The Rejoice Project teams are growing rapidly, and so many students in East Africa are hearing of the Hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Below is an update from the Rejoice Project Director, Johannes.
The Rejoice team is doing great so far! Each team is appreciative because of the different teachings that they are getting to do each month as we begin a new virtue with new Bible stories, games, and hands on activities.
The children are sharing with their teachers the lessons that they have been taught by the Rejoice Team. The teachers in the schools are thankful for the lessons being taught to their students because a lot of the material that is being reviewed during the RP lesson each week is also being taught in the student’s Christian Religious Education class. The teachers appreciate the Rejoice Team teaching the students moral values. These teachings have helped the students to have positive attitudes towards their education.The teachers are also saying many minor behavioral cases at the schools have ended since the Rejoice Team started teaching at their schools. This has resulted in great examination results.
The parents are saying that their children have started to model honesty, obedience, and cooperation in the duties that they are been allocated by their parents back at home. Many of the children have been willing to attend church services regularly, sing worship songs, and share bible verses with other church members. The parents say the children have started groups to have Bible study during their free time. The parents too say those children who are at primary schools are sharing with the rest of the family members what they have learned during the Rejoice teachings.
The members are saying that Rejoice Project is not only making a difference in the lives of the children, but also in the lives of the leaders. Many say that they used to be revengeful after anyone did something bad, but since they have joined the Rejoice Project team, they have had a more positive attitude. Also many were not strong believers before joining the Rejoice Team. They were not attending the church services regularly because they did not have strong faith, but after being a part of Rejoice Project, they have had a positive attitude towards God's work. Many of the Rejoice team members have been of great help for the community activities. Whenever there is a community function, the team has been used to share their stories to the community.
For me, I think the best way to sum up our second Rejoice Project retreat is through Ephesians 2:20-21:
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
As we spent 4 days together, I watched God do immeasurably more in each one of the Rejoice team leader's lives. Diving deep into God’s truth together through Andy Stanley's “Simple” series, God began to break through the chains of religion. They began to find freedom in the simplicity of the gospel. I watched them challenge each other, ask the hard questions, and begin to see God in a much simpler and more intimate way!
In the team building activities, I witnessed the Rejoice team leaders work together and explore how to make “impossible” tasks possible! At the start of each activity, I would hear them say that it was not going to happen, but I watched them, time after time, find solutions to the tasks together. These activities helped us illustrate a point - they were now able to look at the “impossibilities” they see in their communities, children, and Rejoice teams and see how God could use them to make those things possible!
During our teaching time, we were able to model and let them experience new ways of effectively communicating God’s truth to each child's level of understanding. At one point, we had them go outside and gathered natural materials (rocks, sticks, etc) to make a butterfly on a piece of paper. I watched some amazingly unique butterflies come out of that activity using such simple materials! It was awesome to witness their eyes open to the abundance of creativity around them through the natural resources God has given them in their communities, and how they can use those to effectively teach children about Him.
In all, I watched a group of 16 people from 6 different villages and 5 different tribes come together - not giving a thought to their differences culturally. They simply came together and gave God total control and immeasurably more happened! God received all the glory and I pray that His glory continue to be displayed through all of these leaders as they awaken, disciple, and empower the next generation to know Jesus and make Him known!
Jon - Community Relations Manager with Choose to Invest
We had an incredible experience this weekend with Run for Orphans in Alpharetta, GA! More than 500 people gathered on a cold Saturday morning to help raise awareness and funding for two of our projects, Kimbilio and Rejoice Project. We are so thankful to the 60 volunteers who made Run for Orphans a great success. We will share more details this week along with pictures of the event!
Today marks the beginning of our first Rejoice Project Leadership Training retreat at the Invest House. We arranged for 10 Rejoice Project team members from different communities to travel to the Invest House for three days of training, equipping, and encouragement. We would love for you all to join us in praying over the next three days for God to speak clearly through our staff and that deep discipleship would take place.
The Rejoice Project team members that are joining us are part of a group of about 70 community members from different parts of Kenya who have stepped up as leaders for the next generation. This group volunteers at their local primary school and church to teach their community's next generation about who God is and who they are because of Him. They are servant leaders with a desire to see God transform their communities for His glory. Together, we see a new generation in Kenya with bright, strong, and passionate followers of Jesus Christ. We are excited to spend the next three days pouring back in to the leaders who are pouring out in their communities!
Johannes, Harun, Peter, Donald, Kristin, Joshua, Peterson, Francis, Daniel, and Evelyn - a group of 10 made up of pastors, teachers, moms, and dads, all with a vision of a generation that knows God deeply and lives for His glory!
While we eagerly wait for the day that Kimbilio is physical home and refuge for abandoned children, Ann is an example that Kimbilio already exists within Choose to Invest! We met Ann's mom, Irene, in 2011 and developed a great relationship with her. Last year Irene would barely look in your eyes as she softly spoke but she came a long way during our time together and we could tell that she was beginning to allow us and God to love her a little more.
When we arrived in Kenya this past spring, we called Irene to make arrangements for her to work with us at the Invest House. We were surprised to hear that she was due to have a baby (Ann) in June! God has opened the doors for us to provide a refuge and home to a single mother who was visibly overwhelmed with her new life circumstances. While Irene works in the mornings and late afternoons, our team takes turns holding and loving on baby Ann. It's been incredible to see how far she has come in just a few short months, and even more encouraging to watch Irene blossom as a young mother.
Ann isn't abandoned but she is a beautiful example of a new generation in Kenya that will grow up knowing that she is loved and adored by the people around her, but more importantly, by her Father and Creator. Irene is embracing her role as a loving mother and she is so excited to one day be an active part of Kimbilio and Rejoice Project so that other children can experience God's love through her!
Baby Ann Video