Monday, January 09, 2017

Sabbath Testimonies at Hands of Hope Academy

Sabbath afternoon at Hands of Hope Academy we sat outside in the shaded quadrangle between the buildings and shared stories from our lives.

Leon’s Story

Leon started with the story why he decided long ago to follow God’s leading. When his daughter Karen was just 17 months old, Leon ran out to the car in a rush to make it to a meeting he was late for. When he arrived at the meeting, a lady at the venue came rushing out to the car. She pointed at the space between the car and trailer it was towing. “Do you know your daughter is on the back of the car?”

Leon said, “It is impossible that a 17 month old child could stay in place inbetween a car and trailer at those speeds and conditions. We were saved from a horrendous tragedy. At that moment, I heard God say to me, “Keep working for me and I will always look after your family. I have not stopped listening to his leading since that day.”

Leon continued, telling of the beginning of Carole’s work in Kenya. Nine years ago, the first time Carole went to Kenya, she went with friends and Leon stayed home. “I didn’t feel God’s call for me to go to Kenya,” Leon said.

Three years after that trip, Leon went to Kenya  because he wanted to support Carole’s passion. But it still wasn’t his passion. A year after that trip at a men's meeting, a friend said, “Do you know you’re unequally yoked with your wife?” The call then came, loudly, from the Lord, “Join with your wife. Make her mission yours as well.”

“The devil has put many problems in our way.” Leon said, “This just firms my resolve that we are doing the Lord’s work! I am convinced I must serve the poor children in Kenya and I will keep doing this no matter what the devil does to try to stop us.”

His story finished, Leon invited others to share their stories.

Kevin’s Story

A young man named Kevin came forward and shared his story. When his father left his mother for another woman, his mother murdered the new partner. This resulted in life imprisionment for Kevin’s mother and his father abandoning him. “When I was still on all fours, before I could walk, my father left me,” Kevin said.

Kevin’s aunt looked after him until he was two years old and then she didn’t want him anymore. Just a toddler, Kevin wandered into the streets and lived with the many homeless children in Eldoret. When he met Eucabeth, he was approximately five years old. She asked him if he wanted to go to school. Kevin said yes and Eucabeth took him to meet Nestor and enrolled him in Hands of Hope Academy.

Kevin finished his testimony by thanking the school and sponsors for saving his life and making it possible for him to be safe and have an education.

Francis’ Story

Francis was born under a cloud of confusion about who his father was. The man married to his mother said, “Where did you get that baby?” Believing Francis wasn’t his, he threw her out.

They lived in many various places as his mother followed work to support him and his sister. After another unsuccessful marriage, the poverty became too much for her and she moved onto the street. An aunt looked after Francis and his sister.

Francis knew where his mother slept and went to find her one day, as she had been sick. He found her blanket but she was not in it. When he told his sister, she responded, “Yes, Mother left us today. She died.”

Francis, then ten years old, became a street child himself. He went into care homes and back to the street numerous times. During this time his leg was broken when a car hit him, he had dental trouble, and he started using drugs. One day, Eucabeth took Francis and three of his street friends to see Nestor. Only having enough sponsorship for three, Francis was sent back to the street.

Some time later, Francis was arrested and Eucabeth called Nestor. Sponsorship was available and Francis was taken to Hands of Hope Academy.

Francis concluded his testimony by thanking God and saying when he has graduated and is making money he will sponsor kids like himself to come to Hands of Hope Academy.

Judith’s Story

“I faced many challenges before I came here.” Judith said, “When my parents died, I lived with my older sister.” Her sister went out looking for work all day and often didn’t come home until very late. “I had to find food for the other children.”

Judith wasn’t able to go to school when she was old enough because she was too busy surviving. “When I asked to go to school, my sister would not allow it,” Judith said.

