Hope for the Hopeless

Old pieces of PVC pipe serve as her unstable cane. The uneven dirt path that leads to their tin shanty has become impossible for her aching body to travel. Mr. and Mrs. Maina* are an elderly couple who live in the Gichagi slum in Kenya. Mrs. Maina used to sell groceries in the slum before her age and frailty made her unable to work any longer. Her husband worked long hard days for many years doing physical labor, but as he aged and his body began to deteriorate, he was hired less and less, ultimately unable to work at all.

Many of us living in the United States may view retirement as a time of rest, enjoying a 401k, downsizing, or moving into assisted living. Retirement in the slums, however, means something entirely different. For many of the elderly, retirement means they are physically unable to work, and the struggle for day-to-day survival just got worse. Though the Mainas worked hard for many years, their wages were barely enough to pay rent and put food on their table. Saving up for retirement was never an option for them, and government assistance is nonexistent.

The Mainas became dependent on going to the streets, hoping the collective generosity of fellow slum dwellers who passed them by would be enough for at least one meal a day. Then COVID-19 hit, and with it the travel restrictions. Going to the streets was no longer an option. Staying home, however, could mean starvation. Neighbors who were also struggling to meet their own needs were unable to assist the Mainas. With no visitors and no access to help, Mr. and Mrs. Maina had to sleep on empty stomachs.

But God hears the cries of the destitute and he does not despise their plea - Psalm 102:17. He equips and calls people to bring relief to those cries for help. Because of our donors, our Vapor Ministries center staff has been able to visit those in dire need, seeking out the families, the children, the elderly, and the sick who would otherwise go unseen. Since the beginning of the pandemic our teams, equipped through your generosity, have been taking clean water, food supplies, soap, masks, COVID-19 prevention training & the hope of Christ door to door in the slums.

When our team in Gichagi learned of the Mania’s needs, they immediately went to their home and brought weeks' worth of food baskets. You can imagine the Mainas excitement. As they all sat in their little tin shanty, Mr. & Mrs. Malina bowed their heads and offered praise to God and saying, “God, please fill the cups of all the donors through whose giving such acts of kindness are possible."

Mr. and Mrs. Mania are no longer left alone, unable to fend for themselves. Because of your faithful generosity and prayers, they can rest in the fact that they will not go to bed with empty stomachs, and that they are cared for and loved by a God who sees and hears the cries of the destitute. And in return may your cup be full as you are encouraged in knowing your contributions are truly making an impact for the glory of Christ.