Today was truly a day of celebration. One after another, graduating members of the Kenya Anti-Alcohol group walked up and praised God for the transformation in their lives. They then asked family members to come up, and publicly asked forgiveness for how they had acted in the past, or how they had treated them. Many tears rolled. Many hugs were exchanged.
What struck me most about the day was that of the 18 graduates, more than half were women. Until now, ELI has not offered rehab for women due to housing shortages. But since the rehab program has moved to our training center, we could also accommodate ladies. And they came. Many of them were brewers who were also addicted to drinking. Many of them apologized for ruining other people's lives through brewing.
ELI's KAA staff: Mark, Francis, Wilson and Stone. All four men have powerful testimonies of how God delivered them from alcoholism, and have devoted their lives to bringing that Hope to othersWhat struck me was how many of the graduates--the women, especially--were from our neighborhood, in an area where ELI recently started doing outreach. Realizing how many alcoholics there were (and no churches), ELI started doing Saturday-afternoon rallies at The Rock. Several of the brewers attested today that they simply couldn't make good brew any more since ELI came and prayed there. Praise God!
Each one of the 18 represents many, many stories, and each one truly is a miracle. Two that stand out for me are Jesire and Joseph. I wrote about Joseph (Baba Chiri) on my personal blog earlier this week. Jesire has strong ties to this community: His younger brother (David) is our director. For as long as David can remember, Jesire was a drunkard. Today, his mother stood up and preached, encouraging others to keep praying.
For each of the graduates, the true test begins. Today, they returned to their communities. For many, people at home will truly rejoice. But they'll also be watching them closely to see if they'll stumble again. ELI's anti-alcohol program has a success rate of 80%. That's how many of our graduates stay sober. It's a very high percentage, compared to typical rehab programs. The reason? Our graduates are taught that they cannot conquer the disease of alcoholism in their own strength. Jesus Christ is the "higher power" who can help them.
Please join us in praying for each and every one of the men and women to remain strong, and to be able to be a strong witness in their communities to the work God has done.