They were just exploring the wonders of being in a family, home less than a year. Some were learning to use utensils for the first time, riding in cars for the first time, trying to figure out why it was “raining” in the house and their new parents wanted them to stand in the “rain.” Ten little ones snatched up from the cracks of the earth, Mathare Valley slum, suddenly woke up to a dream come true: gorging themselves on an abundance of food, three times a day; sleeping in safe and warm beds and waking up to love and attention. And without warning, the landlord decided to sell the house out from beneath them.
Friends in the US who supported Hope’s Promise (HP) Kenya Country Coordinators and Sanctuary of Hope (SoH) 1 houseparents, Pastor and Mama Karau, as they gathered up their new family of ten orphaned children, simply said, “No. This cannot be.”
Our hearts broke that these children who had already survived so much trauma would be uprooted from their newfound stability. We prayed. We heard the song “How Great is Our God.” We sensed the Lord saying through it that He would show Himself great to many through this situation. We claimed the promise and spread far and wide the audacious goal of raising over $100,000. Within eight months, it was in the bank. Hope’s Promise bought the house.
Fast-forward about a year. The first SoH family was thriving. Research became visible: restoration of neglected and traumatized children to the family they were meant for heals their bodies, minds, and hearts. But the Lord was only getting started. I was working for HP at the time and fielded a phone call from a friend of a friend of a friend. He served as the worship pastor of a church in California, embarking on a massive building campaign. They were tithing 10% of the funds raised to overseas missions. He asked: if they gave us enough money to open and operate a home for a year (again, a sum well over $100,000), would HP be willing to open a second home?
Less than a year later, a team of child therapists from the church traveled to Kenya to help screen children for the SoH 2 family. Americans and Kenyans gathered in the living room of the new home, flooded with equatorial light, worshiping and dedicating the home. “Randomly,” we sang the same song, “How Great is Our God.”
On a recent morning in Kenya, twenty-seven people gathered for morning devotions before boarding the bus for the day. The HP Kenya Connection Team of 2017 “randomly” sang the song “How Great is Our God.” Overwhelmed with memories, I couldn’t help but share, there in the parking lot next to the bus, the testimony of what that song means to the journey of SoH.
God adores orphans, I told the team. When you get involved with people so dear to His heart, you can’t help but see His miracles.
Last Saturday, at the Hope’s Promise event, Kenya Connect and Celebrate, we rejoiced with friends and family all the Lord did in and through our Kenya team. I shared the story of the song with the gathered crowd. We sang the song on purpose.
As twenty-seven of us are unleashed on the US with hearts impassioned through eye-witness experience, I have no doubt we will see the Lord reveal Himself again, “and all will see how great, how great is our God.”
Team members and talented video-graphers Mitchel Morse and Isaac Morse created this account of our team’s experience.
Take a look, and come with us next time! You will see for yourself how very great is this God.
Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God
Composed by Chris Tomlin
It was a thrill to create a gallery for the event with photographer and HP Development specialist, Diane Elliot, and fellow artists and team members, Shayla Tellinghuisen and Megan Manst: