Imagine the world through sunken eyes. Hostile. Unpredictable. Hopeless.
This was reality for Maria and her family. Survival was a daily in the Kawangware slum, and life left little hope for prosperity. Food, clothing, and money were all scarce, and significant sickness plagued the family. Maria’s needs were great, seemingly insurmountable, until a sliver of hope presented itself.
Maria’s father had passed away when she was young and her mother was deathly ill. In an effort to feed her children, however, Maria’s mother tried to muster up enough strength to mop floors or wash people’s clothes. The rent for their small, tin shack often outstripped what they could afford. As a result, Maria and her family regularly found themselves searching for food in the dump and sleeping on the sewage-engulfed streets of the slum. Making it through the day took all the strength Maria and her family had.
In this environment, there is no hope.
All seemed lost, until one day in 2005, when Maria’s brother, Hasmin, began receiving care at the newly-built Vapor Ministries center in Kawangware. Hasmin brought Maria to the center, and center staff quickly realized that Maria and her family needed immediate help. As they began to assess Maria’s needs, they found her mother, who at the time was truly on her death bed. She was losing the battle against her illness and could not afford the medical treatments she needed. Immediately, Vapor Ministries stepped in with a Critical Care Grant, and provided Maria’s mother with the lifesaving medical care she needed. They also made sure that Maria’s health needs were attended to as well.
Maria and her family were so touched by the unmerited love and care of the staff at the center that they placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The hope of Christ quickly flooded their hearts. Maria, her two siblings, and her mother joined the weekly disciple-making leagues at the center. As her health improved, Maria’s mother earned a job at the center. This allowed her to provide for her family with dignity and honor.
Going to school had always seemed like an impossibility for Maria. However, Vapor Ministries was able to enroll her and her siblings in primary school. Over the years, Maria worked hard and when she graduated from secondary school, Vapor Ministries facilitated the opportunity for Maria to apply for and receive a college scholarship.
Throughout college, Maria still faithfully came to the center. However, instead of coming to be ministered to, she was coming to minister to others. Maria became a volunteer coach, and to this day she has a team of young boys and girls that she disciples.
The first in her family to ever receive a formal education, Maria studied to become a teacher. She recently earned a teaching job at the same primary school she attended as a child. Maria is no longer waking up each morning without hope. She is waking up eagerly thinking about how many lives her one life can impact.
She now surveys her classroom filled with impressionable children and stands as an example for them to dream big. On the soccer pitch, she looks into the eyes of her young team members, some sunken as hers were, and shares the love of the Father with them. She views the landscape of the slum like a large body of water, choosing each day to jump in and make ripples in her community, in her country, and in the world.
“I now have a college degree and I am a teacher at the same school where I went to primary school. I am also a coach at the Vapor Ministries center. I am a successful person all thanks to the Almighty God through Vapor Ministries. Vapor Ministries has done so much for our family that it’s hard to even explain. Vapor Ministries has shown me much love and given me the chance to know God and share God's word to all people. Being part of the Vapor Ministries family is a blessing to me and has taught me how to serve people, spread the gospel and multiply disciples. Vapor Ministries supports people and their entire community in so many ways. Vapor is doing so many big things to glorify the Lord and serve the poor.” –Maria