I am with a group of CEOs from the US, showing them various aspects of the 'Daughters of Destiny' program that our friend and partner, Mike Brawan runs in Kenya. He has seen tens of thousands of prostitutes and young men living on the streets turn their lives radically around through turning to Christ and then starting small businesses. So far, Mike has started 98,000 businesses.
Here are some highlights of the first two days:
On Saturday morning, we met a number of the people who are now working in their own businesses. We met Eric who has a book stall in Nairobi. In the one year he has had his business, he has helped 18 other young men start businesses for themselves. Notice, they are not his employees; he trained them and with Mike's financial help, got them started on their own. We met Irene, who owns a beautiful clothing store on the main shopping street in the city. Three years ago, she was working as a prostitute. Beginning with a small sidewalk business, she used her profits and success to secure business loans. She has also trained and launched 44 other women into their own businesses. Near the end of the day we met a woman who has a furniture fabric business that employs 76 people. Four years ago, she was trying to survive in prostitution.
Saturday night, four more of the team gathered; as they were coming into the hotel, we were about to leave to go out and meet with women working in the red light district. Although they had been traveling for twenty-four hours, they eagerly joined us. As we walked through the worst streets in Nairobi, accompanied by two guards with AK-47s, we really didn't know what to expect. I had pictured inviting five or ten women to meet with us (which was my only other experience of Daughters of Destiny--DOD). Instead we went into a room no bigger than 20x30 feet and found ourselves meeting with 102 women. We shared testimonies with each other, prayed for them (many came to Christ, including a pimp and our two security guards), and Mike told them that if they called him, he would arrange for them to get into a safe house and then train them to start their own business. By the next morning, 57 women had called. We finished the night by giving each woman a bagged meal and Mike gave each one double the amount of money that they would have earned that night on the street.
Sunday morning, we drove to Nakuru where we went to one of the most joyful church services I have ever attended. There were four different choirs and dance groups. We found out that all of them had come from the streets. That night, Mike took us into the most dangerous neighborhood in the city, a terrible slum called Bendini where Impact Nations had done the first ever clinic there about four years ago. It was 100% Muslim, but because of that clinic, now over 1200 children meet each week for church. To my amazement, I was greeted by a number of people who remembered that clinic. Mike took us into a small room crowded with about 100 boys, maybe 5-15 years of age. We were immediately accosted by the smell of glue. Most of the boys were high. Glue sniffing is the cheapest and most addictive substance there is. It also kills brain cells. Again, we shared some stories from our own lives with the boys. Then Mike said that we were gathered as the church and he asked them for an offering--their glue bottles. And others drugs. In a few minutes we had many glue bottles and other drugs. One of the boys spoke up and asked for help to go to school. He said that if they could just go to school, then they had a chance. After a great prayer time, we went back to the bus while Mike's team gave the boys a meal. While we sat on the bus, overwhelmed by what we had just experienced, a man of about 45 quietly joined us, saying nothing. A few minutes later, Mike joined us and introduced us to the man. He had been in the room with us, although it was too crowded for us to notice him. He heard the boys sharing with us and saw what Jesus had done. This man was their drug dealer. He had come to say he was sorry. As we prayed for him, his body actually convulsed with sobs. It was an incredible repentance. The next morning, he showed up at Mike's church with all of his containers of glue and drugs and his gun. He spent the whole day in the church praying and talking with Mike's team. Like Jesus said to Zacchaeus, "Today salvation has come to this house."
For the sake of length, I will end this now. The next report will be about yesterday when we went to a prison for women and children, to a whole community that lives in the local dump, and another incredible night of DOD.
I have had many remarkable adventures with my friend Mike over the past nearly seven years, but none of them has equaled this one.