What a Difference a Name Makes!

The Club — Drinking alcohol and fighting were about all that was happening in a town called “The Club.” It was named after what is commonly known as an “elder’s club,” which is a stick with a big knot on the end of it that is perfect for clobbering someone over the head. Francis Bii, our CRF director in Eldoret, grew up in this village in Kenya. His parents gave him alcohol for his breakfast every morning. There was so much unnecessary violence in this community that the nearest hospital in another town refused to take care of them. The chief brewer and the source of all the booze was William. The mischief of the village stemmed from his influence…. Read more »

What’s in a Name?

It seemed like an easy question to answer. At least it was for me. Jared Odhiambo was asking all of the students at Alara High School, “What’s his last name?” Really, it hadn’t been that long since I was there. But they couldn’t remember it exactly. So they all yelled out—“Milton Hope.” Nope, it’s “Jones.” But if I were changing my name, that would be a good choice. As you probably know, I always wear orange. It is the color of hope for AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. And I was wearing an orange shirt with the word “Hope” on it when Jared asked. Hope means that you have a joyful anticipation of the future. Maybe it seems unlikely that… Read more »

Verna’s Goat

Have you ever looked back and been able to pinpoint one thing that seemed to change everything else? Maybe it was a job opportunity in a new city, a chance meeting with an old friend, or a word of encouragement spoken at just the right time. A day that starts off like any other can become the day that—when you look back years later—changed the course of your life. Verna, a sponsored child in Kenya, has had one of those experiences too. And it came in the form of a goat. Verna joined the CRF program in 2012. At just 10 years old, she had already lost both of her parents to AIDS. She was living with her elderly grandmother… Read more »

Bruiser

Bruiser. That’s what Jeremy named him. It was years ago, but I will never forget it. Yes, my youngest son took the money that his grandmother gave him for Christmas and bought a pygmy goat. Why couldn’t he have bought a video game or a CD? No, he bought a goat. The problem was that we didn’t live on a farm. We lived in Seattle. And you can’t keep goats in the city. Or at least you are not supposed to do so. Bruiser made too much noise to keep outside. So we had a goat living in our house. I learned a lot about goats living with Bruiser. I learned goats like to climb. Yes, Bruiser wanted to be… Read more »

What a Gift!

What a gift! I can’t remember receiving anything nicer. I will always cherish it and remember where it came from. But when this story began, it seemed like the whole thing was a big mistake. I was a little upset about it and a quite a bit embarrassed too. On a previous trip to Kenya, I had met a man named Lawrence. He asked me if we could start a child sponsorship program through CRF at his location. He had many orphans living at his home, and the poverty in his community was terrible. At the time, CRF had too many children to sponsor in our other works near Kisumu—so I told him that maybe we could do it at… Read more »