Sowing Good Seed

Picture of graduates of 2-day program in Kenya for ex-offenders
Graduates of “Fresh Start,” a 2-day program that helps ex-offenders learn biblical principles of Christian leadership that will better enable them to resist negative peer pressure, display their certificates

Sowing Good Seed

Troubled lives you are helping to redeem in Kenya

Dear Family,

BREAKING FREE: Lives of Teenagers Redeemed

In the dusty, parched outback of southern Kenya an oasis of new life has sprung up. It’s called Philemon House, and it’s a place of both refuge and rebirth for Kenya’s youth who were once incarcerated (aftercare), or beforehand if their probation officers believe they can be rehabilitated—and to avoid making them into hardened criminals as a result of prison time (this is mainly done for the girls).

I had just come from visiting both Kamae Girls Borstal (a juvenile prison) in Nairobi, and Shikusa Boys Borstal in Kakamega, where I had the privilege of ministering side-by-side with my friend Jerry Jefferson, a fellow staff member who directs Heaven’s Family’s Farming God’s Way Ministry. Many of the youth we met were potential candidates for Philemon House placement.

Picture of juvenile prison in Nairobi and Philemon House
At left, our Heaven’s Family Team ministering at Kamae Girls Borstal juvenile prison in Nairobi; at left, me arriving at one of my favorite places—our oasis!

Heaven’s Family’s Prison Ministry, in conjunction with the Philemon House board, has built dormitories, a vocational building, and sanitation facilities. Residents here have several educational opportunities they can pursue: they can continue with their schooling, which most of them are doing; they can participate in vocational training (carpentry, electrical, dressmaking/tailoring, hairstyling, pastry making, etc.); or a combination of both.

Most importantly, they are receiving spiritual training and guidance in godly character to prevent them from returning to the rough street life from which they’ve been rescued.

During our last day at Philemon House, Jerry gave them a crash course (normally it’s a week-long training) in Farming God’s Way techniques (learn more about FGW here). They listened intently as Jerry talked about conserving precious water resources and improving soil quality in order to vastly increase crop yields. And by learning—and implementing—the program right away, Jerry told them, they could grow fresh, healthy food for themselves, help Philemon House become self-sustaining (by growing abundant food and selling surplus), and learn life-long skills they could use to support themselves and greatly help the rural communities most of the youth grew up in. Community members also attended and were keenly interested. A very “fruitful” day!

Picture of Fresh Start session at Philemon House and young inmates from Shikusa prison
At left, a Fresh Start session at Philemon House (with Jay Jefferson, in the gray shirt, who is Jerry’s teenage son brought along so he could learn many life lessons of his own); at right, young inmates from Shikusa prison studying godly principles

All of these efforts, combined with the work of incredible Spirit-led staff and your generous contributions, are sowing good seed into the lives of vulnerable Kenyan youth for whom Jesus died. If we as Christians don’t help them, there are others such as Al Shabab and ISIS who are all too eager to influence them…a major challenge throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Thank you for helping to redeem these fragile lives and re-dedicate them to God’s good purposes.

May God richly bless you,

Bob Collins
Director, Prison & Rehab Ministry

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