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June Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

This month I’d like to share an inspired reflection on the life of Elijah Wachira. If you only have time to focus on the prayer requests then scroll to the end of the update. Thank you.

Where do I begin in the attempt to describe the influence Elijah, a man of God, has had on my life after only four personal encounters?

You might not think that a few life touches could provide enough exposure to assess the heart, character or life example from one individual, but my contact with Elijah Wachira would say otherwise.

Three times during a period of 20 months (March 2011 to December 2012), I was on location in Karai, Kenya at the Community Recovery Center Africa (CRCA), better known as a safe house. In addition, I was able to cross paths in the Amsterdam airport with Elijah during his layover on his return flight from Michigan which allowed for a special visit in the summer of 2012.

[photo left: Linda and Naomi in Amsterdam airport with Elijah, July 2012]

During my second visit in Kenya in December 2011, Elijah clearly communicated that I was no longer a visitor but now a member of the family. Now that says something.

Not only did Elijah and his wife, Dorcas, come out of retirement to adopt 32 local orphans, but Elijah spent more than 30 years as a local Pastor, having planted a church in the area which in the past few years required building expansion in order to sufficiently meet the space requirements of the congregation.

Elijah blessed my life in the short time I knew him. He was a visionary who constantly dreamed about ways the CRCA could be self-sustaining through drilling for water, increasing the farming/gardening areas for food production, considering bio-fuel or solar for supplying or supplementing their electricity bills. In addition, he dreamed of opening up their own school to teach the orphans, especially for the high school aged so they wouldn’t have to go away to the boarding schools, which seems to be the only option past grade 8.

Staff dinner, December 2012, with (left to right): Wilfred, Linda, Jane, Alice, Elijah, Dorcas and Penninah

Elijah had a big faith, a big heart, deep belly-laugh and warm sincere smile that exuded love. Not only did he and Dorcas raise their own 3 children, but adopted their nephew as one of their own when he became orphaned.

This man never stopped. If he wasn’t preaching at either of the two local churches where he pastored, he was in contact with the CRCA Board or Kenya Matters Board to continue the development and opportunity for the less fortunate. Elijah understood each of the orphans needs and did everything he could to help them grow and mature spiritually, physically and mentally. Being educated and developing a skill or trade was of utmost importance for each of the orphans they adopted.

Elijah’s hope was that each child would reach young adulthood (20-21 years) with enough health, spiritual maturity, vocational training and knowledge in order to move out, live on their own, and then contribute and make a difference in the Kenyan society. We had long conversations about where each of the young boys and girls came from, what they were challenged with, how they excelled and what their needs were. All of these considerations were carefully thought out and processed in order to best prepare the orphans for life ahead.

Elijah wanted each child and young person to have the best opportunity for success. Based on their capabilities he allowed some to experience their first (and/or second) year of high school even though their primary school results were not fully sufficient. Others were sent directly to poly technical school for vocation training, because of the natural talents they demonstrated.

During my second visit to Karai, I rode with Elijah one day into Naivasha town in order to buy some supplies for projects I was doing with the children. While running errands with Elijah I witnessed him engaged with a variety of tasks, including: buying groceries, a new toilet seat, seeds for planting and medications for treating their cow herd, chickens and sheep in order to keep them disease free.

[photo below left: Elijah (in plaid shirt) and the other men inoculating the cows for disease prevention, December 2011]

When visiting most recently in December 2012, I found Elijah laid up due to Achilles tendon surgery. It was so emotionally challenging for him to be home-bound and unable to engage with all aspects of the CRCA life. The kids and I decorated the safe house dining hall for Christmas and then took colored-paper chain, balloons and homemade Christmas decorations to the main house to decorate the front room where we joyously celebrated a spontaneous Christmas Eve sing-a-long with Elijah. [photo: above right]

I am so blessed to have been witness to this sweet moment of him loving on his kids! Little did he know at the time, his body was already burdened with bone marrow cancer, which took his life 4 months later (in April 2013).

December 2012 - Elijah and Dorcas watching as one of the adopted orphan boys, George, unwraps one of the Christmas gifts I gave to the CRCA – a world map! Elijah was very pleased! He also asked to be the first one to read The Hiding Place book, saying he was deeply inspired by Corrie ten Boom and how she and her family gave their lives for the Jewish people in WWII.

Elijah was always a man on mission, whether as a Pastor, visionary, entrepreneur, farmer, father, husband or Grandfather. He lived faith filled, worked hard and was bigger than life in many ways! After 67 years of life on earth, he is now resting in the arms of Jesus, his Lord and Savior.

If you knew Elijah, these thoughts may resonate with your own experience. For those who never had the pleasure of knowing this great man, I hope this reflection is an encouragement for what God has done and is doing through Elijah and Dorcas’ faith and devotion to the Lord and His call on their lives through providing a safe house for orphaned children.

Prayer requests for our Kenyan friends:

  • Strength – For God’s peace, strength, and a healthy grieving process for the family, staff and orphans.
  • Leadership – Ben Wachira, Elijah’s oldest son, has been asked by the CRCA Board to become the Director to work with his mother and the staff to lead the safe house forward. Pray for Ben to have godly wisdom and for God’s direction to be reflected in the action taken now and in the future. Ben’s hope is to make the safe house a “better place”.
  • Growth for the safe house - including, a “homey” atmosphere through repairs, painting, building boy’s showers and flush toilets, as well as improving the living quarters by constructing a wall to separate the boys from girls area.
  • Provision – for there to be good nutrition provided as well as adequate clothing for the orphans.
  • Teenagers – 86% of the 32 orphans are teens! This school year (Jan. 2013 – Nov. 2013) most of the high schoolers are attending local day schools rather than boarding schools. Please pray for their safety as they walk and use public transportation to get to school and home each day traveling a good distance. Also, pray for them to make good choices in whom to be friends with.
  • Staff – May their daily team devotions result in encouragement and being filled with grace and hope. Pray for their hearts to be united and that collectively they will reflect God’s love and truth to the orphans. Please pray for their strength as they work hard to provide for the children.

Personal prayer requests:

  • Parents' health – My mother (Ilse) recently was diagnosed with coronary blockage resulting in chest pain. She has an angiogram procedure scheduled for July 8th at 8:30am (MST). Please pray for the surgeon to make wise decisions resulting in a strong recovery for my mom. My father (Alan) was diagnosed with lymphoma following a recent biopsy. He will be hearing from the Oncologist soon for advice on next steps. This requires big new steps of faith for our family.
  • Hope for healing – Pray with me for my parents to be strong through their upcoming health challenges and to find peace through the Holy Spirit despite the unknowns. And, that they will return to good health, despite being in their late 70’s.
  • Knee – I am on a 3-6 month physical therapy program of strength training and cycling in attempt to heal the cartilage behind my right knee cap. Pray for the knee to respond well to the regimen, in order for me to be pain free when walking/hiking on descent.
  • Effectiveness in disciple making – My ongoing hope, as well as through the Amsterdam50 church ministry, is to be a disciple of Gods who is making disciples, who will then make disciples. Pray for our lives to be a reflection of Christ and to multiply who He is in our lives to those around us.

Thank you kindly for your prayers and ongoing support of my life and ministry with Great Commission Ministries.

Have a wonderful and blessed summer!

United with you for His glory,