First United Methodist Church

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News & Devotions

Naivasha, Kenya – Wednesday – “Family in Hope called Panua”

It is hard to grasp the feeling of desperation when there is a bright, polished young man speaking his testimony with light in his eyes.

Throughout our trip to each of Naivasha’s communities, we have seen the transformation in all of our youth. Today touched our hearts especially, because we heard the journey of 20-year-old accountant Hannington.

After his mother died when he was 12, he did not let his grief and poverty get the best of him. He stuck together with his older brother and prayed that through their hard work, God would show them a better way of life. Never knowing their father, Hannington and his brother knew that God is their Father and that He would provide.

“When you hear ‘There is someone who can support you, what do you want to do?’ that is like a miracle,” Hannington said.

This miracle Hannington received from Panua is the same reality the youth of the DCK neighborhood pray to receive as a part of the next Panua 3-year class. Even higher in the mountains, the beauty of the DCK area is juxtaposed by the extreme poverty its inhabitants are faced with daily. The terrified faces of 16-to-22-year-olds showed their longing to find a way to work toward a better life for themselves, their siblings and their children.

Luckily Panua is not just a temporary hand-out, but a sustainable way of living to improve the lives of the youth and their communities. Kayole youth Lucy and Teresia have transformed their lives through leveraging their sewing skills. Their new business is located in a building owned by their mentor Lydia. Even after graduation, Lucy and Teresia will continue to profit and service others by making and tailoring school uniforms.

“My vision with Panua is not to only rely on it,” Hannington said. “I want to give back to Panua what they were able and willing to do for me.”

We continue to learn from people like Hannigton, who remind us to delight in the little surprises like a warm hug from a stranger, spotting giraffes on the side of the road, and creating lasting friendships with everyone we meet along the way.

As Panua continues to grow, we look forward to finding not just partners in hope, but also families in hope.

~Kathryn Farr