Gardens of Grace
This is a project to purchase a quanity of 4 greenhouses in Eldoret Kenya, to provide jobs and support for https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2018/05/eldoret-child-development-center
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
I believe the following distinction is made between mercy and grace. Mercy, as in God’s forgivness, is God forgiving us and not giving us the punishment we deserve. Grace however, I call God’s power to help us, We all need both in this life.
This project is about grace, God’s grace to do for a community, that which they do not have the ability to do for themselves.
As time has gone on, and I have sought to live fully for Jesus, I find that I cannot ignore the plight of orphans internationally. Here are some statistics:
This is the big picture, the macro world view of the state of orphans plight internationally. Yet, one cannot claim to love God, then close our ears to the plight of suffering humanity.
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Since Jesus is without sin and perfecty exemplifies the will of God in His time on the earth, we read:
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
How can I see the plight of suffering children, and not do something?
feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune
Sympathy feels pity for suffering humanity, com·pas·sion
- sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others,
Sympathy feels pity for hurting people, compassion does something. So in light of the huge needs of orphans and widows, what is one to do, that will please God and actually make a difference.
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
― Mother Teresa
And so I have done this, often working long hours to earn an extra $20-$50 simply to send to a pastor for school fees or food or clothing for orphans.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Yet, this March, I had a full blown stroke, and was paralyzed on the left side of my body.
As I lay there in ICU watching doctors insert a tube through my body that removed a blood clot from my brain, I had 8 days in hospital to think about eternity and what kind of lasting impact I could have for the kingdom of God, even after I have died and left this earth. https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2017/02/do-you-want-to-go-to-heaven
So I have thought about the gospel, the good news of God, through Jesus. I believe the gospel is indeed the power of God, bringing the love and power of God into the earth, and that wherever God visits, He provides.
I heard a quote some years ago while at Bible school at Rhema Bible training center, by the Rev Tony Cooke entitled ‘The epitimy of cruelty’ that went something like this:
“If I do for you you that which you have a God given responsibility to do for yourself, I cripple you, in that I make you dependant upon me rather than upon God and His grace towards you.’
The gospel empowers people, not entitles them to live helplessly trying to hopefully discover the sympathy of others charity to survive, rather they grab hold of the grace of God that gives them the power to see the promise fulfilled, having no need of outside aid.
2 Cor 9:8 AMPC
And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]
As I have prayed and partnered with pastors caring for orphans, this verse has challenged me. How do I empower a pastor struggling for his daily food and provision, to have more than enough, so that they can no longer need me or any ourside aid, and be able to give to others in excruciating need.
One morning at our leadership breakfast, my friend David Henry brought up the following thought from this verse, and the strawberry plant.
“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.”
That everything in Gods natural order has the ability to reproduce, grow and increase. Think about a strawberry plant. As soon as it is rooted and producing berries, it sends out runners that produce seedlings that root themselves to produce more plants.
As we have endeavored to send support to the three orphanages we partner with, but the prayer life towards them has changed over the years. In India, the greatest need was for a building for the children’s home. The original estimated cost for this building was $6500USD. As usual, we had not one cent towards this project, but the pastor there was very creative. He said that if we could buy the cement at $10/bag, his community would mix it by hand, and pour the floors and walls. So, we all kicked in our $10 and raised $1000.00, and so the project began. As construction began, and pastor kept us aware through Facebook, another donor kicked in $6500USd, and to make a long story short, Grace Child Development Center’s childrens home was built and paid for cash in Karimnagar, India.
Then we had a problem with cobras and other venoumous snakes coming into the compound, and pastor requested a wall to keep the snakes out. IT cost $6500USD and miraculously, the funds for that appeared and the wall got built.
We now partner with three orphanages, 2 more in Kenya. As we began to send minimal support to pastor Evans in Eldoret, we were made aware of a severe crisis in Migori Kenya that resulted in a young pastor caring for almost 60 orphans there. In the drought, they were walking 17km to obtain dirty water from a dried up riverbed, and the request came in for a clean water well. So, I did what I always did as a project manager on construction projects here. I researched what was required to obtain a well drilling permit, then obtained three qualified estimates from African drilling companies. Turned out we needed a qualified HYDROLOGICAL report that determined the approximate depth of the clean water aquifer. This report cost $850USD.
