Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
Yesterday, ELI celebrated with a group of ladies who used to brew potent alcohol for a living until ELI offered them a way out by making paper.

The ladies worked hard and a group of 37 decided in the end to pool their money and build rental units.

With the help of ELI friends, two of the three houses were officially opened yesterday.

Click on the photo to see more of the celebration.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.

Yesterday, ELI celebrated with a group of ladies who used to brew potent alcohol for a living until ELI offered them a way out by making paper.

The ladies worked hard and a group of 37 decided in the end to pool their money and build rental units.

With the help of ELI friends, two of the three houses were officially opened yesterday.

Click on the photo to see more of the celebration.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Update from Tanzania

I just received the following text message from Don in Tanzania:

"Good, long day. One hundred and ten came forward for prayer at our afternoon meeting. Over 300 now watching the Jesus film! Powerful day for ministry. Bricks for classroom now half way."

Please continue to pray for the men who are in Tanzania, for continued health, energy and protection.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Empowering Women of Kenya, Africa

Today, the women from Victory Highway went to fellowship with the ladies of a nearby village called Plateau. This entire village has been transformed by God through the ministry of Empowering Lives.

Here's the story, as told by Don Rogers.

While living in the village here in Kenya, my wife Amy and I were buying some supplies at a store in the closest major town called Eldoret. While walking towards the entrance, I was walking by two wazungu (white) women when I heard one of them say, "midwife training..." We were just arranging for such a training ourselves in another village, so I stopped and asked them about the training they referred to. They told me that the teacher was inside, so I waited there for her to come. Her name is Mary, and she is the wife of a village chief in Plateau, Kenya.

After talking about the midwife training, Mary told me that she and her husband have been praying for some way to combat the terrible alcoholism that has a hold on the men and women of their village. We (ELI-Kenya) had established an anti-alcohol program the year before, so after sharing with her we agreed that as soon as possible our national leader (Pastor Philip Rono) would visit their village and share the program with the chief.

Within a few weeks, Pastor Rono visited Plateau. He thought he was going to talk with the Chief (which he did), but the chief had also invited most of the people from the village - including many of the women who were brewing alcohol and selling it for a source of income. The brew is called Changaa which means "Kill me quick!"

is actually a powerful and dangerous brew that the women make using fermented corn. Many of the women hate the alcohol and the effects of it, but they have so few sources of income that they feel they have no options in order to be able to buy food and pay school fees for their children.

Pastor Rono shared from his heart and shared his faith in Christ as well. Jesus is the higher power, he shared, and told them that there were steps that they could take to change their lives and come out from the disease of alcohol.

There was an immediate response, and within four months there were over a hundred people meeting regularly in small accountability groups - all becoming sober - taking it one day at a time - and learning about the love of Christ through the program. Within a year, over three hundred people were in the program and we were seeing regular conversions take place as we use the scriptures along with the 12 steps and we recognize Jesus is the higher power.


Among the women who were brewing were many who desired to leave alcohol and to stop brewing and selling. However, they couldn't do this unless they had an alternate source of income. This is where ELI came in again. We offered them a short-term opportunity to work making and packaging hand-made paper which ELI would export to the USA and make available for a donation.

Thirty-seven of the women organized themselves and made paper for about a year and a half. This income was helpful but they (along with ELI ) desired that they have their own independent business. During the course of the paper program, ELI had encouraged the women to establish their own savings program which many of them did.

After much discussion and planning, the 37 women of the BAHASHA WOMEN'S GROUP each received a grant to help them establish their own business. But rather than invest their money independently, these women decided that they could do far more together than they could individually. They pooled ALL of their savings as well as the grant money from ELI and purchased property close to the city but not far from their village of Plateau. They set off to build their own rental units (three rooms) on a quarter acre.

Fencing and construction began immediately and enthusiasm was high. Soon, however, the cost of construction and living caught up with their savings and their financial resources were depleted. For a year and a half, the women continued to struggle but they have not been able to get ahead due to the high level of poverty and high costs of food and school fees.

Though the construction had stopped they have never given up hope.

Recently, I was in the USA and made a visit to ELI supporters and friends. Among the many reports of ministry progress, I shared with one couple about the needs and hopes of this women's group. This couple contacted me within a day and encouraged me to find others who would match a $1,000 gift that they would be willing to invest towards helping the women's group continue their dream of having the rental units completed.

God is good! After several months of sharing, I was encouraged by several individuals who contributed, and the first couple kept their commitment as well.

The construction is now continuing and the women of Plateau could not be more thrilled.

