From the Field – May 2015
by Jacci Roberts
He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”) Mark 5:41 NIV
“Little Girl, I say to you, get up!” This verse is boldly portrayed in big letters and fresh paint on the side of the dormitory, Talitha Koum, at Spring Valley Academy (SVA). It stands tall above the small, one-room houses made of brick, mud, and sheet metal that line the streets of this slum outside of Nairobi. In the Bible story, Jesus brings a little girl back to life. In Spring Valley, Talitha Koum is a towering symbol of safety, education, and empowerment for girls that need a safe haven from the dangers of child labor, child prostitution, and everyday slum violence.
As the finishing touches are put on the Talitha Koum building (including a fire escape!), SVA broke ground on a twin tower, the “Joshua Project”, which will serve as a dormitory for boys—not a moment too soon as the Al Shabaab terrorist group infiltrates the slums of Nairobi in search of young boys desperate for a place to fit in. The dormitories house about 50 children each.
If there was space on the small walls of the humble mud-and-brick classrooms of SVA, an appropriate verse would be “Let the little children come unto me,” as over 350 children find safety, food, and education every day in one of the pre-school through 8th grade classes.
Children are educated not only to pass the 8th grade exams that allow them to attend high school, but they are also taught the Word of God and spiritual disciplines that help them overcome the challenges of living in one of the world’s poorest communities.
You and I, and Global Hope, are a vital part of this ministry. Together we sponsor 45 students at SVA, which helps cover the cost of the food, school supplies, teachers’ salaries and more. But there are another 300 students in pre-school through 8th grade who need our help to support their school! Would you like to learn more about sponsorship? If so, click here!
After 8th grade, SVA raises tuition fees for their graduates to attend high school at one of the many state boarding schools, and oversees their education at those schools. But God has placed a vision in the hearts of Pastor Stanley and his wife, Teacher Alice, to begin their own high school and vocational school. This year, a plot of land was purchased 160km away in the village of Kiboko. Thirty acres in size, the plot is large enough to house both the schools as well as a farm. The soil is good for growing fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, onions, lentils and many other vegetables to help sustain the ministry.
The land holds another fascinating story: in the 1960s this plot was bought by another Baptist pastor and his wife who had a vision to plant a church, begin a school, and minister to the families of Kiboko. But due to the unexpected death of his brother, the pastor was forced to sell the majority of the land in order to raise and educate his orphan nephews. He and his wife planted a small church and built a small home, but their dreams for a school also died amidst the tragedy of his brother’s death. Now, nearly 50 years later, God resurrected their dream –just like the little girl in Mark 5:41—by placing that same dream in the hearts of Pastor Stanley and Alice. The pastor and his wife were able to join Pastor Stanley and Alice, along with the other SVA board members, at the land’s dedication ceremony.
God is doing amazing things through Global Hope and Spring Valley Academy, and he is using you and me and countless others to accomplish His work. Many of us are giving our time, talent, and treasures to be a voice for these vulnerable children. To learn more about SVA, or become a Global Hope Godparent to one of their students, just click here.
Together we CAN make a difference in the life of a child!
Read more in the May 2015 Newsletter: