Category Archives: Kenya

Pain and Hope-A Pilgrimage and then a Mission

My adventure in Africa began on a pilgrimage with my fellow Wabash Pastors in South Africa. While there, we studied a troubled history of many peoples whose story is punctuated by rivalries, conquest, defeat and victory. This nation is still haunted by sins of her past, yet a new generation, born free, seeks to write a new history of hope.
After parting ways with my colleagues, I traveled alone to Kenya, to survey for myself the work being done at Point of Grace Academy. This was my first visit to 4 Kenya’s Kids, the mission I lead stateside. This part of my trip was truly a blessed opportunity for me to live with my brothers and sisters in Christ, whom I’ve heard so much about. As with my experience in South Africa, my journey began with some disappointments and concluded with renewed hope for the African continent.


To be perfectly honest, my first day in Kenya was quite difficult. Snafu’s at the airport leading to half a day lost reclaiming a bag at the airport was an inconvenient beginning. Being confronted with thousands of people who live in conditions that would be totally unacceptable in the states was a shock to the system. Crippling poverty was accented by crumbling infrastructure due to inept (at best) or corrupt (at worst) contractors failing to fulfill their obligations to the public. All this before I even got to the mission of Pastor and Deaconess Meeker for the children at Point of Grace.


At Point of Grace, I was introduced to, and unconditionally loved, by more than 400 of my best friends. Some were born with HIV. Many are orphans. Most of the students I met are at least partial orphans. All have been given a new lease on life at Point of Grace.


Pastor is here counseling a boy we literally rescued from the streets just a year ago. Already, Meshack is one of our brightest students.

At our school, these children receive a topnotch education. Even though we seek out the destitute and have a disproportionately high number of children with family, social and economic troubles, Point of Grace was ranked in the top 1/3 of primary schools in our area. Education=hope in Kenya, and the schooling these children receive promises to break the cycle of poverty for many families.
These children are fed, clothed, cared for and loved by a diligent staff who labors day and night for the kids. St. James challenged his readers by saying, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18b, ESV) Watching our teachers and staff work, even though none of them would say so themselves, was, to me, watching God Himself care for his children.


This entire ministry is the love of Christ in action! The school was built, the ministry founded and is being sustained by the Savior who loves these children enough to give up His own life for theirs. As His people give of themselves for these little ones, be they teachers, supporters or prayer partners, He is present in our midst!


As I sit in an airport terminal prepared to depart from Kenya, more than ready to see my own wife and children,  I am torn. I don’t know whether to weep or rejoice for these children. I want to weep for the struggles they face. I rejoice for the richness of faith they possess, which I surmise far surpasses my own. I weep because I can’t save them from their distress. I rejoice because God already has.


I don’t know how best to serve these children, but I am convinced I need to do more for them. Not for my own sake, but for theirs. Not for the love of Christ, but because of the love of Christ.
Will you join me? Has God called you, through the gentle tug on your heart and whisper of His Spirit, to do what you can to give them hope for today and a glorious future? What are you going to do about it?

Rich Redefined

What makes one rich? Sunday, I challenged our confirmands with a new definition of riches. St. Paul wrote, “In [Christ] you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.” (I Corinthians 1:5-6 ESV)
What does St. Paul mean when he says Christians are made rich? What do you think makes a person rich? If we are to appreciate the gift of God’s riches in Christ, Jesus’ disciples must learn to think of riches more like God than the people around us.
To help rethink what it means to be rich, I read this story to our class. Consider it a modern parable. Feel free to share if this story is a blessing to you.
The Rich Family in Church

by Eddie Ogan
“I’ll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was like to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money. By 1946, my older sisters were married, and my brothers had left home.
A month before Easter, the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.
When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us baby sat for everyone we could. For 15 cents, we could buy enough cotton loops to make three potholders to sell for $1. We made $20 on potholders.
That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in our church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.
The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before. That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.
We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet, but we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. That was us. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt so rich.
When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us girls put in a $20. As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes!
Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 bill, and seventeen $1 bills. Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, but instead, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them... (Matthew 18:1-2 ESV)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them…
(Matthew 18:1-2 ESV)

We kids had had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our mom and dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the fork or the spoon that night. We had two knives which we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor. That Easter Day I found out we were poor. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor.
I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed that I didn’t want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor! I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew we were poor. I decided I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time.
We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor.
We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way. Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they need money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, ‘Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?’

Some of the hundreds of children served by 4Kenya'sKids. Many of these are total orphans. ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40 ESV)

Some of the hundreds of children served by 4Kenya’sKids. Many of these are total orphans. ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
(Matthew 25:40 ESV)

We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering plate. When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.”
Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that ‘little over $100.’ We were the rich family in the church! The missionary said so…”


Education=A Future For Kenya’s Kids!

The Meekers welcome more than 900 guests to the grand opening of Point of Grace’s new eight classroom facility.

The grand opening for Point of Grace Lutheran Academy was a great celebration of God’s answer to prayer!  The Lord promises to take care of those whom most of society forgets, especially the poor, widows and orphans.  Today, we rejoice in His care shown to many of them through our brand new school building!

“For the Lord builds up Zion; he appears in his glory;

he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord!” (Psalm 102:16-18, ESV).

From left to right, Bishop Amayo, Pastor Dennis Meeker and Member of Parliament John Alago Aluach.

How did this school come into being?  It started when God brought an Iowa farm boy turned pastor, and pastor’s daughter from Kenya together in Holy Matrimony.  Their care for Kenya’s Kids created a school and orphanage program.  Now their work has been blessed by caring Christians from California to Canada, Georgia to Michigan and board of volunteers from Seymour, Indiana.

Through gifts of love and dedication that these saints have provided 4Kenya’sKids, we now have a brand new eight-room school building.  The year began with about 200 students and enrollment has grown to over 290.  What a great blessing!  We can see the Lord’s work in all of this as He cares for many who otherwise would have no hope.

Children at Point of Grace School

One of Our Classes in Front of the New School Building

These earthly blessings enjoyed by Kenya’s kids at Point of Grace are but a shadow of the eternal riches God pours upon all His people through His Son Jesus Christ.  With the promise of happily ever after in heaven, we get to offer every moment of our life to Him in praise and thanksgiving.  What a joy it is, to watch God prosper the work of our hands as we labor for those whom He loves and redeems!