Inside Look: PFK Kenya

Shadowed by the capital city of Nairobi, Ongata Rongai, Kenya is a blossoming city in terms of residents, infrastructure and potential. Much of this recent growth-explosion can be attributed to a number of Kenyans flocking here in order to find work in and around the City (In Kenya, when one refers to ‘the City’, it invariably means Nairobi). Therefore, the result is a hodgepodge inclusion of different tribes, cultures, religions, income and educational levels. It is within this urban medley that Potter’s Field Kenya was planted in the year 2011, and where it has exploded in size and scope since then.

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Originally consisting of only a single kids program, the ministry in Kenya has now come to also include opportunities to teaching the Bible in multiple public and private schools, serving at a children’s home, and offering free academic tutoring programs twice a week. At the beginning of 2014 we have had the honor to be able to start our very own school, called Potter’s Field Christian Academy. Currently, we have about 60 children enrolled and offer preschool, 1st and 2nd grade classes, with the hope of adding a 3rd grade class for the 2016 school year starting in January! Our staff and interns work closely alongside the teachers to provide an extremely affordable high-level education for children who might otherwise not be able to afford to go to school. Every day when these children come to school, they learn about their Creator who loved and sacrificed everything that they might know life and freedom.

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Most, if not all of these students are also frequent attendees at our most bountiful harvest, our weekly Saturday Kid’s Club. Each week, we have an average of about 340 children ranging from two years old all the way up to nineteen who come to the church property (which is barely large enough to squeeze them all in) in order to learn more about Jesus. Every week, the children and teenagers join us in times of worship, teaching and fellowshipping over chai (tea, milk and sugar) and a meal of rice, beans and cabbage. All 340 children are taught lessons from the Scriptures and are encouraged into personal relationships with Jesus. It is because of God working through the Kid’s Club program, combined with many of our other ministry opportunities, that families have been restored, students have been given an education, and young adults have been freed from addictions. Children have been fed and individual lives have been forever changed by the name and power of Jesus Christ.

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Isaiah 58 gives a glimpse into the heart of God and what He desires from His saints, namely that chains and bonds of injustice and need would be broken so that the freedom of God might reign in every life, everywhere, to the ultimate glory of God. The children and teenagers that are being reached today will become the pastors, missionaries and evangelists of tomorrow, changing the face of Kenya and of the world forever, until the whole world hears.

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Exceedingly Abundantly

Lydia Sawler was one of our interns in IGNITE Class 6. She served her 6 months in Guatemala, and when her year of the IGNITE program ended, she returned to Guatemala and continued to serve with us. We have a unique opportunity to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) in multiple public schools in Guatemala. Lydia is one of a few “2.0” staff/interns who teaches ESL classes using the Bible to children of all ages. We have multiple “2.0” staff/interns who are currently serving on the foreign mission field with us across the globe. Lydia wrote this encouragement to us mid-2015, and will be returning to serve with us for 2016 this January.

From Lydia:

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20

This verse is one that the Lord gave me, as I finished my six months of serving in Guatemala last year, as a part of the IGNITE Mission Training School. The time that I had served there had so far exceeded any of the hopes or expectation I could have ever had. This verse was ringing in my head as I praised the Lord for the incredible works He had done in Guatemala and for the works He had done in my heart as well.

As I prepared to return to Guatemala in early 2015 to volunteer with Potter’s Field and continue to serve the work there, I don’t think I ever thought that this year could have possibly been better than the last. My time in Guatemala during IGNITE was indescribable, and although I was sure that the coming year would be a blessing as well I had no idea how much Jesus had in store. This verse has continued to ring in my head throughout this year – the only difference is that it rings louder than ever before.

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Pastor Don McClure visiting during one of Lydia’s classes

During IGNITE, one of my big roles in Guatemala was to help teach English in the public schools. As I came back this year I continued to teach, this time in three new schools. God worked in a mighty way in the schools and He is continuing in that work. My teammate, Quincey and I have a strong desire to share the Bible, even more than we did last year. As we have begun to learn more Spanish, we have felt challenged to teach more in-depth Bible lessons as a part of our English classes. Every English lesson that we teach has a Bible story as a part of it. Doing this has stretched us, but what better way to learn than to be stretched? That’s when God has to truly step in to fill the gap. The blessings have once again exceeded what I could have ever expected. And the Lord has continued to surprise me with who He calls me to.

