Haggai. It’s one of those books in the Bible that is seldom read. Maybe we should read it more. This minor prophet reminds God’s people that all the silver and gold belongs to Him not them. It’s a pretty good message. We so often think that all of the money that we have really belongs to us. No, it belongs to God. He lets us use it. And when I walk on the streets of Africa among the orphans, I often wonder if I am using His money like He wants it used. It seems that I am always convicted that He wants His money spent more on the poor and needy than upon all the stuff I buy for myself when I really already have what I need.
But these days when I hear about “Haggai,” I usually think of my friend. Haggai Khadiri is our accountant at CRF in Kisumu. He tries his best to make sure we spend our money in a way that helps us remember that it is truly God’s money. Haggai is the eighth child born into his family—but the first boy. Yes, he had seven older sisters. Haggai is now on the last year of his law degree. He is specializing in women and children’s rights. I could write for hours on how that is being neglected in this area. But what moves me most about Haggai is what he has done at Oasis of Hope.
Music moves Africa. There is nothing else quite like it that shapes the mood and spirit of this continent, and if you want to hear the best music that you will probably ever hear—it will be at Oasis of Hope. The children here can sing! Oasis of Hope is a high school in Kisumu helping orphaned and neglected children in the name of Christ. And it is Haggai’s passion.
If I evaluated our situation here, I would conclude that our biggest problem is our success. We have saved so many children in the slums who would have otherwise died. And we have educated them well. In fact, they are so smart that they are getting accepted into great secondary schools. And we didn’t have a good plan for the success of raising so many orphans to have incredible minds and who would desire further education. In Kenya, they say that school is free—you just have to pay school fees. And we simply can’t afford school fees for all of our children. In most cases we have our own primary schools and the sponsorship fees from CRF pay for the bulk of the children’s education. But when they get older, we don’t have secondary schools, and the cost of education is more than we can afford. It seems like one of the best answers is to have our own secondary schools that are more affordable and in line with what we can manage to pay for our children.
Obviously, we will have to build some schools to do this. But another idea came from Haggai. He has offered to let us buy part of his school. We would be partial owners. He would guarantee that all of our CRF children got into school, and he would reduce the tuition for all of our CRF children. This seems like such a good way to start solving some of our educational problems.
Would you start praying with me about Oasis of Hope? I like the name, don’t you? It seems to fit us. We don’t have the money yet to become an owner of Oasis of Hope. But money isn’t our biggest problem, is it? Didn’t Haggai tell us that it all belongs to God anyway (the Haggai in the Bible)? I think finding a good man like Haggai is harder to find than money. If I could get you praying about anything right now, it would be to help us finish the course in the training of these thousands of orphans over here. So many good things have happened. But our children are growing up. We are not ready to stop the training. They need a few more years in their education. I want these kids to grow up being like Haggai who is changing the social and spiritual structure of a slum out a love for the Lord.