Love in Action
The vision and values of Love in Action is built on 1 John 3: 16-18. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Every time we travel to Kenya we go to plant a seed… a seed of possibility, and a seed of hope and one of change through love….
Love in Action Community Centre, Siaya, Western Kenya.
In our report, we start off by honouring and appreciating our Co-ordinator Elizabeth, without Elizabeth, this work would not have progressed over the years the way it has. Not only does she play an important part in Love in Action, but also plays an integral role in her local community and her church. We admire Elizabeth for her persistence though the challenges and hardships she endures. But her love and passion for Jesus helps her to remain focused, as she follows His mandate for her life. She truly is Love in Action! Through Elizabeth’s work within her community, she reaches out to widows and young mothers.
Over the years, the work and care that has been given to these widows has been constant and consistent, nonetheless 2016 wasn’t any different, apart from the increase of the widows in numbers. Every month, the widows come together to the Hebron Community Care Centre, where they share a meal, join in praise and worship and enjoy listening to a local Pastor who brings the word of God. On leaving they never leave empty handed, each lady is given a small package of essential food items e.g. Rice, cooking oil, sugar, tea leaves, salt, match boxes and soaps, some, we help with rent and a monthly budget for food. Elizabeth and her team make weekly home visits to the widows to make sure they are well, and helped with personal care if needed. Where we can, we maintain and repair the widow’s homes, keeping them in their own environment, some we help with rent, and they receive a monthly budget for food. Weekly visits are part of the care plan to make sure they are being looked after, through practical and personal care.
Quite a number have their own parcels of land, four of them live in rented shanty houses, some live-in grass thatched houses which leak when the rains come. However, despite the challenges, they work hard on their little patches of land. Our widows are by no means lazy, and just looking for handouts from LIA, on the contrary, they work very hard even in their old age; we have seen old mamas of 80 tilling their land! But the needs of Kenya are getting greater, prolong dry summers and little rainfall causes crops to fail, and these widows rely on the crops for food and substance. Some of the Hebron Widows are old and sickly with very genuine needs, they are either HIV positive or suffering from numerous health conditions, this is when LIA moves in with a package of much needed support.
The difference LIA is making
Our four widows, Margaret, Monica, Dana Marie & Rose continue to do well.
Margaret - Margaret’s health has improved with the medical care LIA has been providing, she remains strong, over the last 12 months she has only had to be admitted to hospital once whilst she received her HIV treatment, but otherwise she is doing well, she continues to run her little business, making her own soap and selling tomatoes on the side of the road, with the financial help she receives she has saved some of the money and was able to buy a cow. Margaret despite her health challenges has become very resourceful, her smile is infectious, Jesus oozes out of her, and she has such a gentle spirit and is a beautiful lady.
Monica - has recently moved to a larger property on her own volition, her eldest boy is now in University, the other children are doing well, and all in school. I believe the reason Monica has done so well is because she took the opportunity to be helped, but she has also helped herself. LIA may have helped her with a step up, but she’s done all the hard work. God has blessed her, it’s clear to see she loves the Lord and the Lord’s hand is on her.
Dana Marie - This lady is so old! Dana Maria is one of our more elderly widows she isn’t able to support herself, and is too fragile to till her land. We support her with food and charcoal. The LIA team in Siaya, together with close friends look after her. She is still able to get around with the help of a walking stick donated by a friend in the UK, she doesn’t like wearing shoes. But bless her she is a trooper to say the least, she loves our visits, and stays forever!
Rose & Jacton - Unfortunately life has taken its toll on Rose, she struggles with depression, you can clearly see her pain it’s heart-breaking really. Elizabeth is counselling her but progress is slow, if you remember we found Rose squatting in a very run down house with her son, I suppose when you have been as low as she as, living in extreme poverty, more love has to be poured in. Jacton isn’t in a good place either, he has missed a lot of schooling, and despite every effort from Elizabeth to encourage him to return to his schooling, to date he has not returned to school. LIA will continue to offer assistance, and we have hope she will fully recover, smile again and know that God loves her very much.
