Kenyan children so far away but yet so close because of technology and a friendship which began approximately five years ago: I met a young man who worked at Camp DeWolfe during my summers serving there. A soft spoken polite young man I would later learn that as a child, he wanted to grow up and become a pediatrician. His family’s inability to pay for a high school education derailed that idea. This young man named Boniface Muthoni was raised in a Christian household by his grandmother. As an adult he ministers to children in Nairobi, the Capitol city of Kenya. Over the years he continues to minister to “street children” and to children afflicted by cancer at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, his hometown. During the summer months he travels to the United States to work at various summer camps. This summer, he worked in a camp in New Hampshire; and at its conclusion, he participated in a Wilderness First Aid Training Program there. Prior to his departure to the US this year he set up a prayer rotation schedule on Facebook covering the months he would be apart from the children to which he ministers. This ensured the children in the hospital would continue to be covered by our prayers in his absence. I am blessed, by his involvement in their lives, to be given the privilege of interceding on their behalf.

Over the years, I and many have provided prayer support to Boni and these children. It is my desire to one day visit but until then, I wanted to offer more than prayers.

This past September Bishop Provenzano gave me his permission to begin what I am calling a Kenyan Children’s Ministry to address Boni’s desire to start a Wilderness Therapy Program for children in Nairobi. These children live in a setting where the goods and services available are in no way equal to the care you and I receive. Yet in the face of adversity and tremendous odds stacked against them, I have seen smiles that stir my soul. I have also read stories which broke my heart. It was one of these stories which convinced me to move forward with this initiative even in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

The week Sandy devastated the east coast, I shared with a friend that I felt I could no longer ask my friends, family and acquaintances to support an overseas ministry. But God spoke to my heart after I was touched on November 11th by this post:

“Humbly pray for the family of Ndolo their son is battling with lots of courage he is eating but the waste is not coming out, not easy for them to see their son in such a situation. Pray that God will give them peace, grace and lots of strength. Pray, pray, pray, pray for this family. Remember Ndolo too as you pray for his family. The young boy is really brave he is tired and on oxygen. Today he asked to be turned and you can tell he is not giving up. Pray also for Ryan, Musembi, Odthiambo not feeling well. These children inspire everyone who gets to know them. Their smiles even though in pain at times is priceless and full of HOPE. Lets continue to pray for all the children and their families.”

The gift God gave me was: one need did not wipe out another and that the God I serve is big enough to address the needs of more than one major crisis at a time, even when both are monumental. Hence I acknowledged the people of God also have room in their hearts to care for the needs of his little ones, even while they themselves are in need. It has been my personal experience that God does provide and often makes a way out of no-way. While our support will not be timely for some of the children who will unfortunately pass away before experiencing the benefits of this initiative; many young lives will be enriched.

Over the years I have watched Boni’s reality as these young saints suffered and died; yet I am blessed by the fortitude I have witnessed. This past spring, with assistance from Canon Europe, the children in the cancer ward at the Kenyatta National Hospital embarked on a photography project taking pictures of themselves and their environment. The expectation is this project will lead to an awareness of hope and do much to combat the social stigma attached to cancer in Kenya and in many places across the globe. Pictures of these children, as they visited the animal sanctuary and as they decorated a Charlie Brown Christmas tree last Christmas, have served to be a source of inspiration for me and for many. It is my hope that you will give generously to support a program designed to help the children of God miles away. In a world made smaller by travel and technology it is easier to learn of opportunities to be our little brothers and sisters’ keepers.

I ask you to consider a gift of $25, $50, $100 or whatever amount you are able to give. Checks may be made payable to Episcopal Charities (36 Cathedral Ave, Garden City, NY 11530) and indicating Kenyan Children’s Ministry on the memo line. On behalf of these little ones I thank God for your support and your prayers. Following is a list of the needed supplies. These items will then be purchased and shipped.

Kenyan Children’s List

1. 30 Coleman taos 25degrees sleeping bags 1@ $40

2. 10 Coleman Sundome 4 9by7 – 4person tent 1@$70

3. 1 MSR Sweetwater micro-filtration system @ $80

4. 2 MSR Whisperlite shaker stove 1@$70

5. 2 MSR fuel bottles that go with the stove 1@$20

6. 15 Helmets size 10S/M 5M/L Black diamond 1@$60

7. 15 Camp Harlequin climbing Harness 1@$40

8. 30 Carabiners locking black diamond 1@$10

9. 10 Steel Carabiners 1@$15

10. 4 Ropes 3dynamic 1static 60meters 1@$180

11. 4 Grigri no. 1 1@$95

12. 12 Slings 4 -24’’ 1@$4.78 4 -30’’ 1@$5.20 4-48’’ 1@$7.00

13. 4 Petzel fixe pulleys 1@$25

1 – 4 can be purchased at Campmor they are located in NJ tel: 1-888-226-7667

5 – 13 at Eastern Mountain Sports

Order & Expert Advice 888-463-6367

by Deacon Margaret Blackett (Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City)