“Bigger kids would abuse me and I would cry because I knew if Mum was still here, she would protect me,” Judith said. Finally, Eucabeth convinced Judith’s sister to allow her to be schooled and she was brought to Nestor and enrolled in Hands of Hope Academy.

Judith finished her testimony by thanking the school and her sponsors and saying, “When I graduate and have a job,” she said, “I want to help my sisters.”

Judith graduated from Hands of Hope Academy in 2016 and passed the entry exam to go to High School. She left for High School on Monday morning.

Marion’s Story

Marion’s parents died when she was in 3rd grade. She moved in with her aunt but her aunt was very sick. In a short time she was living on the streets with friends. She tried to continue going to school as a street kid but failed her high school entry exams.

Marion spent many years living on the streets, begging for money and sleeping rough. She would occasionally go back to her aunts house but always ended up back on the street.

“When I met Eucabeth,” Marion said, “she told me ‘Don’t roam around town. You need a home.’ ” When Eucabeth took Marion to meet Nestor he said, “If you want to pass school, you will need to repeat grades.” She said she was willing to do that.

In 2015, Marion started grade 5. She is now in grade 7 and hopes to successfully pass her High School entry exam after grade 8 next year.

Marion finished her testimony saying, “The life I left was horrible. There were no rules and no future. I would like to thank everyone at the school and my sponsors.”

Morris’ Story

Morris ran away when he was abused by his step mum. He was welcomed by street boys and began a life of crime at a very young age. They walked from town to town, stealing from people.

“Once,” Morris said, “my friends stole from some people and were chased, caught and beaten to death. I was so scared I ran away. I got to Nairobi.” He was arrested in Nairobi and put in juvenile detention for 3 years. Then, the court sent him home.

“They gave me 1000 shillings ($10US) and told me - go home!” Morris said. He went to Eldoret and was put in jail there for criminal activity. He was a street thief, drug user and seller. He tried to sell drugs in the wrong area and, as punishment, was beaten and molested by the criminals who ran that area of town. He was taken to hospital in Nairobi.

Getting out of hospital, he travelled across the border to Tanzania and joined a crime gang. When one of his friends was beaten, he went back to Kenya. He made his way back to Eldoret and, arrested again, a friend introduced him to Nestor.

“Nestor told me, ‘What would you do at school?’” Morris said, “I would study.”

Morris was just 12 years old when he started at Hands of Hope. Now, three years later, he’s in grade 6 and is doing very well.

Morris finished his testimony by thanking everyone for giving him a chance to change his life.

Jeremiah’s Story

Jeremiah spent most of his young life avoiding school. He would make his parents believe he was going to school and then would go to town instead. Finally, he got so tired of being forced to go to school that he ran away from home.

Jeremiah walked to Eldoret and lived on the streets. A local school rescued him and he stayed for two weeks before running back to the streets.

When Eucabeth found Jeremiah, she told him to meet her at a church the next day if he wanted to change his life. He came and she prayed for him inside the church. Eucabeth then asked him if he wanted to take education seriously. He said yes and was taken to Nestor.

Jeremiah has been at Hands of Hope for five years now and is doing better each year.

He finished his testimony by thanking the school and sponsors for helping him.

Silas’ Story

Silas and his sister were treated like slaves by their family. Silas was forced by his grandparents to look after their sheep instead of going to school and was caned if he didn’t please them. His sister ran away when she was accused of something. Silas was sent to his mother and she forced him to work preparing vegetables to be sold by street vendors. Finally Silas ran away as well.

After living on the streets, Silas went home. He was sent from his grandparents to his mother to his brother and back and forth. He met some friends who were stealing money from people. They made him work for them.

When Silas finally met Eucabeth, he was more than eager to go to school. He was brought to Nestor and enrolled in Hands of Hope where he is thriving.

Silas finished his testimony by saying, “Thank you Nestor ans sponsors for saving my life!”

If you would like to support the work of Handers of Hope Academy fine to Education Care Projects Kenya today.


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