Every time we visit Siaya, these ladies faces shine with gratitude, they are beginning to realise that they are loved; they are valued through the love and support they receive. We can see growth in their spiritual lives, their worship is exuberant, they teach us how to touch God even more, they are so attentive to the preaching of the word, ironically they can be weak in the word, as a lot of them don’t have their own bibles in their native tongue, but listen they do, they don’t want to leave and we don’t want to leave them! To be honest, without knowing the extremes of their lives and the difficulties they live with, you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong when we are altogether worshiping God, we experience such an incredible exchange of hearts, yes, we make a difference in their lives, but boy do they impact us, we have everything, they live in extreme circumstances with basic resources, it’s we who are the poorer ones! But whilst this ministry “Love in Action” takes many forms, including preaching, teaching and healing ministries, and as we labor together, it’s our hope, that our endeavors will bring a lasting change, to each individual and little by little, step by step this will in turn transform their families and the communities they live in. Our vision remains, the work remains, so much more could be said and shared, so much more to do, both in Siaya and Ruiru. But there is no other value more fundamental to Love in Action than that of prayer. A God-directed ministry does not happen without prayer. For this reason, we depend on prayer as vital to everything we do. We seek God’s direction in our decision making, understanding that we need His help and direction with every decision made in service to him, and it is our expression of thanksgiving for what we see God doing through our ministry.
What’s Next? – We have a plan to raise money during 2017 to start a maintenance program for the widow’s project, whereby we will try to build each widow an outside latrine (toilet) and a little shower cubicle.
Where our widows have thatched roofs, they will be replaced by corrugated iron roofs, these are much more robust, and need very little maintenance, it will cost approximately £250.00 per widow, LIA is planning to start three of the latrines and shower cubicles within the next three months, we will seek to raise money to complete the programme in the coming months ahead.
Hebron Fellowship Church – Ruiru, Central Province, Kenya - For several years now we have been partnering with Hebron fellowship Ministries at Ruiru. The church is led by Pastor Julius Kimani. To quote Julius’s word “I am grateful for the Mission House where I live, it serves so many purposes, and helps in so many ways. We have prayer and fellowship inside it, it acts as a storage facility for the Church tent and instruments. It serves as a printing office and a pastoral meeting place for anyone who needs to speak to me. People who are temporally misplaced have found refuge in the spacious house.
Every Sunday after our service we always have a form of fellowship, where most of the people who have helped, pertaining to the arrangement and planning of the Sunday service, eat in the house after the heavy work of dismantling the tent after the service, and bringing it back to the house where it is stored. It is not an easy task, especially when it is rainy, coupled with pulling the heavy hand cart in the heavy mud. Several times we have been soaked whilst putting up the tent. I then realised that it would be unfair for these dedicated young people to go home on an empty stomach after bringing the tent back to the house when we are finished after service. That led to a situation where lunch is cooked every Sunday after church. Initially we were few, but we have found ourselves increasing in number every time we cook after service. Many kids have been coming also to eat, and it has become like an extended eating fellowship ministry. The house has really helped, and what we lack in the church in terms of facilities is in many ways more than compensated for by the house.”
Love in Action Financial Status - Jan 2016 to Dec 2016
Finances we receive, for “Love in Action” goes to those in need, in the places where LIA are involved. The money is being put to good use, and is being used for the Kingdom to help, love and bless those in need.
LIA supports Julius Kimani with all running costs of the Mission House; this includes food and school fees for one young man and provision for the young people. LIA covers the cost of all the weekly feeding programmes. LIA provides the financial assistance for all four widows provides provision for the monthly widows meetings and contributes towards a night watchman. LIA provides for all the training resources on our visits to Kenya. (When we go on mission to Kenya, our flights and other travel costs, and also our food and accommodation are all paid for by ourselves, as with those who accompany us on our trips they too pay for their own expenses. None of LIA’s money is used for personal use).
Thank You!.....As always, we are indebted to our sponsors for their financial support, who give month after month, year after year, and to those who support our fundraising events like our annual Valentine’s Day Dinner, and also those who have given one off gifts. Thank you to the Eldership from our home church Hebron, for their continued support in our overseas mission endeavours.
We must also thank are volunteers who have given their time & energy during our fundraising events. Special thank you to: Clara, Calisto, Laura, Margreth, Den, Elan, Jack, Norman & Wendy. Thank you to Chad who always helps me out when I’m on the last minute with my presentations! To Matt Madden who sets up the PA for me.
Love & Blessings Steve & Julie Mellor
Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible
St Francis of Assisi