Next week, a women's church team from upstate NY will be working side by side with these women - painting, landscaping, sewing curtains and more. By the end of March one or more of these rental rooms will be completely finished and the ladies will then become landlords and income earners.

This is what empowering lives is all about: sharing Gods love in Word and in action!
As this project continues there is no question in the minds of this dynamic women's group in Kenya - it is God who supplies according to His great power and blessing.

A special thank you goes to those of you who have participated in supporting this effort and other ministries of Empowering Lives International. If you would like to be a part of helping the women add to their rental structure or another similar project of ELI please contact Empowering Lives.

Together we can make a world of difference - one life at a time!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sudan: Looking Back (and Looking Ahead)

Refugee kid, Sudan
Originally uploaded by Boyznberry.
Yesterday, Don showed photos from Sudan to our children at Ilula. Many committed to pray for their neighbors. They cheered time and again when they realized how God is using ELI in Kolmorek, Sudan.

Juli wrote the following piece about her visit to our neighbors to the north:

The Story Continues...
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously. And plead the cause of the poor & the needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

These are the words that resonate in my mind & my heart as I consider my journey to Southern Sudan. Over the past 11⁄2 years, through the vision & life of my friend, a Sudanese refugee named Stephen Reech, God has allowed my eyes to be opened and my heart to be softened towards the brokenness within the land of Sudan.

A Time to Return, A Time to Rebuild...
As I traveled along dirt paths through the desolate countryside of Sudan, I wondered what the place was like before the war. I also considered what it will be like after the masses return from their time in exile. There is a generation of children and adolescents who have lived their entire lives as refugees.

As a ministry, ELI’s vision is to empower the poor and oppressed that they may be able to know, worship, & serve God without hindrance. As the Sudanese return to their homeland, remnants of the war remain, and the Sudanese vulnerably fight to survive: physically, emotionally, & spiritually. After much prayer and consideration, it has been more than evident to the leadership of ELI that God is expanding the ministry and leading us to be a part of bringing His hope into the rebuilding & development of Southern Sudan.

On Sunday, our team had the privilege to attend one of the churches that Stephen had helped start before the war. As I listened to the Sudanese sing their songs of worship, I did not hear the sounds of celebration that I am accustomed to hearing in Kenya.

Although I could not understand the words they were saying, I deeply felt the cry of a people who were intensely and desperately, from the depths of their lives, calling out to God. As I was confronted with the beauty & the brokenness of this people, I was moved with compassion.

In a country where the governmental infrastructure is, at best, weak, there are many challenges to be faced. Within the area of health, resources are scarce and disease is rampant. There are major public health crises because of the mass number of returnees living in overpopulated camps as they await relocation.

Refugees are returning from Ethiopia, Uganda, & Kenya as well as areas of hiding throughout Southern Sudan. Cholera and yellow fever outbreaks as well as severe malnutrition amongst children are prevalent throughout the area. I visited several cattle camps where children are raised outdoors amongst thousands of cows. The children survive only off of the milk of their cattle. The eyes & faces of the children were covered with dirt and flies.

One of the major health problems throughout Southern Sudan is blindness caused by an easily preventable bacterial infection known as Trachoma. Throughout my time in Sudan, it was clear there is an abundant for the implementation of health programs, both preventative and curative.

In May, I am planning to return to Sudan with a team of healthcare workers from Kenya. As I have shared about the experiences I had in Sudan with my co-workers in Kenya, they have expressed the desire to go and share their knowledge and services with the people of Sudan. It is exciting to see those who have been empowered in Kenya desiring to be a part of empowering people in other parts of the world. In order for this trip & ministry to be possible, we need to raise nearly $10,000.

If God would lead you to join us financially in ministering to the sick in Sudan, please make your check to ELI & note that it is for “Health in Sudan”. In advance, I thank you for your partnership.

Praying for Peace...
As I have left Sudan and returned to my home in Kenya, there are many images and experiences that fill my mind. I cannot forget the 18-month old, severely malnourished, baby that sat naked on my lap as I visited a refugee camp. Although his life has started with so many odds against him, he is a part of the generation that is the future of the new Sudan.

I will also remember the words of Abraham, a 26 year old, who found God in the midst of exile. He explained, “I had lost my family when I left Sudan, and I kept asking myself: ‘who is my guide?’ When I was sick and did not have medicine, I asked myself: ‘who is my healer?’” Surely it was God.

And I still hear the fervor in the voices of the Sudanese as they chanted, “Exile is over. Exile is over. Exile is over.”

In a way that I’ve never understood to pray before, I pray that the Lord will make His face to shine upon Sudan. There is much forgiveness needed for healing to take place. Oh, I pray for peace.