All posts by Ilowee Owens
February 2015- God can “make a way” for Dreams to come true
Rachel has had many challenges over the last three years. At age 10 she was taking the responsibility of caring for a younger relative that is HIV positive, to make sure he got his medication at proper times. Her grades had always been in the top of her class and she was a leader in the school. She was always cheerful and a help with the other students, encouraging them and leading the worship songs. But last year her mother abandoned her and Mark, the young relative, because she re-married and her new husband didn’t want the children. Rachel became discouraged and sad at being abandoned and her grades began to dip sharply as she was now trying to provide food daily for both of them. Her dreams of becoming a teacher were fading and life was very hard. One of the teachers at “Shalom, even though she is a single mom, agreed to oversee care of both children if Garments of Praise would provide funding for food and shelter. With this care from our Jesus Cares Fund both children have done very well and are healthy. Rachel has graduated from the 8th grade with the 2nd highest grade scores of the class. But again she faced challenges because there was no way to get the fees to go on to a high school with no support. We are thrilled to report that God has provided and now she is attending a wonderful Christian girls school and her dreams are again very bright. (see picture above) We have gotten a responsible person to care for Mark and she can now give full attention to her schooling. Please continue to remember her and Mark as God continues to “make a way when there seemed to be no way”.
Jesus said “let the little children come unto me..” May we do as He leads to care for His little ones.
Before they call I will answer…
February 2015: Before they call I will answer…
As we enter 2015 we rejoice at the many opportunities God is giving us to “preach the Gospel to the poor, give hope to the hopeless , the oil of joy as we bind up the wounds of the broken hearted and as we seek to set the captive free from the bondage of witchcraft, alcohol addition, drug addiction”.
Thank you to all of you who are God’s Sending Servants and Praying Partners that enable us to go and be the hands and feet of Jesus to a dark world. Our ultimate goal is to see the name of Jesus lifted up that He can draw many unto Himself and that the Father may be glorified.
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! “ Isaiah 65:24 NLT
God has done amazing things over the last 6 months that are only explained by the verse above.
- Two years ago God joined our hearts with a Kenyan Police Inspector who is also a pastor. He shared how he would often see a “child carrying a child” along the road with nowhere to go and no one to care about them. He would stop and do what he could for them and take them to the “government orphanages”. But when he returned to check on them he would find horrible conditions; lack of food, overcrowding, neglect and abuse.
God gave him a vision and desire to have a home to care for many abandoned and orphaned children. Others in Kenya joined him in prayer and planning and he began looking for land but resources were a major problem. He had a wife and 4 children of his own to care for plus 3 orphans they had taken in. But God continued to burden him for the vision laid on his heart.
In August 2014 God was working with one of His servants to give a fixed amount to purchase land for a Children’s Home in Kenya. This was unknown to us as we joined in prayer and travel with our friend to find suitable property. In Sept we became aware of the generous offer to purchase the land and the first of November the right land was located but the price was too high.
God went before us and the answer was forthcoming as the seller lowered his price three times, over the next several weeks, till it matched the funds God had made available through His servant and by the end of December the final purchase of the land for this Children’s Home was a reality.
We give praise to God for “While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! “ Watch for further reports on this project.
- In 2012 when we formed our “Victory Football Team” they had shared a vision of seeing a well drilled for their village of Katwanyaa. Little was discussed on this desire over the years and while it was a dream, it wasn’t an immediate project.
But in October of 2014 a call was received from the pastor of Calvary White Mountain, that there was a desire to help drill a well for Katwanyaa and that a considerable sum had been banked toward this project.
As we explored the actual costs to do a well to meet the needs of the 2000 people living here and the cost to secure the well safely and build several water booths where water could be piped, we were challenged by the total costs. Again “before they call” proved true as the director of Practical Christian Living, a ministry arm of Calvary Tucson on the same day messaged us in Kenya “do you need a well?”
We are awaiting the fulfillment of this project as funds continue to come in and the process is moving along in Kenya as we have secured land, done the exploration of the site and the environmental impact study and are waiting for the paperwork from the Kenyan Government to give us the go ahead to start the drilling.
We are praising God for all He has done and rejoicing we can offer this village not only “clean” water but LIVING WATER.
