and orphans rather
than being consumed with ourselves. I pray that God will use this
program in order to touch many lives that will count in the present and
Kenya – Report 8
Video Update From Bryce Homes Kenya. Showers and Latrines that were
built as part of the Winter Offering Building Program.
Living Water for Kenya
You don’t need a scientific mind to
understand that water is one of the main essentials for life. In fact, a
primary foundation of basic biology is the declaration that without
water there is no life. The Bible also uses water as a comparison when
discussing the quality of spiritual life and following Christ. Jesus
said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his
belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).
For those who live in technologically
advanced parts of the world, it is hard to even imagine what it would be
like to be limited by water in any way. If we are thirsty, we turn on
the tap or go to the fridge and grab a cold bottle of water. We shower
or bath daily, flush our toilets, and water our gardens and flowers
without hesitation. Seldom does anyone ever consider what it would be
like to be in a situation where water would be a limiting factor or
worse yet even a threat to living. The availability and quality of water
is a given for most who are reading this article. We consider this
common necessity for life a God-given reality that we deserve.
The Outcome of Unclean Water
A trip to rural Kenya can be an eye-opening
experience for someone like myself who has never had to struggle to
access a plentiful water source for daily needs and especially good
clean water to drink. The list of problems and potential disasters that
face the people associated with water sources or lack of sources can be
very discouraging in Kenya. The only running water that can be found is
usually in a muddy, insect-infested stream.
While boreholes, also called wells, can be
dug, if water is found, it is sometimes salty and not fit for human
consumption. The digging of wells is costly as it is done by hand, and
the depth they must be dug is often very deep. Often the well is dug in
vain, and even though the funds have been spent, there still remains no
Wells have been dug and
water is accessible throughout most of the year. However, many different
families access the water from these boreholes by dropping down pails
attached to a rope. The pails are often dirty and full of germs. Walking
on the surface of the well are cows, goats, donkeys, and chickens that
deposit fecal debris continually. It is questionable whether or not
water in the city is any safer to drink than in the country.
The biggest problem with water, when water
is found, is that it is one of the leading causes of sickness and death
in Kenya. Most people living in rural areas do not understand why they
are sick and have no way of finding out as they cannot afford medical
care. In other words, their bodies are constantly fighting some
life-threatening situation; they don’t know what it is and they have no
way of getting help to get rid of it. What a miserable way to live.
During my trip to Kenya last week, my
driver, Steve, informed me that contaminated drinking water in Kenya is
perhaps the most significant problem that rural people face. Coupled by
the lack of education and an understanding of the cause of disease, they
often equate the illnesses acquired from infected or contaminated water
as “dark spirits” that are harassing them because they have done
something wrong. While our Bryce Homes (which are run by Christian
believers) are not vulnerable to this type of mentality, which comes out
of tribal customs and beliefs, they still are subjected to the illnesses
that come from unsanitary conditions. Dysentery is the normal response
and is considered normal.
However there is much more for widows, orphans, and all
others to deal with. Some of the waterborne diseases acquired through
drinking contaminated water as listed
Hepatitis A - viral disease that interferes with the functioning of the
liver; spread through consumption of food or water contaminated with
fecal matter, principally in areas of poor sanitation; victims exhibit
fever, jaundice, and diarrhea; 15% of victims will experience prolonged
symptoms over 6-9 months.
Hepatitis E - water-borne viral disease that interferes with the
functioning of the liver; most commonly spread through fecal
contamination of drinking water; victims exhibit jaundice, fatigue,
abdominal pain, and dark colored urine.
Typhoid fever - bacterial disease spread through contact with food or
water contaminated by fecal matter or sewage; victims’ exhibit sustained
high fevers; left untreated, mortality rates can reach 20%.
Then on top of this, add the parasite
factor. Parasites can affect every organ in the body and cause
horrendous damage and trauma. All of these things seem unfair and
certainly unbearable. Such is the price one pays to live in a beautiful
land plagued by poverty and disease that is accompanied by the lack of
means to do much about it.
