The Hope of Africa


After a two-year hiatus, brought about by Covid and other nightmares, our pastor training has resumed as The Hope of Africa School of Theology convened on December 1 for a 10-day, very intense time of teaching. Our gifted professors, Dr. Reuben Ngume and Pastor Michael Maura have been joined by Pastor Abraham Kogo, the national coordinator of MINTS (Miama Theological Seminary), and our devoted Principal of the seminary in Bumala, Kenya, Pastor Eric Ngala Mutumbi. These able men are godly servants, laying down their lives to teach Christ alone. That is to say, salvation is God determined, God purchased, God applied, and God secured. From start to finish, salvation is of the Lord alone. Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)

The Hope of Africa School of Theology

Our training center for pastors and church leaders has joined hands with an established seminary in Bumala, Kenya, under the leadership of Pastor Eric Ngala Mutumbi. With his help, our students who have been attending The Hope of Africa School of Theology since its founding in August 2016 will be eligible for inclusion in the next graduating class from Bumala, earning diplomas from MINTS International Seminary in Miami, Florida.

Pastor Eric will be working closely with our instructors, Dr. Reuben Ngume from Mombasa, and Pastor Michael Maura from Nairobi. Together, they will teach, coordinate our curriculum and lead us into the future.

God’s hand in placing Pastor Eric in our lives cannot be missed! He comes to us from a background as a Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. He has already proven himself invaluable in this area of expertise as he has brought other agricultural experts on board to help us as we seek to develop our farm in Mumias, Kenya.

Eric’s passion for God and for His Kingdom are evident in his tireless efforts to train pastors with not only a solid, biblical education, but also with vocational training in farm practices. Somehow, he finds the time and energy to reach out to those in need in flood-ravaged and poverty-stricken areas of Kenya, delivering help and hope.


School is out in Kenya, bringing a close to another successful academic year for Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy. We started the year with 93 students and ended with 111. This was a miraculous feat, considering the size of our tiny classrooms.

We were blessed, however, at the end of the second term in early August to move into a more spacious facility. We had no idea at the time how God was preparing the way for us, how He was taking care of every detail and protecting us from untold problems.

Kenya’s educational system has been turned upside down as a result of a school collapsing in Nairobi on September 23, 2019, leaving 8 children dead and 64 others injured. This tragedy prompted a nationwide crackdown on building safety, compliance with school registration requirements, and teacher qualifications. The last few weeks of school were marked with numerous health inspections, quality assurance inspections, and scrambling to make sure that all of our records were available for the Ministry of Education to make on-site visits. All we can say at this point is, “Bwana asifiwe!” (Praise the Lord!)

Sadly, all but 7 private schools in our area of Western Kenya were closed down–immediately! These actions have been very unsettling to the children’s educational process, but the result for us is that parents are lined up, wanting to enroll their children in our school! We have been busy during this time, preparing for a dramatic increase in our student population. We have already enrolled quite a few new students and we’re expecting to have many more than we can accommodate show up to vie for the remaining open spaces.

What this means for us is purchasing tons of additional desks and chairs; hiring new teachers as we may have to add a second class in each of the three lowest grades; buying more books; revising the food budget; stocking the kitchen with enough plates, cups and spoons for everyone; hiring an additional helper for our kitchen staff; buying, cutting, and splitting trees for firewood to cook with; making sure we have enough little potties for the youngest children; digging additional pit latrines; etc, etc, etc!

Our teachers continue to spend their breaks, back in college, better equipping themselves to teach and share the love of Christ. We are praying for them, as well as for each of our students. When they are not in school, they are likely going hungry. What a blessing it has been to stand in the gap, seeing God’s provisions flow through us to feed and educate these dear little ones.

If you can, please help by clicking on the ‘How to Help’ tab. We’re on our way toward making the school self-sufficient, but the current situation calls for an immediate investment. God is good, and He will provide, but I guarantee your life will be blessed by your participation in what He’s doing!

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you BIG!)




Looking Forward to the New Year

What an incredible year 2017 has been! The Lord has blessed us immensely, enabling The Hope Factory (Kiwanda Cha Tumaini) to continue to serve the disadvantaged and orphaned children in our community in Western Kenya, and to train pastors who are hungry for The Word.

Lessons - Framed.jpg

Our teachers at Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy continue to work hard every day during the school terms, and then go back to school themselves during the breaks to become even better teachers.


Here are just a few of our students and teachers!Group Picture.JPG

Our own Pastor Peter Wamwangi of the community church we planted, Tumaini (Hope) Chapel, attends The Hope of Africa School of Theology, the training center we established in August 2016, where we provide gifted and anointed teachers to equip pastors to effectively share the Good News with their congregations.

THE HOPE OF AFRICA SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY – December 2017Framed Group Picture.JPG

Peter grew up in our midst as the natural spiritual leader of our little flock, and has followed God’s call on his life to become a pastor, while working hard every day to provide for his wife, Carolyne, and daughter, Susan.
Peter & Susan 2 - March 2017.jpg

Our Kenyan loved ones have continued to work toward becoming self-sufficient, planting and harvesting maize and beans to feed the children and staff. We are challenged by our limited space and continue to pray for land of our own where we can put down roots, literally and figuratively.

Planting Collage

The struggles during this election year in Kenya have been mind-boggling. The price of food has escalated; travel has been next to impossible, resulting in food supply lines being cut off; businesses (including our clinic and pharmacy) have had to close down temporarily because of the political situation. Still, Moses has been able to reopen and keep Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Medical Center in operation, in spite of all the strife.



We are praying, as we enter 2018, that the Lord will touch the hearts of new financial partners to come along-side us as we work to fulfill the Great Commission. There are so many things that He has called us to do, but we can’t do it alone. We are, in fact, on the very brink of securing a piece of land where Kiwanda Cha Tumaini can flourish and grow. Please consider joining us through your giving, or going with us as we labor in the field. You can give through PayPal on this site. Just click on the ‘How to Help’ tab.

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you BIG!)

M.C. & John

Yikes! We need clean water!

We draw our water every day from a hand pump across the road from our school in Western Kenya, Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy. Today, the pump has failed.


I am thankful for these plastic buckets that we purchased last year for the pastors in attendance at The Hope of Africa School of Theology. They were able to draw water from the same well for their bucket baths each day. Now, those same buckets have been employed by our children to carry water from a nearby stream.

PicMonkey Collage

We are trying to bring in “clean” water via our piki-piki (motorbike) for drinking, and we have tried over the course of the past year to provide immunizations to our kiddos, protecting them from typhoid.


