|A Ministry to Little Ones Impacting Society|
"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
The Africa Gospel Church Baby Center will attempt to place all eligible children up for adoption by the age of 4. “Poverty and disease are epidemic in Kenya and leave in their wake innocent, helpless children who are destitute and bereft of hope for the present and the future.”
On Sunday, January 18, 2005 the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Africa Gospel Church Baby Center. The center, which is located outside Nakuru on three acres of land donated by the local Ngata Africa Gospel Church, will be run by AGC and WGM. AGC will function in an administrative capacity over the center with a Management Board being the final authority on all matters of operation. The Management Board will consist of three AGC representatives; two WGM representatives; and four members of the community, including a doctor, an educator, a lawyer, and a member at large.“
The Africa Gospel Church is seeking to mature and grow in the work of the kingdom as it reaches out to help provide a Kenyan solution to this Kenyan problem,” Terry stated. “The baby center will be the first facility of its kind in Africa for either WGM or AGC, and it will offer a great opportunity for growth and a long-term investment in the future of the church and Kenya as a whole. The presence of the center will increase community and national awareness of the work of the church while serving as a tool to reach the lost.
”Initially, the center will house 40 to 50 orphaned and abandoned children, ranging from newborns to 3 year olds. Children will be brought to the center based on referrals from hospitals, including Tenwek Hospital; families; and police who need to find homes for orphaned or abandoned children. Terry noted that Kenyan society as a whole will benefit from the center since these needy children, who would otherwise end up exploited or on the streets, will be taken to the center instead of current facilities that are inadequate and overpopulated.
Three separate wings for three age groups are currently under sonstruction, and apartment housing will be provided on the second floor for some of the center’s employees. Terry stressed that the center will be structured like a home, avoiding the sense of an institution.
According to Africa Regional Director Terry Duncan, the AIDS epidemic in Kenya has left more than 1 million children orphaned.“A child raised in a loving, secure, Christian environment is far more likely to be educated and to mature into a productive, contributing member of society and to perpetuate that in his or her prodigy, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance,” Terry stated. “In addition to providing a Christian environment and showing love and nurturing, the center staff will attempt to place each eligible child up for adoption by the age of three. The staff will serve as a conduit to families in Kenya and families abroad who seek to adopt.”
The Dearmons noted that those children not placed in adoptive homes by the age of 3 will be referred to other facilities geared toward caring for children in that age group.“These children need help, and they need it now!” the Dearmons exclaimed.“By the standards of men, these little boys and girls are without hope or a future. But, we know from Jeremiah 29:11 that God has a plan to give them hope and a future.
“We carry a burden and a vision for the orphaned and neglected children who roam the streets of Kenya in untold numbers. We believe with all our hearts that God has placed a call on our lives to be a part of that hope and future. However, the most important thing we will offer these needy children is the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
”In addition to orphans and abandoned children, the center will accept babies who are HIV positive. Although the center will not have the medical facilities to house children with full-blown AIDS, children who are HIV positive will be provided treatment and medical care in the attempt to prevent the progression of the disease.
According to Terry, the AIDS epidemic in Kenya has left more than 1 million children orphaned. He added that many Kenyan street kids addicted to sniffing glue will not reach the age of 20.
“If WGM is to continue to have a vital ministry in Kenya, we cannot ignore the desperate plight of orphans throughout the country,” Terry emphasized. “We have answered the cry of these little ones by building this home of love and hope for homeless babies. However, we feel this is a first step, and we are looking to God as He leads and directs us in this specific ministry.
”Although the main focus of the center is to spread the love and hope of Jesus Christ to the precious children of Kenya, the center will also minister to the adult population as it serves as an opportunity for employment. In addition to a full-time Kenyan director, registered nurse, and social worker, the center will employ 10 housemothers/caregivers per 20 children and two playgroup leaders. Initially, the director will fill a dual role of manager and social worker.
Assisting the Kenyan staff will be the Dearmons and fellow missionary Staci Wells. With a background in electrical construction project management, Bill will oversee the construction, maintenance, and expansion of the baby center while Melody, a registered nurse, will hold a supportive role in the healthcare aspect of the center. The Dearmons will live onsite to manage the construction process, but Staci will live offsite, serving as the center’s director in addition to her other ministries on the field.
“I am excited to be joining in this work of sharing the love of Jesus with these needy children,” Staci began. “My prayer is that I can be a part of helping to meet their individual needs under the leadership of the Spirit of God with the ultimate goal of empowering them to become who God has created them to be.
”However, before this life-changing ministry can be completed, additional funding must be secured.
“Not too long ago, the baby center plot was a field of maize, planted by the church for additional income,” Terry explained. “Now that the corn has been harvested, WGM and AGC stand ready to plant a new field for the Lord. Through His call and direction, God is raising a home of love and hope for babies where corn once stood. We will build as the Lord provides.”
Here is how you can pray for the ministry of the Baby Center: