Mother of Naomi

Emily Whelchel is our Kenya Programs Director. Here is her story of seeing her CRF sponsored child, Naomi.

When I saw my sponsored daughter, my world stopped. Naomi has been in my life for a year and a half now. I get her letters twice a year, a new photo of her to hang on my wall with my other family photos, and I even get a report card so I can see how she’s doing in school. I chose to sponsor Naomi because I knew there was a reason God was putting her into my life. I knew I could support her through school.

“Welcome Emily, mother of Naomi,” the children at the CRF school sang. Everything was bright with orange, the color of HOPE for AIDS orphans in East Africa—the school uniforms, streamers, and even the buildings—all orange. My eyes searched the faces of the singing children. And then I saw her.

Naomi crashed into me in a hug that lasted for two or three minutes. This child’s photograph had been displayed in my home and my office at work for one year—and here she was, smiling in my arms, a real and familiar child that Jesus loves.

Hand-in-hand, Naomi and I walked the mile to her guardian family’s mud hut. The Kenyan landscape around us was beautiful, but I cannot imagine walking this rough dirt road multiple times a day. Shiny school shoes protected Naomi’s feet—once, not too long ago, she walked this road barefoot.

There isn’t a lick of furniture in Naomi’s hut. Not a chair, not a bed, not a table. She and her guardian family spend most of their time outside, cooking what food they can get. In their native tongue, Naomi’s guardians explained that their life has been blessed by CRF sponsorship. Naomi isn’t hungry anymore. And the family has been tremendously blessed too. These guardians care for 7 orphaned children on Mt. Elgon—they are Christians and even though they are elderly, they believe it’s their responsibility to help orphans.

Naomi used to be hungry and sick from parasites caused by unclean water. But today Naomi smiles and laughs with her friends at school. She is healthy, she is well-fed, and she is receiving the education she always wanted. Best of all, Naomi is being taught about Jesus every single day.

We Have Come from Far

“We Have Come From Far.
We Are Far.
We Are Going Far.”


If you hear it once, you hear it a thousand times. It’s the slogan of Oasis of Hope. They are going far. They have hope.

Oasis of Hope is a high school that is managed by Haggai Kadiri. Haggai loves children. He is also an attorney specializing in the rights of abused and abandoned children. CRF is a partial owner of Oasis of Hope. We bought part of the school in order for our children at the Ring Road Orphans’ School in Kisumu to have a place to go to high school.

Our children there are guaranteed an entry to Oasis of Hope and are also charged the same fee as their sponsorship.

I love the children at Oasis of Hope. They are some of the smartest and most thankful kids I have ever met in Kenya. And they are particularly gifted in the arts. I know no other group who sings better than these children. And they perform drama, acrobatics (look out Cirque du Soleil), and prose too.

I asked them if they wanted anything. How do you think your kids would answer that question?

A car, a computer, a new cell phone? No, that’s not the answer I got at Oasis of Hope.

“FOOD!” They wanted food. They didn’t have nearly enough food for everyone.

How does that happen? Well, there are many children at Oasis of Hope who don’t have sponsors like the CRF kids do. They are there because they have poor parents who can’t come up with the same amount as a CRF sponsor. Or maybe they are there because of the mercy of Haggai and hope to get a sponsor soon. But many just don’t have enough food at this present time.

And it’s hard to go far if you don’t have food in your stomach.

At CRF we emphasize child sponsorship. And it will always be our bread and butter ministry. But we also value donors who give for feeding programs. They help the unsponsored and undersponsored children like those at Oasis of Hope. We experience a lot of needs like this especially in Haiti and Kenya. There are simply quite a few children around the CRF kids who aren’t sponsored yet—but still need food.

If you ever wanted to know what would happen if you checked the option “Feeding Program” on one of our advertisements, it would feed some hungry children–like those at Oasis of Hope. - Milton Jones, CRF President

HELP US PROVIDE FOOD AT OASIS OF HOPE

Visit our donation form and select “feeding programs” from the dropdown

 

Evans

I don’t want to be redundant, but something was so striking that I simply have to share it.In this year’s annual report, I described a little boy named Evans in this way—

There was something about Evans’ countenance that stated the pathos of a broken world as well as any I’ve ever seen. Maybe it was the white hair. Children don’t have hair that color where Evans lives. Maybe it was his eyes. They seemed to have lost hope. Maybe it was his weight or lack of it. I thought it was malnourishment. Perhaps that caused the color of his hair. Maybe it was simply the pain of being an orphan. Or it could have been the horrors of the war he had lived through. It was hard to pinpoint the source of his pain. Evans was a war orphan on Mount Elgon in Kenya. He had witnessed his parents executed before his own eyes. He had no one to care for him. So he wandered on the mountainside with hundreds of other kids.