We have found a piece of land for sale nearby, just lacking the significant funds to buy it. When we do, it has a well in place, plus electricity.

In the meantime, please consider helping us to insure that these precious children have clean water to drink. A small monthly donation through PayPal would make a huge difference. Or perhaps you would consider helping us purchase land for our permanent home.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

Small Gifts = Huge Blessings

Meet Humphreys—humble servant of God! Quiet, respectful, unassuming, and full of joy!


We met Humphreys last August when we opened The Hope of Africa School of Theology in Western Kenya. He had come with his pastor, David Cheni, from Busia, Uganda, because of his hunger for the Word of God, and his desire to serve. We later learned that Humphreys lives about ten miles from the church in Busia, and walked the distance three times a week, coming early and staying late, just to help in any way he could.

As a result of several special gifts, we were able to raise the $100 to buy a bicycle for Humphreys! Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” John and I can personally attest to that! The small part we had in providing this bicycle as a Christmas present for Humphreys was the greatest blessing of our Christmas.

Oftentimes, people think that unless they are able to make large donations, they can’t make a difference, so they do nothing at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we seek to fulfill the vision that God gave us for our primary school in Kenya, the School of Theology, the clinic, and our little church, we need small, consistent gifts to keep things going. You can make a real difference in real lives by signing up through PayPal for a small monthly donation. I guarantee this will be a huge blessing in your own life, giving you and your families a rich and meaningful purpose in the Kingdom.

Do it now! Make a difference!

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you  BIG!)

“Entrust these to faithful men . . .”


The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the young disciple, Timothy, says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

We are blessed that God provided faithful men to whom we could entrust the teaching in The Hope of Africa School of Theology. Not only can we not be in East Africa as often as the dear pastors, hungry for God’s Word, are wanting to come for training, we are convinced that indigenous teachers can better reach and teach their own countrymen. The amazing thing is that we didn’t even have to go looking for these faithful men; God brought them to us, as soon as we opened the doors of the school in August.

Pastor David Cheni and Professor Simeon Anyango are off and running with this vision, and have just completed the second term of classes. While they carry on in Kenya, I am busy in Texas, trying to obtain funding to buy the land and build the buildings for our permanent home.


We are thankful for the rented building that houses Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy during the regular Kenyan school terms, and doubles as the venue for The Hope of Africa School of Theology during school breaks. However, we are limited in space, and there is no ceiling. When the sun hits the metal roof overhead, the building becomes an oven. What a beautiful setting, though, when the weather permits the classes to move outside.


We will always remember these humble beginnings, with mattresses strewn here and there in every nook and cranny; pastors taking exams inside and out; breakfast, tea time, lunch and dinner served by our great kitchen staff.




God is good! All the time! We are looking forward to welcoming the pastors back in April 2017!

Barikiwa sana! (Be blessed so much!)


It’s Official


THE HOPE OF AFRICA SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY has been founded, and the response was beyond our wildest dreams!

Class - Shikomari

The first week-long session was held at Shikomari, with approximately 85 in attendance. The pastors who came were so enthusiastic and receptive, pleading for another session in December. We had initially planned to gather the teachers from Kenya and Uganda to teach again in April, with John and I staying home. The need is so great, however, that we are rethinking our plans. In fact, we are heading to Uganda on September 5 for approximately five days of strategic planning to determine our next steps.

God has placed some incredibly talented ministry partners in our path who are well-equipped to run with this vision. We are looking forward to quality time with them in Busia. I am reminded of Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps,” but even more of Proverbs 16:9: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We are trusting God to direct every step we take.

 PicMonkey Collage

Our second week-long pastor training took place near Kilgoris, Kenya. (Did I say near? To Kenyans, it is “just there,” but to us, it was a very long, dusty ride to and fro every day to reach the village where we ministered. The word spread throughout the week (or should I say, The Word spread), and by week’s end, we had over 65 in attendance. Same scenario as above: a roomful of pastors, craving a deeper knowledge of Scripture.

Kilgoris Group Picture

There are so many obstacles to overcome here. The prosperity gospel is rampant; pastors have had no formal training; and the witchcraft of the African traditional religion has a tenacious hold on believers.

I am praying that other churches will catch the vision of this great work God is doing. Our tiny little church in Cherokee, Texas fully funded this new phase of The Hope Factory’s grand plan. When we return, our hope is to share what is happening here with other congregations. This is a rare opportunity to invest in the kingdom work, knowing that every penny is spent for the glory of God, and not a single cent on administration costs.

God has been so gracious and merciful to include us in His work, and there is no way to describe the ways in which we have been blessed! We have even become honorary Maasai!

John & M.C. - Maasai

Much love from Kenya,


Africa Calling!


Chui Lodge 246

It’s always so exciting when we start our countdown for Kenya. I couldn’t believe it when we dropped below 50 days this week. That’s right! Only 48 days and counting!

Pastel Background - 48

John and I will spend two months there in August and September, and almost every day is already filled in on our calendar of activities. We are so excited that the focus of this trip is opening our new Hope of Africa School of Theology. We have over 200 pastors already signed up, and enrollment is still open.

Our first intensive, week-long class will include some world-class teachers, coming in from Uganda (Pastor David Cheni), Nairobi (Pastor Michael Maura), Butere (Pastor Enoch Ambokah), Busia (Michael Wambetsa), and Kakamega (Stanley Shitandi). John and I will get our two-cents worth in, as well. He will be teaching on The Judgment Seat of Christ, based on the book by that name, written by my phenomenal professor from Liberty University School of Divinity, Dr. Sam Hoyt. Sam trains pastors all over the world, along with his adorable wife, Elaine. As hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t been successful in getting his nose in the gate to go with us. He is scheduled out for something like five years, teaching in Uruguay, Moscow, India, Austria – you name it!!!

The Judgment Seat of Christ


After our first session at Shikomari, near Kakamega, we will travel down near Maasai Mara and teach another week-long class to 50 pastors there. We also have our very first opportunity to minister in Uganda, and will be crossing over with Pastor Cheni, speaking in his pastor training school.

I am totally in awe, as I stand and watch all of this happening around me. I can’t believe that God has chosen me to be part of this. What a privilege to serve such a mighty and awesome God!

Back to Sam and Elaine . . . John and I took the most amazing trip over to Lynchburg, Virginia in May for my graduation ceremony. We started The Hope Factory after I had begun working on my Master’s in Theology at Liberty. Consequently, it took me five years to complete my degree, but I did it!!! I’m so happy!!!

Closeup 4

John thought he was going to be happy too, when I finally got my nose out of the books, but I had five years’ worth of projects built up for us to work on. Ha! His hiney has been dragging! He’s now asking when I’m going to start on my PhD!

On the way home from Virginia, we stopped near Atlanta and spent a couple of days with Sam & Elaine. This was the first time any of us had laid eyes on one other, but it was like we had been friends forever. I knew, way back in 2012 when I took his Systematic Theology course, that our families had a lot in common. We’re almost the same age. Sam has hunted all over the world, and has a trophy room to die for! Elaine has her own share of trophies, as well. We each have three grown, married children, and at the time, John and I were ahead, 5-to-3, on grandchildren. They have raced to catch up, and are now ahead, 8-to-5. They just welcomed the newest addition last week.

Sam & Elaine 2

We praise God for the innumerable ways He has blessed us, and our hearts’ desire is to bring honor and glory to His Name – the Name that is above all names.

Barikiwa sana! (Be blessed so much!)


Mary Catherine Holley

Our Beloved Dorcas


Acts 9:36-42

36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

A little over a month ago our Dorcas, who has been part of our special little community of Kenyans ever since we began to serve there in 2011, fainted and fell into an open fire while she was cooking at home. She was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, and remains there, probably for several more weeks. This picture was taken three weeks after her accident.

Dorcas 4-15-16 B

In the same way that the power of the Living God raised the Dorcas of Scripture, He has rescued this sweet-spirited servant of His. We pray for her healing and good health, and for relief from pain, in a country where medical care is not of the quality we are used to here in the United States. May she soon be reunited with her husband and six children, the youngest of whom is John Alexander Holley Indeche!

John Holley - September 2014


Losing a Mommy


Lauren & Kids

Today, The Hope Factory is honoring the life of Lauren Elizabeth Sanders Wesson. This picture was taken on the day that Lauren left her earthly family and went to be with the Lord, in whom she had placed her hope! It is that same hope (and assurance) that will enable her family to spend eternity with her in heaven, where all tears and pain and suffering will be gone.

April 15th will mark the second anniversary of Lauren’s passing, but her life is still impacting others. Because of her exquisite taste in clothes, and her sizable wardrobe, the “tiny” teachers and the preteen girls at our school in Western Kenya will be showered with youthful, stylish clothing when John and I return in August and September.

Lauren's Clothes 004

Lauren’s family has reminded me that the pain of being orphaned isn’t limited to third-world countries. It was in Kenya that we learned the term “partial orphan,” referring to a child who had lost one parent. Losing both parents makes a child a “total orphan.” Regardless of the level of loss, the pain is unimaginable.


All of our focus and energy for the past five years has been directed toward helping orphans in Kenya. However, as I consider the future of Lauren and Todd’s two precious children, Ian and Ashley, I just want to extend the opportunity to anyone who might be interested in helping fund the education of these two who lost their mommy at the ages of four and six.

Ian & Ashley Wesson

Donations made to The Hope Factory are tax-deductible. If you would like to designate a gift for Ian and Ashley Wesson, you may do so through PayPal on our website at, or by mailing a check to PO Box 10, Cherokee, TX 76832. One hundred percent of your gifts will go directly to this family. Just be sure to let me know it’s for Ian and Ashley. You can drop me a note at

Thank you Chris and Lynda Sanders (Lauren’s parents), Ben and Andrea (her siblings), Todd Wesson (her husband), and everyone else in the Sanders/Wesson family, for blessing The Hope Factory through the donation of Lauren’s beautiful clothes. John and I will personally be donating to the children’s educational fund, and hope that some of you will do the same.

If a tax deduction is unimportant to you, checks can be mailed directly to Lynda Sanders at 3509 Spotted Horse, Austin, TX 78739.

May the God of all peace and comfort continue to wrap His arms around this precious family who has served Him so faithfully throughout their lives.

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you BIG!)

Mary Catherine

Tired of Shopping?

Are you having a hard time finding the perfect gift for people on your list who seem to have everything?

Christmas Present

Bless them by giving to those in need! Our children in Kenya, many of whom are orphans, need food and clothing–the basic necessities of life. You can make a donation through this website, or contact us at We will provide you with a “Gift Card,” including a picture of one of our kids to place under the tree for your loved one. What a wonderful way to teach your children or your grandchildren that it is, indeed, more blessed to give than to receive!

Children at Imbale

With Address

Crusade in Tanzania

Kenya 505

John Okwadho, our young pastor at Tumaini Chapel, the new church we planted in Western Kenya in September, organized a week-long crusade there in late November. Many people came to Christ, and we have around 100 awaiting baptism! Right now, he is winding up another crusade in Tanzania, returning to Kenya tomorrow. God is moving in mighty ways! Thank you for continuing to support The Hope Factory as we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you, BIG!)

Crusade - Tanzania 2

R.I.P., Mary Ann Perry


Mary Ann

Today we say goodbye to a wonderful friend of The Hope Factory. Mary Ann Perry loved children, and was quick to get on board with support for our school in Kenya, as we work toward creating a self-sustaining orphan community.

She didn’t just support children like our precious little ones in Africa; she lived her passion. After she and Wayland had three children of their own, they took in a family of six young siblings, becoming foster parents, and later adoptive parents, loving these kids like their own.

Mary Ann lived to see the establishment in Western Kenya of our school, Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy; the founding of Tumaini Chapel; the rescue of numerous orphans; the start of a clinic; the plans laid for the opening this summer of a Bible college, The Hope of Africa School of Theology; and, most recently, a crusade in Western Kenya, bringing over 100 Kenyans to the Lord.

Today, Mary Ann is receiving her crowns in heaven.

R.I.P., Servant of God!


It’s so frustrating to come home from Kenya, just bubbling over with stories to tell, only to wind up in bed for ten days with the flu! I’m back on my feet, and reaching down into my storehouse of memories to share a few with all of you.

I know that many of you saw a couple of the videos I posted on Facebook, of the new little church we planted for our Kiwanda Cha Tumaini community. Since our school building is not being used on Sundays, it was the perfect place for us to meet. It seemed only fitting to name it Tumaini Chapel (Hope Chapel), and on my last Sunday there, we held a Dedication Service to officially announce its name.

Pass Me Not 244

My acute “OCD-ness” equips me to actually LOVE lining up chairs for an event, but of course they didn’t look like this after everyone arrived.  In fact, we eventually had to move the children’s chairs out on the veranda to make room for all the big people who came.

Aug 20, 2015 444

Pass Me Not 251

Carolyn - Cropped

This is Carolyn. It is very difficult, as you can see, for her to move around, but she is an anointed Sunday School teacher and Praise & Worship Leader, full of joy and hope. We had rented a van to bring a group of pastors from various churches. They are part of an evangelism team, led by John Okwadho, my self-proclaimed Last-Born Kenyan Son. As the praise and singing continued, we wound up in what I could only describe as a Congo Line, out the front door, around the house, and back in through the back door. While we were out of our seats, I was shocked to see some dear friends drive up from a church in Mumias, about 30 miles away. I knew two of the men, but the other three were strangers to me. One of them was decked out in a navy tunic with elaborate gold braid on the front, and I thought, “Oh my! We have a dignitary or a bishop here!” As the introductions continued, to include these last guests, I could tell by the reaction, the exact moment that everyone realized who he was. It was as if all the air had been sucked out of the room!

Ali Mukhwana is an internationally known worship singer, and when he stood up to lead us in a couple more songs, everyone in the room was singing, pouring their hearts out in praise. I didn’t even know the words, but I couldn’t hold back the tears. I have listened to one of the songs over and over since I got home, and finally recognized the tune, but only after pasting the title of the song into Google Translate. Usinipite (pronounced OO-SEE-KNEE-PEE-TAY) was translated “do not go away,” but as I continued to listen, I realized it was Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior! The tune for the verses was the same, but the chorus had been musically rewritten. I realized then, the reason for the tears. As a young girl of 10 or 12, I would sit at the piano and play a concert transcription of this much-loved song, over and over, singing along as I played.

Pass Me Not Collage

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy find a sweet relief; Kneeling there in deep contrition, Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit, would I see Thy face; Heal my wounded broken spirit, Save me by Thy grace.

Thou the spring of all my comfort, More than life to me, Whom have I on earth beside Thee? Whom in heav’n but Thee?

Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.


If you click the link above, you should be able to hear the track for this song on his CD. Also, below (hopefully), you will be able to see our church members singing with him, unaccompanied. What a blessing to listen to this talented young man testify that the sole purpose for his existence is to worship God!

If this doesn’t blow your socks off, just hang on. I’m not through yet! After an incredible service that went on for, literally, five hours, we all had lunch together, thanks to the proud (biological) mom of John Okwadho (our new pastor). Grace is the talented cook for Kiwanda Cha Tumaini. She has raised five godly children – alone – as a widow.

John & Grace Okwadho

After lunch, I was about to pass out from heat and exhaustion, when John said that all the pastors who had come wanted to meet with me. We drug our plastic chairs outside, on the shady side of the house, and I listened in disbelief as they each said they (and their congregations) want to become part of Tumaini Chapel. Eventually, they want to plant Tumaini Chapels all over East Africa! What we had thought was the planting of a single, small church for our little community of teachers and staff turned out to be EIGHT new churches – in ONE DAY! I could never have imagined this. God’s ways are so much bigger than our ways, and He does abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Next August, we will launch the Hope of Africa School of Theology, teaching an intensive one-week evangelism training class (50 pastors each week for two weeks), and then a week of basic theological training. I wasn’t able to get a picture of all the guys while we were outside, because my jaw was on the ground, but here are three of them.

Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)Aug 20, 2015 457

Children Galore!


Is this not the most beautiful picture?!!!

2015 Summer - Teachers & Students

God has led us on an incredible journey, and has added children to our flock at every stop. We are serving the needy and disadvantaged children of Western Kenya – orphaned, abused, neglected – and God has been faithful to provide all that we need in that endeavor. Even when He brings more children than we think it is even possible to care for, we are trusting in His provision. We budgeted for (and built temporary classrooms for) 82 children. We have 123! Even as we are scrambling to find land on which to build our permanent facilities (and the money to pay for them), we are stretching to meet the needs of these little ones, 22 of whom are boarding with us! Please pray that God will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out his richest blessings on the ministry of The Hope Factory and Kiwanda Cha Tumaini.

Barikiwa sana! (Be blessed so much!)


Starving for Pictures

I am literally starving for the pictures of my time in Kenya during March and April. I had them all on a flash drive to bring home with me, and a well-meaning woman at a computer services shop saved a copy of our long-awaited NGO certificate on the drive, the day before I left to come home. When I got here, I realized she had over-written everything on there. All I had was the NGO certificate. Michelle has been trying to get them to me, but she deals with the daily challenges of no electricity, no internet signal, dead batteries on the phone and laptop, a post office in town with no bubble-wrap envelopes, a husband and child with malaria, trying to renew her visa, etc, etc.

So……. When one of our NEW teachers, Chapman Omari, posts a picture on Facebook taken with his phone, pictures of the children at our school enjoying their lunch, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I can’t wait for more!!!

Children Eating 5-6-15I went to Kenya at the beginning of March to relocate our school, plan for temporary buildings, purchase kitchen supplies and school furniture, hire additional teachers and staff, get the teachers moved, and a host of other exciting things. Registration took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and we have grown to a school of 100 children at Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy!! We have a Day Care for babies and children under 3, and a school that goes through Class 7. We prepare nutritious meals for children, teachers, and staff, twice a day. We have certified teachers and we have some who spend every minute during their month-long breaks, working to become certified. All of them love these children dearly, and are completely dedicated to helping educate and improve their lives.

Thankfully, I have a few pictures on my phone to hold me over until the Big Batch arrives, so here are a few taken during construction. I have yet to see the completed project, with cement floors and doors installed.

Construction Collage

In addition to these four large classrooms, we also have this mud building to use.

Construction 4

Until we can open a lemonade stand somewhere to raise more money, we have no electricity, but we DO have two brand-spanking new pit latrines down the hill. God is good!

I DO NOT LIKE TO SHOP! Anyone who knows me, knows that. However, I had a blast shopping for this school. Here is just a fraction of the things we bought.

Kitchen Supplies Collage

How I wish I had a picture of the enormous stack of plastic chairs, transported on the back of a piki piki.  Just try to imagine a stack three times this high:

Chairson the back of one of these:Piki-Piki CroppedIt was hilarious!

