An Overcomer We Love! October 1 2018

Dear Saints,
When Don talks about the complexity of nature and the ecological interdependence of life, the wisdom and care of God in His creation amaze me. God also has complex interventions to reverse disaster in His creation for the sake of His beloved mankind. You hold an essential niche, play an important part in His works.

This unfolding story tells it.

David’s dad was rich and owned many cattle. David dreamed of a career in medicine. Because of the political situation, the family decided to move from Tanzania over the border to Kenya, and David’s father left his cattle in the care of some friends.

The family moved into Gera Valley, a fertile, well-watered area not far from Lake Victoria. After settling his family on the new property, the father went back to collect his cattle, but found all had been rustled, and the family’s resources were gone.

Powerful witch doctors held a reign of fear in the area where they now lived. They threatened David’s family members that they would curse any young people who dared to go to secondary school. David watched his cousins who went on to high school fall prey to this curse and die. Still he longed for a good education and set himself to go on to school. He put his trust in God and made it! But just as David was ready for college, his father died and so did the dream of furthering his education.

David also watched Gera Valley die. The inhabitants of the valley began to cut down trees for fuel, for building, to make room for agriculture. The once fertile area became arid and desolate as soil eroded and streams dried up. A river that once provided for 100,000 people dwindled to nothingness. Elders and witch doctors in the area sacrificed to the giant pythons in order to bring back the rain. It didn’t work!

David pursued God with a heart hungry to help the suffering people around him. The intervention came this way:
• Through Kenya Islands Mission, David was able to enroll in the University of the Nations courses in Discipleship and Environment and Resource Stewardship which gave David the opportunity to learn what to do.
• From that, at SEEK, David is taking advantage of opportunities on many fronts to lead people to the knowledge and attitudes needed for change. Then gently, humbly, kindly he brings them to the understanding of God’s desire to see them prosper through wise environmental practices and lives of integrity and faith.

Some of the things that David is addressing:
Diarrhea is the number 1 killer in Kenya, and sadly mostly in children under 5 –needlessly!
In Suba, subsistence farming has been inadequate, weakening the communities.
Fishing has been drastically reduced.
Treatments for malaria and worms eat up 25% of the local family budget.

These are just a few of the things that threaten to destroy lives… BUT FOR YOU as you support David’s work!
An example, to fight the endemic malaria, the government handed out mosquito nets and an insecticide dip, but people ended up doing such things as using the nets to catch fish….the tiny holes mean baby fish are caught, reducing populations of fish…. and others have used the insecticide to commit suicide.
BUT where David conducted participatory training on malaria so that a community knew what caused it and how to deal with it effectively, the incidence of malaria and deaths from it decreased substantially.

More than 600 children every week are being discipled in environmental school clubs in the love of God and life skills, learning how to apply their lives to overcoming their serious challenges of poverty and degradation and to making a difference in the 20 communities where the schools are and also seeing their test scores increase. They are beginning to realize their personal value and potential and God’s faithfulness.
YOU ARE PART OF LASTING CHANGE in their precious lives!

Appreciatively and with the deepest regards,
Don and Nancy Richards and SEEK Staff

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