Mercy House – Making A Difference In The Lives Of Young Girls In Kenya

Through her tearful prayer one evening Kristen Welch asked God the same question so many have asked Him before.  “Why do you allow so much pain and suffering in the world?”  But Kristen’s heart that evening was different.  She waited and allowed Him to answer.  It was an answer she wasn’t expecting.  “Kristen, why do you allow it?”

So what prompted Kristen’s prayer to begin with?  Being a popular mom-blogger (We Are That Family) she was invited by Compassion International to join them on a 10 day trip to Nairobi in 2010.  The bloggers on the trip were asked to write every day about the poverty and plight of the area.  Raising awareness of the needs and the work that Compassion does to help.

The group traveled to Mathare Valley; an area with more than 1 million people living in poverty and desperation.  As they arrived they began to realize the impoverished lives of these individuals but as they reached the center they saw scenes that will never escape their memories.  Their senses were bombarded by smells of sewage running through the streets.  They were consumed with sights of the sick and dying laying along the roads.  It was something they certainly were not prepared for.  We all know there is devastation in the world, but when you share the path and air you become enveloped in their world.  It was a world that changed Kristen forever.

Upon returning home she was not able to escape from the sights and memories of the people she had met.  She became angry with God prompting her question.  She felt His answer by the weight of a burden she couldn’t shake.  She shared her heart with her husband, Terrell, and he was instantly supportive and together they began to pray; seeking the answers to how God wanted them to help. Unable to busy herself in her comfortable life and forget the faces of those she had met; Kristen began to look deeply at her own life and those around her.  The American Way.  More, more, more.  Bigger homes, nicer cars; never satisfied in pursuit of the next thing.  The two made a huge decision to sell their home in an affluent neighborhood and move into a smaller home allowing funds for whatever God was about to do through their lives.  The two prayerfully pursued God for the way He wanted them to serve.

Then one night Kristen saw a story on CNN about Kenya’s young girls being pushed by their own families into the prostitution ring; leading some as young as 12 into backstreet abortions that many don’t survive.

She remembered an individual she had met in Kenya.  Maureen Owino, a Kenyan Leadership Development Program student and young woman who herself had been sponsored by Compassion from the time she was seven years old; a child of the slums.  They had become facebook friends so she was easily able to contact Maureen and ask her if the horrible news she was reading was true.  Maureen assured her it was; giving her details of the circumstances these young girls were finding themselves in with no housing and little hope.  This is when Kristen’s heart broke open with a crystal clear idea of what God was calling her to do!

A few months later Maureen was asked to travel to the U.S. with other Leadership Development Program Students.  Kristen and Terrell drove out to meet with Maureen and the three of them brainstormed their ideas; armed with the knowledge that God can and wants to do the impossible through our very limited resources.  Together they decided they would start a home for pregnant girls in Kenya and Mercy House was born.

As the on-site director supported by funds earned through Kristen’s blog, Maureen was able to secure a rental property in March of 2011.  Mercy House currently houses 8 girls between the ages of 15 and 17; along with the eight babies that have now been born to these young girls.  The girls that have been accepted into Mercy House have endured horrors no child should ever witness; they come as victims of rape, incest, burned and beaten.  The new mommies are able to stay for about two years. They are provided nutritious meals and education. They also receive prenatal and postnatal care along with much needed counseling.

A willing, compassionate heart to serve the Lord from one individual has led to an ongoing ministry that will forever change the lives and hearts of the young girls it’s reaching.  As well as the impact on a future generation that is springing up within the walls of Mercy House.

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If you would like to learn more about Kristen, her family, Maureen, personal stories of the young girls, and the work at Mercy House jump over to her blog and websiteThey also have created “Shop Mercy House with unique items made in Kenya you can purchase with the proceeds going to fund the ongoing ministry of Mercy House.

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors.  You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

31 days

31 DAYS OF….. Good News & Good People Doing Good Things!

For the month of October, I am going to be linking up with The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge.  This challenge is to write about one topic for 31 days straight. Bear with me here, I’ve never done anything like this before, but since I’ve decided to make some changes this year I thought this sounded like fun and could be a good way to start my year long study of joy.

As you can see this is October 2nd already; so I’m starting out a day behind.  I’m not slacking off, I just learned about this challenge late last night.  I wasn’t sure if I was actually up to it and went to bed giving myself the excuse that it was too late anyway.  After all, I missed day one!