Based on my limited experience travelling
around visiting our homes and speaking with my drivers and the Bryce
Homes Kenya leaders, the symptoms described above are manifesting
constantly with the people we are attempting to help. If these people
remain subject to this same problem of contaminated water on a
continuous basis, the problem of poor health will only continue, if not
get worse. Although we are providing food, shelters, clothes, and good
latrines, all of this soon becomes meaningless to someone who is dying
from a disease caused by contaminated water.
Water Collecting and Water Purification
As we have previously reported, in an
attempt to make the quality of life better, we have already constructed
12 new Homes for our families with metal roofs to keep them dry when it
rains. On my March 2014 trip, while travelling from home to home, a
sudden revelation popped into my mind. If the metal roofs are doing
the job of keeping our people dry, then why not collect or capture the
water that is shed by the roofs in a tank so it can be used.
Actually after the idea came to me, I wondered why it had taken so long.
When I was a young boy living on a farm in Canada, this is how our
family collected water for washing and other daily practices.
When it rains in Kenya, it really pours. At
particular times of the year, the certainty that there will be an
afternoon downpour is 100%. Why not collect this water for human use
rather than letting it fall on the ground and then run away. Sure
enough, my idea was not new as later I noticed that some of the schools
in the area were using this concept.
So here is step one. We will start with the
Homes that are in the greatest need. Some are miles away from a well or
from a river. How much more convenient it would be to have water just
around the corner – the corner being one of the corners of their own
house. Lawrence, who does construction work (assisted us in the building
of the latrines) has looked at the situation and has already come up
with a plan. He is also capable of doing the eves trough (gutter)
installation. After this is completed, we will construct a solid
elevated base at one corner of the house where a plastic storage tank
can rest and be secured. Every time the rain falls, water will be
collected thus providing at least one good source of water for daily
In the near
future, we will be obtaining quotes regarding the costs to assemble this
simple yet vital way of trapping water. We will start with a few and see
how this works. If successful we will add more as time goes by.
of water for drinking purposes is an absolute necessity if we are going
to improve the quality of life for the families we are supporting. It is
a matter of doing some research, finding the proper device, securing the
funds, and then putting this project into place.
When we have
done this, we will be putting together a water collection/water
treatment program similar to the latrine program.
When we told
several of the widows that we were considering a program to help them
with their needs related to water shortages and purity of water, they
all were joyful. Later I will be documenting these interviews by
producing a short video to post on our web site and YouTube.
grandmother Benedetta was even more than ecstatic. As soon as Pastor
Achilla translated so that she could understand what I was saying about
the coming water project, she broke into a dance and started to sing.
“Praise God, Praise God, Hallelujah. Amen and Amen,” she squealed at the
top of her voice. Then she broke into tears, “My knees get so sore now
when I carry the buckets back and forth to the river for the water for
cooking, drinking, and bathing.”
over and saw the pails she was taking about on the ground.
So if Jesus
proclaimed that believing in Him was the key of life and that “living
water” would flow from us so that we would be a spiritual influence on
others, what about the idea that the provision of natural purified water
for those who are in need could also be a tool to share the gospel? Is
it possible that sharing the good news of the gospel can go hand in hand
with sharing physical water and making it pure to drink?
biblical Christianity must never confuse the true gospel with the
“social gospel,” the true gospel recognizes that while the spiritual
condition of a people is supremely important, their physical welfare
cannot be ignored (see James 1:27; 2: 15-16). If food, clothes, houses,
and latrines show that God cares for those in need, what about water,
the most important and basic component of life?
who have been given this pure water as a gift from brothers and sisters
from around the world who care for them can share this precious gift
with friends and neighbors who are not yet believers. Thus, the
fulfillment of Jesus’ own words will become a reality in Kenya –
believers in Christ will be filled to overflowing with spiritual water
that they can share with their neighbors as they endeavor to evangelists
secular organizations also recognize the importance of assisting the
poor and needy with the procurement of clean water, they lack the
leading and direction of the Spirit of God and the Word of God. My
prayer is that our Bryce Homes Program in Kenya will always be led by
the Lord in the truth of His Word and that it would always proclaim the
Gospel foremost. I pray we will develop a water collecting/cleansing
program that will bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. Lord willing,
may we become known as a Bible-believing organization that leads the
lost to Jesus by using “water evangelism” as a witnessing tool.
