Kenya (MNN) — A California short-term missions team is now home from a busy trip to rural Kenya. Joy Mueller – executive director of Kenya Hope – spoke with MNN before she and the team left the East African country.
“We’ve been here with our partnering church from Long Beach, California, working in a very remote community of Nkoisusu where we put in a well, or what they (Kenyans) call a borehole… [we’re] also building housing for the teachers, as well as training some of our widows,” Mueller describes.
The Lord used one team member in a powerful way. “She was talking with the gal she sponsors…and she [asked] ‘How can I pray for you?’” Mueller says, describing the conversation.
“The woman said, ‘Please pray the chains that bind me would be broken’.”
It served as a perfect introduction to the Gospel message, Mueller continues, and “she accepted Jesus Christ that day, which was just an amazing thing to see.” Along with Christ-centered hope, the team also provided training – a critical part of Kenya Hope’s Widow’s Might program. Learn more here.
Mueller says job training is essential because “widows are incredibly marginalized; they are really left destitute.”
Widow’s Might: an introduction to hope
Leaders created Widow’s Might in early 2018 after witnessing the struggles of widowhood firsthand. When a man dies, his parents or siblings take everything of value, Mueller explains. Widows then have to raise their families – feeding and clothing multiple children, paying school fees, et cetera – on less than $20 per month.
“The work is hard,” Mueller says. “They have to walk literally miles to get their water and carry it back home on their backs; they have to go collect firewood to cook their meals [and] take care of their animals or children. It’s a really hard, hard life for them.”
As described in the July newsletter, Kenya Hope offers food aid, job training, and more through Widow’s Might. “We also have introduced adult literacy so these women have an opportunity to read and write… we’re teaching them chronologically from the Bible,” Mueller adds.
Widow’s Might serves as a both a reminder and a clever slogan. First, “it is a biblical mandate for us to look out for the widows and the fatherless,” Mueller says, summarizing a portion of James 1:27. Second, “it’s a little bit of a play on words,” she states.
“People usually think of widow’s mite as M-I-T-E: a little thing, the little portion. We’re calling it widow’s M-I-G-H-T, meaning it’s a thing of strength. We are really trying to uplift and empower these women.”
One dozen widows have graduated from the Widow’s Might program so far, and more than 50 women are “currently enrolled.” Sponsorship enables women to participate by covering various costs the widows cannot pay themselves. Meet the widows who still need sponsors here.
“Pray that they would hear the Gospel and that they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ,” requests Mueller. Pray also for strength and encouragement.
“So many of them are in such dark, desperate situations where… they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Header image courtesy Kenya Hope.