My Heroes

Picture of Peter and Nancy Ochiel with leprosy-affected patients
Peter and Nancy Ochiel with leprosy-afflicted patients of Blessed Camp

My Heroes

Giving praise to our selfless partners in Kenya and those who make their efforts possible

Dear Family,

Dedicated leaders seem to inspire special devotion in those they enlist in their cause or work. Peter and Nancy Ochiel and the staff of Action Ministry Kenya are surely such an inspiration to others as they minister to the leprosy-affected families at what is now called Blessed Camp. Most have left lucrative positions in the world to bring their expertise and love to this community of formerly desolate leprosy patients and their families. Before Peter and Nancy’s arrival the colony was called Tumbe Village (“place for rejected people”), for these had been some of the most ostracized of human beings.

Peter describes the early days:

It was indeed a hopeless state of affairs. I nevertheless perceived in my heart that God had sent us to these forgotten people to restore their lives and their sense of dignity. The first item on the agenda was to change the name of the village from “REJECTED CAMP” to “BLESSED CAMP”. This we did, thereby giving the camp the name it bears to date.

Peter then began an outreach program for residents. Every Sunday they gathered under a cashew-nut tree from where he would, together with his friends, teach the residents about God’s love and remind them of how special and valued they were before God. This led to the birth of a church in this community. By and by the transformative effect of the gospel began to be seen and felt. Transformation had indeed begun!

Following the foundation of their church, other needs were met—a school to educate their children, a medical clinic to address their health issues, a vocational training program to teach sewing, and a feeding program to provide the nutritional requirements of the colony (largely by an agricultural project to grow their own food).

When our Heaven’s Family team visited Blessed Camp last June, all of these efforts were struggling due to the lack of funding to pay the staff: Dr. John (that’s what everyone calls him, but he’s really a nurse practitioner) and his lab assistant were working at the medical clinic without consistent pay, as were headmaster Leonard (Peter’s elder brother) and his teaching assistant, Beatrice, at the Action School. The agricultural project was thriving, but once again the profit margin was not there to pay the erstwhile director and his hardworking assistant, Samson, what they deserved. They were all kind, humble servants, looking to Peter and Nancy as their models of selfless devotion to their beloved patients.

When I wrote an earlier story on these dedicated heroes in the faith, one reader contacted me, asking how she could help. As a soon-to-retire special education teacher from New York state, this gentle lady determined to send weekly donations to supply Dr. John’s salary, for which I am eternally thankful. Her communications and generosity so encouraged me that I decided to post some of their other needs once again in the hopes that these lovely servants might receive some decent recompense for their loving labors.

Picture of John, a nurse practitioner
“Dr.” John (nurse practitioner) who serves those afflicted with leprosy at the medical clinic

So, my next “cameo” for support is Leonard, so that the teachers can have a living wage (a real bargain when compared to Western levels) in return for providing a future and a hope for the village’s children through education. Click here if you want to help. We have already had special contributions to provide hospitalization for patients; funds for orthotic shoes, prostheses and crutches; sewing machines and goats; Christmas baskets; tuition for six students to attend high school for a year (the first to attain that level from the colony); and airfare for the Ochiels to attend our Heaven’s Family Reunion in August (click here to learn more about joining us so you can meet Peter and Nancy yourself!).

Picture of Leonard teaching a child
Leonard, teacher and headmaster of Action School, dedicates himself to giving his students life-changing opportunities through education

Reading over this list of accomplishments again makes my heart swell with gratitude over the way our generous friends have “stepped up to the plate” over and over again to improve lives and encourage residents of Blessed Camp and their staff. Just to know that people around the world like you care for them is quite a revelation to these unfortunates who formerly saw themselves only as outcasts. Thank you once again for showing the love of God for your brothers and sisters whose lives are being restored because of your compassion.

Together with Christ,

Carole Collins
Director, Leprosy Ministry

Give to the Leprosy Ministry

A picture worth a thousand words…

Students at Action School. The girl at right is from a nearby Muslim community that sends many of their children to Action School for the quality education they can receive—giving teachers a wonderful opportunity to teach them about the God who loves them and offers forgiveness through His son Jesus.

Picture of students at Action School

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