12/23/2014

 

I met Steven Mungai at an annual convocation in Atlanta Georgia in July 2008. He is the Senior pastor of Dominion Camp Church in the province of Nyeri, located about eighty kilometers from the capital city Nairobi, Kenya. It was at this convocation where I met a delegation of pastors and clergymen from six countries in Africa, all of whom invited me to come and speak in their native land. I was honored by this and accepted their invitations.

 

In April 2009, I journeyed to the mother land of Africa to the tiny province of Nyeri in Kenya. I was met by a small group lead by Pastor Steven Mungai at Joseph Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. I then met Isaac, a businessman and member of Pastor Steve's church. Brother Isaac had been assigned to be my guide. He's a soft spoken, astute and personable man loved by his wonderful family and friends. Isaac had received permission from his Pastor one day to invite me to lunch. He wanted to show me around town and introduce me as his friend from America. We spent the entire day together, not knowing the destiny that lie ahead of us and how our lives would become intertwined.

 

Now this was at a time when there was a great drought in the region. For nearly two years everyone and everything was deprived of one of nature's most precious gifts, water. It deeply saddened me to see rivers, lakes and creeks reduced to cracked, dry land. My heart sank as I witnessed the starved animals enter the townships in hopes of finding lush pastures in which to graze, while the villages' children waited for rain, their rib cages protruding from their fragile frames.

From there we visited Thomson Falls, a beautiful historical landmark in Nyahururu. Known for its splendor, but paradoxically also known as a place of last resorts. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters go when life seems futile. Having given up any and all hope for their future, they go there to take their own lives. The waters had receded from the effects of the drought and you could see at times hundreds of bodies lying on the floor of the river bed.

 

I became very comfortable with my new friend as we continued our journey to the township of Nyahururu, which was about thirty kilometers from Thomson Falls. Suddenly, he stopped and got out of his car, I remained in the vehicle. I thought Brother Isaac was having a mental breakdown as we were in the middle of nowhere. You could see the entrance to the town, at that point he called out and beckoned me to join him. My first thought was not to leave the vehicle, but he called a second and third time. I exited the car and joined Brother Isaac where he stood.  

   

Smiling, he lifted his hand and declared that he owned the land from where we stood to the entrance of town. He looked me in the eye as we stood there and said, "I give to you".  Needless to say, stunned and nearly speechless, I asked him, why? Why would you not give this to your pastor and church? Why give this to me? Brother Isaac responded, "I know in my spirit you will do something great with it." I was fighting back my tears as I stood there, shoes covered with the dirt of this desert like place. He wanted me to have this gift to do something great. I told Brother Isaac I would have to pray about this. There we talked at great length about a place for children who had no parents, who were given away, left to fend for themselves, and in many cases thrown into the Thomson Falls River to die.

 

We talked about how we could use the land to build a place where parent-less children could live, be protected and no doubt cared for. I thought of a school, a church, soccer fields where they could play and water wells to draw fresh water to drink. A place they could call home.

 

Upon my return to America, I immediately began exploring fundraising ideas. I needed to raise capital to help or at least to start the project and keep my promise. I began reaching out to pastors and preachers, religious organizations, philanthropists or anyone who would care enough to help me begin this most extraordinary and much needed work. Little did I know that a chance meeting on a golf course with Mr. Damian "Blue" Jones would spark an incredible set of circumstances which have brought us together with an unrelenting compassion and love inspired by God to meet the global need of protecting the world's children. 

 

To be continued...

 

 

LETTER TO CHIARA

 

 

 

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