- The present facilities for Shalom Learning Center are dark, crowded, unsafe and too small to meet the needs of caring for the large number of impoverished children in this area. Because we believe “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” we are asking God for a permanent site.
At Shalom children are given love and a hope in this life with an education and a hope for eternity through the Gospel. Most of the 150 plus children have been saved at this school. They desperately need a larger place where the children can have space to run and play as well as be trained in bright friendly classrooms and have a proper kitchen and place to eat at tables to prevent illness, rather than the dirt they sit in now.
We have located suitable land for this new location and Practical Christian Living is working to raise enough to not only provide the rest of the funds for the well In Katwanyaa but to purchase this land. We plan to build new school facilities and also hope to build a “Safe Haven” that will house the children who are orphaned or abandoned that we care for now in other facilities. We are confident God is already at work on behalf of these (HIS) children.
PLEASE CONTINUE PRAISING HIM AND GIVING THANKS FOR ALL HE HAS DONE AND PRAY FOR FURTHER BLESSINGS FROM HIS HAND AS WE SEEK TO TURN MANY FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT IN KENYA, AFRICA
How Great is our GOD
October 25, 2014
We just finished the two day seminar for the drug and alcohol addiction and God was there in power and simplicity!!! The speaker from the rehab place was wonderful, very knowledgeable but very Christ centered. other speakers also were blessed by God in the topics.
September 23, 2013
“In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these MY BRETHERN, (in Kenya) ye have done it unto me”
Dear Partners and prayer supporters,
Most of our funds are designated for scholarships or specific work but the “Jesus Cares Fund” is to use at our direction for needs we come across daily. Most goes for food and medicines but will list just few things we do.
Over the last month God has enabled us to touch a number of lives in a positive way.
1) Continue our help with Peter, a fun loving child at Shalom, who has a serious eye problem and was found to have meningitis lesions on his brain.
2) Provide for the bi-monthly check ups necessary for Esther, also a Shalom student, to be sure her ear problems are held in check
3) Provide a proper diagnosis for an Ethiopian girl to a problem she has had for years and is now getting the right treatment for
4) Provide medicine for treatment of typhoid for a very ill tailoring student who is now healthy and back in class
5) Provide a little assistance to a mother whose husband abandoned her for another woman just before the birth of her seventh child. The baby was hospitalized with pneumonia for three weeks
1) Helped the above mentioned mother start a small business to support herself and her children. She is doing very well and had saved 2000ksh before the baby was hospitalized.
2) Provided food for young people who have finished trade school but are in process of doing their attachment, which provides very little money as they complete their training
3) Helped a young man and his grandma who is HIV positive and has other illness with food as needed
4) Provided food for a family whose father became very ill with malaria and couldn’t work for two weeks
5) Provided transportation for various needs of individuals and for the soccer team
1) Purchased bibles for individuals; in Kiswahili, in Kakumba and in English. This was besides the 17 bibles we had purchased and given out with the generous gift we received for bibles
2) Printed materials for the bible studies we have been conducting at our house
3) Printed over 100 manuals for the seminars we taught on the book of Ephesians; they were all given out and more requested
4) Paid for transportation to teach and share the Gospel and encourage God’s children in churches and the community
5) Paid for food as we hosted many in our community with “tea” and a celebration party at which over 60 attended just to get to know each other and to share God’s love for them
Being able to extend a hand in hard situations demonstrates to those here God’s love wrapped up in your care and concern for them. That is almost as big a gift as the physical one, to know someone cares. May God richly bless you as He blesses the often “forgotten” here in Kenya with your gift.
August 24, 2013
Burdens; Joys; Heartaches and just this and that in the daily life of serving a needy world for a wonderful God:
Matthew 19: 14 ‘But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” NLT
Little children are precious to Jesus and he calls upon the “Big” people to be his hands and feet to the children. We can’t take care of all the needs but we can each do “something”. God Himself is the one who can and will tell you what He desires. As we each do our part, His Kingdom will be full of these little “eternal souls”.