Report 7 Kenya
New Homes and New
I have never been enthusiastic about short-term
missionary work that uses the “drop and run” method of handing someone a gospel
tract then heading home never to be seen again. While God can use any method or
technique to plant seeds of truth that later can be germinated by the Holy
Spirit to produce good fruit, God has led Understand The Times in a different
way. The way this has happened is truly a God thing. We did not come up with an
idea or method and then put it in action by human means. By simply being led by
circumstances divinely appointed, we came alongside nationals who are already
strong believers and discovered they had a desire to reach their own people but
lacked the means to do so.
This is exactly what has happened in Kenya. While
Christianity in Africa is tainted (to put it mildly) with “every wind of
doctrine” known to the Body of Jesus Christ (largely thanks to Western
teachers), the contacts to whom the Lord introduced us were not only like-minded
and grounded in the Word, they demonstrated themselves to be ministers of the
gospel who operate with accountability. This is the first prerequisite that must
be fulfilled in order to put together a team for implementing a program with an
organization that is based halfway around the world.
As I have mentioned previously, the obvious lack of
food required for nutrition for orphans and widows was the first indication to
me there was a physical need that had to be addressed if we were going to be
effective as ministers of the gospel in the country of Kenya. How do you tell
someone about the wonderful salvation provided by the grace of God when each
evening he or she goes to bed with hunger pains so intense sleep is not even
possible? While those of us who live in developed countries have no idea what
this kind of experience would be like, for the poor and desperate in Kenya this
is just everyday life.
Further, while in the areas we are attempting to
reach there is the possibility of producing food such as maize, beans, and rice,
widows who have been left helpless by the loss of their husbands also have a
problem with the lack of regular water supply. They are held captive by a
hopeless situation. Since nutrition is one of the main factors relating to
health and growth, illness is common place in Kenya. This further adds to the
woes of fatherless families who are attempting to cope with life.
The first phase of our outreach program in Kenya was
to provide nourishment to the families we incorporated into our program on a
monthly basis. This is done as our three leaders purchase the food in bulk, pack
it in bags according to the size of each family, and then deliver it by hiring
drivers and rental cars.
The supplies not only include rice, maize, and beans
but essentials for cooking including salt and oil. Soap for washing and cleaning
bodies is a luxury that most had never experienced, but now they have this too.
The next phase was to provide blankets, clothes instead of the rags they were
wearing, and mattresses for the widows so they did not have to sleep on the mud
While the food problem was being addressed, it soon became
apparent that the majority of the shelters our widows and families were dwelling
in needed to be replaced. The typical conventional huts that Kenyans build in
rural areas are made of mud walls and thatched roofs. Their durability to the
weather is not long lasting, and they soon become leaky shacks not fit for
Following my second trip to Kenya in March of 2012,
we asked Pastor Achilla and his team to secure bids for the construction of a
few new homes. Understand The Times and Lighthouse Trails shared this need with
our readers. First one home was built covered by a metal roof with four rooms
instead of the typical two, the walls were painted white inside and out, and a
stove was added in one of the rooms for cooking. These stoves, new for Kenya,
were designed in Kenya. They have a chimney, which vents the smoke outdoors
alleviating another major health problem.
To the present date, twelve new homes have been
constructed in Kenya.These homes have
become a landmark or a trademark for the Bryce Homes Program. As these
plastered-painted-metal roof-with chimney houses are popping up everywhere, the
word is being spread that God has not forgotten the poor and needy in Kenya.
Government officials are taking notice and expressing their gratitude for the
program, asking our leaders how it can be expanded further.
