Her eyes are gentle, yet hold a depth that seems as deep as the ocean floor. Karis*, only 19 years old, has a childlike face and yet a story that has lived a lifetime.
At the tender age of five, Karis’ mother died, leaving her and her siblings alone. The one who held her, sang to her, fed her, clothed her, bathed her, loved her..... gone. In an instant, 5-year-old Karis was labeled under the worldly category as “orphan”. Living in the slums of Kenya, this label puts a child her age at the bottom of the food chain. No advocate, shelter, or protection.
Providentially, Karis had an aunt who was willing to take her and her siblings into her home. Life was hard. Karis’ aunt now took on the burden of sustaining Karis and her siblings on top of her own children. The mere necessities of trying to pay rent for their over-occupied shanty and providing basic food were extremely difficult. On top of all these pressures, Karis’ uncle was a severe alcoholic. Not only was he a drain on their lack of finances, but he openly did not care for his family (or Karis for that matter). As Karis became acquainted with her new surroundings in the slum, she was introduced to the Vapor Ministries Center. There, she became noticed and was enrolled in the life-on-life disciple-making leagues. Karis came daily and had a coach, a person who cared for her physically and spiritually. Karis had hungered for the nurturing she now received, and she thrived under the discipleship lessons. She loved the lessons so much that she would go home and share, word for word, all that she had learned with her family.
Karis was deeply moved by what she learned about the love of Jesus - how He loved each and every person. He knew her name, her orphan label, and He loved her relentlessly. She soon placed her faith and trust in Christ. She may have entered in as an orphan but now claims redeemed, chosen, adopted.
As Karis spent time at the center, our staff soon identified her tough situation. They wrapped their arms around Karis, loving and caring for her. She was enrolled in our child education program and given the opportunity to receive a quality education. Karis has grown tremendously in her faith and confidence. She humbly yet confidently leads her own team now. She disciples her U8 team, sharing and showing the love of Christ weekly. She speaks with assurance of what her Savior has done and can do. She has a testimony that overcomes and in turn spreads her faith courageously to others that they too may gain their freedom.