What do you say to a little child that will never hear his mother’s voice again or feel her loving touch? The way is hard and often there is no one who really loves that child and will comfort them. They have no one to talk to or share the heavy load they are carrying. Daily our prayers go up to the loving Father for land and funds to provide such a place for these little “forgotten ones”.
What do you do for a child that has a deadly disease lurking in his little brain and there are no funds to get the treatment to “fix” the problem or even the $35 needed for transportations to get them to the place where they can be treated. All funds that come in for the “Jesus Cares” funds are often spent before we even get the funds exchanged because the need is so urgent.
What do you council a child that is begging to go to school but school fees are outside the reach of the family? Even as young as 6 and 7 children realize that without an education their life has very few options for success and joy. Most 9 year olds are just “being children” but here many are burdened as they think and pray for a way to go to school. School sponsorships are a way to change not only a little life but the community in which they live. There is a great seriousness about what to do with their life in children here and often they will tell you what they desire is to be doctors, nurses, pastors or teacher because these people love and care for others.
Jesus also care deeply about the youth who are such a great target of Satan who tries to destroy or turn them from knowing the truth. With no opportunity for job skills training or an education their idle minds and hands become open to the evils of this world. Encouragement to assure them that “God will Make a Way..” is powerful and sharing the truths of the Bible is strong protection against the tricks of the evil one.
Pray without ceasing is the need as we share the heart aches and praises of young men who often text to either share a bible verse or to ask “please send my bible verses” or to ask for prayer with a list specific needs. Some write letters and some like the story below was shared by a young man who felt the need was so desperate, complicated and long he needed to make a long trip to come see us personally, at great sacrifice financially to him.
“Mum, please pray for me to be strong, I had to leave my career training and go help my family as they are being put off the land we have lived on for last 15 years.” This young man is now working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and earning $35 per month to try and save so he can buy at least one fourth acre of land so his family can make bricks and build a small home and have a little garden. Land prices have gone up so much that even this small parcel costs almost $1000. He is saving his entire months wages of 3000 shillings per month; he works after hours carrying water for other people to earn his rent. He eats only two small meals per day but it will take him 38 months to reach this amount. He is determined to succeed in his mission even he has to set aside his own personal desires as he is the “first born”. In the meantime land continues to go up in price and if his family is put off they then have to pay rent taking away from what he can save. BUT he is trusting God and just text to say that because He loves and serves God he knows He will provide land for them. Please join with us in this petition as well as for his health as he survives on so little and the work he does is very hard.
“Dear Mum, the reason I write this letter is the day we were at your house and shared the word of God with you, my life has not been the same again. They touched my heart and gave me a desire to start a new life for revival and salvation. I was just at home with nowhere to go, no job, no money; then I heard there was a team at Katwanyaa named the “Victory Team” and I decided to attend one of their matches and since then I felt I belonged to the team and felt I was someone. I didn’t know that this will come to my revival of my salvation. I have believed in God and always wanted to follow his path but the devil comes and drags me down. I want now to seek the face of the Lord and his righteousness. I really need your prayers much as I pray to God that he may see me through my salvations to be a living testimony and that nothing is impossible. Although life has not been smooth to me since I have no job, I believe that God is going to do something new, wonderful and good in my life. From today henceforth, I have decided to start a new life, I pray to God that he may give my heart’s desire to seek him always and He may send the Holy Spirit upon me to guide me and teach me. Remember me always in your prayers that I may not stumble but walk in the ways of the Lord. I was asking if you could find me a bible so that I can be reading and meditation in the word.” Although God has provided bible for 15 young men 11 are still asking as they don’t have one. Please join us in prayer for these young men who desire to follow God but don’t have a “guide book”.
“Thank u mum for the encouraging words and verses, God bless you and good nite.”
“Thank you mum let’s pray those words (promises from Bible sent to him) will come true in Jesus Christ’s name because it is major visions, good nite and God bless”
“Then mum, can u send verses for me that you sent last nite my phone was off so lost them. Plz send!”
“Thank U Mum for your prayers I have faith & hope that the Almighty God we serve will open a way for me, God bless you.”
The above are just a few ideas of ways to pray for these young people:
How blessed we are to have an opportunity to share and study God’s word with these wonderful, future warriors for God!!
Even in old age God is faithful “..with love and strength for each new way he will make a way!!”
