By: Jen Todd
When I came on my first mission trip to the Pokot a few years ago, my heart broke and God turned my life upside down when I witnessed how the women of Pokot were treated and the impact that had on families, children, and throughout the community. The women of Pokot ministry was born from that heartbreak and the hope of education and empowerment in January 2012. Thanks be to God and partners like Harvesters and Kensington Church, the seeds of change from the Holy Spirit have been growing across the generations of Pokot girls, teens and women and is spreading like wildfire in hearts everywhere. Here is a glimpse of what God has been doing…
Bright Futures for Girls
Every time I visit the Kodich Children’s Home and see the smile of my little love bug, four year old Ronda, I am reminded of God’s love for children and His bigger plan. Through the NoChild sponsorship program (nochild.org), girls like Ronda get so much more than just basic shelter, food and water for survival. They get the precious gift of knowing God, being loved, and getting an education that will dramatically change the course of their future. I instantly tear up imagining Ronda’s bright future as a godly woman with the skills, income and self-worth to take care of her family, live her purpose and bring the light of Jesus to the community.
New Possibilities for Teens
Young teen girls in the Pokot, 9-15 years old, are encouraged and often forced to participate in early marriages and a cultural rite of passage to adulthood called female genital mutilation (FGM). This practive causes serious physical, emotional and spiritual damage. In partnership with Pokot Outreach Ministries and talented local Kenyan trainers, we have brought critical education to 1,900 women, men and teens in an effort to eventually put an end to these detrimental practices. The girls were OVERJOYED to get reproductive health training and 6,400 sanitary napkins given their lack of resources that results in the inability to function and weeks of missed school each year.
Spiritual and Business Growth for Women
The women’s empowerment program that started a year and a half ago has now expanded to three women’s group at Kodich, Kauriong and Chemolingot, totaling over 250 women! Sewing and beading skills training has supported their business growth and they are selling more goods and jewelry than ever before. We have been pouring into the women spiritually on our mission trips bringing the love of God to reinforce their value in Him and build self-esteem. But what has been most impactful is what God is doing through the relationships across the miles through our Prayer Partner Program. U.S. and Pokot women are being impacted in incredible ways by praying for each other and sharing their lives, love and encouragement through pictures and letters.
I recently received a letter from my dear prayer partner, Mary Twala, the first women I met at the Pokot who inspired me to start the ministry. She said “The Bible verse you gave me that says everything is possible with God, has been a strong tower of my faith and today I have peace of mind and hope that the future is bright. Remember this work you are doing is not only to empower the Pokot women, but you have made tremendous changes in my worldview and how I handle my daily struggles.”
Mary is right, this ministry is about so much more than empowering Pokot women. The role of the woman is so critical to the well-being, development and future families that this is about paving the way for generations of Pokot to come. It’s about lifting up the entire community and supporting them to live out God’s purpose and plan for their lives. And in turn, we too get to live out God’s purpose for ourselves – loving the least of these, being used for the Kingdom, and joining hands across the globe as sisters and brothers in Christ.