Kenyan Elizabeth Wangui knows what it was like to work, and work hard. But work alone wasn’t enough. Not until her work ethic was finally coupled with opportunity, did she experience success.
Although she was raised in a good home, Elizabeth married very young. Both she and her husband were quite naive to the challenges of marriage and raising children. After 10 years of struggles, Elizabeth’s husband called it quits, leaving her and their two daughters, Ann and Stella, to fend for themselves.
Elizabeth desperately tried to provide for herself and her girls by working a string of jobs. She spent time as a secretary, a clothes washer, and a vendor of socks and baby clothes.
Many of Elizabeth’s jobs took her away for weeks at a time from her home in Nukuru, forcing her to leave her daughters in the care of their grandmother. None of her jobs, however, were able to meet the needs of her small budget, nor the needs of her soul—she longed to be with her daughters.
As the years passed, Elizabeth felt increasingly burdened from carrying her family’s responsibilities alone. Her life began to unravel as a single mother. She knew that she needed help but didn’t know where to turn. One morning, however, she woke feeling a strong urge to attend a church—despite not being a “churchgoer” or having ever had a relationship with God.
StoneHouse Fellowship Church was where Elizabeth finally laid her burdens down and gave her life to the Lord. She was baptized soon after. Elizabeth then heard of an opening for a job as church caretaker, so she applied and was accepted—enabling her to spend time with her daughters every day!
Elizabeth was also ecstatic to learn that StoneHouse, a Heaven’s Family partner, teaches an advanced sewing class with a scholorship program that Elizabeth qualified for, provided by gifts to the Widows & Abandoned Women Ministry. She had enjoyed sewing for many years, but didn’t have the skills necessary to earn a living at it.
Elizabeth excelled at her training—so much so that she was soon able to open her own sewing business. Recognizing her unusual talent and hard work, StoneHouse eventually placed Elizabeth in charge of the ministry’s sewing center.
As manager of the center, Elizabeth helps widows and other abandoned women acquire the skills they need to support themselves and their children. Just as importantly, she helps lighten the loads that many women have carried in from the street, and she leads them to Jesus.
In her own words, Elizabeth says: “My life is now better because I can sew anything. I’m learning to manage the sewing center and serving God and His people. At the church I am teaching Sunday school and…a women’s group. I know what I teach has to be inside myself. I can tell them not to take something that is not theirs because I cannot do that myself. I can be a good model.”
And now that the Widows & Abandoned Women Ministry has recently donated two new sewing machines and an overlock serger machine, the StoneHouse sewing center is able to train many more women. The new machines also allow them to produce a vast array of items which the women can sell in local gift shops to help raise funds to support themselves and the center.
We’re rejoicing that Heaven’s Family has been able to “sew” into the lives of many women in Kenya, including Elizabeth’s. How amazing it is to watch the chain reaction of support and encouragement that is altering the “fabric” of a community and culture for the kingdom of God!