Meet our US Board Members

April

My first trip to Kenya was with my husband Randy in 2006.  It was on that trip I met Pastor Francis, his family, the children, and the widows “mamas.”  

That was the beginning of an amazing journey and what is now officially known as “Love for Kenya.”  It is a privilege serving on the board with members who are so generous with their time, gifted in their talents, and wise beyond their years.  

I love hearing the stories and watching the videos of teams “dancing with the mamas” and giving them food each time they visit.  Randy’s most recent team build outhouses for a few mamas.  Hearing how grateful they were to be given the dignity to go to the bathroom in private brought tears to my eyes!

Dave

I first met Randy Stensgard and Francis Ranogwa at a Torchbearer Bible School in Germany. Francis and I served on a student team together while Randy and I got to know each other more after returning to Minnesota. Randy moved to Colorado and I lost touch with most of my Bible school friends. A number of years ago Randy and his family moved back to Minnesota and we reconnected. About 18 months ago he asked me to sit in on a board meeting for LFK and I was hooked. Serving on the board is great because I get to see some of the ways God is using a group of north american misfits to bring help, hope and healing to some of our downtrodden brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe.

Two projects in particular come to mind the new well and the new boys dorm. In north america we never worry about water but at the Shangilia children's school this had been a real concern, that is until the new well. Now they have more than enough clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Praise God! Also the new boys dorm; to see the look on the faces of the lads when they got to see their very own beds is just priceless.

Jenni

I took my first trip to Kenya when I was 17 and it really changed my attitudes toward God and the world. I realized God is a lot bigger than I thought, and the world was a lot more than my, then, high school bubble of dance team and church youth group. I loved Kenya! When I was 23 I went back and loved it the same. We spent time understanding the needs of Shangilia and our partners by interviewing staff and children. When I was asked to be on the board, it was a natural yes.  

Seeing most of the children get sponsored this year was a huge blessing. It happened gradually, but after a year of sponsorship partners signing up bit by bit, here we are, a little over a year from our kick off party, and many of the k-12 students are sponsored, and we have some new students being sponsored for college as well. It’s also fun to see how people engage with the newsletter. I've learned a lot about Kenya through putting the newsletter together. It’s been fun to share stories of our children and the needs in Kenya by helping with the email creation.

Jennifer

As a young christian, from about age 10 thru high school and beyond, I had the feeling in the back of my mind that someday God would have me involved in Africa in some way.  Fast forward thru college, marriage, starting a career and starting a family to the early 2000's when Randy Stensgard became the youth pastor at our church and introduced our congregation to Shangilia Children's Home through his friendship with Pastor Francis and short-term missions trips with our church.  I was always drawn to the things that Randy and other trip participants shared about their experiences in Kenya, but I was never able to go along on any of the trips.  Fortunately God had plans for me and Kenya and he let me know this in early 2013 after Randy, who had moved back to MN, sent out a newsletter about a Kenya trip he had planned for the summer of 2013 with folks from his new church.   As soon as I read it, I knew that God wanted me to go on that trip despite the fact that going to Kenya with a group of people I didn't know at all is completely outside my comfort zone.  My husband wasn't sure, my family and friends were surprised and no one was entirely convinced this was a good idea, except for me.  That was my first trip to Kenya in June 2013 and surprisingly God sent me again in January 2014.  They were both awesome experiences that have changed my life in both dramatic and run-of-the-mill ways, one of which was Randy inviting me to join the board of Love for Kenya in late 2013 as we began the process of filing to become an official 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization.  I was originally given the role of secretary, but fortunately God provided me with the opportunity to become treasurer which is a much better fit for my skills and interests.

