Orphan Ministry Update 2!

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Dear Praying Family and Friends,

Thank you for your patience, we have not been able to write updates as frequently as we hoped (due to a number of reasons!).  But we do hope that you will take the time to read the following update about Orphan Ministry project.

We have been getting applications from our local Pastors for the orphans in each of their areas.  We have been given names and a total count of nearly 150 orphans.  From the applications that we have on file, we have bee able to confirm that 30 of them are total orphans (both parents are deceased).  But these children are the targets of this ministry, because they are the most needy.  These are the children that will be able to live in the local church orphanages in the different locations.

We have also confirmed that around 50 of these children are in need, but they still have one parent living.  We are encouraging our churches here locally to help in the visitation of these orphans and widows from their own benevolence funds.  We are trying to teach them that it is their responsibility to follow Bible standards in their local villages, as they have the ability.  They have just planted their fields, and they are making plans to use a portion of their harvests for this purpose, as it is mentioned in Deuteronomy 24:19-22.

The remaining children do not have any documentation; but we are visiting the churches to help them speed up the process.  We will be meeting with all of the churches in our Annual Church Growth Conference at the end of April.  At this time we will be finalizing the documentation of the orphans and set up the visitation times to begin taking food to their homes.

The process of identifying the place where we will build has also not been as easy as we thought it would be, because the need for the orphanage is not as great in some of the areas as it is in others.  And those areas where it is greater, there are still some land issues to be clarified between the church and the mission before the project can begin.

There are two locations where the need for the orphanage is coming together with the other pieces of the puzzle.

     1.  Bible Baptist Church - Thidhia Village.  The Pastor had already started caring for some orphans, and there are a total of 13 orphans.  They had built a mud building with a grass roof to house them, but they have had to abandon it for a short time; because the rains were too heavy, and it was leaking badly.  There is also a lady who has been barren all her life, and she has been willing to help in this ministry as a caretaker of the children.  I am still waiting on a meeting withe the leaders of this church, to work out the details.  We will need to expand the building, renovate it, and put on a metal roof instead of the grass one.

     2.  Calvary Baptist Church - Sidundo Village.  Here there is a 5 acre, undeveloped piece of land that we have been given by the community for a project to be started.  This land was allocated to us before going on furlough last year, and we are waiting for the finalization of the paper work for the title deed.  We will begin shortly fencing this property and bringing in fill dirt to form a road and foundation where we will build the church first and then the orphanage.  This church is a 5 1/2 hour drive from our home in Kisii, and there are 22 orphans at this location.  We will be visiting there this week to finalize all of the documentation of the children, and to meet with the leaders of the church to set the ground work for this work to begin.

During the months of March and April we have been able to visit our churches in the Villages of Thidhia, Ibanchore, Sidundo, and Kisii.  As we visited each of these churches, we gave beans, white maize, and sugar to the church to divide between the orphans while we are still in the investigation stage of this ministry.  While at the churches, we took pictures of each of the children; so we could learn to know them, and so that you have a picture to go withe the name when you pray for this ministry.

We would have been able to visit more churches, but we have also been busy with a Spring Visitation Campaign in Kisii every weekend, Bible College Classes, two funerals in our church in Rongo, and dealing with land issues in Migori.  We have also been able to make contact with government offices here in Kisii, to try to get mosquito nets for all of the children, and also to try to buy the white maize and beans in bulk from the government at cheaper rates.

Please be in prayer for this ministry as we take one step at a time towards reaching each of these precious children with the truth of God's love for even them.

Serving Him in Kenya,
Luke and Tonya Shelby
Missionaries in Kisii, Kenya
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