“Only one life will soon be past ONLY what’s done for Christ will Last”
July 31, 2013
God continues to challenge our hearts, minds and spirits to help us grow and know him better.
Mal 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!” NLT How I long to be able to stretch my little faith to believe and act on this wonderful promise as we minister here in Kenya. In Malachi it talks about the physical blessings but my heart longs for the spiritual blessings also.
We were challenged medically as we started treating a terrible leg wound that covered 8” long and almost three inches wide. But just two weeks after being aware of it not healing, in over three months, God wonderfully healed it and now one month later there is almost no trace of the wound.
Little Peter, at Shalom, has had further tests on his eyes, and is going back for more tests and treatment to see if they can possible save his eyesight. He was doing better but had a serious setback and a CT scan revealed signs of possible meningitis on his brain. Please pray earnestly for him he is such a game little guy.
Esther’s ear problems are much improved but she still goes for bi-monthly checkups. She had problems for over 8 years before we sent her two the Lion’s hospital for treatment.
Brain, age 6, had black holes in his mouth where his teeth were supposed to be, he has been treated and bad teeth taken out but it will be an ongoing treatment pray it will not affect the permanent teeth. He is very skinny because the pain of eating kept him from food.
Steve the boy who was at one time bed fast has undergone treatments and tests for about a year. He was bent and walking only little when we came home in Jan but he was at the house two weeks ago and what a joy to see he has recovered and is running, playing and enjoying life as a 12 year old should.
We are challenged spiritually as we work with churches; it is always a blessing and the people express such encouragement when we travel to just visit; most of the time Will ends up preaching and one church even asked me to give a sermon?? I did speak a message God had just given me and ended up being blessed myself! The Victory church where we helped to establish an AWANA program has grown tremendously and those being saved are many. We will attend a baptismal of a number of the boys on the soccer team in Sept after they complete their disciple program. The AWANA students attended their first big AWANA rally of almost 100 churches and we were very proud of them as one of the boys came in 3rd and one of the girls came in 7th. It was a scary experience to stand before so many people and recite verses without mistakes but they did and we know next time more will be brave to do it. It has really sparked their desire to memorize even more verses. The Timothy/Paul program is doing great as the pastors taking the Windsor on-line college are reaching out and training in two distant places where churches were established. They will graduate 21 men at one location and are just starting the training at the other. Pastor Paul from Victory is going to the larger area to share the AWANA program and do training of Sunday school teachers. Pray they will catch the vision of how important it is to help their children be grounded in word of God.
We are challenged and humbled as God takes our small efforts to change lives. We had the joy of attending the graduation of a young Ethiopian man whom we have been helping. We first met him and joined in his desire to gain solid training in the Bible three years ago. He was led by God to come to Kenya to get training after he was saved out of a family who practiced witchcraft. When he arrived he knew maybe three dozen English words, no Kiswahili and had no money. He shared how he despaired his dream would not come true but that as we joined him and prayed with him in 2010 new hope sprang up in his heart. Many times he went without food and often slept on the church floor in Eastleigh because while we could supply tuition and some food he often went without. His desire now is to get even further training so when he returns to Ethiopia permanently he will be qualified to start a college to train pastors and workers. Please pray God will provide funds for further study. He has started over 20 little churches in Ethiopia and travels the long journey (36 hour bus ride one way) back to help them whenever the college is closed. This is a great investment and all who have helped will reap untold rewards along with him.
We are challenged physically as we travel long distances over “rough” roads (?) some are more like trails but one of the greatest joys is visiting in the homes and spending time in fellowship and prayer with those we are getting to know or are working with. There is never a pause or lack of words as we praise and rejoice together as true brothers and sisters in Jesus. It is very humbling to have them express such gratitude for such a simple and enjoyable thing. The long rule by the British has left its impact in their lives with the feeling they are inferior to us and so less valuable to God.
