The Relay Race




by Samson Omondi
edited by John Seale

Dennis in 2011

Fifteen years ago, one of Ndoto’s early sponsored students was given the nickname “servant-hearted” because of his kindness. We had known him when he was volunteering as part of the worship team at the church we planted in our community of Obunga, and in 2010, we accepted Dennis’ application for sponsorship as he finished high school.

Visitors to Obunga today are struck by the poverty, but the Obunga of 20 years ago was a place of great darkness, not least because electricity was sparse. It was a place of disparities in opportunity and access, where systemic barriers and prejudices were the order of the day. It was a community isolated from others due to the perception of a high crime rate. All of this reduced what a young man like Dennis could hope for to nothing.

Ndoto serves as an alma mater to more students and members of the Obunga community than meets the eye, and many of our early students have made striking contributions to their home community. This was part of our original vision, and it’s coming true as students who graduated more than a decade ago are making notable achievements.

We visited Dennis at his office in Obunga recently. He told us how privileged he felt to have been part of Ndoto in a place like Obunga, and how our director, Allison Schlack, changed his life. Dennis noticed her selfless resolve and fortitude to see Obunga residents actualize their dreams and aspirations, with the gospel at the center, despite the challenges they faced.

Dennis (left) tells Joshua, from our team, about the alignment between our two ministries

That was enough motivation for him to spark what he saw as God’s calling on his life, which is to serve the community. He studied Business Administration at Maseno University while sponsored and is now the Director of Operations for another nonprofit charity working in Obunga. They empower specifically girls with academic tutoring and feminine hygiene products, and several of our students have benefited from their services. Dennis told us about how their organization is Christ-centered, mentoring girls who are vulnerable in the community and giving them marketable skills.

We visited Dennis in his office in Obunga

Dennis is married with two beautiful children and is also an environmental philanthropist, passionate about farming. He still serves in his church with the youth ministry. He says that what he does today is an extension of all that he learned at Ndoto, and told us that he sees life like a relay race. Allison and Ndoto passed him a baton to continue serving the community in which he grew up, and now he hopes that others will pick up the baton as well.

Ministries like Ndoto, and the one Dennis works now, are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Dennis told us that everyone can run the race at their own capacity as a way of giving back and continuing to change the narrative of the community from which they came. He commended us for our unwavering commitment over these many years and described it as a mustard seed. He is one of the seeds that was planted, and he is bearing fruit, helping to shine light and give hope to others!

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