As I anxiously await the arrival of a thousand pictures (I know you’re anxiously awaiting, too!), I think about the precious children we’re teaching in Kenya. They are so thankful to be able to go to school, to have food to eat, and to be so loved. They are exceptionally well-behaved children, but kids will be kids, right? We have an app for that! His name is Bishop Ernest Okhonya, a.k.a. “The Enforcer.” Wouldn’t you think twice before acting up in class if you thought you would have to face this man? I certainly would!


Uwe na siku njema sana. (Have a very good day!)

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you BIG!)


We’re Moooving Ahead



Scherry Brownfield

This beautiful Ayrshire milk cow came to live with our little community of teachers and children at Kiwanda Cha Tumaini on the very day I was leaving Kenya a week or so ago. She is already blessing us with some milk, but will kick it into high gear when she gives birth to her second calf in a few months.

When we arrived in Western Kenya at the beginning of March, the country was in a severe drought, and the dry season had gone on for much longer than in normal years. When the rains finally came, it was a new experience for this Texas Girl!  I’m talking, daily torrential downpours! I realized that I had never been in Kenya during March and April. Wow, what a trip!

The downside of this situation was that there was very little Napier grass to feed a cow, even if we could find a good one. Our search went on for weeks and weeks. We found a gorgeous Jersey heifer, ready to calve at the end of May, at the University of Nairobi Vet Farm. The people at the farm were so wonderful, and we had made arrangements to buy our first cow. However, at the last minute, we ran into a roadblock when the University System placed a hold on any sales while they were in the process of an audit. We’re still holding out hope that one day, she may come to bless our kids with even more milk.

The upside of the situation is that, when the rains finally came, we were prepared and ready to receive our new resident cow. She will give us greater quantities of milk, although the Jersey’s milk is higher in butter-fat, and we were looking forward to teaching our beloved Kenyans how to make butter. This will be a great improvement in their diet because they consume tons of a disgusting product called Blue Band. It’s an unrefrigerated margarine-type goop, very close in chemical structure to plastic. Gag!

You may be wondering why we named our cow “Miss Scherry Brownfield.” Well, I’m glad you asked. Back in the good ol’ days when John and I were at Baylor University, he belonged to the coolest “Social Club” on campus. In fact, he was a founding member. (This was before Baylor gave in and admitted national fraternities and sororities.) I always considered myself an honorary member (and still do), because I loved these guys so much, and hung out with them more than I did with my sorority sisters from Delta Alpha Pi. In addition to being awesome, they all had great senses of humor. Consequently, when Baylor’s Homecoming Parade rolled around, rather than build a traditional float, they rented a “cow” from a local dairy and placed a couple of Baylor’s most breath-taking beauties atop.

STE Float - B&W

Their names were Norelle Hicks and Scherry Brownfield.

Norelle & Scherry

We had already assigned Norelle’s name to the beautiful Jersey we had found, so when we located the Ayrshire pictured above, her name just had to be Scherry Brownfield. We are still praying for Norelle to show up on the scene, when the University of Nairobi System gets their audit finished.

Please pray for our ministry as we strive to improve the lives of orphans and disadvantaged children in Kenya. Our school will reopen three days from now on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, and, God willing, milk will now be a regular part of the diet of 85 children and approximately 20 teachers, staff, and patients at the school and clinic.

We are praising God for cows, and for our faithful supporters who helped us reach this new milestone.

Mungu akubariki sana!


We’re Growing By Leaps & Bounds!

Our heads are spinning from the way God has poured his blessings out on our work here in Kenya. The Hope Factory (Kiwanda Cha Tumaini) is doubly blessed by having joined hands with two amazing people, Rev. Ernest Okhonya, Bishop of The Fellowship of Christ Ministry International, and Medical Missionary Billie Barrett.



Our vision for a self-sustaining orphan community, including schools, clinic, church, Bible College, small orphan cottages, farm, dairy and poultry operations, greenhouses and tilapia pond, is so similar to theirs that it’s spooky. We are working in the same area of Kakamega County, and joining our ministries is a perfect fit.Site Plan

We announced the plan to everyone involved on Saturday, March 21st, and the excitement was overwhelming. Billie and Ernest have just completed construction of a new clinic, and we have the doctor, Moses Makokha.

Clinic - Cropped

They have available buildings, and we have our school established. When we move, we will take the school children who do not belong to our own teachers, and they will board with us during the week. The teachers will move to their own separate housing on April 4, as soon as school lets out for the month-long break. This arrangement has unexpectedly put us in a position to move forward with the plans for our orphanage! The paperwork is complete; all that remains is for the government to inspect our homes, and we have a government official from that Ministry on our Board of Directors. His name is Jared Atsiaya. This precious man sent me a formal request recently, asking permission to call me Mum, as he lost his mother many years ago. He has five adorable daughters, so the number of our grandchildren is growing exponentially!

Jared - Cropped

Moving the teachers from Nairobi to Kakamega was an unexpected, but wonderful gift from God, kick-starting our plans for a school out here by at least a year. Joining Billie & Ernest has provided the clinic we thought would be several years down the road; and beginning the orphanage is so far ahead of our projections that I can’t even calculate it. Faster than we ever imagined, God is putting all the pieces in place for every element of this vision.

We have made providential contacts with dairy cow experts, and we’re meeting with the foremost tilapia farm expert in the country in a week or so. There is a two-acre plot of land available next to the clinic for only $5,000, and we are certain that it is God who is orchestrating all of this, so I know that He will work in the hearts of His people to provide all that we need to accomplish His purposes. Another six or seven acres may become available right across the road, a perfect location for the permanent school and well.

I will be coming back to Kenya in August to speak for four days at The Fellowship of Christ annual women’s conference. At that time, we will be establishing our Bible College to train pastors in this region. When I return to the States at the end of April, I will begin a dialogue with some of my professors at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary to see about setting up a certification program for the participants. We are praying for our ‘Texas Pastor’ to come in August, but if not then, perhaps next April. Please pray for doors to open for him!

Barikiwa sana!  (Be blessed so much!)



God Moves at Warp Speed!

When God moves, and you’re onboard with Him, you had better be ready to boogie!

Things are moving at lightning speed with The Hope Factory. We have a plane load of new curriculum boxed up for Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Academy. Our teachers have the school running smoothly, and are ready to integrate the new material into the required Kenyan curriculum.

New Curriculum

Our faithful supporters have helped us raise enough funds for, not one, but TWO milk cows. This will not only provide milk for all our families and the school children, but will also begin to provide some income for our little community.

The garden is tilled and we’re looking forward to a great harvest!

