WEEP – Women Equality Empowerment Program

October 2, 2011

God’s lovingkindness is evident to me throughout each day and I want to share this with you.  However, much of it is in the middle of misery and I am constantly in question about what can be done, why is something like it is, and the bi-products of things we do. 

I am so grateful to be here in Kenya with a group of people who are seeking God to lead the way. Vickie Winkler is the executive director and founder, Alice Litton is an RN here also for about 9 months.  We work with many wonderful Kenyans who are long term staff members.   Additionally, coming and going there are individuals, couples or American teams who come here and work with HEART on various projects.  These teams are core to the way HEART work.

This evening we said our goodbyes to a team from Bayside church.  This group of ladies began preparing for their 8 days here 9 months ago, meeting 2-3x per month.  While here they shared God’s love with children and adults freely. I was blessed to see their gentle loving conversations and watch them share their thoughtful gifts.  They saw needs and acted on them in many ways.

When the Bayside ladies visited HIV+ women who were very sick in the Kibera slums they brought their burden about what they saw to God. God moved; for two nights in a row, He woke up a man in the States to pray for the team and about those suffering in Kenya.  When a member of the team let him know about these sick women, he knew he needed to do something about it and provided $10,000 to pay for the 8 women we saw (+ 2 more) to become a part of the WEEP program. $900 pays for a sewing machine, extensive training and gets her on her feet with food and basic living expenses.  

In Kibera we enjoyed doing a small health clinic for the women and children and the Bayside women laughed a lot with them as they worked on craft projects. When we split up and each group of 2 or 3 headed off to do our home visits we really got an better idea of the atrocious living conditions of Kibera. Tiny dirt “streets” or paths went on and on. A million people living in tiny dark homes, 30 families sharing a “toilet” (hole) or two, hundreds of small children everywhere. Most if not all the women we visited who had HIV also had tuberculosis.  The coughing baby of the last woman I visited likely had TB too.  I left realizing that if we did not intervene, these women and/or their children would spiral down even further.  How many would survive? The Bayside women want Alice and I to keep them updated with the progress of these 8 women over the next 9 months. I need to be open to God’s will for me and His heart. The truth is I do not really want to go into that hell several times per month….but how can I not?

Today 33 women graduated from the WEEP programs.  It was beautiful. They were encouraged to take their light to others as they moved confidently in the Lord. Many people have given them a leg up and raised money for each to have a new pair of sheers, $150 to start their business and even their own homes so that they do not have to worry about rent.  

Back in 2005 I visited Priscilla in her home in Embulbul, (pictured here) she was unable to walk –  really on her death bed if it were not for the intervention of HEART.

Can you imagine the delight I felt when I realized she was one of these healthy graduates dancing to “Go Light Your World” for the processional here at the HEART lodge? Indeed they are lights to their communities. Besides Priscilla there were several more women who I saw struggling in 2005 and 2006 who have not only become well physically but also spiritually.  Their prayers, their praises and their stories showed me that their trust in the Lord is deep and they live for His glory.

But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  I John 3:17


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