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I am celebrating my fifth race season this year. I confess I’ve become a little obsessed with the triathlon lifestyle. Triathlon, obviously, is an excellent way to stay fit and is why I originally took up the sport.
During the intense training process of the next five months, I will make the focus of my individual race performance secondary. Instead I will focus my efforts on benefiting the Kenya Children’s Fund, a group dear to our family. Kenya Children’s Fund is a mission dedicated to curbing acute poverty in Kinyago Dandora, one of the poorest slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
So, as part of my process, I am looking for sponsors. All of the funds from each sponsored mile of the 140.6 mile race will provide food, clothing, and education for a KCF student. This also serves to honor my late mother, Lois Hetherington, whose generous and sacrificial giving taught me the joy that comes from loving people in need. Click the following link to sponsor one mile...or more: Ironman Sponsored Miles
I’ve created Lee’s Ironman Adventure Blog to provide periodic updates on my training and support received toward the goal of sponsoring each of the 140.6 miles. With my sponsors, I hope to present KCF a ($5,062) check that is enough to sponsor 12 children for an entire year!
Triathletes often create mantras that they use to motivate themselves throughout the grueling race process. With each mile marker, nothing could motivate me more than knowing I am going outside myself, channeling this hard work and love of sport into being Christ’s hands and feet to children in need across the globe!
Before I discovered triathlon, my spring goal each year was to shed the 15 to 20 pounds of excess weight I gained after my fall hunting season. With age it became difficult to shed the extra pounds. I needed a program that helped me to stay fit year-round.
Triathlon training was perfect: an effective weight management discipline with periodic races that provide motivation to continue the journey!
Fast forward a few years, and my enjoyment transformed into an obsession. Including my running and duathlon events; I raced eight times in 2011 and nine times in 2012. My knowledge and overall ability to race has grown tremendously from my first event in 2009. As I push myself to perform at a higher level, I have been seeking additional challenges through out-of-town destination races and longer-distance races. Of course, the Iron distance has been on my radar, so last season I ran the half-Iron distance as a test. As I crossed the finish line, I said, “Never again.”
Famous last words. Within two months I volunteered at Ironman Wisconsin, and my experience during the three-day event inspired me to sign up for Ironman Wisconsin 2013! Clearly, the obsession continues.
KEEPING THE BALANCE
Triathlon requires vast amounts of time to train, which often means sacrifices made by my family, friends, and employer. With so much focus and dedication being directed inward, I must be careful about losing perspective and placing an unhealthy emphasis on my athletic pursuit. I must remind myself that triathlon is a sport, a form of recreation, and a hobby. Sure, participating in triathlon reaps significant benefits, but keeping a healthy balance of life along the way is essential to my overall success. I must remember that it does not pay my bills (actually just the opposite), my family misses my time and attention as I train, and it can become a distraction to my career.
Realizing that balance is critical. I admire those who take emphasis away from their individual effort and dedicate it to a higher cause. Professional triathlete Chris Leito, for example, founded More Than Sport that “seeks to set a pace to help those the world forgets. …More than Sport is committed to making a positive impact in every community where they race. They want to see lasting change and improvement in the lives of children and families and they know that small efforts can go far.”
Pray for peace in Kenya and in Dandora as the presidential election on March 4 draws near. Pray that the coming election in Kenya will go smoothly and without civil unrest or violence. During the last election there was an outbreak of horrific violence, and the KDS kids saw unspeakable things done to friends, neighbors and family -- even to themselves. Many in Kenya lost homes and family members to rioting mobs.
Pray that those in Dandora would flee temptation and not become involved in any political demonstrations or movements. These can become violent mob scenes very quickly. Pray that Christians in Dandora will be protected and encouraged at this time. Pray that homes would be filled with peace and encouragement.
“… We pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” --Paul (Ephesians 3:17-18)
The purpose of this letter is to thank you for coming alongside Kenya Children’s Fund (KCF) in the ministry of providing hope to a generation of children who would otherwise be lost in the ashes of scarcity.