So I negotiated with several hydrological testing companies, and had one commit to this price (it was all the money we had).
They estimated that water was to be found at 200meters, 600’ deep! That’s 60 stories underground!
So I had three drilling companies produce estimates on drilling costs that came in at $35,000USD, $19,700USD, and finally $14,500USD. To make a long story short. Drilling costs were actually $13,500. Water was struck at 196m depth. Then we discovered we needed a pumping station to draw water from this depth at a projected cost of almost $20,000USD. After fundraising and negotiation, this price came in at $9800USD to complete the project from original drilling contractor, who obviously like us, have a heart to provide clean water to these communities.
Funds arrived and have been wired today to complete this project, and by end of this week, this community shall have water!
So, now we are on to the greenhouse project. With like every other time, absolutely not one dime of provision towards it.
Let’s talk about my radical change in philosophy since my stroke. I can no longer work insanely long hours to earn money for someone elses children, at the possible expense of dying, and not being alive to raise my own. DO I care? Yes, but these overseas ministries, MUST provide for themselves, for in my human frailty, clearly I cannot, yet God longs to do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
In the case of the well project. Pastor Victor has been helping widows rebuild their homes and plant gardens and raise livestock that cannot live when there is no WATER.
So, we have been able to provide water with the expectation that his community MUST now provide for itself. There is now water for livestock and gardens, and somehow they MUST sell water, produce or livestock to provide for themselves and their families and the orphans in their care.
Like the saying goes, if you feed a man a fish, you will only have to feed him again, but if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
[ Self-denial on Behalf of Others ] Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
For those of us able to work in the strength of God, we should obey these verses:
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
We should work to help those less fortunate than ourselves but I am reminded of several thoughts in this: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2016/01/the-rough-and-tumble-of-life
The Epitomy of Cruelty:
Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.
I heard a minister explain once the difference between empowerment and enablement, with the following statement: ‘If I do for you, that which you have a God given responsibility to do for yourself, I can immediately cripple you, making you dependent upon me instead on God and the abilities He has given you to provide for yourself. Rev Tony Cooke
No, the gospel empowers people to prosper, as God establishes His covenant with us, and gives us a job to provide for ourselves and our families. This job, done in the grace of God must produce: 2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
We as children of God through the blood of Jesus should have all sufficiency of all things, strong in the Lord and the power of His might, abounding to every good work.
Yet, the gospel is good news. If I could have got right with God through my own works, I would have, but I was a wretched sinner, who needs forgiveness and mercy and Gods strength to make through each day. My good works will never be enough to justify me before a holy God, only Jesus shed blood can provide that. https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/not-by-works-its-all-about-love/
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Only through Jesus can we come to God and find forgiveness of our sins. There is no other way.
In light of this, I have decided to only target financial aid to groups that:
- Are Christian, aggressively serving Jesus and establishing people in the word of God.
- That need help to provide what they cannot – building programs, wells, in this case greenhouses, that will help them recover from natural disasters, and provide for them in the future.
3.That will include Bible curriculum in their programs, (we work with the IVBI programhttps://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/why-should-i-start-a-bible-school/) that will teach people morality, so that they qualify themselves for Gods blessings. Deuteronomy 8:18 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
God gives us power to get wealth, for the purpose of establishing His kingdom on the earth.
Again, we have helped some with orphans where there is an immediate need for emergency support, but ongoing support is not our intent nor desire. I would rather create an initiative that provides for the community, so they no longer need us.
I heard one hard working construction contractor say it bluntly:’Why the hell should I work to support orphans in another country when we have thousands here in the USA in the foster care system needing out support here. Let them work and provide for their own children. Aids epidemic? Sounds like a zipper problem to me.Teach people to remain faithful to their husbands and wives, and have no extra-maritial sex, and suddenly you’ve stopped the AIDs epidemic and stopped producing orphans.” I agree with them, feeding orphans without teaching morality is enabling a broken culture, We do not support sin and immorality, but agree with Gods Word where it is written: Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Yet, there are approximately 140 million orphans globally: https://www.unicef.org/media/media_45279.html and we cannot claim to love Jesus, and not care for vulnerable children, we always choose LIFE, not death. No matter how dubious the child’s conception is, we believe that God is the author of their life, and that if He gave this precious gift to this earth, He has provided for them. Ours is the task to discover how?
