2018 Mid-year Update | Hungry For Life
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2018 Mid-year Update

Thoughts by Charlene Stinson on September 14th, 2018 – 6 minute read

Hungry For Life is passionate about facilitating changed lives. We want to see the world transformed. And, to see that happen, it will mean lives changed both spiritually and physically all around the globe. We believe these two are connected.

Foundational to our work is Isaiah 58:10 (NLT):

If we want to see the world transformed, it starts with us. It starts with making God’s priorities ours. And, it is in that obedience that we experience the abundant life Jesus talks about in John 10:10 (NLT):

When our own story includes life change, it becomes a catalyst for more changed lives. It’s about individuals, one at a time, experiencing change. Every single individual whose life is changed, either physically or spiritually or both, matters. Every story matters. They inspire, they encourage, they multiply, and they remind us that our God is active and alive. And, they put faces to statistics and introduce us to real people experiencing real miraculous change.

So, sharing stories is powerful. And, as much as it is important to collect stats in our work, primarily to help us monitor and achieve goals, it is even more important to chronicle the stories of God “showing up” in individual lives. We are committed at HFL to continue to share the powerful stories of life change we encounter with all of our ministry partners. Below, I share just one of a bank of incredible stories from my recent trip to Kenya.

 

Charlene Stinson

Creative Director


 

Rural Kenya. Narrow, dusty paths carved through the foliage that seem to lead nowhere — until that moment when you turn a corner, and there in front of you is a home.

 

 

Not the kind of home that most North Americans would imagine. Walls of mud or cow dung…maybe plaster if you’re fortunate. One room — maybe two (if you’re fortunate). No electricity. No water in sight. It is this kind of home that came into view as I rounded that bend. At first, I could see no one. Then, a friendly call of greeting from the side of the house and, unprepared for what I would see, I was shocked by the sight of a woman coming my way.

 

 

Somewhere around forty years old, she was dragging herself along the dirt path to greet us. I could immediately see that she was missing one of her legs from the knee down. Her smile was contagious as she made her way into her house and pulled herself up on to the chair. Still somewhat self-conscious about her missing leg, she tried to cover up the recently healed wound with her tattered dress. A victim of diabetes, her amputation was only a couple of months behind her.

Brenda was excited to see me. She had been told that I was here to listen to her story and photograph her. And, she had a story to tell. Brenda was born into poverty. Her father died when she was in grade 5 and she was immediately pulled from school because of lack of funds. She began to pick up work as house help, which simply means back-breaking servanthood to anyone who could afford to pay. Eventually she married. Now, at 40, she had been deserted by her first husband, married another, and had given birth to twelve children. Three had died, and seven remained in her care, ages seven to fourteen. Her new husband had work in the city of Nairobi, about an eight-hour drive from their home. For a time, he was able to provide enough food for their basic needs. Although desperately poor, staying alive was possible. But soon that would change.

In 2014, Brenda was diagnosed with diabetes. She suffered with the disease for several years, unable to receive the necessary treatment and struggling to take care of her home and children. Then, in March of 2018, she received word that her husband had died, leaving her with no support — no means to feed her family. Two months later, in May of 2018, she was told that her leg would have to be amputated because of the effects of her disease. Still reeling from her husband’s death, and now facing her own handicap and illness, Brenda was at first crushed in spirit. She could not see a way forward and was convinced that she too would die. She agonized over what would happen to her children. Fighting her feelings of despair, she determined that she must try to go on. She chose to exercise her faith in God and go home. She believed that God would make a way. God was faithful. At just the appointed time, Brenda encountered the Voice of Hope team, a group of energetic women whose projects in Kenya are facilitated by HFL. She became part of a widow’s assistance program, and regular food supplies were now provided for her family on a monthly basis. Adding to her joy in God’s provision, she was ecstatic to hear that the prosthetic leg she had been fitted for was arriving the very week I was visiting.

I wondered how she could maintain such a countenance. Such faith in such dire circumstances. When I asked her…in her words:

My faith? Challenged. Strengthened. In the middle of what, to me, seemed an impossible life, I found the living God, present and tangibly declaring His love to His cherished daughter. He knew Brenda by name. And she knew Him. 


 

A year ago, I had the privilege of traveling to Kenya with a videographer. One of our goals was to capture on film more stories of miraculous change. Today we share for the first time the story of Maggie. 

 


 

 

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About Charlene Stinson

Charlene is a gifted musician and worship leader who has led the Shekinah Band for more than a decade. She is also an effective retreat and conference speaker. Charlene gives leadership to a gifted communications team that is responsible for all strategies surrounding communicating the vision of HFL to the public, using the graphic arts, public events, website, media, and books.

Learn more about Charlene or read more of Charlene’s blog posts.