Joyce Strong Ministries

The Partnership Grows


In 2009, Ellen Cathers, an Ohio friend and founder of Rise Up Now, recommended me to a pastor in Kenya who was looking for a guest speaker for his leadership conference.  After the conference, I met African Inland Church pastor Isaac Gikonyo, and we immediately became friends.  The next year, 2010, Pastor Isaac urged the women leaders of his church conference to invite me to be their Regional Conference speaker.  At that conference, another friendship began--with Beth, my interpreter.  She and her husband are both pastors in the Kitale Region. 

Meanwhile, I met Irene Kasirivu, a pastor's wife from Kampala, Uganda, who was speaking at a women's event at my own church in Ohio.  We connected immediately, and she invited me to Uganda to speak at the annual Gaba Church Women's Conference in 2011.  Beth traveled from Kenya to again be my interpreter, and Pastor Samuel Wafula and Pastor Timothy Nyongesa, also from Kenya, sat in on sessions during the Leadership Seminar that preceded the conference.  The circle of friendships was expanding as we all got to know each other.

In 2012, Bishop Wafula and Pastor Samuel invited me to speak at their Leadership Conference back in Kenya.  It was on that trip that God introduced me to Samuel's vision for a school and home for children orphaned by tribal violence or poverty and began speaking to me about how Joyce Strong Ministries could help.

Just one year later, the school was launched.  What a miracle!  Carol Middendorf, Fay Martin and I traveled over to attend the Dedication of Blessings Hope Educational Centre and its first Commencement and help officially open the new classrooms and orphans' house.  By then, thanks to the generosity of U.S. and Russian friends and the hard work of the Blessings Hope family, the classrooms and orphans' house were furnished, crops were being harvested, cows and goats were grazing in the pasture, chickens clucked about and a van had been brought into service.  The school was fully certified, as were the five new teachers.

While we were there, God spoke to my ministry teammate Carol about the need for a widows' house on the grounds as well.  Today there are two widows' homes, two classroom complexes and two orphans' houses.  That's amazing!  Carol and her husband Don are also assisting, as God leads, in the creation of on-site businesses tht will produce not only income for Blessings Hope, but  jobs and training for members of the surrounding community.

Our partnership with Pastor Samuel and Blessings Hope has hinged not only upon God's word to us, but the integrity of this leader.  He is a humble man of excellent character, great faith, prayer, self-sacrifice and constant joy.  We have been able to trust him with ease, and I personally have learned a great deal from him about trusting God!  This Kenyan ministry partnership is very precious and continues to bless us and the Body of Christ there.