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Food? Or Shelter?

The sprinkler, playfully referred to as the big gun, claps in perfect intervals as it fires long arcs of glistening water across the vibrant green soccer pitch. More than two dozen world-class runners, including an Olympic silver medalist, kick up rich orange clay from the track along the field’s perimeter as their graceful, powerful strides propel them with deceptive speed. A handful of children, too poor to afford school, gathers in the corner, each dreaming of one day running with the same precision and fame.

Olympic runners training at the Vapor Ministries center in Gichagi, Kenya
Olympic runners training at the Vapor Ministries center in Gichagi, Kenya

A pair of patient, squinting eyes watches the events of the morning unfold from the shade of a pavilion on a nearby hillside. Beatrice remembers when the area was nothing more than an uneven, dry surface spanning the gap between the seemingly endless maze of the Gichagi slum and a rough dirt road winding its way to the top of a neighboring mountain. After all, she’s one of the countless laborers who helped lay the foundation for the field and track nearly 14 years ago.

Local women clearing the land to build the Gichagi center in 2009
Local women clearing the land to build the Gichagi center in 2009

She never could have imagined what that densely packed earth would become, or what it would mean to her family and thousands of others. But today, she sees the fruit of that labor and she’s come to share a story of hope.

For as long as she can remember, Beatrice has been seeking out day work in an effort to provide for her family of five. She, her husband, their two children, and one grandchild live in a 10 by 12-foot corrugated metal home in the heart of the Gichagi slum just 200 yards from the Vapor Center.

Gichagi slum as seen from the Vapor Ministries center
Gichagi slum as seen from the Vapor Ministries center

Beatrice usually looks for cleaning and farming opportunities with businesses and in affluent households. But these openings are rare and thousands of others are vying for the same chores. Recently, she’s been fortunate to find work just one day a week. Her husband, however, hasn’t been able to secure employment for nearly a month. So, the burden of provision has been Beatrice’s alone since the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, the stress only begins there.

A typical day’s wages for many in the slum amounts to around 300 Kenyan shillings, or about $2.40. When you realize that the price of one kilogram of corn flour, the food staple in every home, is 105 shillings and will feed three people just a single meal, the harsh reality of daily survival snaps into stark, but pristine focus.

This is the plight of thousands of people in the Gichagi slum. But there is hope. God is moving through YOU to make a lasting difference where it’s needed most.

Beatrice and her family routinely receive critical food supplies from the Vapor center which can provide food for up to four days. This gift then enables the family to use what little money they’ve earned to pay rent and secure other necessities like matches and charcoal for cooking when the finances are available.

Beatrice standing under the pavilion at the Vapor Ministries center
Beatrice standing under the pavilion at the Vapor center

An even bigger blessing began to unfold last year when Beatrice’s grandson, Evans, was accepted into Vapor’s Hasmin’s Friends Child Sponsorship Program. Not only does he now receive an education that would otherwise be impossible, but an additional burden has been lifted from the family.

“Eating is not always possible,” she whispered as she looked out the window toward the school he attends. “Sometimes we miss breakfast and lunch, and maybe also supper. Eating is not a promise for us because we can lack the money to buy the food. When he goes to school, I know he gets to eat.”

Beatrice and her grandson, Evans

Your generosity provides clean water to the thirsty and life-saving food supplies to the hungry. But most importantly, your love, prayers, and financial support are propelling the great commission and forever changing lives of those in need.

If you are not yet a partner and would like to become a difference-maker today, please click here.

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