I would love to share with you all the exciting things that are getting ready to happen, but it would spoil my surprises for everyone on the ground in Kenya.  All I can say is, “Stay tuned!!” This is gonna blow your hair back!!!

As the children is Kenya say, “God is good! All the time! That is His nature!”

What Fairy Tales Are Made Of . . .


Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a teenager from East Texas who felt God tugging at her heart. He gave her the desire to care for and adopt needy children from other countries. It seems she wasn’t cut out to follow the path of so many her age: finish high school, go to college or trade school, get married, settle down in Texas, have babies. Sometimes things are hard when there is an “out-of-the-ordinary” call on your life, and things weren’t always easy for this young girl.

Michelle - Cropped

When she had the unexpected chance to visit Kenya, she jumped at it, but with no small amount of trepidation. After all, she had rarely stepped foot out of her old stomping grounds. This is where the Fairy Tale begins!

Kenya 143

On her first trip, she was surrounded by beautiful, loving Kenyan children, and she knew she would return. On her second, she fell head over heels in love when God brought Elizabeth across her path! It seems as though they were destined for one another, as it was love at first sight for both of them.

Day One

What was she to do? Her beloved family was back home in Texas; she knew next to nothing about the Kenyan culture – how to cook, how to wash clothes by hand, how to haul water, how to live without electricity. But Elizabeth . . . . Elizabeth was everything to her.

So she stayed.

And Elizabeth blossomed!

Libbie - Yellow Dress 2


Even when you’re doing God’s work in your life, your days are filled with the ordinary – cooking, cleaning, going to the market. In Michelle’s life (that’s our heroine’s name), there was some of the “not-quite-so-ordinary” – learning Swahili in order to communicate with your child, venturing out on a piki-piki, or matatu, being the only white face in a sea of beautiful chocolate-colored faces, finding hungry children on the street to feed.

Spring forward a couple of years, and we find Michelle having moved from the crowded, squalid conditions of Nairobi to the clean air of Western Kenya. Her new family, a group of teachers and friends with whom she had worked since her arrival, moved with her.

It seemed that every young Kenyan man she met tried to capture her heart, but she would have none of that! Elizabeth was her world. Until one day . . . .

In walked Moses Makokha, a dashing young Clinical Officer (Doctor Moses), just weeks away from finishing his medical internship. He had come because he had heard about the work that Michelle and her friends were doing, the long-range vision of Kiwanda Cha Tumaini, but when he walked in, he couldn’t keep his eyes off Michelle. And to be honest, she couldn’t keep her eyes off him!

Moses & Michelle 3

He wasn’t a complete stranger; Michelle had been living with his sister for the past 15 months, and knew the entire family. She had, in fact, met Moses a year before when he graduated from his medical school, but Michelle only had eyes for Elizabeth at that point.

Moses fell in love with Michelle. Michelle fell in love with Moses. Moses adored Elizabeth and Elizabeth adored Moses. Things moved quickly at that point, and a wedding was planned for March 14. Wedding dress ordered. Check. Bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s ties ordered. Check. Wedding Committee formed. Check. (They do things differently in Kenya.)

Wedding Dress - Cropped

Everything was moving along smoothly, except for one tiny little problem.

Michelle’s visa was expiring! On February 3! Off she went to Nairobi, first to the U.S. Embassy to do a sworn, notarized statement, assuring everyone that she didn’t have a husband stashed away back in the States. They want to know that, before they issue a marriage certificate for a foreigner. Then, off to the Kenyan Embassy to renew her visa. Oops! No deal. She had two choices: leave the country or be married by February 3. The latter was a real hurdle, as there is normally a 30-day waiting period in Kenya, while they post your pictures on the courthouse square, making certain that no one objects.

After spending hours in the Marriage Registrar’s Office, many calls back home to the Marriage Officer in Kakamega, and tons of paperwork, a date was set (10 days later) for a civil union at the courthouse. So, on Friday, January 23, Michelle became Audra Michelle McClelland-Makokha. That’s a big name for a little girl from East Texas!

Moses &

Moses & Michelle.wedding3

It is fairly customary in Kenya for a civil union to take place before a church wedding, so the plans are still on for March! Those of us who are over here on this side of the pond are counting the days until we can get to Kenya and witness this beautiful chapter in the Fairy Tale that God is making of Michelle’s life.

Mungu akubariki sana, Moses & Michelle!

Classroom Prep

This gives a whole new meaning to working on your classroom, getting it ready for the new school year!

Mud Repair 1


Mud Repair 2

Our teachers and staff are hard-working and totally devoted to serving the children in this community of Western Kenya as we prepare to open Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy next week.

Mud Repair 3

Mud Repair 4

After smearing fresh mud on the cracked mud walls and attempting to repair the thatched ceiling, they covered the floors with fresh cow dung. The cow dung prevents “jiggers” from coming up through the dirt and burrowing into the feet of the children. This is a very common, and very painful condition, which necessitates digging these little “sand fleas” out of the soles of your feet.



Jigger Collage

As we work to protect the children from this common malady, we are trusting God to lead us to the perfect location where we can build a real school building, with real floors and ceilings, and where our teachers can live with their families, without the constant threat of malaria. This will require screens on the windows, which is almost unheard of. Pray with us as we move toward this vision, serving our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Barikiwa sana! (Be blessed so much!)

Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy

Wow! We are praising God for humble beginnings, knowing that He has great things in store for Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy, opening in Western Kenya next Monday, January 5th. Today was an exciting day because our teaching materials arrived!

2015 Curriculum

We will begin here, in a mud building, knowing that what goes into the minds of our precious students is far more important than the walls that surround them. One day, we will look back at this picture, giving all the praise and glory to God for how far He has taken us!

Mud Schoolhouse

In addition to the required Kenyan curriculum of math, science, social studies, English, and Swahili, our students will receive intensive instruction in art, music, literature, and Latin (beginning in the second grade). We are confident that God has chosen these children to go out and impact the world in a mighty way!

Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)




Mawwiage 2Who could ever forget this hysterical scene from The Princess Bride?  “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wuv, twue wuv, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wuv.”

Weddings, or marriage in general, are vastly different in Kenya than here in the States. The laws of the land make it difficult, almost beyond reach, for people to legally wed. The couple must go to the County Marriage Office to apply, providing passport pictures and copies of their Kenyan ID’s. There is a 21-day waiting period while the pictures and application are posted on a bulletin board in case there is anyone who might object to the marriage. The fee amounts to more than most people can earn in a month. During that 21 days, the couple must have an affidavit signed by the Area Chief, stating that they are known to him, or are living together as husband and wife. (Does this seem backwards to you?) At the end of the 21 days, the couple returns to the county office and is assigned a date in court, Fridays only, for the actual ‘marriage’ and the signing of the certificate.

