Greetings Friends of IAMercy,
IAMercy is now four years old. As we celebrate I would like to take a moment to look back over the years. Below I have tried to lay out the major steps that have led IAMercy to where it is today. Thank you for the part you have played in making our mission a success.
June, 2014: I traveled to Nairobi, Kenya for a short trip. I was visiting a group of former street boys I had helped support financially since 2010. This cohort of seven called themselves "The Saint Boys." Thanks to the work of a missionary couple (Chris and Lindy Thompson) they no longer begged or dug through trash for food. They didn't sleep outside anymore either. They lived in a home and had basic necessities provided.
However, by 2014 there had been no missionary consistently on the ground for years to look after the wellbeing of the Saint Boys. As a result, they were not being cared for appropriately. While I was in Kenya I felt God calling me to come and be a father to the boys.
After I had been in Nairobi for a little over a year God began to bring younger sons, like John, into my home. John joined the Johnson family around Christmas of 2015.
And then there was Branton. He came into the family around the holiday season of 2016.
Meanwhile older sons (like Chinji) graduated and moved into their adult lives. Chinji graduated in October of 2015 and moved out to start his life in November of the same year.
Vincent and Julius followed him a couple years later, in 2017.
So now the Johnson home looks a good bit different than it did in 2014. But, The Saint Boys Project is still going strong, supporting my current household in Nairobi.
Now we meet at "Mama John's" in the Kawangware slum of Nairobi.
Mama John lets us use her small building and we buy the kids warm meals like beans and rice.
We started with just boys. Now many girls from an impoverished background also come.
We began by serving 12. Now approximately 70 people attend the feedings.
Pastor Noah joined us early on, in 2015. He helps us care for the physical and spiritual needs of the kids who come to the feedings.
In 2018 coach Nicholas Ochieng joined the team. "Coach" assists Noah in making sure that the Gospel goes out - and that the kids have fun as it does!
We have worked through the books of Matthew and Luke at the feedings. We are on Mark now. As children have heard the Gospel many have made professions of faith and we have baptized them.
As these same children continue under IAMercy's care we get the joy of discipling them in their relationship with Christ.
June, 2018: IAMercy launched The IAMercy Village. This is a new project intended to help us care for the holistic needs of desperately poor families. Pictured here are Janet and her children.
Janet's children were abandoned by their father (Janet's husband) eight years ago. Janet took a job in security to help her family survive. But when she became very sick the kids had to drop out of school. The children became the breadwinners, taking packs of peanuts to town to sell them. They started coming to The Daily Bread Project around the holidays in 2017. Now IAMercy is caring for the the food, shelter, clothing, and education needs of this family in The IAMercy Village.
We are also caring for Fidelis and her small daughters. Fidelis' husband is an addict who eventually abandoned her. She is illiterate and was reduced to begging and washing clothes for a pittance. Now Fidelis and her daughters are in The IAMercy Village. We are helping them to live with dignity. Food, shelter, and clothing are provided and we and have begun investing in the education of the older daughter.
The IAMercy Village also has a home for boys and young men.
Janet and Fidelis each have their own housing. The boys and young men have their own place too where they can live together as brothers. Each family unit comes together for a common meal in the evening.
The goal for these young men is that they will gain appropriate levels of education (whether it be formal education or trade skills).
We desire to see them become godly and self-sustaining men. Our hope is that they will gain the skills needed to care for their own families and give back to their communities in the future.