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Even though we teach in various classes from Preschool through Sixth grade, I have felt particularly called to pour into my fifth and sixth graders. Life in Guatemala is different for them. They’re on the cusp of being adults and making decisions that will last for their lifetime. But what choices will they make? Adulthood starts at a younger age here. Many of these kids have been working since they could walk. I teach four year olds who I later see shining shoes to make 50 cents. Many of the little girls I teach walk around the streets selling gum and cigarettes. They wake up, go to school, walk to work, go home when it’s dark, and then repeat. Many of them aren’t even able to go to school regularly because of this. Now imagine the ones in sixth grade. They are surrounded by the influence of turning to drugs and alcohol. Soon, that will be how they choose to handle their stresses. These girls have been raising their siblings since they were young, and within the next few years, many of them will have their own babies. So what do we do? How do we help?

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As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that He is the only way. I am here to teach English, but more importantly to show these children who Jesus is. I pray that through my actions and words, they can see Him. Recently, I felt the Lord telling me to share my IGNITE testimony and share what He did in my life last year. The room was silent as they listened. As I began, I asked them what they thought my job was. They couldn’t believe that I chose to leave my family to come be a missionary to people I didn’t even know. I explained to them about my frustration as I was put in a place that I originally didn’t want to be. I told them the truth, and the truth is that it was hard. But I also told them that all of this was a small price to pay and how God knew so much better than I did. He held me in the palm of His hand for every moment and never put me down.

I asked them what they thought I would have missed out on if I hadn’t listened to the Lord. The room shined with 38 smiles as they all said “You wouldn’t have met us!” I still have to hold back tears as I picture this moment and those faces. How blessed am I?

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So much is going on in their lives that I don’t even get to see. Lots of these kids are lacking love in their homes. Nothing can compare to the love He gives. They are frustrated by the world around them. No one can give more comfort than the arms of Jesus. These are the truths I want them to know. Every week, as I teach God’s Word to them, they are told these truths. The teachers in the room are even asking me questions. Every week I am challenged to dive further in and I am continually blessed.

Please pray for me and the work going on in these schools. It is not something to be taken lightly. I am seeing more and more of what an example I am to them and that is a big deal. I am a representation of something far bigger than myself. I pray that Christ would be manifested in me and that His love would pour out of me and onto them. I am privileged and honored to be where I am. That verse is not only ringing in my head, it rings true in my life. Thank you Jesus.

‘TIL THE WHOLE WORLD HEARS

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New Horizons: Democratic Republic of the Congo

We are so excited over the blossoming of a beautiful new Potter’s Field Kid’s program in the DRC! Please keep this location in your prayers, as we seek the best for these precious children in the midst of Goma being dangerous place.

Harrun Onunga was a leader of the PFM program with us in Kenya for over two years, and he was loved by every child and youth here in Kenya.  He grew to become a great leader and teacher of the Word. The Lord suddenly called him to move and serve Him in the Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically in Goma (eastern DRC). He did not have anyone he knew there or any connection to do ministry! He just obeyed the Lord and left in April of this year to go, only with a strong desire to start a PFM kids club program there.

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Harrun in the DRC, you can spot him smiling in the very back!

The DRC is a volatile and unstable country which still has rebel activity, attacks, and constant theft. The people therefore suffer greatly. Knowing these struggles, Harrun went on faith that the Lord wanted to do something in that place.  Within a month or two, he connected with an assistant pastor in a village outside of Goma and was asked to teach English to Bible students and anyone from the area who was interested. He agreed only if he could also teach them the Bible. Those lessons quickly resulted in a kids club program on Fridays and a soccer program on Saturdays.

Within 2 weeks, over 200 children started attending the program, walking long distances to come. Harrun took everything he learned from PFM leaders in Kenya and trained interested Congolese volunteers to become teachers of the children, and now a whole team of teachers teach hundreds of children every Friday and Saturday.

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The children are hungry for the Word, and they long to be in a loving, stable, fun environment, to leave their constant worry and trouble behind and come to a place to learn, have fun, and be safe. Harrun meets with the teachers weekly to study the Word and plan their kids club lessons, and he supervises and teaches with them every week.  It has been phenomenal what the Lord has done in such a short time.  He is using Harrun to show these children love and God’s truths….and God is transforming lives forever in the DRC. 

-Linda Simpson, PFM Kenya Overseer