I was on Mt. Elgon a few weeks ago when someone said “Did you see Evans?” Actually I had, but I didn’t recognize him. Here’s the before and after pictures. Can you believe it?

      

It’s absolutely amazing what love, sponsorship, education, food, and the Lord can do in the life of a child! - Milton Jones, CRF President

Words Matter – Jim Barnett

We’re so happy to share this post from Jim Barnett, a CRF Advisory Board Member. Words truly matter, especially to sponsored children!

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In our fast paced, high-tech world, we have achieved the ability to communicate with more people using fewer words than ever before. In the process, sometimes we forget how powerful and important our words can be. We’ve certainly lost the art of letter-writing and opted for email, texting, voicemail and a dozen other communication applications where a few sentences here and there afford us the opportunity to keep in “constant conversation” without much meaningful dialogue.

A couple of years ago, my 15 year old daughter Kennedy and I were reminded of how important a hand-written letter can be.

Our family had traveled to Kisumu, Kenya to visit the Ring Road School. We had been there a few days and were well aware of the extreme poverty within the slum. We had observed how the kids loved to stay at the school so they could have good water and food to eat. We had witnessed the neighborhood kids drinking dirty water out of the potholes in the street. We had even been in some of their houses, most of which were no bigger than one bedroom of our own house. My daughter had seen the dirt floors that her African counter-parts slept on. We were overwhelmed by the difficulties these children have to overcome. Then it happened.

We were in the school courtyard, and I heard Kennedy call for me. I turned around to see her with a very shocked look and tears welling up in her eyes. She stood across from an African teenager about her own age and was holding a piece of paper. I walked over to her and she held the paper out for me to see. It was a letter…from my daughter to this young African girl named Brenda. What made it so moving was that it had been written 8 years earlier, when Kennedy was only 7. It was the only correspondence the two of them ever had prior to that moment.

When we first signed up to sponsor a child, we were assigned to Brenda. Kennedy wrote Brenda telling her about herself and asking about her life, and she had glued a picture of herself to the letter. Shortly thereafter, we learned that Brenda had left Ring Road, and we were assigned to another child. Our entire family moved on and never thought another thing about it. Kennedy even forgot she ever wrote the letter.

But now, almost a decade later, Kennedy was handed a letter with a picture of a 7 year old girl in glasses and asked “Is this you? Are you the same Kennedy?” The one asking was Brenda, the 5 year old girl whom Kennedy had written, now 13 and blessed enough to find her way back into the Ring Road School. The two of them had grown into young ladies – one of them had forgotten but the other had not.

There is no telling what this young girl had already lived through, where all she had been, how difficult her life was. Most likely, all of her earthly possessions would fit into a bag small enough to be considered a “carry on” by most airlines. However, a letter written by a 7 year old girl in America that contained misspelled words and some pretty basic conversation mattered enough to her that she kept it as if it were a treasure.

When reflecting upon it later, Kennedy and I wondered why she would keep something that seemed so insignificant to us. The only explanation we could think of is that words matter. That letter communicated to Brenda that there was someone on the other side of the world who cared about her and was interested in her life.

That piece of paper communicated to Brenda that she was not insignificant at all, but instead she was valued as a human and her life mattered!

It was a moment we will never forget, in a place we will always hold dear. The Ring Road School, Clinic and Church hold a special place in our heart, and we are forever grateful to Milton Jones and the Christian Relief Fund for the work they do and for allowing us to partner with them to bless children who are less fortunate than us but equally important in the eyes of our Lord.

So friends, I encourage you to sit down and write a letter to the child you sponsor. It may seem insignificant to you, but I assure you it is precious to them.

Write your child a letter today!

 

Louisiana Disaster Relief

By now you have surely seen the devastating news from Louisiana. Tens of thousands have been displaced and at least 13 people have been killed in floods that are now being called the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy.

 

CRF is on the ground working with DRT (Disaster Relief Team) to take care of more than 2,000 of these victims who were rescued but are still homeless. DRT’s semi-trailers are providing showers, kitchens, places to sleep, and tools for rebuilding. Our primary concern at this time is providing clean water and food to those in need.

 

We are also partnering with churches near LSU in Baton Rouge to broaden our reach and provide more relief assistance.

 

How you can help:

  1. Pray. Please join us in prayer for the victims of this terrible tragedy. God hears when His people call on His name.
  2. Give. Donate to our Disaster Relief Fund to help the relief effort. Your donations will be used as quickly and efficiently as possible to directly provide relief to those in need.
  3. Go. At the moment, the best thing you can do is donate in order to help us with the immediate relief effort. But in the future we will have opportunities to volunteer and physically be able to help with the rebuilding. If you are interested in volunteering, please reply to this email and we will contact you when opportunities open up.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OUR DISASTER RELIEF FUND