17 Sep Celebrating 15 Years of Ministry in East Africa!
Our 15th year of ministry has proven to be one of the most unexpected and unprecedented years ever, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that stretches on and on. Yet as we see the ways our global Lahash community is showing up and coming together, we realize there are many reasons to be thankful and even celebrate!
September 2020 is our official 15th anniversary as an organization, and we’d love for you to mark this milestone with us. Through the blog, newsletters, print magazine, and social media, we are sharing photos, stories, and thoughts from our partners (and even from the kids!) as we reflect on God’s faithfulness and look ahead with hopeful anticipation.
We began September with a celebratory global gathering on Zoom! It included Lahash staff in the U.S. and East Africa, past travelers, volunteers, board members, leaders from each of our East African partners, and even some of the current kids in the program. We had the privilege of having a few young adults join us who were some of the very first sponsored kids many years ago. They’re not kids anymore! But the connection to Lahash and to each other has remained strong. Here are some quotes, memories, and expressions of thanks from a joy-filled celebration gathering:
India Star Main – child sponsor and traveler
“Our family has partnered with Lahash since 2005. We have been child sponsors, and travelers, and joiners, and community members from a distance. Over and over again I am reminded how grateful I am. I have four children who are now teenagers. But when they were little, I just really longed that they would see a bigger world. We live in suburban America now, and have popped around with the United States Air Force and mostly lived in very insular spaces. I wanted very much to expose my children to a big world. Lahash invited us to do that in a safe, comfortable yet stretching space. I think of when you need to strengthen a muscle – if you do it too quickly, it breaks. But you need to make those little breaks by stretching and strengthening it over time. Partnership with Lahash has done that for us. We have developed a global love. So there is joy, absolutely overwhelming joy, bursting-forth joy in getting to partner with Lahash. It’s just so exciting!”
Esther Muhagachi – founder of Grace & Healing Ministry in Dodoma, Tanzania
“I am overwhelmed with joy and I am so glad that we can meet even if we are far from one another. I remember the first time I visited the USA, it was 2008 or something like that. I saw this very small desk and I asked Dan, “Is this your office?” And Dan said yes. Now out of that very small office, a lot of people have been saved in Africa. I am so grateful to God for what he has done. I just want to encourage you that little by little as we walk to Jesus, Jesus holds our hand and moves with us together. I have a lot memories, remembering the 21 kids we started with from Grace & Healing Ministry, and now we have 200 kids! It’s a lot to think that from that very small office of Lahash, we have children who are in school and even some who have gone to university. And they never thought they would go to school! I am so grateful and thankful for Lahash and for all that God has done. So I am shouting, ‘Viva, Lahash, viva! Praise be to God!'”
Stacy Nelson – child sponsor and traveler
“The love that Lahash has for the partners and the kiddos is so evident. That in and of itself is so glorifying to God. Putting the kids first and coming alongside partners who are already doing such a phenomenal job caring for the kiddos and their families was so encouraging to see. God has gifted my family and blessed us so abundantly that we are able to come alongside Lahash and share in the partnership of building strong families together. We are so grateful and so joyful to get to be a part of the family. We are praying for you. We love you! It’s so evident how much you love the kids and the ministry, and we are right there with you guys praying and rooting from the rooftops! Praying for many, many more successful years too!”
Louis Masengesho – Director of Sponsorship at ERM-Rwanda
“I want to share a small story. I was talking with one of the sponsored kids here, he is 16 years old. He was asking me about choosing between becoming a medical doctor or an artist. That’s when I realized that Lahash is doing a very, very great work here. He is the only kid in his family going to school, because Lahash is supporting him. Because of our work together, kids can be able to dream. They have dreams because it is now possible. I want to congratulate Lahash International for completing these 15 years of success, serving the voiceless kids and the most vulnerable in East Africa, especially in my community. You have been a big blessing to us since we partnered four years ago. The need was very great, but you have helped so much here in Rwanda. We wish you the best and we want to see more in the 15 years to come!”
Benson Mungai – Founder of Nipe Tumaini Children’s Home in Mai Mahiu, Kenya
“I have not known Lahash for the 15 years, but for the short time we have partnered with them, I would say they are a Godsend. I remember the first day when Edwin and Leisha came to visit us. We were almost completing our house. They paid us a visit and after that many things have happened. And I just want to say thank you, because one thing that was in my mind and I felt that I would like to accomplish was to build this huge water tank. We had to get the funds. But Lahash came in and they supported us with this huge water tank and it has been a great help to us. So as we celebrate the 15 years of God’s faithfulness, we are thanking God because of what he has done. I would like to see for many years to come what God has for Lahash and the partners in East Africa. May God bless you all wherever you are for the good job that we are all doing. I am very happy and very impressed, and I am humbled and honored to join the 15 years of God’s faithfulness.”