Jane Njuguna, KDS Managing Director, and I want to share a story that reflects the heart of God and the work being done through the Kinyago-Dandora Schools (KDS). It is a heartwarming account of how a community reached out in love to a family who, in every regard, was much worse off than the poorest among them.
In December 2005, one of our partnering churches brought to our attention the plight of a family of 25 Sudanese children who were alone and starving in the streets of Nairobi. The father was in the U.S. and the mother had no skills to care for her children. They were refugees and in despair.
KDS social workers reported back that the children were indeed starving and frightened. In fact, it was stated that the children were “living as animals.” KCF sprang into action. We enrolled all of them at KDS while the church provided the sponsors. This was no easy task as there are so many destitute children in Dandora but we knew we couldn’t let these precious little ones suffer and die.
So, we “beat the drum” and called together KDS parents, local community leaders and pastors to a meeting. We explained the situation and asked if we could all come together to help these children. We will never forget the love and concern expressed that day. Any one of these people could have refused on the basis of their own need but in compassion they reached out to embrace this family of child refugees from South Sudan.
Two boys, Martin and Albino, who represented the family, barely knew English and had never attended school, met with Jane and me. These tall 13- and 14-year-old boys were so skinny and frail that it took our breath away. This memory is forever etched in our minds because Albino could not even lift his head to talk to us. With sagging shoulders and a spirit to match, he kept his eyes on the floor. We had never seen such a broken and dejected child.
Through the years, Albino took on the responsibility of his siblings even after they had been abandoned by both parents for a time. While growing in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, he kept his family together. Albino became one of the most popular boys and a leader at the secondary school. To see him now, you would not know he was the same sad boy we met so many years ago.
Today, Albino is enrolled in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Diploma Program at the Kenya Christian Industrial Training Center. While some of his siblings have now returned home to the new nation of South Sudan, Albino still lives at home with 12 other siblings who are all enrolled at KDS. This family is one of God’s miracles and part of the fruit being produced by KDS.
Albino’s story illustrates just what can happen when the Body of Christ unites together to make a difference for others. You are a part of our community and this story is yours, too, because you helped this family of refugees rise from ashes of despair into hopeful and bright futures.
Enclosed is a response form. We are grateful for any amount you prayerfully pledge to continue God’s work at KDS. Because of your prayers and financial support, countless lives are being changed and our mission to produce Godly leadership in Africa is being fulfilled in wonderful miraculous ways.
May God richly bless you and your family during this season of Thanksgiving!
For His Precious Little Ones,
President & CEO of Kenya Children’s Fund
Because of your faithful support of Kenya Children’s Fund and the Kinyago-Dandora Schools (KDS), we have much to celebrate as the end of 2011 draws near….and great things to look forward to in 2012.
Your prayers and financial gifts have made such a difference in the lives of families living in one of the poorest areas of Nairobi. You have played a major part in helping us in our ministry of raising the next generation of African leaders and we are very grateful. Together we can rejoice over the following highlights of 2011:
*Two new classrooms were constructed last spring. The 7th and 8th graders are delighted to be back in their former classrooms and the nursery students now occupy the new rooms.
*Funds were raised to replace the primary school roof as it could no longer be patched. This original roof from 1990 was beyond repair. The work started a few weeks ago and is nearly complete. A water harvesting system will be added in April.
*The library was remodeled to add more work space and an expanded reading area for the children.
What a precious meaningful ministry to which we have been entrusted. Together, with God’s help, we are making a profound difference!
God’s richest blessings to you and your family in 2012.
For His Precious Little Ones,
Kenya Children's Fund together with Kinyago-Dandora Schools is pleased to introduce video updates from our school. Click a link below to see what is happening at KDS and KDSS!
To receive regular email video updates on the most recent happenings at our schools please CLICK HERE to provide us with your email address! Asante Sana!