My favorite thing about Love for Kenya is the fact that I've had the opportunity to witness a ministry that is totally and completely God driven.  It is amazing to me to see how God has pulled together a group of people that are scattered around the globe simply through their willingness to say yes to God and participate.  God has built a children's home, blessed widows, provided for financial and physical needs and strengthened the Christian walk and relationships of so many people by letting them participate in this ministry and all of it was accomplished without some big, organized, human plan.  Love for Kenya is just one more example of God making a ministry happen and it has been amazing to watch us go from a brand new 501(c)3 with barely enough money to pay for stamps and insurance to an organization with 64 of the 69 children at Shangilia sponsored and countless projects in Kenya that have been funded through God's grace and people's willing hearts.  It's a great reminder that God knows and will meet needs, whether in Kenya or in my everyday life!

Lee

Lee Robinson, along with Tim Read, participated in the Engineering Ministries International trip to Shangilia in September, 2006 to design the spring fed water system.  Both Lee and Tim then assisted on the trip to build the system in January, 2017.

·         Lee has been to Shangilia ten times since that first trip in 2006.

·         When it became apparent that the spring fed water system was no longer adequate,  Lee incorporated the drilling of deep water wells at Shangilia and Ideleri School into the drilling program at Covenant churches in Kenya.  These two wells were drilled through solid granite into water bearing fractured granite early in 2016, and both produce large quantities of high quality water.

·         Lee has always had a passion to support short term volunteers going to Shangilia, and will be deeply involved in this effort going forward.

Nic

Nic took hugely influential trips to Kenya in 2008 and again with his family in 2010. A core part of his testimony is getting to share the Gospel message after the Jesus film was played and having to depend on God 100% to get over his fears of public speaking. He loves the mission of Shangilia and partnering with great leaders to transform the children’s lives. His favorite project has been seeing the video of the new boy’s dorm being constructed and the sheer joy on the children’s faces as they walked into their new home. He can’t wait to go back and experience the wonderful Kenyan people and culture!

Randy

I got involved with Love For Kenya after the first time I went on a mission trip there in 2005, God laid it on my heart to start to partner with Pastor Francis, he and I were roommates 29 years ago. I love serving with some of the most amazing and gifted people on the planet that are on the Love For Kenya Board. God uses this godly team to impact hundreds of lives in Kenya!

My favorite project was the construction and completion of the the new boys dorm. The boys were living in very humble conditions and then to have them move into a new place that they could call their own was truly amazing.  I remember one of the boys and seeing the look on their face as they walked into there room for the first time, with great awe and amazement.  Then to see them lay on their new beds and not want to leave their new rooms! I praise God for the way that he provided the funding for this project! God continues to surprise me in amazing ways with the Love For Kenya ministry.

Tim

I originally got involved with the Kenya ministry over 11 years ago when I traveled to Shangilia for the first time.  I have been back three times since and have also enjoyed serving on this (relatively new) Love For Kenya board helping to equip, enable, and improve the lives of these friends that I have come to love over the last 11 years.

My favorite story from my involvement with the LFK ministry is back in 2007 when we installed the original water system on the property.  To gloss over a TON of details that make the full story so interesting...suffice it to say that God knew every bump, hurdle, problem, and issue that we would run into.  We thought that the $16,000 dollars that had been raised for the project would be way more than enough to complete everything, and then some.  When Kefa and I added up all the receipts and costs at the end of the construction we came up with something like $15,980.  Same thing with the number of special-order pipe fittings.  We planned on having extra fittings - just in case - and ended up needing every single one.  The point I took home from all of this is that God gave us exactly what we needed - and He even accounted for every single miscommunication, mistake, and error that His lowly servants would make and gave us enough grace to cover it all and complete the project that would advance His Kingdom.

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #9

 

The Love For Kenya team from Plymouth Covenant Church is officially on their way home. God moved in so many ways! Here is a small summary of their amazing mission trip.

1) Ministry to children and staff at Shangilia Orphanage. 

2) Ministry to the widows.

3) Feeding 90 plus widows by providing each widow with a few days' worth of food.

4) Built 2 outhouses, plus more will be built in the weeks to come.

5) Ministry in the Kibera slum with pastor Timothy at his school.

6) Ministry to the children at the orphanage kindergarten. 

7) Two men who came to know Christ during the medical clinic, as Randy Darling shared the good news of salvation with people in the community.

8) For another man who came to know Christ as Bob did listening prayer and was lead to a specific man. 

9) Ministry at the public school.

The list goes on and on. Please ask some of the team members specifics of what God did on this amazing mission trip!

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #8

Yesterday was the Plymouth Covenant Church team's LAST day serving the orphans and widows in Kenya! Below are photos of the kindergarten at Shangilia Orphanage, as well as the mission team spending time with over 90 widows and providing them with food for their families!

Kindergarten at Shangilia Orphanage.

Kindergarten at Shangilia Orphanage.

Pastor Randy Stensgard with the Moderator (President) of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya. It was great to reconnect with Simon again and hear of the amazing thing God is doing through the Covenant Churches in Kenya. 

Pastor Randy Stensgard with the Moderator (President) of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya. It was great to reconnect with Simon again and hear of the amazing thing God is doing through the Covenant Churches in Kenya. 

Last day of singing and dancing with the widows.

Last day of singing and dancing with the widows.

Matt dancing with the widows.

Matt dancing with the widows.

What an amazing day blessing these incredible women.

What an amazing day blessing these incredible women.

This Kenyan woman just turned 100 years old!

This Kenyan woman just turned 100 years old!

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #6

Hello, friends of Love for Kenya! We received another big set of photos from the Plymouth Covenant Church mission team that's serving in Kenya from January 3-15, 2017. These photos are from yesterday, January 11. We don't have much written detail as far as how the team spent their day yesterday, but based on the photos we received, it appears the team ministered to children at the school and Shangilia Orphanage! Enjoy the photos. We will continue to share updates as we receive them from the team.

Kindergarten children playing!

Kindergarten children playing!

Little Brian playing hide and seek.

Little Brian playing hide and seek.

Randy and Sally who his family sponsors through Love For Kenya.

Randy and Sally who his family sponsors through Love For Kenya.

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Dennis playing with kids at the public school.

Dennis playing with kids at the public school.

  

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #5

Yesterday, the Plymouth Covenant Church team on mission with Love For Kenya ran a medical clinic, continued construction on outhouses for the widows, and spent time with the children at Shangilia Orphanage. It looks like it was a very BUSY and EXCITING day for the team! 

This is Lonika's outhouse BEFORE, which will be torn down. 

This is Lonika's outhouse BEFORE, which will be torn down. 

Lonika's NEW outhouse!

Lonika's NEW outhouse!

Lonika's NEW outhouse and bathing area. Almost finished!

Lonika's NEW outhouse and bathing area. Almost finished!

Randy & Lonika.

Randy & Lonika.

Randy with widow, Agness, who is also getting a new outhouse this week!

Agness' outhouse is almost complete. She is SO excited!

Agness' outhouse is almost complete. She is SO excited!

Agness next to her new outhouse and bathing area. All the neighbors have been coming over wondering what is going on. They are amazed that a widow would be helped. It's all because of Jesus Christ!

Agness next to her new outhouse and bathing area. All the neighbors have been coming over wondering what is going on. They are amazed that a widow would be helped. It's all because of Jesus Christ!

Medical clinic for the community. 50 people came to seek medical attention today from the village. Amanda did an amazing job treating those in need. 

Medical clinic for the community. 50 people came to seek medical attention today from the village. Amanda did an amazing job treating those in need. 

The amazing Amanda treating patients at the medical clinic.

The amazing Amanda treating patients at the medical clinic.

Randy praying for patients at the medical clinic.

Randy praying for patients at the medical clinic.

Bob "Baboo" playing soccer with the boys.

Bob "Baboo" playing soccer with the boys.

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #4

Yesterday, the Plymouth Covenant Church team on mission with Love for Kenya spent time ministering at the school, and began construction on outhouses for the widows!

One of the widows, Lonika, who we are building an outhouse for. Huge impact in the community as the widows are outcasts in Kenya.

One of the widows, Lonika, who we are building an outhouse for. Huge impact in the community as the widows are outcasts in Kenya.

