Growing up in church, the concept of foreign missions wasn’t unfamiliar to me, but neither was it personal. Missionary work was something other people did. In 2003 my husband took his first missions trip to Macedonia, I stayed home and took care of the children. In 2005 he made his first trip to Kenya, returning again in 2009, 2010 & 2012. I fully supported him in all of these endeavors; but I was content to stay at home. Never did it occur to me that one day it would be my turn.
In 2010 the church we attended began putting together a team for a trip to China. James volunteered immediately, but there came that moment when everything changed. One Sunday they showed a video of the orphanage where the team would work. All of the children there are disabled and many of the Texas State students attending the church were physical therapy majors. The idea was for the P.T. majors to join the team to help with the children’s unique physical needs. As I watched the video and looked at the faces of those children, tears streamed down my cheeks and I thought, “I’m not a P.T. student, but I am a mom and I can go give a mother’s love to a child who needs it.” Even now, when I think back to that moment I start to cry. That was the day missions became personal for me, a day that truly altered the trajectory of my life.
Following my trip to China, my husband and I founded a missions organization, Breathe International. Although we both travel to other countries, the bulk of Breathe’s work is in Kenya. In 2012, Breathe partnered with Logos Revival Ministries to begin Princedom School. Logos provided the land and original building while Breathe helped fund tuition, books, uniforms, teachers and cooks. Many of the initial students and staff were the widows and orphans Breathe began caring for in 2010. Our director there makes the funds we send stretch through partnerships with local farmers and church donations.
The ministry began with 14 orphans and 5 widows, in four short months we were caring for 19 orphans and 10 widows. Our heart has always been to feed them first and then help them build sustainable income by providing micro loans to start small businesses. In that first year we gave 2 of the widows startup capital to purchase material for a vegetable stand so they could sell their crops in the village center. Both of these widows were successful in their endeavors. They are now self sustaining and able to care for their families. Several of our orphans are HIV positive, and we provide them with the medical support they need.
Having never been to Kenya myself, sometimes I forget what we are doing with “what we have in our hands.” Not for long though, soon the personal connection will Kenya will forevermore be seared into my mind. As you read this article, I am probably at the school loving on those babies, and cherishing every minute of it. Prior to 2010 if anyone had told me that I would travel the world loving on babies, or that I would personally be involved with the care of orphans and widows I would have thought you “crazy, a little punch-drunk” and I would have been wrong.
Let me close with a challenge; think you can’t change the world? I think you can. Think you have nothing to offer? I think you do. What is it that you have in your hands? You may think it very little, but to someone, it is a lifeline.
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller