5 years ago when I founded Lifesong KENYA, I had lots of excuses and valid reasons why I believed God could use someone else to empower boys in juvenile prison. I would go to church on Sunday and start pointing people and names of the men I believe had what it takes to guide young men.
Those were my most difficult moments. Bus fare, rent, food, clothes and much more were hard to come by. But Jared and I kept hanging on, hoping that God was going to turn things around. Instead of bringing donors and supporters God pointed us to using buttons.
I struggled with faith and questioned the direction God was leading me. There I was, seeing others post pictures of the wonderful work they were doing in prisons and I don’t mind telling you this…
I envied them and asked God why He wasn’t bringing donors and supporters our way. I started doubting my ability to get the job done. Our visits to the prison were erratic due to lack of resources and finances. In 2016, I contemplated giving up and planned to collapse Lifesong Kenya. Then Cynthia, my wife, spoke sense into my life and directed me back to trusting God. I turned to running and used it to think things through. I resolved to resume my work in prison and have blind trust, faith and hope in God.
God’s divine provision
I begun using my runs to think about what needed to be done. In order for the program to succeed, I knew we needed the kind of consistency that our dwindling and limited resources and funding wasn’t going to sustain. Losing touch with all the boys that passed through our hands in 2017 hurt me deeply. I felt helpless and hopeless.
When we lost Diamond, we decided to finally take a huge leap of faith. We decided to start going to prison on a regular basis. Earnest was kind enough to start off without any pay. All we took care of was his bus fare. This enabled us to start teaching 20 boys basic ICT skills. We hope that by the end of this year, 100 boys will have graduated from the program.
The joy of empowering boys with tangible skills
I remember the day our first batch of 4 boys graduated from the program. Though it is a very basic program, the joy on the faces of our boys was a sight to behold.
“I’ve never earned anything in my life,” one of the boys said, choking with emotions. “Now I have a certificate and a recommendation letter that shows I’ve a new lease of life!”
We have adopted 2 boys who have since touched base with us after leaving prison. This boys have asked us to continue mentoring and coaching them. This means an additional strain on our resources and finances. Not only are we required to go to prison 5 days in a week, we are now supposed to meet with the boys who have graduated on a weekly basis.
It has now come to this
4 more boys will be graduating from our ICT program this coming week and exit the prison with tangible skills that will enable them to successfully reintegrate back into the society as valuable assets. That will bring the total number to 7. Some of them have mentioned they would like to go back to school while the rest would like to start their own ICT based businesses.
I have come to learn how God provides differently for different organizations. Our journey begun with using buttons and hoping to earn an income that we hoped to plow back into our work. God has also brought an amazing group of people to support our work. However, we still need more resources and funding to enable us to effectively meet the needs of Lifesong Kenya and the boys we work with.
I’ve also been using my income as a writer, managing a business, running and cycling to raise funds for Lifesong Kenya and it has now come to this: I need you to get involved in our work. Why don’t you get in touch and find out how you can help. Feel free to share our work, vision and needs with your family, friends and network.
Thanks in advance!