Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Irene's Hope for a Future (The James 1:27 Project)

We first came to know about Irene in 2013. We had partnered with The James 1:27 Project in Kenya, Africa, to support a woman named Francisca who desperately needed a new home. Through the grace of God and the generosity of our customers, we were able to donate the funds to purchase the supplies for that structure! As we worked with the Project, we saw a video about the work that they were doing there and part of the video was a clip of Irene.

She (pictured in the pink shirt with her sisters) and her sisters had lost their father in 2008 and then their mother to complications from diabetes in 2012.  Since her mother's passing, Irene had been taking care of the household and her sisters. She was only 17. Our hearts broke for her. The family was receiving some assistance for her younger sisters from The James 1:27 Project, but the look in her eyes told the story of a young woman who was lost. She had dreams but no solid way to pursue them. We recognized that, as a single young woman, she was at a far greater risk for poverty, health problems and violence than if her parents were still alive to care for and guide her. We knew that God had our next mission for us. 

We have a heart for supporting people or projects that will have a ripple effect for good in their community. Irene certainly met that criteria. She had deep ties to the community with her younger sisters there and she had a goal of becoming a teacher so that she could return and bring the blessing of education to the children in her area. 

Through profits from The Orange Bird Shop, we were able to help get her in college and on her way to a four year education degree!! We cannot wait to see what God does through her heart to come back and improve the lives of children and families in her community! What a blessing to be able to be a part of God's work in Irene's life and the future students in her classroom!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

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