Alternatively, a couple can wed in a church ceremony, but the certificate process is still the same, except that it is much more expensive.

As a result, most people just live together as a married couple, and when they are financially able (possibly after a houseful of children have arrived on the scene), they have a wedding.

In the U.S., a wedding is the bride’s big day and, ultimately, all the decisions are hers. In Kenya, that is not the case. There is a “wedding committee” involved, and it seems that almost everyone has a say, at least in church weddings. For an American, this is very hard to understand. However, the wedding committee approach offers a “fundraising” aspect, without which, the wedding might never take place.

Marriage is a holy estate, instituted by God, and not to be entered into lightly. We have been blessed beyond measure to witness TWO weddings within our little Tumaini Tribe in Kenya recently.  Grace & Ben exchanged their vows on November 8th….

Grace & Ben…. and Peter & Carolyne entered into the covenant of marriage on December 5th!!!

Peter & Carolyne

Peter & Carolyne 6Can it get any more exciting that this??


Michelle, the lovely young woman whose heart God has claimed as His own, whom He called to serve the orphans of Kenya and entrusted with the life of our precious Elizabeth….

Day One

Nov 14 2
….is engaged to marry Moses Makokha, the Clinical Officer who will be joining our team on January 16, 2015, when he completes his internship. Dr. Moses is head over heels in love with Michelle & Elizabeth, and vice versa! We are excited about their future, and about the manner in which God has paved the way for our Clinic to open sooner than we ever expected!

Michelle & Moses 1


Moses & Michelle 3

God is good! All the time! Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)


IT’S OFFICIAL!! We are Kiwanda Cha Tumaini!!


After months of preparation back home in Texas, and lots of bumpy rides on the back of a piki piki, producing documents, collecting signatures, and getting copies made, we are officially recognized in Kenya as a Community Based Organization (CBO), known as Kiwanda Cha Tumaini, the Swahili translation of The Hope Factory!

Piki-Piki Cropped

Through the kind and energetic efforts of the sweet woman at the County Government Offices, I even got my hands on the actual certificate before leaving Western Kenya last Sunday. It wasn’t supposed to be ready until the following Tuesday after I had returned to the States, but she said if I would be patient, she would go and track down the District Commissioner and get his signature. We waited for about two hours while she was gone (also on a piki piki).

IMG_3630So, here it is!! Our CBO Certificate!

CBO Certificate

This gives us legal coverage to operate where we are in Western Kenya while we await our certificate from the NATIONAL Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordination Board. That’s right! It is finished!!! Our application as an NGO on the national level was fully accepted, and the certificate will be ready in December!!! God has granted us favor at every turn, and we are giving Him all the glory and honor. This is His work, not ours!

Bwana asifiwe!!! (Praise the Lord)

Mary Catherine


A New Tribe in Kenya

Most Kenyans will tell you that there are 42 tribes in their land, a country almost exactly the size of Texas. However, official sources list anywhere between 40 and 70 tribes. Each of these ethnic groups has its own tribal language, or mother tongue; but the majority of Kenyans also speak Swahili (Kiswahili) and English, which are the official languages of the country.

While tribalism has diminished because of Western influence, to which tribe you belong is still the most important factor in social life. Political parties, for example, are largely based on tribe and less on ideology.

I have just returned to the States from the most amazingly successful trip to Kenya ever! In the coming days, you will be reading reports of how God had paved the way for our every step, granting us favor and success in everything we undertook, and doing more than we ever hoped or imagined!!!

We have taken a diverse group of Kenyans, from different backgrounds and customs, different tribes, and have become a unified, loving, cohesive group with a common goal of achieving God’s vision for Kenya. To celebrate that, we thought it only appropriate to name our tribe; so, today, we are proudly announcing A NEW TRIBE IN KENYA!!! We are the TUMAINI TRIBE.

‘Tumaini’ is the Swahili word for Hope, and our (now) international organization is officially known as Kiwanda Cha Tumaini (The Hope Factory). Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We are clinging to this precious promise as we work tirelessly to accomplish all that He has given us to do. With my Bible open to this much-loved passage, we ceremoniously joined our tribe as one, donning matching rings that announce our HOPE to the world.

Tumaini HandsOur tribe is made up of a bunch of Luhya, a couple of Luo, one Kikuyu, one American Comanche, and one melting-pot American from Cherokee, Texas. However, we have become one. We are the Tumaini Tribe, and “our hope is based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!”

Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)

Mary Catherine

May God’s Peace Enfold You!

Harun & His Wife

Our precious friend, Harun Olwichi, and his wife, Sween, lost their 3-year-old daughter, Gloriah, today. She suffered from sickle cell anemia, but had been doing very, very well since March of this year.  This past week, however, she had not been feeling well. Her passing was a sudden and heart-breaking turn of events. Please pray for this godly servant and his family. You can read about him in my previous posts. They live near Makunga in Western Kenya.

Rest in peace, Gloriah.

Gloriah in March - Enlarged

Gloriah in August in her jovial mood(5)

Gloria Olwichi

September 7, 2011 – September 13, 2014 

God Knows What He’s Doing


Greetings from Western Kenya!  I have so many incredible stories to tell, but I want to start with only two.  You may not see the connection between them at first, but if you read to the end, you will hear a story of how God does seemingly insignificant things in our lives which turn out to pave the way and have a supernatural connection to things He has planned for the future.

When I came to Ematsayi in January to reopen the Clinic in the Mission compound, Alfred Okwanyi, the ever-busy Recording Secretary of the Bible and Literacy League of Kenya, had a demanding schedule planned for us.  We visited Mobile Clinics (branches of the Clinic at Ematsayi) in distant villages; we spoke in area churches; we attended a monthly meeting of pastors, held in the home of a widow, sharing a meal, singing and praying, and collecting offerings to assist other widows in the community with their families’ expenses.

One of the most random things we did was attend a political rally, with music blaring over loud speakers, a huge crowd gathered, where I spoke and prayed over the candidate and his wife, kneeling before me.  At the time I thought, “Why are we here?  What could this possibly have to do with the assistance we were longing to provide at the Mission?”  In all honesty, I found myself somewhat irritated, feeling that our time could be so much more wisely spent.

