"I learned, according to 1 John 4:20, that you don't love the Savior one bit more than you love the least one he died for." —Rees Howells
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)
It starts with a letter, then a visit. One letter came from Japhet Chome, on behalf of his brothers, in 2012. Rodgers and our first Maisha Kamili volunteer (who now works with us full time) went to visit the family. We met Grandma Chome for the first time, and we met the Safari family.
Mr Safari was on his deathbed. Mrs Safari asked us to please sponsor her eldest, Linnet, who was in high school. Mr Safari died a few weeks later, with the assurance that his firstborn would not have to drop out of high school.
We learned some important lessons through sponsoring Linnet. Things like: teenagers are still teenagers no matter what part of the world you're in. And: we need a policy for how the organization will handle school discipline cases.
A year after finishing high school, Linnet requested the privilege of addressing the rest of the MKKs at the annual Christmas party. She told them, "I wish I had not wasted so much time in high school. Now I want to go to college, but I don't qualify for the program I want to study."
We told Linnet to figure out what she needed to do to get into college, if she wanted to go. Her motivation for going to college had to come from within her, not from us. After completing a bridging course, she got a job as a secretary for a little while, and we weren't sure if she would go to college after all.
Then one afternoon in September 2016, she showed up at our house with admission papers for a course in nutrition and dietetics. She needed to pay for the first term that week. It takes much longer than a week for us to work out the logistics of paying fees we hadn't budgeted. We told her, "We will work on getting the money. Your admission letter is good for 2 years. Plan to start next term."
This is where Linnet surprised us. She spent the week traveling back and forth between county offices and secured a grant for half of her first term. She was finally motivated to go to school, and she wasn't going to lose her momentum!
Linnet finished her course in nutrition and dietetics last month. She has her national exam for certification next month and will graduate in December.
Some of our MKKs are young. The youngest is 8 years old. But most of our MKKs are between ages 16 and 22. Much of the work of Maisha Kamili involves helping teenagers transition into adulthood. It is often frustrating work, and confusing, as we are learning on the job.
But then. Suddenly one of them grows up, develops maturity and responsibility, empathy and compassion. Children grow up into adults, and it's a beautiful thing to witness.
We are already planning for our 2020 MKKs. There are 10 application letters in our inbox from kids who need help.
We will still have 5 in primary school. If we get enough sponsors, we can potentially have 25 MKKs in high school. We will have 3 in college, with 5 high school graduates who may join college at some point during the year.
Pray for provision.
Pray over your involvement and that of your church.
Pray for the MKKs, the graduate MKKs, and the potential MKKs.