I asked Cami Wheeler, a member of the Crossing who has lived in Kenya for the past two years, to tell the story of a few people God is using in remarkable ways in Kenya.
Here is Erick’s story:
“Erick is the oldest of 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls. They live in a slum called Kawangware in Nairobi, Kenya. They were orphaned when Erick was in his early teens and Joshua, the youngest, was just an infant. Initially, they were given into the care of a distant uncle. This man sold their farm for his own profit, deprived them of education and forced them to work as house and farm slaves. They endured much abuse while living with him. Erick, being the oldest, knew it was up to him to find a better life for their family. He fled and made his way from their rural area to the capital city, Nairobi. He hoped to find work so he could rescue the others. But work is hard to find and like so many others who come to Nairobi full of hope Erick ended up disappointed and destitute. He became a street-boy in Kibera, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. He was deeply depressed and suffering more abusive treatment in the slum. He determined to end his life and secured poison to accomplish his goal.
The day he was planning to take the poison a friend of his father found him in Kibera and shared the hope of the gospel with him. This man had been searching throughout Kibera and other slums in Nairobi for many months in hopes of rescuing Erick and sharing the love of Christ with him. God’s timing brought him to Erick at just the right time. Upon hearing the gospel Erick was immediately filled with the hope and gave his life over to the Lordship of Christ. He says grace found him and brought him back from the brink of death. Now Erick has finished high school and is in his early-mid twenties. He has rescued his siblings from their uncle and he raises them himself. Life in their slum is often hard but they are thankful and happy to be together. The second brother, Ezekiel, is in a carpentry apprenticeship in Western Kenya thanks to missionary support Erick raised for him. Their sister, Dorothy, has a seizure disorder & is mentally handicapped. She has been through many difficulties. Last year she was raped and conceived a baby that she carried to term despite many people pressuring the family to get her an abortion. Thankfully their commitment to the Lord kept them strong. And the support provided by The Crossing and other ministries helped to pay Dorothy’s hospital fees. Baby Mary is now awaiting adoption in an orphanage in Nairobi because their family just does not have the resources to raise her. After much searching and prayer Dorothy has been accepted into a wonderful school for the mentally handicapped and is safe and thriving. Effi and Joshua are the youngest. They attend grade school in Nairobi and are doing pretty well. Erick is in a Microsoft Computer Technician training program and hopes to complete it in the next year if he is able to get support for his tuition and testing fees. He wants to eventually go on to get a university degree in computer science. But raising his siblings and providing for their education is his highest priority. So he hopes to find a job that will allow him to continue in school while providing income for the family. For now Erick and his family members are dependent on the support of friends and churches like The Crossing who help with tuition and living expenses while he is in school.
Erick in his own words:
“It is really tough for me to be the mom and dad at the same time, and sometimes I do have questions in my heart and even complaints, but pray that the Lord will teach me how to focus on him alone. I pray that I will be strong in all this. Life has not been easy at all, but I am rejoicing in the Lord for how good he has been to me and my family. I am lifting his name high and I want my heart to bless him, I was reading Psalm 103 this morning and I almost cried. ‘Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy name.’ He has done great things in my life and I want to live praising him. Help me pray that I will be always reminded that this world is not my home and that I am just passing by. The world has taught me a lot and I can not wait for the joy that is waiting for me in heaven, I am even glad that if I die now, I will be rising up with Jesus when he comes.”
In the recent post-election violence in Kenya these words and the faith behind them have been put into practice. When the violence broke out Erick endangered himself by caring for his neighbors who were victims of greater violence because of their tribe. He continued to do so until because of his action on his neighbors behalf it became to dangerous for him to remain and he was forced to flee his home. Erick and his family are currently safe, but surrounded by ongoing violence.
Please pray for Kenya and Erick and his family. If you want to know more about the Crossing’s ties to people in Kenya or how to help Erick and his family email Patton.firstname.lastname@example.org