In 2011 I was working at Frontline Technologies with three young Christian men, who were close friends to my husband Alby and me. We attended church with two of them and the third is like a son to us.
These young men felt that the Lord would have them do something with their lives that would make a difference for eternity and as they prayed together the Lord brought them in contact with Chariots for Hope and Sustained Acts. One of these young men (Ben) had been raised in Togo where his parents were missionaries, so he already had a heart for Africa.
Their introduction to Kenya came during an exploratory trip in 2011 with Chariots for Hope, to visit orphanages that had previously been closed because of lost support. During that trip they visited the Mukaa Children’s Home and made a commitment to find sponsors for 25 new children. Because all three of these men have a vast network of friends, sponsors were immediately forthcoming and 58ten was born. [58ten is taken from Isaiah 58:10, which states “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise to obscurity, and thy darkness be like the noonday.”]
That was the beginning of our sponsorship journey. I remember the weekend I spent with pictures of children covering our dining room table, reading the biographies of 25 precious children and studying each child’s picture. Alby and I knew we wanted to sponsor two children, but reading their heartbreaking stories made me want to sponsor all 25 of them! After much prayer, we selected the two youngest children of the group, knowing they would need our help for the longest period of time. At that time our Judy and Masai were both 7 years old. They are now 14 and 15.
After the exploratory trip that 58ten made to Kenya, they also committed to reopening the Mulango Children’s Home. This home opened in January 2012 with 100 children and today is home to over 150 children. 58ten took on responsibility for a second orphanage in 2016, the Kitui Baby Home, which cares for about 50 children, from birth to 5 years of age. God has graciously provided sponsors through the 58ten community for each child in these two homes.
In 2012 the 58ten leadership team announced that they would like to take a group of sponsors to visit these homes in Kenya and I eagerly signed up for this first team trip. Since 58ten’s main focus and responsibility at that time was the Mulango Home, we spent most of our time there. But for me the highlight of the trip was visiting the Mukaa Home and getting to meet our children, Masai and Judy. My time with them was far too short for this mother’s heart, so in 2016 I returned to Mukaa and was able to spend a whole week with our children there.
In 2013 I noticed an announcement on the Mukaa Home’s Facebook page about a young lady who had recently graduated from high school and was an approved candidate for nursing school. She lacked a sponsor for that training and again the Lord prompted us to get involved. During my visit to Mukaa in 2016 I also got to meet our sponsor daughter Sharon during a break from her nursing school studies. That was undoubtedly one of the best weeks of my life!
As a sponsor we can send packages to our children a couple times a year and we always eagerly await letters from them when teams visit the homes. But this infrequent communication just isn’t enough to sustain a loving relationship and keep up with what is going on in their young lives. Time spent together, face to face, laughing, taking walks, giving hugs, sharing meals … just like with our children at home … that is what creates strong, loving relationships. And that necessitates going there, seeing where they live, visiting their school and sharing wisdom from your life experiences with them.
We have been praying for our children every single day since 2011 … but meeting them and getting to know them makes all the difference in our prayers. We now understand their needs, their dreams, know their friends and activities, and are better able to talk to God about their specific circumstances.
Our relationship with our older sponsor daughter Sharon has been aided greatly by the availability of email and Skype. We communicate several times a week and feel like we are an integral part of her life. We look forward to being able to do that with our younger children in the future, so we can stay far more closely connected.
Recently our little Judy was gravely ill. After a month of local treatment that was not helping her, she was taken to Kijabe Hospital (where Sharon is on the nursing staff), for three weeks of specialized medical care. What a miracle that our little daughter Judy was under the nursing care of our older daughter Sharon! We rejoiced that Judy was where she had “family” caring for her and we praise the Lord that He saw fit to restore her health. It was such a comfort to us here in the States when Sharon would update us with reports on Judy’s progress.
In December we had the great privilege of giving Sharon in marriage in Nairobi to a wonderful Christian man. Sharon finished nursing school in 2015 and has been a nurse at the Kijabe Hospital since then. Her husband Daniel is an anesthetist there. What an honor to be introduced at her wedding as “Sharon’s parents” and to participate in that role on their very special day. They honored us further by spending their honeymoon time with us, joining us in visiting the Mukaa Children’s Home and on a wildlife safari at Amboseli Park.
Below is a brief slideshow of the wedding and our time at Amboseli Park - Enjoy!
What started out to be just pictures on our table or a photo on Facebook, have become “our children” whom we love dearly. What a blessing to witness in person how they are growing in the Lord and to see their hearts for serving others.
Alby is not a traveler and much prefers to stay at home. Age and health issues make traveling difficult for him. But when Sharon asked him to give her away in marriage, he agreed to go. And by going to Kenya, he was truly blessed. The best blessing was spending time with our children and sharing with them lessons God has taught him throughout his life.
We cannot encourage other sponsors strongly enough to visit your child in Kenya. It will change your perspective, your prayer life and the life of that child. They are told that someone in the U.S. loves them, but your hug conveys that message more deeply.
Nita & Alby Hultz