So, I have a passion to:
- Provide for vulnerable children.
- Create possibilities for provision for communities hosting Bible schools and orphanages.
So, now to the main purpose of this article, the opportunity to build greenhouses on the land where the church and land of pastor Evans Mukwa in Eldoret, Kenya.
Five years ago, I asked pastor if he would host a Bible school at his church to raise up leaders. He started the school and has worked diligently for five years discipling and teaching leadership in his community. Several years ago, police officers began to deliver orphans to his facility that he cares for daily. Now, they need provision.
I have sent some small offerings over the years to help with provision of the orphans in his care, but neither desire nor have financial abiity to continue to do this. I asked pastor Evans to see if he could discover a project that will produce revenue to provide for both his needs and the needs of the orphanage.
He learned of a company named Goldenscape greenhouses, that operates as an investment company whereby a person can lease green houses and receive a return on investment each year for a 3 year lease.https://goldenscapegreenhouses.co.ke/
After research we discovered that we could purchase these greenhouses, and sell the produce through Goldenscape greenhouse network, and make more money than leasing, simply because it is estimated that a greenhouse will last for 8-10years, rather than leasing for a 3 year contract. By contracting with Goldenscape, they provide an initial soil and water sample survey that determines the potential crop yield and estimated produce each year. So we can effectively budget for capital, and operation costs to ensure this venture positively cash flows right from the start.
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
Most of us involved in the leadership of AOMMinistries, are actively working in the business community, and understand how contracts and finance work.
Pastor Evans has operated his farm to support himself these past years, and knows what it takes to grow things.
His help and counsel on the well drilling project in Migori was critical to the projects success, as he lives there, and has a heart for both pastor Victor and the widows and orphans in his care.So, I asked him to submit potential plans to me that could be reviewed by myself and my board members to ensure their success. We only want to do the plans of the Lord for we honestly believe:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
That there are plans from God to prosper his community, without harm.
We have researched the potential over the past couple months and feel that:
- IF we could purchase a quanity of 4 greenhouses, for a price of $16,000USD that these greenhouse, properly managed, will fully support the orphanage and Bible school there.
- That in order for this to work, God’s way, that the principal of the tithe must be implemented( https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2018/01/gods-provision-tithe).
While we discussed this during our weekly leaders Bible study, one man, David Henry, saw a picture of a strawberry plant, and it’s ‘runners’.
That even as the strawberry plant sends our runners to propogate itself, that this greenhouse project MUST do the same thing. That as monies generate from future crop sales, that tithes MUST be paid in the following manner: 10% of all gross revenues must go to support other ministries in Kenya, either churches raised up by the Bible school graduates, or other ministries performing valid Chrisitan ministry as pastor Evans feels God is leading him. He must also open a savings account to begin to save for the known replacement cost of these greenhouses over the expected 10 years of their lifespan..I have faith in the heart and character of pastor Evans to do this.( https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2017/09/abraham-alone)
SO, like all the projects we start by faith as we partner with God, we begin this one with nothing but a peace from God that we are to do it, fully trusting Him to provide all the finances nessesary for its completion.
This is what I believe will happen:
- We will receive the survey report from GoldenScape produce company that will accurately ascertain the potential yield of the land.
- Money will come to pay for four greenhouses and they will be installed quickly.For those wishing to donate, you can either use the link on our website chrisaomministries.com, or better yet mail a check to AOMMinistries, 1703 E 66th St, Tulsa, OK, 74136. Previously I have created GoFundMe profiles for projects but it take a month to receive funds and they charge 15%.
- We will continue the mentorship relationship with pastor Mukwa, to help him negotiate and manage this project profitably.
- We will see wonderful ministries raised up and provided for all over Kenya over the next couple of decades.
- We will visit Kenya to inspect and celebrate the great things the Lord is doing there through pastor Victor and Evans.