In the U.S. when school begins, there are all sorts of attitudes….my grandchildren are ecstatic. All nine of them seem to be made out of the same stuff….enthusiasm. Three on the west coast, two in Nashville and three in our Chicago suburbs all echo the same excitement.
In my other country of belonging and some long, gangly roots, when children get to school age, there is enthusiasm but often a burden that is too heavy to bear. The little ones have to have shoes and uniforms to go to school. That’s too much for some families.
For high schoolers who have passed the rigorous 8th grade exams and feel accomplished to have just made the grade, their burden is also heavy…how to pay for school fees. For you see, to go on to high school requires uniforms, book fees, and high semester fees. And that can add up to $100.oo a month. No, there are no city taxes to pay for high schools. Many high schools are only boarding schools that require some travel and room and board, as well. Sounds like our colleges, doesn’t it?
We have been involved with Hope for Life Kenya for 12 years. I helped start this ministry when I was the Global Outreach Director at Wheaton Bible Church. It was then called Heart for AIDS, since most of the kids who came to Hope for Life’s orphan care center were very young and orphaned by one or both parents who died of AIDS. The director, Josephine Kiarii hand-picked the kids to have in her lunch and after school programs.
Now in 2016 those 4 and 5 year olds have grown up and are ready to finish their education. What a great group they are. I have met most of them. Almost all of them are committed Christ followers. They serve in local churches and take care of their households (with their grandparents, in some cases), they mentor the younger kids, and are known in the community for being strong leaders who have purpose and live exemplary lives.
This year there are 37 teens chomping at the bit to graduate from high school. They do well in school and have strong testimonies in their boarding schools. Please pray for these kids. They need our support in so many ways.
You may want to consider partially supporting a student for a few years until he or she finishes high school. Faith and Learning International in Wheaton is the 501c3 that is making it possible to support one of these students. Personally, I would be happy to link you up with a student that you could pray for by name and learn about personally. Just let me know. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Any of you readers who are in the Wheaton area are welcomed to come to meet Josephine. She is coming to the U.S. for the first time this fall and will be here in mid-October. Jim and I are hosting a reception for her on October 12 at 7pm at The TEAM Mission Place, 370 W. Front Street, downtown Wheaton.]