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Adiedo Embraces Hope

World Evangelist Sammy Wanyonyi
preaching in Adiedo, Kenya
Orphaned by HIV/AIDS, she rarely speaks, not even to her visiting school sponsor Pam Craig who traveled as part of our team to Adiedo from Spokane Washington.  But last Saturday afternoon in the closing moments of the evangelistic festival, Everline walked over to Pam and asked if she could be introduced to the preacher (me).   For once, she had a smile on her face.  The eleven year-old had just asked Jesus Christ into her heart as Lord and Savior.

Several hundreds of people respond to the invitation to
follow Christ on day two of Adiedo Festival
All across the soccer-field were stories like Everline's.  I cannot forget a ten year-old young man named Ochieng.  On Friday night, he waited backstage patiently for me to leave the stage and then boldly walked up to me extending his hand to greet me.  Although his clothes were torn here and there, I could tell that he had worn his Sunday best to the meeting.  He had impeccable personality as he marshalled his best lingual skills to speak to me in English. 

"My name is Andrew Ochieng," he started.  "Today I asked Jesus into my heart.  I feel so much happiness.  I feel hope in my heart.  Thank you!" he posed. 

Local Artist Anastacia Mkabwa and her team
minister through Music
Then with an obvious burdened look on his face he proceeded to share a prayer request, "Pastor, could you please pray for my brother Owino so he can join class eight (eighth grade)?  Could you also pray for my aunt to get well as she is the only one there to care for us?  She is sick all the time.  Mom and dad died." 

My emotions vascilated from delight to sadness.  Why should a ten-year old boy be bearing such a heavy burden on his small shoulders?  While I contemplated a response, he looked at me and smiled once more then added, "I love Jesus!" 

Hopeful young faces of Adiedo listen to the gospel as Sammy preaches
I was blown away. I was suddenly reminded that he wasn't alone anymore.  That the whole point of the moment was the reality of the person of Jesus Christ being present to the people of Adiedo as their anchor of hope.

We held hands and prayed together and then I gave him a big hug.  He walked away with a look of great satisfaction on his face as he disappeared into the crowd.  Several minutes later as our van drove from the soccer field, he was standing by the gate.  He waved us down, walked to my window and said, "I will come again tomorrow!" 

Ministry team member Kathy Miller ministers
to a little one at the Festival in Adiedo, Kenya
Everline's and Andrew's stories capture the essence of what Christ did during our just concluded mission to Adiedo, Kenya.  Like the shrinking shoreline and vanished beaches that once characterized Lake Victoria allowing access to its' waters for fishing and for recreation, Adiedo's hopes had slowly been vanishing. 

The manacing Hyercinth weed that has taken over the beaches and shoreline rendering access to the lake that is the source to the famous River Nile impossible is only one of many problems that the nearly 2000 residents of this tiny Kenyan village have to deal with.  There is the devastation from HIV/AIDS that rendered many households orphaned or widowed.  Then there is the perenial drought, lack of clean drinking water, on and on.

Pastor Joe Wittwer Pastor of of Life Center Church,
Spokane, WA ministers to a lady at the Adiedo Festival
Rather than provide hand-outs, our partner organization in the area, Spring of Hope International has worked with residents over the last five years to restore the economic base by educating the community on alternative sources of income generation and innovative farming techniques that bolster harvest and ensure food security. They have also provided educational sponsorships for kids from widowed or orphaned homes.

Team member Sandy McConkey dealing
hope to an attendee at the Festival Event
 But noticing that the greatest need of the community is spiritual, Spring of Hope teamed up together with the local churches operating in the community to invite SWIM ministries as a partner to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the community.  Between inspecting development projects and visiting with sponsored children in Schools, we conducted two days of leadership training and two days of Evangelistic Festival for the community.

A line of people form a seloate on the edges of
the soccer field as they listen to the gospel
Through the leadership seminars that sought to equip more than 300 community leaders with transformational leadership tools and challenge some of the undermining cultural practices as well as through the Festival of Hope that attracted nearly 5000 in attendance in a village of just under 2000 residents, over 1500 people gave their lives to Christ as Lord and Savior.  

Spring of Hope founder and director Dave Opap
engages with a youthful festival attendee in Adiedo
We believe this is the beginning of a movement of hope and change rooted in the transforming power and promise of the Word of God.  Glory to God!

We at SWIM ministries greatly appreciate our partners that continue to give sacrificially to enable us to bring the message of hope to thousands of people in places such as Adiedo in multiple countries around the world.  Thank you for your heart of generosity and deep love for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You can support our ongoing efforts financially by clicking on the donate button on the right-hand side panel.

A crowd of boys crane their necks to catch the action
from behind the stage during the festival in Adiedo,
among them Andrew Ochieng

Here, team member Pam Craig visits with Everline at her home in Adiedo
a day after she received Christ at the Festival. 
Her aging grandfather who takes care of her looks on.

Team member Brad from City Church, Spokane prays with an elderly festival attendee Oct. 20
Kenyan Diva Anastacia Mkabwa ministers to the crowd through Music Oct 20
Local Police Inspector Nelson shares his testimony with Leadership Conference participants in Adiedo, Kenya, Oct 17
Team member Pam Craig ministers to an elderly festival attendee in Adiedo, Kenya October 20
An excited youthful crowd enjoys the music at the Festival in Adiedo, Kenya October 20
Kids listen to the Gospel Message in Adiedo, Kenya Oct. 20

Hundreds of people responding to the invitation to Follow Christ meet in groups with Follow-up Conselors during the festival in Adiedo, Kenya


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