We are challenged financially as the many needs present themselves in never ending succession. We presently have 33 students in tailoring and we are planning to do an advanced course, called grade II, in Jan of 2014. We will take a limited number of our own students who graduate and desire to take the advance classes and see if this is something God has for us to continue. This class will introduce them to different machines and tools and sharpen their skills in making suits and wedding attire as well as dress design. If anyone would like to help a student the cost is about $200 for the seven month session, this includes tuition, exams and all materials needed. One of our first year students just stopped in to “appreciate us” for helping her get the things she needed. When she started she had no shoes, sweater or socks in this cold weather as well as no uniform to be like the rest. She is a beautiful girl who is grateful for the opportunity to learn a skill she can earn a living by. The local newspaper just published an article that told how an alarming number of girls as young as 13 often “give favors” to old men just for sanitary napkins or scented soaps. We are able monthly to provide all the supplies of this sort that the girls need thanks to your partnership with us.
We are challenged to be the prayer warriors God desires for the many young people we are privileged to know. The Victory soccer team continues to be a challenge and a blessing, almost nightly several text for verses of encouragement or ask for prayer. Will kids me that I have to “tuck” them all in at nite with messages of encouragement and assurance of our love and concern. Even as young in the Lord as they are we are impressed with their desire to serve God and their awareness that the world has a pull they want to resist. One was offered a position on an opposing team and even money if he would play for them but he told them, “I don’t play for money, I play for God”. We are seeing young men coming to the church just so they might get an opportunity to play on the team; even the radio announces their victories and many wonder where this team came from and why they are doing so well. When one of the league officials asked how such a small built team could win against much larger and more experienced teams the captain told him, “GOD; David was small, Goliath was big but God made the difference”. Please continue to pray for them to be a witness of God’s love and power. Many have very sad home lives and being part of the team is a great encouragement to them to live clean lives.
“Only one life will soon be past only what’s done for Christ will last”
Let us live each day for His Glory and praise the joys are boundless.
January 21, 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Much Joy, much heartache and much work to still be done as we prepare to leave for a few months to spend time with our “other family”. Prayers please as we fly home the 30th of Jan and for our return which God alone knows.
1. The Tailoring school is off to a great start with a twist only God could devise, a great group of students and a wonderful teacher.
2. A church elder found four “bad boys” in the church in the middle of the night, amazingly these newly saved soccer boys had read II Chronicles 2:14 and taking it to heart met to pray and fast for God to save their village and nation. I love God for letting us be a small part of such a wonderful group whom He is using to change their area. How I pray I can share some of their stories with the youth when we come home!!
3. We had the joy of celebrating one of our Ethiopian granddaughter’s birthdays today, she turned seven. She lives in Eastleigh but it is such a war zone with bombs by Elshabab and some corrupt police robbing refugees it is no long safe for them and she and her mom will go to the refugee camp again!! Pray God will give favor and they may come to America. While we sat in Kangundo celebrating a friend called and said the police were in search of refugees and when she didn’t answer her door they padlocked her in her house and told her they would return tomorrow.
4. God continues to show his father’s heart to the many little ones at Shalom and the wonderful teaching staff they have there. Some of the children still have major medical problems they are dealing with but God has guided Stephen to caring and qualified Drs. Pray for the continued needs of the school; I doubt many of your children would rejoice at the “new” school room Stephen has been able to fix up but this new room means they can continue in Shalom one more year and they are rejoicing!!
5. Great praises that the major store in Nairobi where we shop offered double shillings on all points for school fees. We were unable to provide school fees for one of our dear friend’s son as the funds just weren’t there BUT we had never cashed in our points and they along with those of another friend were enough to cover all the fees!!
6. Pray for Felix one of the soccer boys, his father died a while ago and his mom is now here in Kangundo at the aids hospital slowly slipping away. He is in the last year of high school and his grandma with whom they have lived, is HIV positive and just broke her leg. It is so important for him to finish “form four” as they call 12th grade here. He is trusting in God and the team is working to find projects they can do and help their own when they are in need.
May each of you know and respond to the great love God so freely gives to us. I stand amazed at the wonder of his unfailing love and unbounded comfort and grace; eternity will never get tired of the sound of our voices praising Him the wonderful SAVIOR.
Acts 20:24 says, ” I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish race and complete the task the LORD Jesus has given me. ” My heart says AMEN what a joy to finish and complete what has been entursted to us;may God find us worth and faithful servants when we come to the close of our life or this year which ever comes first.
