# A Christmas Letter

all of us in the Kindfund team desire something better for them throughout the year and at Christmas. Something to give them happy memories.
Prayer Letter 1223

Mark 9:37 ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’

– _A little personal reminiscence, a punnet of fruit already gathered, and a barrow of hope in Christ for our children’s future._ .

Dear Friends

How does your mind work during the Christmas season. If you are like me your mind goes back to your childhood and the excitement of Christmas.

This was my experience living between the Ravenhill and Cregagh Roads in Belfast

In early December there was the purchase and decoration of the Christmas tree mainly with various items stored from the previous year, including the bright colourful lights that brightened up the ‘dark days before Christmas’. In our house we had a much loved but rather worn small 12-inch moulded Santa with his bag over his shoulder, who was placed carefully under the tree every year.

Later in December on an evening, hearing carol singing, we would rush to the door to stand outside the house in our small front garden to listen to the carols. The singers, wrapped in warm clothes with hats and scarves gathered around the gas lamplight, holding up their carol sheets to the light coming from the streetlamp, and others, head down shining their torches on the hymn sheet, but all making a joyful noise and encouraging us to join with them in worship. A short visit of two or three carols and they moved on to the next street amid much greeting of “Happy Christmas” and sometimes sharing a sweet.

In the late 40s and early 50s we walked a lot. I recall happy memories of walking with siblings and parents to visit grandparents in East Belfast while anticipating an opportunity to share an hour with them, a present and a drink of ginger lemonade out of a special small barrel shaped glass. The distance of just over a mile passed quickly as we counted the Christmas trees in the parlour windows and avoided standing on the lines between the paving on the footpath – innocent games.

The apex of our experience would come close to Christmas day, sometimes even on Christmas eve when of an afternoon we would walk out to the main road as a family and board a trolley bus for the centre of Belfast. This was Christmas shopping day which included a visit to at least one department store (The Co-op in York Street or Robbs in High Street) each boasting a journey to meet Santa, a photo, and a present. Struggling around the crowded City at times holding tightly to parents’ hands as they led us through the streets, alleyways and finally Smithfield market for last minute bargains. The market was for us children an otherworld place at that time.

Very happy memories, a childhood treasure sheltered from the world outside.

I have taken time to say all this because when I look at our Kenyan family, I am very aware of the harsh experiences many of them have received in their young lives and all of us in the Kindfund team desire something better for them throughout the year and at Christmas. Something to give them happy memories.

As if that alone was not enough to make us happy and content the words of our text Mark 9:37 amaze, humble and cause joy to arise within our souls when we contemplate what God has entrusted to us all in Kindfund. To see God in each of the children and to realise that in parenting the children we are touching God himself. We have received the triune God Father Son and Holy Spirit. When I say we I mean all of those who have supported Kindfund in any way throughout the 20 yrs.

January 2024 will be the twentieth anniversary of the first meeting of Kindfund in our sitting room at Manoo, when Phil and Liz Crook, David and Dorothy Morrow and Pamela and I laid the foundation. Little could we have conceived what God would do over the following years as Pamela and I took that first step of faith the following month – the first visit to Northern Kenya as Kindfund. Later that same year we were encouraged during our second visit to be joined by our son Jonathan (now Chairman).

There have been many milestones over the intervening years since we started in 2004 encouraging local Christians, supporting a small nursery class, digging wells, and providing handpumps, started feeding programmes for orphans and the destitute all of which led to establishing by 2010 three children’s homes located in three different Kenyan Counties in the ‘Horn of Africa’. On the way we experienced the miracles of doors opening and God’s provision amid struggles and disappointments.

Our tenth anniversary in 2014 stands out when, after a mammoth effort led by Philip Lucas and a special tour committee, we brought 24 children to Northern Ireland for 4 weeks and a busy and interesting programme of outreach to local churches and fellowships. To this day we give thanks to God for all who were engaged in that endeavour.

This year 2023 has seen our first baby orphan, Glory, now 16 years complete her primary education, graduating through KCPE and ready to join secondary school in January 2024. Already she has been representing her County at Country level sporting activities. Many of you will remember her as the 7 yr. old, accomplished drummer during that tour. Not Glory alone but several of our children have been excelling at sports at a county level.

It continues to bring us joy as we see our children grow, mature, and take opportunities which have opened for them. Three other girls will graduate to Secondary education with Glory in January when we hope to then have 9 girls at the best Secondary schools in the County. I am particularly mentioning the girls given the status they have traditionally held in the pastoralist communities. Two of our boys who went to Secondary in January 2023 have finished the year as Number 1 in their respective Forms at different high-grade schools. Those who have not performed so well academically we ensure receive suitable training through the Polytechnic Colleges.

As I listen to the news in 2023 and see ‘end time’ developments in the world around us, I know that the best by far we can do for the children is to witness the love of God and ensure that they have every opportunity to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Oh, that they will know his love, his forgiveness, his mercy, and his grace and trust in his gift of salvation for those who come to him in repentance and answer positively his call to ‘follow me.’

The routines of the homes and the projects are built on this foundation and the centrality of Jesus in all we do. Management has that heart to bring them to a knowledge of Jesus and with God’s help display his kindness in their dealings with the children.

I encourage you to remain faithful in prayer for the children and staff as indeed they are faithful in praying for all those from afar who love them, support them, and have brought the opportunity for them to hear the Gospel and to know Jesus. We do not forget to thank God for you and your faithfulness during these difficult times.

Please also remember in prayer Gillian Stevenson, a key member of the full-time team who has been unwell since February – that she will be fully restored. Give thanks also for members of Committee who devote themselves to God’s work in Kindfund.

As we remember Jesus’s birth this Christmas let us also give thanks for the opportunity he has opened for us to be co-workers with him, the opportunity he has given to all of us to be part of the welcome and support for the children in his name and in so doing knowing we have welcomed and supported the Divine.

A happy and joyful Christmas 2023 and a prosperous New Year 2024 from the Kindfund Team and Committee.

added on Dec 16

Give thanks, Our God is able.

Kindfund was established as a charity in 2004 to further the gospel of Jesus Christ and to help relieve poverty amongst some of the poorest tribes in northern Kenya, working with the pastoralist Turkana, Samburu and Rendille.

We currently use 5 tonnes of food and supplies per month, providing for 125 children in 4 homes and 250 children in nursery and primary education.

We have dug 7 wells and fitted 7 handpumps, bringing safe water to remote villages.

100% of gifts go to Kenya.

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Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100121 and accepted as a Society in Kenya 26316