Posted on May 5, 2015 · Posted in News
Pre-school students living at the Kenduiwo Orphanage. U.S. churches have found many creative ways to support Tenwek Hospital, as well as needs in the wider community.

Since its founding in 2009, Friends of Tenwek (FOT) has raised funds to directly support numerous projects and initiatives that have strengthened Tenwek’s medical and outreach services. (See page 2 for an anniversary report.)

Now, FOT is expanding its role to become a facilitator – encouraging its community of U.S. doctors and friends to consider how their churches might support Tenwek in ways that are as creative, diverse, and distinctive as the churches themselves.

The FOT Board of Directors is encouraged and inspired by the many ways they have seen U.S. churches impact Tenwek – both at the hospital and in the surrounding region.

Carmel Baptist Church in Matthews, NC, has been involved with Tenwek Hospital and its community for the last five years. Guided by the aid model described in When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself (Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert), the church has:
• Partnered with Tenwek Community Health and Development (TCHD) to train over 420 Kenyan leaders from 300 local churches in children’s ministry and conduct five children’s rallies attended by over 16,000 children.
• Partnered with TCHD to train over 80 pastors in Holistic ministry through the 13-week course, “Multiplying the Harvest.”
• Purchased and installed two water tanks at a remote medical dispensary – providing pure water for over 2,400 Kenyan families.
• Built a new kitchen and dining hall for a local orphanage serving children who lost parents to HIV/AIDS.
• Provided seed money to a local church to establish a fund to meet various children’s needs – with the fund tripling in size through contributions from Kenyan church members.

Carmel Baptist Church’s ministry teams have included medical professionals, families with children, students, and pastors. They work closely with local pastors around Tenwek to identify the needs and ensure sustainable results. The U.S. church invests funds into the projects, while supplies and labor are sourced locally in Kenya whenever possible. This approach gives the community a stake in the project’s success and supports the local economy.

Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh, PA, has developed a five-year strategic plan to support the Orphans Fund that serves a network of five orphanages around Tenwek. They provide school fees in support of numerous children and have assisted with the construction of several buildings. Leaders there are willing to share their plan and ideas with other churches seeking to make an impact at Tenwek.

Members of Canvas Church in Kalispel, MT, have raised funds to buy cows and build a home for women served by the Tabitha ministry. They have also donated funds to purchase tea fields that provide a source of income for the orphanages.

Hill Country Evangelical Free Church in Fredericksburg, TX, sent seed money to Tenwek to prepare for a possible Ebola emergency; while Barrington Baptist Church in Barrington, RI, directed their Thanksgiving offering to FOT for the Tenwek Nursing School Dining Hall project in honor of Dr. Russ White, a missionary surgeon at Tenwek.

These are just a few examples of the many ways that U.S. churches have helped Tenwek fulfill its mission and work. Sometimes a church becomes involved because it is the home church of a medical missionary serving at Tenwek. Other times, a church member learns of a need and brings it before the church’s missions board or the congregation. Sometimes a Sunday school teacher or youth leader inspires students to get involved in meeting a need.

In its emerging role as a facilitator, FOT wants to help U.S. churches maximize the impact of their interest and support. Don Hoover, FOT’s secretary/treasurer, has made numerous trips to Tenwek with ministry teams from Carmel Baptist Church. He is willing to provide information, counsel, and contacts to FOT supporters who want to explore how their churches might support Tenwek. For more information about how FOT can help your church become involved, please contact Don at (704) 491-4297 or donaldg.hoover@gmail.com.

In the photo above: Pre-school students living at the Kenduiwo Orphanage. U.S. churches have found many creative ways to support Tenwek Hospital, as well as needs in the wider community.

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