September 13, 2012
“Mom I have come to see if you can give me any words of comfort in my hard situation.
I want to go on to school; I don’t want to be like the other boys here who have lost their way and are into drugs and thievery.” Although the young man sitting across from me is 19 he looks more like 15. This situation is one of the most heartbreaking realities we face daily. His father is dead, his mother is unable to work and he has been on his own for several years. He had been without a job and had finally found one. But the job won’t start till January and his hours will be from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm with only noon meal as part of the wages. The pay? 100 shillings per day or roughly $1.30. This is what he and other youth have to look forward to if they can’t get training. He wants to be an electrician and has a natural skill fixing things electrical but the school fees are way out of his reach, with the type of job he can get. $600 is needed to provide the one year training at the school to get his certificate to be an electrician. There is no way we can meet the needs of all but we can and do pray for God to provide. The terrible loss of the youth of Kangundo burdens my heart daily. There is no earthly wisdom that can meet these needs, God alone knows the answers and so to Him we always go. How blessed we are to have a Father that cares and hears our pleas and maybe in ways we don’t even know is allowing us to be a comfort and blessing.
Just knowing someone cares and will pray with them seems a help to the and brings them to the house, several this week have come by saying, “I can’t stay but mom will you pray for me?”
We am so blessed by the young men on the soccer team and their blossoming love for Jesus and determination to really live for him; it helps to balance the sadness of the situations we can do nothing but pray about. Isaac, saved just 5 weeks, with great excitement was sharing II Chronicles 7:14, “This is how our country can be saved but we need to SEEK God’s face, really seek God’s face.” They are coming for another bible lesson the 18th and the subject they requested we teach is, “Things God hates”. They want to be sure they aren’t doing them!!
What joy to hear their pastor state yesterday that the Awana program has exploded and they now have over 200 children in the Clubs. Thank you God for providing one soccer ball to attract the “lost” youth and bring them into the fold!!!
And THANK YOU dear partners who pray and share!!!
December 7, 2012
“We were under great pressure..” II Cor 1:8.
It is hard to explain but the enemy is very strong here and very active, BUT GOD how I love those two words!! and truely “none of these things move me..” When God sends you on a mission he always “packs” what you need. How precious the Word has become as more and more I realize it is everything we need to engage in battle, and everything we could hope for to comfort our hearts. Blessings abound and who would even think of exchanging the joy of seeing young live blossom and expand for God for the “comforts” of home.
This world truely is not our home we are just passing through but how we long to take as many as possible with us out of this world of darkness. Many of the young people are electrified as they realize Jesus really loves them and has a plan for them to follow. As we listened to one after another share what Jesus and the team meant to them it was evident their faith was real and will be long lasting; ” becoming a man of honor”, “being able to avoid bad companions”, “able to leave drugs behind”, “knowing I have a purpose in this life”. They were shy at first but now they are asking if they can’t come again for another bible study and learn more of what God wants them to do. They even asked the “unthinkable” they want us to work up a quiz to give them on the bible study we had.
Then there was the joy of seeing fear banished from the heart of a young woman who had witnessed the terrible destruction of the Alshabob bombing that killed so many a couple of weeks ago. It was very unsafe for her to return to street witnessing as the mobs of thugs targeted the Ethiopians as they raged in the streets beating and robbing people after the attack. BUT GOD had called her to witness in the streets years ago and after a weeks “leave of absence” she came out radiant as she told us she was leaving to go back so she could resume the Friday time of prayer and encouraging other believers and witnessing of Jesus love in the outreach program on the streets. “God said not my time to die and if it is, it is ok”. She called to says there had been another bombing but that she was not afraid!!! Victories of and for our great God.
Young pastors eager to learn more, assembled to be taught by two of our “Timothy/Paul project pastors at a village miles away. One of the teachers called to share how excited the pastors were that they had returned ( as they do every three months) and that there were 12 “students” in attendance. The other teacher shared how wonderful it was to be in the Word so much as he prepared and as he taught and of his deep desire to do this all the time. Truely the light God’s word brings is the answer for lost and hungry souls whether in the US or in Kenya and serving God is the ultimate satisfaction of the soul!!