We are in Lima, Peru visiting with Mike and Diane Fietje and their family. Mike and Don played soccer together at Moody Bible Institute about 20 years ago. (Sheesh, where does the time go?!?) Anyways, the Fietjes have been in Peru for 15 years with Kids Alive International (KAI).
I will give you a basic summary of KAI and how we have been involved:
Kids Alive runs 2 ministries here in Lima. The first is a children’s home called Juniper Tree Children’s Home. Juniper Tree takes in children that have been orphaned, abandoned or abused. Juniper Tree currently has about 25 kids living there. The Children’s Home is made up of individual family homes where a house mom helps provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the children. Once a child arrives at Juniper Tree, they are typically there until they reach 18. Many of the “graduates” from Juniper Tree have gone on to volunteer with other at risk children. We had the chance to meet Marlon, a guy who grew up at Juniper Tree. Marlon recently got married and is in seminary to get more training in working with youth on the streets. What a great testimony to the work KAI is doing…giving each child the foundation to build a future and a hope.
The other ministry KAI runs in Lima is the Oasis Care Center. Oasis started off as a facility that had children come each day to receive a balanced meal. Many of the communities around Lima are very poor and although the children have families, they were often malnourished. Oasis has now grown to be a full care center where over 100 children attend daily for preschool, nutritious meals, homework club and AWANA. KAI has started a school and currently has Kindergarten and 1st grade, hoping to add a grade each year. The impact Oasis has had on the community is amazing. School age children (all the way through high school) come each day for tutoring and a meal.
One of the other areas Oasis is developing is a Moms Helping Moms program. Each semester, 10 moms are chosen to attend classes, training and discipleship at Oasis. The morning is spent in Bible study and teaching of God’s Word on marriage, parenting, finances, etc. The afternoons are spent in training classes: sewing, jewelry making, cooking, etc. As the women learn skills and what they enjoy, they are able to find work easier and provide more stability for their families. We had the chance to meet with Carmen, the director for the Moms Helping Moms program. Carmen’s love of the Lord and the women she works with is precious. She has seen great growth in many of the women and has celebrated commitments to Christ through the study of God’s word.
Both ministries in Lima are changing the culture. KAI is not only caring for the physical needs, but also giving training in life skills. More importantly they are sharing the love of Jesus and His power to redeem lives. Awesome!
The Yada Project is excited to work with KAI to provide more opportunities for growth at Juniper Tree and Oasis. We are still working on how we can work together, but here are a few of the plans. At Juniper Tree, we are looking into the possibility of providing scholarships for further education to graduates. At Oasis, the women would have the opportunity to develop a product and then sell their products to The Yada Project. This would provide a consistent market and an opportunity for growth.
What a joy it has been in meeting those with a heart for widows and orphans and seeing how God is at work here in Peru….