Twenty boys, representing the most high risk or vulnerable of the children, are now in the care of the church in a rented apartment building. It is bright and clean. It also happens to be in a gated community, so any recurring fears or nightmares have been greatly alleviated. They are in a safe place.
(Image: Twenty of the boys after receiving donated Beanie Babies)
Sad to us, though, was the fact that this property has no open spaces or fields to play on. For those of you who know and love these boys, you also know how they love to run and play volleyball and football (soccer). To take that away from them is to take a great part of their joy and childhoods away from them. Naturally, they also miss the other forty boys they call teammates and brothers.
(Image: The boys playing vollyball with short-term team members last year)
The remaining children are staying in the homes of church members. Although this sounds like the ideal solution, these families were already overburdened. Most were previously looking after other orphaned children or are unable to even care for themselves. Our orphan homes are typically the second safety net, after the first line of rescue (families and communities) has failed or been overtaxed. Therefore, these church families are not able to continue to care for these children.
But read on…good news follows.
Another church is allowing Fountain of Life to meet on their grounds each Sunday. This building is just a few hundred yards away from the property that was destroyed. The Fountain of Life church was therefore not scattered and is still a presence in the community it has been serving for all these years.
On February 19th, one of the two cases was presented to the Kenyan High Court. This particular legal action was originally submitted to "Children’s Court" and concerns the financial upkeep of the children until the property is rightly returned to Fountain of Life.
Upon hearing the initial arguments, the judge ordered that the claim go to full trial. This is good news indeed. Apparently, the case is the first to test a relatively-new Kenyan law regarding the protection of underprivileged and derelict children. Fountain of Life is therefore making waves with a precedent-setting challenge in the Kenyan legal system. God uses such things.
The Orphan Home
Ok…now for the really good news. As I write this, the children should start moving into a new facility that can accommodate all of them.
Nairobi Calvary Temple (NCT) is a mega-church set upon a hill that overlooks the Chambui slum (please see my prior post on the slums of Nairobi). For years they have tried to develop a school program and, for a number of reasons, it has failed each time.
…For such a time as this…
The NCT campus includes multiple buildings that can be used as dormitories, caregiver quarters, a kitchen, and numerous classrooms. The chief administrative pastor, Pastor Shem, became aware of the issues regarding the destruction and displacement of the boys at Fountain of Life. He went before his board to see if their property could be leased to Fountain of Life for a year at a greatly-reduced rate. We were told that the approval was very swift.
(Image: The new rented facility)
This church, NCT, displays what the Body of Christ is all about – joining hands and helping each other to expand God’s fame; putting aside empire building in favor for Kingdom building.
When we met with Pastor Shem, his heart was evident. He is all about seeing the surrounding community impacted and he views Fountain of Life’s care of orphaned children as something that can draw in the neighbors and introduce them to Christ.
Fountain of Life’s Director, Mama Florence, and her son, Lameck, both shared with me how this move can further expand orphan care in Nairobi. Lameck believes that, after seeing how Fountain of Life cares for these children for a year, the NCT mega-church will endeavor to use the property for that same purpose after their departure.
In addition, the proximity of NCT’s property to Chambui, will give Fountain of Life an added opportunity to rescue more orphaned street boys from the slums. Lameck therefore feels that there will be both an immediate and ongoing capacity to see many more children rescued and brought up in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
God works in all things.
And, yes, there is plenty of open space for the boys to celebrate their reunion with a rigorous game of football.
(Image: The Chambui slum, recruiting grounds for more football players)