Below is the story about the birth of Mama Hellen’s Rehabilitation Center, as it was told to one of the January 2006 Kenya mission team members by Pastor Jackson. To hear more about this story, listen to the Reach Farther message series delivered on 10/22/06 and 10/29/06. These messages are available for purchase in our bookstore, but they are not currently available online.
as recounted by Pastor Jackson Mwangi
“As a man, a husband, I am feeling responsible. Here I am leaving her with no shillings and no car and yet she has the children and the house to take care of and
it is she who is telling me, “Go, obey God.” That is why I am naming the center, Mama Hellen’s Rehabilitation Center for Street Children because she has suffered the birth pangs.
I was feeling it here, in my heart to sell our car and travel to USA to find someone who would help me to reach out to the street orphans and help them walk with God, so they can know they are a person and that He loves them.
I was originally thinking I would be traveling with my wife so I am busy with her passport which is ok, but the cost of the ticket is so much we can only buy one. Now here I am in line at the Nairobi Airport and I am told I cannot go as my passport has expired.
I had missed this detail by focusing on my Visa, and now it is very late in Nairobi and I have hired a taxi to get to the bus station to return defeated to Nakuru. Even the taxi driver is afraid to wait for me and now it is too late for a bus. I have called Mama Hellen and she has immediately dropped to her knees and prayed “God don’t let him come back here.”
Mama Hellen explains, “He shouldn’t come back here as it would cause people to doubt God.”
“The taxi takes me to a hotel that is not expensive and I collapse on the bed in a kind of trance, I can’t even pray because my human brain is so tired. Some hours have passed and I wake up in peace and God gives me the idea to try again at the passport validator. They open at 8:30 and I am the first one in line.
I am told I still have some hours left to extend my passport and I will be ok to be flying to USA. I arrive in Baltimore by way of London to meet a lady missionary who had visited Kenya in 2001. They received me on a Friday and on Saturday I am surprised to be preaching to a congregation of 40 people. An elder of this church, Apostolic Church of God, gave me an envelope with money enough to buy a bus ticket to Wilmington. I had not revealed my finances to anybody but God, and so this was His Hand as I was without shillings for this purchase.
If Pastor Mike (Mike Ashcraft of PC3 in Wilmington) had not been sensitive to God and said, “No, do not come.” this project would’ve stopped, but he has listened to God and asked me how long I am to stay at his house. I tell him “One month” and there is a pause on the telephone.
“Then I am feeling guilty about it. These people do not know me; it is too long to stay. I call him back and say, “One week” and there is another pause and then, “O.K.”
The Port City Church of about 200 people is meeting for mid-week service and Pastor Mike is moving his papers around to get ready to speak. He has not thought about what to do about me; even though for two years we have been corresponding, he has shared it with no one.
As he is making himself ready people approach him and say he should let this Pastor Jackson speak. I can see him looking at me but I will not push myself forward to speak unless I am invited and so when he introduces me I know he is obeying God. I can only tell them who I am and why I have come and invite them to come to Africa and see God’s plan for themselves.”
Pastor Jackson Mwangi continues… “After returning from America I am now believing God for some land, so I am asking an agent in town to help me have a look. An African is willing to sell 13 acres just outside of town at the edge of the Rift Valley. The price of the land is also agreeable as the owner has reduced it for our purposes. The property must be surveyed and change of purpose permits must also be properly filed.
At three in the morning the day before the permit meeting, Mama Hellen and I pray God’s Hand will be in it and He will send His angels ahead of us. After breakfast the private engineers try to soften the blow by telling us such and such bureaucrats will be expecting bribes to move things forward, many officers have projects waiting on their desks for as long as five years !
I tell them, “No, don’t do anything like that, only let me come with you.” When we at last arrive at the permit building a new supervisor is there and as he meets with us he calls for all his officers to come to his office and give the stamp for approval in just one hour !
Our engineers have never seen such a thing and tell us there must have been angels in this room to do this thing.
So you see I can never doubt about God being in this project because I have seen it !
“We would begin our recruiting efforts very early on Saturday mornings coming up to the boys as they picked through the trash heaps for something to sell or eat. At first they were very afraid because we might be from the government to take them away from the street. But we would say, “No, we are from Victorious Gospel Church, may we bring you a cup of tea and some bread?”
When they would say yes we would share with all the boys at that station and learn of their situation. If you just approach a group of boys hurriedly on your own you will not be accepted; but if a boy from one area brings you to another, you will be believed.
After some months of this we asked them if we could save the cost of the rented taxi bus (matatu) and spend the money on clothing and soap for them if they would only visit us at the church yard. And they began to come to receive a cup of chai, some clothes, and a chance to wash themselves. Even then, we began hearing from some people “Why are you doing this thing ? You are feeding these boys so that they will get strong and continue making trouble.” But we say “No there is a real person inside.”
We continued this program for some years on Saturdays mornings, serving them chai and bread, and allowing them to wash themselves and their clothes. Many were faithful to come, forty to eighty children of the street and rubbish pile. It maybe that some people would say “God bless you” to these boys but would be afraid to reach out and touch them and help them walk with God.
When the police would pick them up in a sweep they would tell the magistrate, “We belong to the Victorious Gospel Church.” In fact, some of them we had not met lied and said they belonged to us because our reputation as a Christian Organization is good. The police would call us to come get our boys and we would arrive to determine the genuine street children. That is how the first twenty four street children came to be at Mama Hellen’s Rehabilitation Center.”
“When I met with the board of PC3 in America I told them water is necessary to be dug for self sufficiency.” As soon as the land was agreed upon I went to the Department of Natural Resource to obtain a water search permit. In just one month it was granted which is miraculous as this process can certainly go up to a year to finish.
The contractors who drill the boreholes (wells) were on another job which had failed to obtain water, even at 240 meters so they were anxious and available for our project. We were approved to drill up to 180 meters but obtained water at just 130 meters even just minutes after a team of visitors from PC3 had arrived.” (January 2006)
Counting the Christmas and New Year Holidays the borehole was complete in just six weeks so again I can see God’s Hand is in it, as these jobs can often take 6-8 months even up to two years with many failed attempts.
The drilling team has primed the site and capped the borehole and we are now only awaiting a pump and a generator to begin irrigation. So we are happy.”