• Posted by Meghan on 15 Nov 2012

Today my mom sent me a picture of Eden from just after we brought her home from the hospital. It was taken almost exactly 3 years ago, just before Thanksgiving in 2009. Recently our church recognized Orphan Sunday and I am so thankful that Eden is no longer an orphan, but I can’t help but think of all of the children that are still waiting for a mother and father at the children’s homes we often visited.

There is one particular place that I think of often. It’s called the Amani Shelter and was originally created as a place for abused women to recover after a stay at the hospital until they could go home. Before long, women would come to the shelter with their children and after several of the women died, the children remained at Amani. Today, the Amani Shelter cares for abused women and children as well as orphaned children and is run by Florence and Happiness, two of the most faithful, caring and committed women you could ever meet.

While Ben and I were in Kenya in 2011, several people pitched in to donate money to the Amani Shelter. We asked Florence and Happiness what the shelter needed and their list included flour, bread, meat, bowls and cups, as well as an umbrella for the guard and rain coats and boots for them because they walk to work and in the rainy season walk in the rain. At the time there were 4 women (one woman whose husband had stabbed her eyes out when he found out she was pregnant), an infant and 11 children living there. The house that is Amani Shelter is 4 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and a barn out back for the chickens (which is also where the occasional men stay when they are residents at the shelter).

I wish I could describe to you the disparity between the needs that the individuals have and the hope and joy that they exhibit. The kids there are far more satisfied than my children ever are and many of them have never had the things that we would consider necessities.

I’ve been feeling convicted about the way we left Kenya behind when we came back to the US. We have become self-focused and slipped quickly back into the pursuit of the “American dream”, rather than continuing to care for and support causes and people that we came to love while there. I’m hoping that as we head into a busy time of year, focused on buying, gift giving and receiving, traveling and frivolous spending, that our family, and maybe yours as well, would take time to remember the people that have nothing.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share stories of some of the children at the Amani shelter. I’m also going to ask you to consider what you might be able to do to help the kids there. Some ideas are to donate money to the shelter to help them buy basic supplies (this could be a one time donation, or monthly support), give money for Christmas gifts (Javan, an employee at the IU compound, takes the kids shopping each year), or pay to send a child to school (this is a multiple year commitment). If you have an interest in joining us to support the Imani Shelter in some way, please let me know and I’ll help you make it happen.


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