Our Partnership in Kenya
Missionaries: Christopher and Florence Sure
Location: Kodera Karabach, Kenya
Christopher Sure was a Kenyan high school teacher and local lay pastor when many recognized that he could be more effective with a Bible School education. In 1999, the opportunity arose to come to Issaquah, Washington to the Lutheran Bible Institute (now known as Trinity Lutheran College). Even though he was the father of 3 young children, he and his wife determined that since they had prayed for 5 years for this, he must go.
God brought Christopher into contact with Pine Lake Covenant Church and we took him on as our missionary, as well as finding funds to provide for his full college schooling. We made it possible for him to fly home each summer and Christmas in order to maintain the ministries he had begun before leaving.
Around Christmas of 1999, we sent a team to investigate the potential of initiating a mission partnership, and they returned with excitement, convinced that God had placed this community in our path for a good purpose! We undertook initiatives such as:
- Taught health and hygiene principles
- Funded the building of latrines at local elementary school
- Developed a Certified Seed and Fertilizer Bank
- Provided medical services through medical teams
- Funded the construction of a 3 room clinic – St. John’s Clinic, Karabach – manned by Kenyan nurses
- Funded the Pine Lake Academy – a private Christian elementary school – through Child Sponsorship
- Purchased a 50’X 30’ tent for the purpose of being a Community center as well as house the Church congregation of 200 Koderans
- Taught how to dream dreams and build goals for community development
While Christopher is not an elected leader in his community, he is looked at by almost everyone there as ‘their’ community leader. Up until now, he has been responsible for all the development of this community. Now, since the 2008 Conference in Nairobi with the leaders of the community, he has a group of 27 leaders on ‘the same page’ committed to helping him dream dreams for the community and help make needed changes.
Christopher and Florence have been married 20+ years and have 3 children: Vickie, Isaiah, and Angela, who is physically challenged.
Pine Lake Academy
The largest component of our partnership with Christopher is the Pine Lake Academy. PLA is a Preschool through 8th grade school located in Kodera and funded through sponsorship of students, coordinated by Pine Lake Covenant Church.Learn about Pine Lake Academy
Who to Contact
If you are interested in further stories about what has taken place in this community, please contact Priscilla Larsen:
History of our partnership
Christopher and his Health Committee, which includes 12 community leaders, would present to PLCC their projects and we responded to these initiatives. We helped them build latrines for the elementary school, helped them clean up their water supply with Spring Boxes over their artesian wells, began a Certified Seed and Fertilizer Bank, organized trips with medical personnel to put on free medical clinics, taught health and hygiene and helped in any and every way possible to encourage community development.
In 2002 we prayed over a piece of property that the community had donated for the building of a clinic, thinking it would not be possible for the next 5 – 10 years. The clinic was dedicated in August 2004 and begin this ministry which has transformed the community tremendously. Before medical help became available to them, 50% of either mothers or babies died in childbirth. Since the clinic began, no baby or mother has died! They soon were saying the following, “perhaps God did not intend us to die young,” and “we were once in darkness now we are in the light.”
In 2002 before the clinic was built, our team put on the first Free Clinic and our medical team saw 1000 people in 6 days. In 2004 in the new clinic our medical team saw 1000 patients in 5 days. Over the next 1 ½ years of health care by our caring and knowledgeable Kenyan nursing personnel, the team that went in January 2006 saw only 250 patients – testament to the adequacy of care now being received by the community. They named the clinic St. Johns Clinic, Karabach and along with James the Evangelist, they also use the clinic as a means of evangelism.
PLCC helped transform the large government elementary school called Mittiti Elementary School by raising funds through our children’s ministry program. We helped rebuild all of the classrooms and teacher/offices, built a large play structure in their school yard and provided many teacher supplies and equipment. There are 560 children in this school and only 9 teachers – so the need for both more rooms, as well as more teachers is very evident. These children simply do not have the opportunity to get enough education in this situation to be able to pass the all important 8th grade national exam to be eligible for High School.
As a result, the community leaders knew they needed to establish a Christian school, run by the community (not government) and with ability to hire Christian teachers with a passion for these children. They determined that with or without help they would begin this school, and PLCC chose to become involved in the endeavor through the means of Child Sponsorships.
Pine Lake Academy opened in May 2006 with 47 preschoolers, and within a month grew to 84. By the end of the first year they had 105 children in three levels of pre-school. The following year they added grades 1 – 3, and in 2008 added 4th grade. They now are finishing this year with 220 students, and teachers for each grade level with an average classroom size of 30 children – as opposed to the 60 to 90 children per classroom in the government schools.
These children receive breakfast and lunch, have loving teachers, adequate school supplies, and are exceeding all expectations and learning very quickly. They love coming to school, and some of the children even walk/run 6 km each way for the privilege of attending this school. They also greatly appreciate the large play structure that PLCC helped the dads of the school kids build during the summer of 2007.
The congregation from a community church that had been closed down in 2004 approached Christopher to become their pastor. They had no building to worship in so PLCC purchased and shipped a 50’ X 30’ tent for them to meet in as a congregation. This was put up on the Clinic property and serves multiple purposes for the community, including serving the needy.
They recently bought a motor cycle for the nursing personnel to use to get out to the homes of those who are too ill to make the journey by foot to the clinic. They do not discriminate on who gets care, and are willing to share all they have available to not just their congregation, but to all the community and the neighboring Kisii people as well.
In 2008 PLCC brought 27 of the community leaders, teachers, farmers and church leaders out to a guest house in Nairobi for a conference. We used Lou Tice’s “21 Keys to High Performance Living and Learning” materials to teach this group how to dream dreams for the community, make goals and see how to help Christopher Sure with community development. This group left the conference with such a high level of determination to make what changes THEY could in their sphere of influence. We anticipate many changes by the time we return next year.