The following is from a letter from Dave Osborne

The Problem


Children are living on the streets in Kisumu, Kenya as with many other cities around the world. For many, one or both of their parents have died from AIDS. Others have been discarded or run off by a step parent. Some have run away because of abuse.

They sleep on sidewalks, in empty lots, and in gutters underneath the sidewalks and streets.

Many , many, are addicted to glue. They inhale it to get high. One boy told me, "I cant sleep without glue". It helps them not feel cold, not feel hungry, not feel lonely, and generally avoid the pain of their existence.

Many people think of them as "street rats". I am trying to discipline myself to refer to them as children who live on the street, rather than "street kids". Thats a pejorative label that is difficult for them to shake.

Some churches will not allow them in their services. One pastor said in referring to the children on the streets, sometimes you see something so long, you no longer see it. They are thought of as a bother. They steal and cause trouble.

Many people dont believe they can change.

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The Call

Growing up in the Central Valley of California, my dad was the director of a Christian home for boys that needed help. I left to attend Biola College and after my first year, they went to Ecuador to serve as missionaries.

After Biola, I worked in a group home for troubled youth in Santa Barbara, as well as where my dad used to be the director. I received a M.Div. form Talbot Seminary, and went on to get an M.S. in psychology at California State University, L.A.

I worked in a Christian counseling center in Orange county as a licensed marriage and family therapist for ten years and also served part time on staff of the Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, and the Anaheim Vineyard. At the Free Church I worked with support groups and with singles. At the Vineyard, I was working in Compassion ministries with the poor.


I left California to work with a Christian ministry in Colorado. I had been asking God for a call for three and a half years.

Some friends of mine that I had worked with back at the boys home my dad had directed had moved to Kenya to work with children living on the streets. I received one of their newsletters that touched my heart and decided to go visit them for a month last year in the middle of May and see if God might stir my heart.

Four days before I was to leave, we had gone out early in the morning to wake up some kids that may be sleeping in a vacant lot and invite them to the outreach. A young man took us through some allies and streets to another part of town.

Entering one alley where they just through out garbage, I saw a boy reaching down into the garbage, eating some food that had been thrown away with his hand.

I came out of that alley and saw a boy across the street, coming up out of a hole in the sidewalk. He looked like he was just waking up so I figured he must have been sleeping in a hole. I walked over to see where he had slept. As I looked down, I saw that it was the gutter that ran underneath the sidewalk. It just broke my heart.

God, Ive got to do something about this! I thought.

Now Ive been to several developing countries on short term ministry trips and seen lots of poverty but for some reason, God has chosen Kenya as the place for me to minister. It was at that hole where I believe God called me to Kenya.

I look at it as my ten second window. Asking for a call for three and a half years and God leads me to this hole in the sidewalk in Kisumu, Kenya.
Ten seconds sooner, and I would have been on my way up the street, and the boy would have come up behind me. Ten seconds later, and he would have already been out before I got there.

As I walked up that street, a boy came alongside me and took my hand. Another boy came up on the other side of me and pulled a waded up new testament without a cover out of his pocket. I
looked amazed, and asked him if he had a favorite verse. He quoted John 3:16 from memory and tears streamed down my eyes as I continued up the street.

I just had to do something to get these kids off the street.

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The Vision

Our Mission is to "help children who live on the streets of Kisumu, Kenya into permanent homes and a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ."

Our vision is to bring the young adult leaders of children living on the streets into a home where their lives will be transformed. These leaders will be trained to help get the younger children off of the street.

We envision a Vineyard church plant being used as an initial shelter for these children so they can have a safe place to sleep. While they sleep at the church, volunteers from many of the local churches will pray over the children.

As God gives each child a desire to leave the streets, we see them moving to a farm outside the city. While living on the farm, change within the children will be facilitated through prayer ministry, counseling, character development, overcoming addictions, work skills training, and developing a good work ethic. After children graduate from the discipleship training at the farm, they will be placed into permanent homes; the first option for placement will be with a relative, however if this is not possible they will be placed with a church family or an orphanage.

The Ministry Phases Are Outlines as Follows:
•Leadership Training Institute
•Church Plant/Shelter
•Farm/Life Skills Center
•Residential Placement

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Updates

Choose a date to read updates on what's happening day to day in the work of Family of Hope in Africa. If you'd like to get these updates by email, send a request to updates@familyofhope.org

Update: May 2, 2007

Update: April 16, 2007

Update: April 9, 2007

Update: March 31, 2007

Update: March 17, 2007

 

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