April 28, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As most of you know, our main ministry in Kenya is church planting/teaching the Bible and the Gospel/discipleship training. However, in the course of being here for 8 years, Julie and I have accepted other ministries as well; though I hate to even call them “ministries” because they’re not really “part of the job”. They’re just something God has opened our hearts to because we are followers of Jesus and followers of His ways. Since being in Kenya, God has opened our hearts to the plight of orphans in this world, and we want to do what we can in order to help them. Is this “ministry” or is it just the heart of God?
This past month we had three “orphans” living with us at various times and for a few days all at the same time. Let me introduce them to you. To the far left of the picture is our precious Chloe. Hopefully, she needs no introduction to you as I have written about her often and related her story in detail in previous newsletters. She has lived with us now for over a year and a half. In our hearts she is our daughter, and when the Kenyan government lifts the moratorium on adoptions in this country, we will make her our daughter officially and legally. In the middle of the picture is Clinton. His full name is Bill Clinton Muhkwana. Can you guess the US president he is named after? We love Clinton. He is ten years old and has lived at a children’s home since he was an infant. His extended family situation is very dangerous to him, and so on occasions when the children’s home is closed he comes and lives with us. He lived with us for two weeks this past month. In the picture you can see that I took him to play golf (yes, we have an old golf course here built by the British during the colonial days). What an experience! On the far right of the picture is Sasha. What a cutie! She came to stay with us over a weekend when the children’s home she lives in was moving from one location to another. I don’t necessarily enjoy middle of the night feedings, but what a joy to be able to care for one of God’s little ones. You might say, “Oh, what a blessing you are to these children”. But if you say that you would be wrong. They are a blessing to us!
When I was living in the States, I never much considered the plight of orphans. It’s just not something that is before our eyes on a daily basis. Not so in Kenya and much of the rest of the world. Kenya has a population of 44 million people and the number of orphans in the country is estimated to be around 3 million. That’s 7% of the total population of the country. In comparison, the US has 319 million people and only around 400,000 children in foster care. That’s only .1% of the population. If 7% of the US population was orphans, that would come out to over 22 million orphans in the US. Can you even imagine? Consider these additional Kenyan statistics: 13.5% of children aged 0-18 are orphaned; 15% of all Kenyan households are headed by an orphaned sibling; 700 children are orphaned every day. The main reasons for so many orphans are poverty and AIDS. It is estimated that Kenya has close to 1,000,000 orphans due to AIDS, the third highest rate per population in the world. And the problem is compounded when the society acts impervious to their plight. This sets the children up for easy exploitation, and makes them soft targets for child trafficking.
Why do I bring this up in this newsletter? Mainly for awareness. As I said earlier, when I lived in the States this problem seemed a million miles away. Now it is very close. But also because God loves these children and wants to show them his love through you and me. They are very near and dear to the heart of God. What does this mean to you? Maybe you adopt one. Maybe you foster one. Maybe you protect or care for one. Maybe you find out what you can do to help. And if you’ve made it this far into my newsletter please, please do not say, “That’s just not our ministry”. Remember what James said: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (James 1:27). And remember this also: To do so is a joy and blessing!
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
Visit their blog!