Now families can sleep at night and not fear their
roofs will fall in on them or that a downpour during the night will force them
to cover up with a plastic sheet. No longer do they have to inhale smoke that
damages their lungs nor do they have to worry about their shelter catching fire
as they sleep. While we have assisted in supplying beds and furniture, more
furniture is needed. Keeping with our motto “As the Lord makes a way, we will
move one step at a time.” The needs are so great we recognize our limitations
and proceed with caution.
So far, I have documented several of the steps that
have been made in order to establish the Bryce Homes Kenya program now impacting
a country for the glory of Christ. For myself who has traveled to Kenya four
times to monitor the progress, I have found a number of signs or indicators that
have shown me God is leading us and that this is a “work of God,” inspired by
God, and for the glory of God. The smiles on the faces of the widows and the
orphans who are now accustomed to seeing a white man who has come from a
far-away tells me and our Kenyan leaders that their faith in God has grown leaps
and bounds since my first trip in 2011.
Adults and children are sharing their faith with
others who are asking them, “How can the changes that have happened to you be
possible?” They have observed that God has noticed them in their misery and has
answered their prayers. They have been removed from their pit of despair and
given hope, and now they are looking for ways to be a blessing to others who are
still less fortunate. People around can see that Christianity is not a belief
system just based on mindless emotion and hype. They see a practical display of
the Christian faith that provides a plan by those who have the means to assist
those who have nothing in the name of Christ as a demonstration of a real faith
that makes a difference in the world. Many, because of their observations, are
asking questions about how one becomes a Christian. Others are powerfully
seeing the hand of God and are coming to know Jesus Christ. Achilla’s church is
growing, and there are plans to plant more churches in surrounding areas.
While food, clothes, stoves, furniture, and homes
have been stepping stones to faith, perhaps the most significant project that
has made the greatest difference is a project I never would have expected. On my
last trip, Pastor Achilla pointed out to me the reason so many were sickly was
because there was a need for outdoor latrines for the deposition of human waste.
This may sound strange for us based on our western culture, but it is a fact of
life in Kenya. We only know about the conveniences that go along with hot and
cold running water – toilets and showers. Few have ever experienced the use of
the raw outdoors when the call of nature comes on a daily basis.
Not so in rural or even urban Kenya. The nearest
bush, patch of weeds, prickly sugar cane field or behind the biggest rock in
site is the location where one retreats for relief. Basic hygiene dictates that
such practices soon lead to disaster when body wastes are not confined and
isolated. So necessary action became apparent – something needed to be done to
find a way for this problem to be solved.
So Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter were
asked to do the research. Lighthouse Trails and Understand The Times informed
our readers of the need. Thus the Christmas/Winter 2013 Building Project was
born. When donors found out about the project that would construct latrines for
all our families the funds poured in from all over the world.
Deep holes in the ground were dug, brick walls and
partitions were built and plastered, cement floors were poured, and finally
metal roofs completed the frames. These small buildings were also designed to
have a second function. A second compartment complete with a door, provided
privacy for an enclosed shower.
Finally, came the last and most important feature.
The first latrine was built with the typical “hole” in the floor. Apparently,
that is the way it has always been done in Kenya. However, because of our North
American point of view, the Bryce Homes Winter Construction Project established
a new precedent and initiated a new style of latrine so that one could sit on an
While you may be bewildered why I would even
consider mentioning these details, there is a definite point. What I discovered
while visiting each home and interviewing the widows is that all were verbally
ecstatic about the latrines and how they worked. The new style was an absolute
hit, especially for the older widows.
In fact, the latrines have now become a major factor
that has developed into another evangelistic tool for the Bryce Homes Program.
Neighbors who come by to visit want to see the “new thing” that has come to
Kenya. Private showers and “sitting” toilets have developed into a major
witnessing tool. Who would have believed that a latrine could bring such an
Video Update From Bryce Homes Kenya. Showers and Latrines that were
built as part of the Winter Offering Building Program.
