(Graphic courtesy Sabine Bagyura via Pinterest)
Kenya (MNN) -- Speaking to His disciples after the Last Supper, Jesus said the following
: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
"By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Not only are Christ-followers supposed to love one another, they're called to love their neighbors, too. It's this "love on display" that has communities in rural Kenya talking about the En-Gedi Children's Home.
"They refer to En-Gedi Children's Home as a 'heaven' for children," says founder Margaret Njuguna.
"They say they can see God in me; I think that's the best statement I've heard, that they see God and they know that children are [the] children of God."
(Logo courtesy En-Gedi Children's Home)
Njuguna and the staff of En-Gedi Children's Home rescue disabled children from a life of darkness. "They think they're bewitched; they think it's a bad omen," Njuguna explains, describing the widely-held attitude towards disability and lack of information.
"People think that if you have a child with a disability, you are a carrier of the curse."
As a result, families often lock their disabled children away; sometimes, parents don't even talk to them – ever. During her 30 years of ministry with World Renew
, Njuguna encountered "children who had been locked up; who had been hidden and tethered."
In partnership with Set Free Ministries,
Njuguna and En-Gedi bring God's Truth about life to Kenyan parents. Often, it's the children themselves who bear the most powerful witness.
Truth in Word and deed
A photo of David before entering En-Gedi's daily care.
(Photo courtesy En-Gedi)
"David" exemplifies the powerful witness God's love can bear to a community.
Often, disabled children are brought to En-Gedi by local officials, Njuguna explains, when it's discovered that parents are locking them away and neglecting them. Along with physical impairments, David couldn't talk, she shares.
"We gave him attention, we gave him love; we started talking to him," Njuguna continues.
"And, the boy started just talking nonstop!"
When Njuguna contacted David's parents and they came to visit, "The mother cried the whole time she was there, [and said] 'they made my child talk!'
"I told her, 'You never talk to him. He always could've talked, but you never talk to him.'"
David isn't the only example of transformation. En-Gedi staff periodically visits each home community of the children in their care, to show families how the kids have advanced and grown.
Meet the children of the En-Gedi Children's Home here.
Every visit is an opportunity to remind communities of core teachings from Scripture
: the value God places on each and every life; the Gospel message of sin and salvation; the hope of future restoration. Each reminder holds the potential of a new beginning in Christ, and for parents, a new beginning with their disabled child.
Change is not, and will not be, immediate. But, En-Gedi isn't "closing up shop" anytime soon.
A current photo of David.
(Photo courtesy En-Gedi)
"It's a worldview," says Njuguna. "It will take a long time for them to change what they believe in."
For now, will you partner with Njuguna and En-Gedi staff in prayer?
- Ask the Lord to sustain the ministry of En-Gedi and expand its reach.
- Pray occasional visits to home villages will turn into opportunities for further evangelism and discipleship.
- Pray the children, as they're able, grow in the knowledge of Christ and His salvation.
If you would like to help meet the daily needs of this ministry, send a check to Set Free Ministries
and clearly indicate “En-Gedi” on the memo line. If you are a U.S. resident, you will receive a tax receipt from Set Free.