Randy Stensgard helping build Lonika's outhouse.

Randy Stensgard helping build Lonika's outhouse.

Dennis and Randy Darling building the another widow's outhouse.

Dennis and Randy Darling building the another widow's outhouse.

Dave helping with our Kenyan friends to build a brick outhouse

Dave helping with our Kenyan friends to build a brick outhouse

Randy Darling having the kids flock to him and singing songs

Randy Darling having the kids flock to him and singing songs

Denis loving on the kids at the school, the kids love him!

Denis loving on the kids at the school, the kids love him!

Ministry at the public school. Conor brought his drone to take pictures and video of the school. The kids loved it!

Ministry at the public school. Conor brought his drone to take pictures and video of the school. The kids loved it!

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #3

It was another great day in Kenya!

1. Conor is feeling better.

2. Great church service at Oasis of Joy church. Bob and Randy Darling shared their story of how Jesus has changed their lives. Randy Stensgard preached.

3. Spent time with the children at the orphanage today.

4. Getting ready for construction on the outhouses for the widows homes tomorrow, and medical clinic for the community which will start on Tuesday. 

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Photos Day #2 and #3

Meet Lonika, one of the widows served by Love for Kenya. The team from Plymouth Covenant Church will be building outhouses for 5 different widows while they're on mission in Kenya. Some of the widows' outhouses are unsafe; some widows do not have an outhouse and just go in the weeds. Widows are considered outcasts of society in Kenya, so this project will meet real, felt needs. Please pray for Lonika and the other 4 widows who will be blessed by new/upgraded outhouses this week. Construction BEGAN today. We will continue to share updates as we receive them from the team.

Kenya Mission Trip January 2017: Update #2

It is great to be back in Kenya, Africa, and at Shangilia! I have hugged everyone here. No one was left out. Even the African widows from age 38 to 99 love to be loved on. One special time for me was quoting John 3:16 in my Swahili and they actually cheered for God (Mungu) as I finished. I also shed a few tears….OK a lot of tears as I got to renew my love and friendship with the children I have been playing with and sponsoring. Thank you for your prayers as I am healthy and recharged in the ministry here.

Asante Sana, Randy Darling

My heart is twice broken!

First my heart is broken by the pain of broken families, abandon children, the poverty and squalor. It can feel nearly overwhelming. Our first day we visited the Kibera slum, where one million people live in one square mile. There is nearly no electricity and no plumbing. The stench hits you like a wall. From there we came to the Shangilia Children’s home. While the conditions are MUCH better it is still hard to know that these beautiful children have been abandon by those who should care for them most. The next day we met with the widows, who in Kenyan culture are nearly outcasts from society. Why should it be that these women who have already experienced the pain of losing a husband now in addition to caring for their family have to take on the financial burden of providing for themselves and their family? And on top of this to be cast out from your society…it is not fair, it is not right. My heart is broken.

Now my heart breaks again as I get to know these people. Instead of finding despair and hopelessness there is JOY, HOPE, LOVE, GENEROSITY. How can this be explained? There is only one answer. It can sound like the pat Sunday school answer “Jesus," but it is really true. Only our Lord can take this much pain, this much loss, this much suffering and from it bring this much JOY.

When I asked Pastor Timothy in Kibera what the goal of his ministry is or what it is that he is trying to accomplish he did not say I would like to feed these children, he did not say I would like to educate these children, he did not say he wanted to eliminate the poverty, he said without hesitation that it is his life’s work to bring people to Jesus! I am weeping as I type this. Did you read it? Read it again! His life’s work it to bring people to Jesus! Only Jesus can meet needs and hurts this deep.

The night we arrived at Shangilia the children danced and sang, they greeted us and hugged us. They had so much respect and love. My heart again broke with joy.

Seeing the widows as they came together forming a sisterhood, showing kindness, gentleness and love for one another. When they sang and danced; there can be no place closer to heaven on earth than that. Again my heart broke with joy.