178 - Political Rally

At that time, we had no idea that Bishop Javan Ommani, the force behind the entire Mission program, would be traveling to the U.S. this summer, much less staying with us in Cherokee for many weeks.  We could not have imagined that he would be sharing his life story, reporting on the many projects that are a part of Ematsayi, or blessing our congregation at Cherokee Baptist Church with his messages, filled to overflowing with God’s Word.  Nor could we have guessed that, of all the projects he spoke about, the one that touched the hearts of our entire church family (including the children) was the Clean Water Project.

In 1987, the people in this village came together and formed a cooperative, planning and struggling to fund the drilling of a well, giving a few shillings here and there as they were able.  Up until then, there were people suffering and dying from water-borne diseases, having to carry dirty water from the river, many of them walking for miles and miles every day.  Eventually, they succeeded in accomplishing the first part of their plan, and the well was drilled.  It sits on the Mission grounds, and people from far and near walk here every day to pump the life-saving water by hand.  We have watched devoted servants of God work tirelessly, all day long, every day since we’ve been here, hauling maybe six five-gallon containers at a time in a wheelbarrow, just to fill the water tank that supplies the house we’re staying in – all of this so we can have showers, a working toilet, and water at the kitchen sink.

Western Kenya 074

Before we left Texas, the young children in our church decided that they wanted to work together to raise the money to complete the well.  That would require installing an electric or solar pump, providing a large storage tank, and installing pipes for distribution to various areas around the Mission and in the Village.  Two days after we left Texas, they worked all day Saturday preparing for a luncheon on Sunday, from which they raised $2,500.00!!!  These precious children and their parents and leaders felt the call of God on their hearts and took action.  Wow!  What a testimony!

Now, jump forward past the first ten days we spent in Kenya, visiting and working with the students and teachers at our school in Nairobi.  We arrived in Western Kenya on Tuesday, August 12, and the first order of business was meeting with the Master Plumber/Inventor who owns a plumbing and water consulting company, to discuss the way forward with the well project.  We needed an exact price for its completion.  The next day, John met with this gentleman, plus Javan and two other men who work in various plumbing fields.  They brainstormed for about five hours, seated under the gigantic trees out in front of the house we’re in.  What they came up with is a plan that eliminates redundancy, reducing the need to drill a second well.  The casing down the present well is large enough to allow for another pipe and pump to be installed alongside the existing pipe that serves the hand pump.  Thanks to a providential discussion with Johnny Johnson back in Cherokee just days before we left, we will be using solar panels to power the new pump, rather than relying on electricity which comes and goes constantly – gone more often than not.  The new pump will be set about 60’ lower than the old one.  It will produce 750 liters per hour and, in the event of too little sunshine or a problem with the new pump, the hand pump can still be used as a backup.

So, what do these two seemingly unrelated stories have to do with one another?  This is the part that blows my mind!  The political candidate for whom we prayed in January turns out to be the Master Plumber who has been hired to complete the well project!  It didn’t dawn on me who he was until a couple of days after all of this began.  He kept alluding to having my speech and my prayers on a video; to my having been in his home.  So, not only had I prayed over him and his campaign, he was the pastor in whose home we met that day!

God knew!  He knew that Javan would come to our home and spend wonderful, quality time with us, discussing and praying over the needs at Ematsayi.  He knew that our church would hear Javan’s stories and that they would specifically be touched by the water project.  He knew that even the children’s hearts would be captured, and that they would work to ease the lives of the children at Ematsayi.  He had paved the way for us, preparing the very person who would eventually complete the well, the storage tank, and the distribution system.  He proves His sovereignty and His faithfulness every day, but it is so obvious here that it makes us fall on our faces in worship and awe!

The man in this story is named Harun Olwichi.  He is an amazing man, having worked his way up to a Class I Master Plumber, excelling at every level, without having had to attend the standard training or colleges.  Other than his initial training which he received here at Ematsayi in the Polytechnic College which is now, unfortunately closed due to lack of funding, he studied it all on his own, and gained the practical experience independently, then aced every exam, out-performing all of his colleagues.  Not only that, he is an inventor.  He has attracted the attention of investors and entrepreneurs with the invention of a modern flush pit latrine.  I will spare you a detailed description, but trust me, it is amazing!  Harun owns a company called Harootech Investment Co., Ltd.  He is fascinating to talk to – intelligent and funny, always smiling, and filled with God’s grace and His Spirit.

4 227

I am daily thanking God for just allowing us to be a small part of His magnificent plans!

Loving you all,


Kenya in the Distance


As I look at this picture of John, I realize this is how we feel right now – as if we can almost see Kenya in the distance! Just 10 more days and we’ll be heading that direction again.

Chui Lodge 389

Last summer when we went, we were stepping into an unknown – unknown people, unfamiliar places and customs. This summer, we’re longing to see loved ones, aching to have our arms around the precious children at our school in Nairobi and our friends and ‘family’ at Ematsayi in Western Kenya.

Kiwanda Cha Tumaini - Green BackgroundWe have a lot on our plate.  We’ll be investigating the steps for opening an orphanage (Kiwanda Cha Tumaini), and we’ll be taking the first baby steps toward establishing a School of Theology (Hope of Africa), based in Western Kenya. We’re delivering a milking machine, built and donated by two of our long-time and much-loved deer hunters, Mike and Dusty Perry from Jennings, Louisiana.

Mike & Dusty

Bishop Javan Ommani, who was with us for several weeks this summer, and his wife, Rasoha, have three cows. They milk them twice a day, providing milk not only for the Mission, but also for an orphanage in Kakamega, with a little left over to sell. Hopefully, over the next several years, we can add a cow or two to the herd and give them a profitable dairy business to help support the Mission, thanks to the generosity of Mike and Dusty.

Nissan Van 039

I will be speaking at the Bible and Literacy League Women’s Conference at Ematsayi for four days, and John and I will be meeting with church leaders all over Western Kenya while we’re there. We’re also very excited to be visiting a distribution depot for fertilizer.  Here in Texas, we would just go down to the local feed store. There, however, fertilizer is a big deal.  It’s all imported – and expensive – and no one knows how to use it. We’re having to educate ourselves on nomenclature, so we can compare apples to apples, and help them a bit with their farming practices.

Garden - Reduced

This is a picture of John’s garden, so God definitely knew what He was doing when he tapped John on the shoulder and sent him to Kenya! As the excitement grows, as August 1st draws near, you’ll be hearing more and more about the wonderful plans God has for us!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11