Elizabeth has been around Ndoto since its founding. She met Allison Schlack in 2003 when she was just six years old, during Allison’s first trip to Kenya. Elizabeth comes from a single parent home and is one of five children. She lived with her mom and two of her brothers after her father left the family, and they were always in and out school due to a lack of money to pay fees. They are one of the poorest families we know, in Obunga, and their family was constantly sick from disease caused by standing water in their home. In 2010, Elizabeth and her two brothers, Kevin and David, became three of our charter sponsored students. Elizabeth, who has suffered from a skin disease,Vitiligo, since birth, went to a new school full of hope but was made fun of because she looked different. She was devastated. We switched her to another school, but, by that time, Elizabeth was falling behind, and struggling to perform well. This further discouraged her and eventually Elizabeth quit school to help relatives do random small business jobs. She was wandering with a lack of purpose and felt out of place.
After some time, we got her back in school, but in March 2012, Elizabeth’s mom died of a sudden sickness, leaving her to take care of her two younger brothers at age 14. Ndoto took her two brothers into our boy’s dorm, and Elizabeth went to live with an aunt where her behavioral problems grew increasingly worse. She became a very angry young girl – always ready for a fight, disrespecting authority, and skipping school. While trying to be there for her during this time, our staff was discouraged watching Elizabeth take this road of destruction. Not sure what to do, we considered if we should release her from the program. However, in April 2014, Elizabeth’s life took a pivotal turn at Ndoto’s Annual Student Retreat.
Pastor Mesh, the retreat’s speaker, took time at the end of the retreat to make space at the front, and had people come who wanted freedom from personal struggles, difficulties, and sins. The worship band sang a song called “Break Every Chain,” by Jesus Culture, and students came up like a flood, kneeling on the floor before the Lord, sobbing, and receiving grace from Christ. Elizabeth was among the students in the front, on the floor, leaving a puddle of tears on the concrete ground. We prayed over her, and then before we knew it, she was no longer in the room.
Allison found her running across the field to be alone and gently walked her back into the meeting room where Pastor Mesh was waiting with open arms to pray with her. She sat there with him and Allison, sobbing and lying in his arms like a small child. He began speaking to her in her tribal language to really express God’s desire for her to be free, and the depth of his love for her. The floodgates opened, and she began to weep. When she was able, she told Pastor Mesh and Allison that since her mom died, she has been taken over by anger, and she wanted to be free. They prayed with her and showed her how much she is loved. Since that day, when Elizabeth received freedom from Christ, she is a softer and more kind Elizabeth. She smiles and walks with her head high. She has made friends with the girls that live in our dorm and recently became one of their roommates. She laughs like she never has before, attends church faithfully, answers questions, is growing in confidence, and desires to be more engaged with others.
Our staff met with different principals, trying to get Elizabeth back in school. We talked with her about what she would like to do with her life, and we came to the conclusion that the best thing for her was to get vocational training to become a hairdresser. She is now starting hairdressing school and will one day be able to work at a salon, with a stable job that allows her to provide for herself and her family.
After hearing Elizabeth’s heartbreaking story and the opportunity she had to become a hairdresser, Jan S. took out her checkbook and paid for Elizabeth’s training in one lump sum! We are grateful to Jan for her support, prayers, and encouragement of Elizabeth. Thanks to a faithful sponsor, Elizabeth is getting a fresh start. We are more confident than ever that the Lord has plans and a purpose for our lives, including Elizabeth’s, and that He works all things together for the good of His children, and the glory of His name.
Thank you for your prayers and support of Elizabeth and so many students like her. If you are interested in partnering with us to continue to make a difference in the lives of students, please consider becoming a monthly donor with our ministry. Ndoto.org
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