Everyone I have met that was a part of the ministry of Love for Kenya was FULL of joy. It beams out of their faces. We are brothers and sisters even though we live on different continents. My heart breaks with joy. I know that this is not the last time we will meet, my Kenyan family and me. Whether, if the Lord grants, I am able to come back to Kenya or if not when we meet in the sweet by and by I will get to see my brothers and sisters again.

Are any of you wondering if there truly is joy in the Lord? I challenge you, exhort you, I beg you come to Kenya and have your heart twice broken as well.

Dave Gust

Feeling Blessed, honored, and amazed to be in Kenya at Shangilia Orphanage. Amanda and I are settled into our new hut home for the next week and thankful to be part of this amazing Love for Kenya Team. There have been two amazing God connections. First, with the widows who came on Friday to the Orphanage. We talked with them, gave hugs, and worked on a bracelet project together, then we danced (they taught us how to dance with God’s Energy). The kids are in need of lots of hugs and we are so happy to provide those. We are staying active with the kids and we had an awesome soccer game which was chance to get to know boys more. Most amazing moments have been kids just coming to sit with us and want to be held. We are telling them Jesus loves them. Pastor Francis and whole staff here are amazing. Thanks for the prayers and support. Love to All!

Bob

Jambo from Africa,

We are into our second day at Shangilia Orphanage. We started the day going into the village and visiting four widows’ houses. These are the houses we are going to work on this next week, repairing their roofs and building new choo or toilets. I have enjoyed spending time with the children. I have been surprised how young they are at the orphanage. I am excited to serve with Bob.

Amanda

Kenya Missions Trip January 2017: Update #1

We arrived in Kenya last night. Today is our first full day in Kenya. We will be in Nairobi and will be going to see Pastor Timothy in the Kibera Slum (the world's largest slum in the smallest area, 1 million people in 1 square mile). We will be ministering at Timothy's school for the day to over 500 kids in an area smaller than a gym. 

Tonight (Thursday), we fly to our Love For Kenya partner, Shangilia Orphanage, where we will spend the next 8 days. Thank you for your prayers!

Plymouth Covenant Church Mission Team

Kenya Missions Trip January 2017

LFKteam.jpg

Tomorrow, an amazing team of 9 from Plymouth Covenant Church will travel to Kenya, Africa, to the ministry of Love for Kenya!

God has amazing things in store for us. We have 5 main objectives on this trip:

1. Listening Prayer: We want to hear God’s voice and allow him to guide us on this trip.

2. Share our faith: Our desire is to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ with everyone we come in contact with.

3. Build meaningful relationships: Our desire is to build deep relationships with our Kenyan friends at Love For Kenya ministry and the surrounding community.

4. Meeting felt needs: We will be asking Jesus to give us wisdom as we meet very specific needs in peoples lives and the ministry of Love For Kenya.

5. Debrief and respond: Each day, our team will debrief and have an opportunity to talk about what God is doing in and through us, and respond to what we feel God is calling us to do.

We are in store for an adventure of a lifetime! 

Please pray for the team of 9, including Randy Stensgard, Bob Paschke, Amanda Paschke, Randy Darling, Matt Mallas, Dave Gust, Conor Olstad, Dennis Huberty and Abigail Huberty.

We will be sharing regular updates from the team while they are in Kenya, so be sure to stay tuned here on the Love For Kenya blog! 

May God bless everyone impacted by this mission trip, including the team of 9 from Plymouth Covenant Church, the children and staff at Shangilia Children's Home, the widows and their families, and members of the surrounding community. 

Love For Kenya's Partner with Kibera Slums

Love For Kenya's Partner with Kibera Slums

Jambo! I'm Timothy Mulehi, the pastor of Calvary Evangelistic Church and School in the Kibera area of Nairobi. Kibera is the largest slum in Africa and houses more than one million people in roughly one square mile. In the midst of Kibera’s bleak and discouraging backdrop, my mission is to provide the message of God’s love and hope to the people of Kibera.