While visiting Kenyahis time, I met with the Chief
of the region. He had travelled there by motorcycle especially to meet me and
thank me personally for the difference the program has made for the community he
oversees. (I have his interview on video tape, which I will be sharing at a
later date). The one thing he was emphatic about was the difference the latrines
had made to the widows in the area. “No longer do they have to go and hide
behind a bush when they are showering,” he said. “Now these women can live a
life that gives them dignity,” he further declared. “Your contribution to our
community has made my life easier. I am most grateful and thank the Almighty God
for your coming to Kenya.”
It was obvious to me as we visited the homes
the difference there was in the way I was accepted since my last trip. The love
and gratitude expressed to me was very obvious. It was like I had become part of
their culture and that they understood how much I cared for them as human
beings. (Again, at a later date I will put together a video that will share
To demonstrate their appreciation I was given four
chickens by four different widows topped off by a huge bundle of bananas by a
fifth widow. Knowing how little these widows have and what they gave, I was
reminded of the story of the widow in the Bible who had virtually nothing, but
all she had, she gave to Jesus.
I am certain now that the houses, showers, and
latrines that have been constructed through the support of our donors have made
a tremendous difference. Only God knows where this will lead in the future. I am
praying that I will be given the opportunity to return to Kenya again to see.
Kenya Report 6
Kenya: Past, Present and Future
The reports we have been posting on our
website about our March 2014 Bryce Homes Kenya tour until this point
have been brief and centered on specific events. For the ones remaining,
my plan is to provide more background information and develop the
topics. As you will see, the remaining reports will be more like a small
chapter for a book, that Lord willing, will be published sometime in the
One thing I need to say in this introduction
is that missionary work in any country or place around the world must be
a calling, not a job. Missionaries cannot be “driven” by some organized
plan by man. They must be called, hear the call, have a compassion for
the lost and needy, and then respond.
Further, missionary work must never
compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ or ignore or water down the Word
of God by incorporating a montage of religious beliefs. The Bryce Homes
Program worldwide from its inception has been dedicated to reaching out
to the poor, especially orphans and widows, by coming alongside and
supporting national Christian leaders to administer physical support and
This is exactly how and why the Bryce Homes
Kenya Program was born. When I first visited Kenya in November of 2011,
I was not specifically searching for another project or for more work
for our small non-profit organization. In fact, this came at a time when
most of our church support had abandoned and shunned us following the
position I took on the emerging church through the publication of
However, what may have been meant for harm
and discouragement, God redirected for His glory. While “church-growth
corporate programs” encouraged by pastors with “church-growth mentality”
continues to “drive” congregations to build bigger kingdoms here on
earth, God has allowed me to move on and away from their plans and
follow His leading. We are not interested in kingdoms built by man. We
want to be conduits that God can use to serve others by meeting needs in
hopeless situations while being ambassadors for Christ and the gospel of
Jesus Christ. So far, the countries of Myanmar, Kenya, South Africa, and
the Philippines have been the areas where we have been led to establish
Bryce Homes Programs by the Holy Spirit.
The Growth of the Program in Kenya
Every missionary endeavor in which I have had the
opportunity to participate has begun with a small idea. I have learned
that in missions, ambition is not the key to success. Nor is the size
of the program a means to measure what is important and what is not. Our
God is the One in charge, and He is the One who is building His Church.
We are only His hand extended as we walk in His will.
As someone with a science background, I have
been trained to make observations, and in the case of missionary work,
it is important to identify the needs and then see how they can be met
through limited resources. When we have shared these needs with others
through reports or live presentations, God’s people have responded
While a few pastors still have a heart for
missions, their churches are usually already supporting others they know
or believe in. Usually these are small churches that are struggling to
exist. This is how God works. Being a missionary should not be a
competition to see who can be the best fundraiser. We have not appealed
for church support although we are blessed and encouraged when that
happens. God has shown us there are individuals all over the world who
are desiring to invest financial resources in a Christian-based
organization dedicated to truth and integrity while these donors
disperse their hard-earned funds for the cause of missionary work.
