ReACT first came behind Martin and Ruth Shikuku in 2006 when they visited their home in an area called Soy. Their home was a simple mud hut on a piece of land strewn with rocks and not very arable. At the time, Martin and Ruth not only cared for their own family but also for an additional 30 children despite the fact that their home was only suitable for themselves. True religion! Recognizing their passion and vision despite their lack of resources to adequately care for the children ReACT has since simply come behind this family through some small business opportunities as well as monthly food and supply deliveries. We have never assumed any of the management of the home, rather have always left this to the Shikukus feeling it best to resist our urge to control and "import" our vision.
About four years ago, some other friends of Martin's, the Pollock family from Rochester New York, also came behind them in another capacity. They purchased and provided three quality buildings on a 2 acre property about 20 minutes south of a town called Kitale. The generosity of the Pollocks and their teams took this home to a whole new level of existence in that there was now sufficient room for the children both in terms of housing as well as the property. The two acres has not only housed the family but also has provided a generous amount of gardens for the home to move towards independence.
In the course of the last 16 months or so, a strange set of events has confronted this home and the Shikuku family. They were informed, along with the neighbouring property owners, that a new power line would intersect their current property as required by the Kenya Power Company. The KPC is a government run utility that has plans for a new power line to run through the 2 acre property, effectively requiring them to remove two of the three 4 year old buildings but with compensation. In a battle to fight this requirement, the Shikukus were clearly told that if there was opposition to the KPC plans that they would ultimately find themselves still requiring to comply but without financial compensation. This has been a puzzling and even sad process since there have been so many different people involved in getting them settled on their current piece of land, not to mention the upheaval for the large family (of close to 50). If there is a blessing in all this, it is that Martin and Ruth are being compensated such that they are able to 1) purchase an additional 3 acres of land and 2) build two new buildings to replace the ones that are being disassembled - one for girls and one for boys. They will also still have Title and full use of their current land for farming as well as the new three acres.
Martin and Ruth shared with us while we visited that when they initially began to hope and pray for a new piece of land over 10 years ago while they were still living in Soy, their dream was of having 5 acres. This didn't materialize at the time, but now with the Kenya Power Company relocation they are the proud owners of exactly 5 acres of land! We can only see this as nothing more than an answer to prayer made years ago.
Presently, the additional 3 acres has been purchased, the roof on the two new dorms is almost completed and the finishes are being worked on. The KPC has strict requirements for this project as they need to inspect and be satisfied that the work is being substantially performed before the completed amount of funds are released to them. With the rainy season started, please pray that this project is completed prior to the deadline that the KPC has put on them. While the whole process has been a frustrating one, in the end we trust that this family will be even better off than they were prior to the new power lines being installed. Like Joseph said in Genesis of his adverse circumstances, "what you have meant for evil, God intended for good!".
Through all these events, the most important thing we are pleased to see that the children are still radiant! The events on the outside still find them doing well on the inside as evidenced by their smiles and playfulness where ever they are. Ultimately, our desire is to see these underprivileged children properly cared for and come to know the loving God that deliberately made them. We are pleased to see great evidence of this! Like all of us, their outward circumstances are secondary in the light of their inward character. God is the Builder and it seems He is not opposed to using outward frustrations to build Himself on the inside.
"So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."
As time passes, we can begin to foresee that this home is moving towards independence and we are also excited to see how far they have come in the past 9 years. Please continue to pray for these children that in all that happens on the outside, they would find their ultimate security with a Saviour on the inside!
More to follow!