I woke this morning with the thought of this challenge heavy on my heart for some reason.  I got in the shower and prayed that if this was something I should participate in I wanted it to be something that kept with my study of joy this year and also had a purpose.  By the time I turned off the hot water I had my answer.  (Love when God answers prayers for even the small things in our lives!)31 days

My topic…  31 DAYS OF GOOD NEWS AND GOOD PEOPLE DOING GOOD THINGS.  (Wordy, I know.)  I may share a light heartwarming tale or introduce you to a group of people doing good in the world.  So here goes…..

Allow me to introduce you to Open Hands Outreach.  This non-profit group was started this year with a goal to reach out to the homeless in Michigan’s Downriver Community (a number of communities just south of Detroit).  They deliver various care packages filled with toiletries, snacks, water and bibles. Not only are they offering some relief to the homeless by providing for their immediate needs with the care packages and meals; they are also taking time to build relationships within the homeless community to discover other needs they may have so they can work to meet those if possible.  The Outreach has the ultimate purpose of showing them the love of God.

Within a very short time they were able to secure a drop off location for donations and organized a bar-b-que inviting the homeless to come share a meal and simply visit, playing cards for the evening.  Taking time to show the less fortunate that they are important and loved.  Their desire to serve has even reached the hearts of some local children; one little girl ran a lemonade stand and another sold some of her toys and gave the proceeds to Open Hands.  Local churches have been assisting by donating food and other items.  In a short time this group has been able to move forward, blessing many lives.

I’d like to share a story they posted on their facebook page from August…

“THE POWER OF LOVE: one of the homeless gentlemen who we have been trying to reach has been coming to Northline (a local church) for about two months. He is a very heavy drinker and overall doesn’t take great care of himself. But this is the kicker—everyone he has come in contact with has been loving on him so much, making him gift bags, bringing him clothes, and the latest-leaving during service to buy him a much needed new pair of shoes. A lady who is in contact with him on a daily basis trying to help him called and said they were magical shoes. He has been shaving off his beard, washing up, and HAS NOT HAD A DRINK since he put these shoes on. WAIT, WAIT—don’t go out to buy a new pair of shoes, they are NOT magical, but the love of Christ has a power that surpasses all understanding! Please be in prayer for our new friends.”

As I share with you each day this month I hope these stories will brighten your day and allow you to see the good in each day and the good in people; but beyond that maybe plant a seed in your heart of something you may want to do for someone else.

If you’d like more information about Open Hands Outreach or see what can you do to help you can start by visiting their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/openhandsoutreach or you can contact them by email at openhands.outreach@yahoo.com.

I’ll leave you with their verse….

 

Deuteronomy 15:11 ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’

Day 2 – Riverbeds & Wedding Rings

Day 3 – Lemonade – The Cure For Cancer

Day 4 – The Nine Nanas

Day 5 – Mercy House, Making A Difference in Young Lives In Kenya

Day 6 – Dinner & The Kindness of Strangers

Day 7 – A Will That Changed the Lives Of 54 Strangers

Day 8 – Mail Carrier’s Kindness

Day 9 – Love Your Neighbor Day

Day 10 – One Man Saving The Lives Of 2.4 Million Babies

Day 11 – Irena Sendler=A Glimpse of Goodness During the Holocaust

Day 12 – Narayanan Krishnan-Feeding the Poor & Destitute of india

Day 13-Woodworker Sends Toys To South Korea

Day 14 – 15 Year Old Provides Shoes to 10,000 Children

Day 15 – Simple Act to Save a Car’s Interior

Day 16 – Ann’s Clan – Support for a Special Waitress

Day 17 – Shhhhh!  Don’t Wake the Baby!

Day 18 – 19 Years Later

Day 19 – Senior Year Soccer Game

Day 20 – Hitting Close to Home

Day 21 – Tipping $200

Day 22 – Heroes Come In All Sizes

Day 23 – Stealing From The Rich – Modern Day Robin Hood

Day 24 – Homeless Man Returns Ring

Day 25 – Single Mom Reaches Out and Touches Thousands

Day 26 –  Chloe’s Community

Day 27 – Out of the Ashes pour love from a community

Day 28 – A Nice Debt Collection Agency/

Day 29 – Adopt-A-Grandparent

Day 30 – Selfless Adventure – The Cooke Family