At this point, it would be helpful to show
group photos of all twenty Homes, which by the way, I was able to
capture on March 2014 trip. However, for now I will provide photos of a
One of my purposes for this trip was to
document the numbers of children supported by each home to make sure the
support we are sending each month to purchase food is sufficient. I was
startled by what I discovered – 16 widows, 123 children plus the
husbands and wives from the four Homes established by our Bryce Home
leadership which makes another 8. This means that presently there are
147 human lives that are benefiting from the support we send every
As the program is never static, there are
always needs that we address from time to time. So far, the Homes we
have added have a connection with Pastor Achilla’s Church in some way.
Widows and children attend but the church does not have the financial
means to provide for their care. This is where Lighthouse Trails and
Understand The Times have been able to play a role. We have made the
needs known, and God’s people have responded.
Some may be wondering what are the
approximate costs to provide monthly support for each of the 20 Homes in
Kenya each month? Remember, there are also costs that we must factor in
for the expenditure of delivering the supplies by hiring drivers and the
small honorariums that our leaders receive for their hard work.
According to my calculations based on all the information I have
gathered on this trip, the amount per Bryce Home works out to be about
$150 per month.
Aside from the monthly support costs, the
program has funded the construction of 12 new homes and 16 latrines that
I will mention in a later report. Rather than ask for individual
specific support to sponsor specific children as we have for some of our
Bryce Homes in Myanmar, we have found that this is too time consuming
for our small organization that operates with mainly volunteer help.
While all support designated to Bryce Homes Kenya goes to these costs
which I have outlined, we are considering looking at an option whereby
supporters can adopt an entire Bryce Home or as in the past designate
the funds to specific purposes.
The Future of Bryce Homes in Kenya
The reason I am proposing a change is
that while I have been here on this trip, I have become aware of the
need and possibility of establishing four new Bryce Homes, bringing the
total to twenty-four. Two of these Homes will be widows and their
children – Widow
Florence and Widow Beatrice. Widow
Florence is already
actively ministering to the other widows in the area by praying
with them and encouraging them. She will also play an active role in
administering and overseeing the Small Business Programs we will be
assisting the widows with in the near future.
Another idea that was derived from this trip
relates to the vision God has given us for Myanmar in that we provide
Bryce Home assistance to pastors and evangelists with families. These
diligent workers, although they work to provide a living for their
families, are not able to make ends meet. As well, they have filled the
corners of their homes with orphaned children who have come to them
pleading for help.
As I have been strongly convicted, our
support to them will accomplish our two main goals – providing for the
needy as well as helping build up more ambassadors for Christ that will
be impacting Kenya. One is Pastor Lawrence who was the person in charge
of construction of the 16 latrines that we recently built. The other is
Pastor Dan whom I have met on each of my previous trips.
At a later time, we will be publishing their
testimonies, telling you more about their families, and making it
possible for their sponsorship.
For now I will conclude this report. As
usual, over these past days, I have been waking up early in the morning
desiring to record in writing the recent images and ideas that have been
burned into my heart so that others can share them with me.
Obviously, not everyone is called to be a
missionary. I had no concept as a young Christian thirty-five years ago
that my final years of this earth would be devoted to such a cause.
However, God has a way of directing and redirecting our paths,
especially when there are bumps in the road and life seems to difficult
to go on.
Only God knows what lies ahead. For now, I
want to be faithful and place my hand in His and move on.
Report 5 March 2014 Kenya
of days have passed since my last report from Kenya was posted on our Understand
The Times website. The reason has not been related to the lack of material to
write about. The fact is that the days have been long and grueling, and I have
not found time to do any writing. This may be hard to understand for those who
have never encountered missionary work in the land of Kenya. As for me, a person
who has made this same trip on four previous occasions, it is expected that by
day’s end, the body and mind will be completely exhausted.
Bryce Homes Program in Kenya has blossomed beyond my imagination. When I booked
my trip for March of this year, I underestimated how much time I would need to
visit representatives from all twenty families of the Bryce Home Kenya Program.