Donald Nyakyema – Program staff at Path Of Hope in Shinyanga, Tanzania
“I have a few things to be so much thankful for, especially the kids I am working with. I have seen a lot of blessings with the kids. I would like to say thank you so much for all kinds of support that you have given to our program kids. Sometimes when we do a home visit I do hear from the parents and the caregivers, and they are so thankful for this program. We have been so blessed, especially by the Bible Camps which give us time with the kids for Bible study and everything else. I remember the Bible Camp we did in Mwanza, and the kids still say something about it. Most of them were saying that it was their first time to be in the lake, to ride in a boat, to see lions. So those kinds of things keep us so encouraged. So thank you, Lahash, because you are the people who are supporting all those programs. Another thing we are so blessed with is the Christmas gifts. That is a great moment when the kids receive Christmas gifts from their sponsors. They always say so much about it. On this 15th anniversary, as one of the people who has been so blessed by Lahash, I want to say thank you so much. I know sometimes there is some struggle with raising funds. I want to appreciate all the work you are doing to continue supporting our kids. May God bless you all”
Sister Martha Edmundi Mganga – Founder of Albino Peacemakers in Arusha, Tanzania
“At Albino Peacemakers we thank God for the Lahash ministry. We have seen the mighty hand of God upon us because our children really have received all of their basic needs through the support of Lahash. They have received medication and treatment which was very difficult for us because it is very expensive. And through the support of Lahash, our children are really healthy and they are receiving all of their medications and supporting all their needs. Also we have managed to send them to school and give all our children their school needs like uniforms, books, shoes, pens, and everything that was very necessary for their education. For that also we thank God, because it was a very heavy burden for us to manage. We thank God for the opportunity our children have to learn the word of God and to know the love of God. It used to be so difficult for us to go everywhere that our children are, but through the support of Lahash, we have been able to go to the schools where our children are. We have Bible class teachers who are helping our children to learn the word of God. Also we have money to visit our children during the holidays. So we are able to visit them at their homes, meet their family members, and we also share the love of God and give education to the community about what albinism is. Most of our children are coming from really hard situations. Through the support of Lahash, we have been able to visit the families and encourage them, especially the mothers who are really in tears sometimes because of having these children with albinism. Our children now are very respected in their families because they are now like the other children. They are very valued in their families. They are getting good grades in school. It was a dream for us as we wanted our children to be like other children so that God may be glorified. Thank you for your love. We thank God for all your love and kindness to Albino Peacemakers. God bless you all!”
Morris Taban – one of the first kids sponsored through Lahash 15 years ago
“We really want to appreciate Lahash International for all that they have been doing in our lives. For all the support, love, and care they have given to us over the years. Especially during this moment of COVID-19, so many people have lost hope. We still give thanks to God that we are alive. We continue to be thankful for your support, prayers, and joy. I really am full of joy for what you people have done in our life. Right now I am staying with Patrick. We are one family right now. May God bless you and we will continue celebrating the faithfulness of Christ. We are always praying for you!”
Patrick Korsuk – former sponsored child and current Stand With Students scholar
“Lahash has been in our lives for a long time. Morris and I were together as kids in Amazing Grace. We have known ourselves as brothers. By God’s grace, he has done really a lot in our lives. All that has happened is through the support of Lahash. We are very thankful for the support. God stood firm with us and this is where we are. I am so blessed to still continue with Lahash. We have some plans one day that we also will help the needy. Because really if I go back to my history in our village, we were the only ones that made it. What a wonderful God we serve. I am so grateful that I came to know God through Lahash. My words are not good enough to describe the joy and the love I have. I pray to God that he can put in me that strength so that I can serve others. Thank you so much! We love you! Be blessed!”
Dan Holcomb – Founder and Executive Director of Lahash International
“I just want to encourage you all. It is worth it! It’s worth putting your dreams into God’s hands. God is trustworthy. He is doing beautiful things! This gathering is just a small, small taste of what eternity will be. Thankfully, we won’t need to socially distance in heaven!”
How can you celebrate with us?
PRAYER: Thank God for 15 years of love and holistic care offered to vulnerable kids across East Africa. Pray for continued guidance, provision, and life-changing impact in the years ahead.
SHARE: React, comment, and share any Lahash content you find on social media to help put the work of Lahash in view of as many people as possible. Follow these links to find us on Facebook and Instagram
SPONSOR: Take the step of sponsoring a child this month. Connecting kids with caring sponsors always has and always will be a central ministry focus of Lahash. Get connected at lahash.org/sponsorship
We’re so grateful for each of you, and for 15 years of ministry together!
To God be the glory!