One Thing Remains
One Thing Remains
Over the past 10 years I have served as an advisor and advocate for the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf in the Nyanza Province in Western Kenya. During the course of the last decade, we have seen remarkable – even supernatural – progress.
In response to their great need, I formed the Kenya Development Fund which assists with strategic planning and fundraising to assist in the development of a first rate school for the Deaf. We have been able to purchase real estate where the school not only grows much of its own food, but where we have seen also a beautiful physical campus rise up out of pretty much nothing. I have traveled the length and breadth of the United States speaking at Mission Conferences, churches, civic organizations and other venues raising many thousands of dollars to construct a safe and healthy living and learning environment for the students of Immanuel. We have been able to muster sufficient funds to construct two beautiful 65 bed dormitories, a 3000 square foot All-Purpose building which serves as dining hall, kitchen, and chapel and a Primary School building. On June 15 I will joyfully cut yet another ribbon as I officially open the crown jewel of our campus; a two floor, ten classroom, four office Academic and Administration Building.
By the testimony of some in the government of Kenya, the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf is the “finest school for special needs children in all of Kenya.” They consistently rank at the top of academic ranking in the entire country among special needs schools. Our goals have been pretty simple: to provide the children with a safe living environment, a healthy learning environment, and a solid spiritual center from which to build their lives. We’re trying to level the playing field in a part of the world where children with disabilities are severely marginalized and overlooked.
I have been laser focused on these various projects for more than ten years now. I have turned down many opportunities for effective ministry in other parts of Kenya and East Africa so that I might focus my energies on completing this project. We are almost ready to cross the finish line in terms of physical development – or so it would seem.
As I was meditating this week on all that God has done in His great grace toward us in our efforts to “visit” the affliction of the Deaf children in western Kenya, God spoke to my heart in that quiet, still voice that I have come to recognize so clearly over the years.
“There is yet one thing that remains.”
It was then I realized that in all of the planning, all of the strategizing, all of the fund raising and advocating for the school we have overlooked one important matter. And, while this issue does not relate directly to the children of the Immanuel Deaf School it is important nonetheless.
For more than 10 years now, our headmaster, Wesely Agengo has endured a spartan existence with his little family in two small rooms of the rented portion of our campus; Wes and Beryl with their two growing boys living in 250 square feet. Over the years, I have watched the two of them sacrifice so much for the children at Immanuel. As a young assistant teacher, Wes put his future in jeopardy in order to expose corruption in a former administration. As we have watched the beautiful campus that is the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf rise up out a field of weeds and standing water, Wes has worked tirelessly as a teacher and administrator, all the while overseeing the construction of dormitories, meeting hall, primary school and now the massive Academic Center. He has managed contractors, purchased materials and, more than once he has reached into his own pocket to make sure the children have food. In all of those ten years, Wes has asked nothing for himself; not one penny.
Wesely is bright and capable, well educated and could easily become successful in the public sector. Instead, he has remained faithful in his care for the Deaf children of the Nyanza Province. He and Beryl have been saving for years in hopes of building a home for their family. Recently, they were able to procure a small plot of land and begin work on a little house. Not much of a house, but certainly more than they have been had for their entire marriage.
As I thought through these things, I realized that it is not yet time to announce “Mission Accomplished.” There is one thing that yet remains. We are not going to declare our campus complete until Wes and Beryl and their two boys have a home of their own in which to live. With God’s help and the generosity of God’s people we’re going to build Wes and Beryl’s home. (I have posted a photo here of their homestead.) I inquired of Wes what it would take to finish their home and he tells me that the cost of finishing the house so that they can move it is going to be around $8,000 USD.
I realize this is not my normal fare, and many of my readers may have no idea at all what I’m talking about. Please visit our website at www.kenyadevfund.org or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ImmanuelDeafSchool to learn more about what miracles God has performed there and where He is still working. If you would like to help us finish Wes and Beryl’s home, just click on the “Donate” button and give whatever you can, no matter how small, toward finishing a home for this amazing couple. It is the least we can do in view of the years of sacrifice they have given. If you don’t want to give by credit card, you can send a tax deductible gift by check to Kenya Development Fund, 30 Canal Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301. 100% of the funds designated for this project will be applied to building this home for Wes and Beryl. (Whether you give by credit card or check, please make a note designating your gift to Wes’s house.