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.
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.
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.
I am daily thanking God for just allowing us to be a small part of His magnificent plans!
Loving you all,