We're off! As I sit here, I am waiting for my flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Today I leave with one of my best friends Dave and his daughter Rayel. We will be returning in February. In my last post and email, I mentioned some changes that are on the horizon for us at ReACT. My good friend Daniel Lipparelli has spent almost 8 years in Kenya full time and has been the man behind the management of both his ministry as well as ReACT. Daniel and I have been friends even before he began Transformed International 8 years ago. Today, Daniel and his wife Ashlie are back in Reno, Nevada and have no plans to return to Kenya at this time. They have been back there for almost one year now and the ministries he has left in his wake are a testament to his leadership. The past year has seen the ministries of TI as well as ReACT flourish under the Kenyan leadership that Daniel mentored for years prior to his leaving Kenya in February 2012.
While Daniel and Ashlie have no plans to return to Kenya, the works in Kenya will continue on. In the past year, I have had many conversations with Daniel regarding the changes to his ministry and the consequent ripples that will be felt by us here at ReACT. Essentially, ReACT will be continuing as we have been with the help of the staff that Daniel had working as a part of Transformed International. Anne, a full-time Kenyan trained social worker and Mark will be continuing to do the work that they have been doing for ReACT over the past number of years under TI's leadership. We are excited to be working even closer now with these wonderful people! I have known Mark for almost 12 years and Anne for about 7 years and they have both proven faithful. I have full confidence in their ability to manage the works ReACT is a part of.
In my conversations with Daniel over the last year, we really prayed into how his ministries would continue on. We have agreed that ReACT would take over the monthly food drops for some poor families in the area. These families care for about 50 orphans and/or vulnerable children (OVCs) in their own homes but have not had the means to supply the needs for these extra children. Instead of displacing these children to an orphanage-like setting, ReACT will be essentially making food deliveries once a month so that the extended families can care for their own. This work falls wonderfully into ReACT's vision to "rescue and ensure the well-being of OVCs by establishing simple, cost-effective and culturally relevant environments for their care." Anne and Mark already know these families and children well. Anne does random visits as well as her regular monthly visits while Mark circulates among these homes to mentor and share Christ with the children. It has been a faith-stretch for us here though as we trust that God will continue to provide for these children as the months go on. We do believe in the Home Based Care vision and are excited to have our faith expand as the work of ReACT also grows!
Another change that is happening is that ReACT will be taking over TI's work at the Veronica Home. The Veronica Home is a home set on one acre just south of Kitale, Kenya that cares for 10 children suffering from AIDS. This home exists to strictly care for the children through foster house parents. These ten children will be able to continue to live here as they have for the past years and know the love and care of their new home. For ReACT, we have never been interested in owning land but TI has asked that the property be transferred into ReACT's name as we are registered as a Community Based Organization with the Kitale Children's Department. The Kenyan Board of Directors will continue offering leadership to this home as well. We now have an official Kenyan Home Base and we are both grateful and humbled to be entrusted with this work.
We are holding all of the projects with open hands and not clenched fists...we want God to be able to do as He sees best in the coming year. As of today, ReACT has almost 170 children under our care and we feel both stretched as well as humbled. The work honestly seems overwhelming, but this is good ground and we are excited to spend ourselves on the behalf of these children! So as we continue our trip, please pray that we have wisdom in the many things we have to do in the coming weeks. Pray as well for our protection as Kenya has a national election on March 4th that has the potential of terribly disturbing the country as it did in its last election.
Thank you very much for your partnership and interest in this work!