Further, these Homes are not all located in one small community. Much of each
day is spent travelling over unbearable trails through the wilderness. The wear
and tear on the body takes its toll.
while my time here has been difficult and tiring, it has also been enjoyable and
extremely rewarding. Further, I have a greater appreciation for the work that
our Bryce Homes leaders have faithfully demonstrated over three and one half
years. They make these journeys distributing food and clothes on a monthly
basis. Without their team effort and their desire to serve the Lord, the program
would not be possible.
Report 4 March 2014 Kenya
Report 3 March 2014 Kenya
Our hotel in Nairobi was comfortable; however, my
body has not adjusted to the 11-hour time difference. I slept for short
periods of time waking up abruptly wondering if the sun was about to
rise. Finally, I got up and went downstairs to the lobby to use the
hotel business facility to print out some papers I had forgotten to
print before I left home.
During this process, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
When I looked around, I was startled to see Pastor Vitalis standing
behind me. Then I remembered that Pastor Achilla had told me he was
coming to the hotel before we left for the airport to see me.
Pastor Vitalis had brought four of his children
with him to meet me. Back at their home in the Kibera slums were one
more of his own and eleven orphans. We discussed the plan for his entire
family to move out of the slums in Nairobi to a home we have built for
them in western Kenya near our other Bryce Homes. He shared with me his
vision for developing the land that his new home is located on and
starting a small business for his family to sell fruit, vegetables, and
After Vitalis left, Achilla and I had breakfast and
then headed to the airport with our driver. Our flight to Kisimu was
less than forty minutes where we were picked up by our driver Steve. On the way, I nodded off several times then wakened
as my neck was snapped back and forth as Steve navigated to speed bumps
designed to slow down the traffic as it passes through small villages.
When we arrived at Homa Bay, located right on Lake
Victoria, we took a tour of the fish market. As Kenyans love fish, I
offered to buy a large pan full of Talapia as a gift for our driver and
also our Bryce Homes leaders.
Later in the day, there will be a gathering at
Pastor Achilla’s church that I will be attending.
I am writing this report as I am flying over
northern Africa on my way to Nairobi Kenya. The month of March is
the time for my annual visit to our Bryce Homes Program located in
western Kenya. Little did I know when I visited this area some four
years ago what would lie ahead. Initially beginning with five Homes,
the program has grown. Fifteen more Homes have been added so that we
now have twenty Homes and over 120 children.
The Kenya Bryce Homes Program has been a joint
partnership with Understand The Times and Lighthouse Trails. While
my initial trip was focused on the idea of working with Lighthouse
Trails to establish a discipleship training center in the area, my
attention was immediately drawn to the dire need of assisting widows
Lighthouse Trails shared this vision and together we
reported in our Internet newsletters what we felt the Lord was
leading us to do. Donors responded as we made some of the needs
public, and we were able to provide immediate emergency assistance
to several widows and their orphaned children who these Christian
women were trying to care for.
What makes our program viable in Kenya, as well
as in the three other countries where Bryce Homes have been
established, is the fact that we have solid trustworthy leaders who
direct the program on a hands-on basis. Monthly financial support is
transferred to them and they are responsible for purchasing food and
distributing it. Periodically we send funds for clothes and other
special needs. As these resources are distributed, documentation
(including photos) of their delivery is recorded and sent to us
verifying that our donors’ funds are being spent with diligence.
A major part of our program in Kenya has been
to advance the quality of life for these widows and orphans by
replacing shacks that can no longer be lived in. We have also been
able to provide the funds for school uniforms for each of the
children (a requirement for Kenyan schools). More recently, funds
were raised to construct outdoor latrines for each family. While I
am there, I will be interviewing the families we have been
supporting as well as our leaders to find how the program has made a
difference to their lives and what other needs exist.
Reports will be posted frequently on our web
site so that you will be able to track my progress on this trip.
Also when I return, I plan to post several small videos that will
document this trip.