Locals help on global scale

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018

By Myra Bean

The call of the mission field is strong for Louise Powers of Batesville.

Her heartbreak is palpable as she recalls the living, eating and educational challenges that the orphaned, widowed, poor and oppressed people of Kenya face each day.

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Powers would know. She spends a month in Kenya each July, reconnecting with people she has gotten to know over the last 12 years and meeting new ones. Her work in Kenya is part of the efforts of Global Connections, a non-profit organization that helps Kenyans in need.

As she talks about the Kenyan people, Powers gives the background of why she has become so immersed in the lives of people who live thousands of miles away from her.

“When you go and get hooked, you want to keep going back,” she said.

Powers not only physically goes to the mission field, but her husband, Fletcher, contributes in other ways. Fletcher, known for his Grill Dust, cooked close to 100 turkey breasts this year at Thanksgiving to raise money for supplies in Kenya.

Powers said she has the money for her next plane ticket, which is about $2,000, but the volunteers who go over there do not always realize they need money for supplies as well as able bodies.

While there, she works with the Limuru Children’s Centre and Satellite preschool. Children are often abandoned or taken away from families due to abuse, according to Powers.

In Kenya, students have to pay to go to public schools, and they have to take tests to be allowed to go to high school. Some classrooms have 75 children.

The money the missionaries raise goes to paying tuition and buying uniforms, books and food for the students’ education.

The Kenyan government does not allow children to be adopted outside of the country. They have to be Kenyan citizens to adopt the thousands of children who have little or no homes.

Fletcher said his donation is another “band-aid” on the Kenyan people.

“It is frustrating, but they are so full of faith. We have stuff over here. They don’t have that. Their faith is in God,” Fletcher said.

What amazes the Powers’ is that the people are so joyful.

Louise said, “When we went into school this year, they sang religious songs and pray blessings on us.” She said she was surprised since the missionaries have so much compared to what the Kenyan people have.

Global Connections has a “Godparent Program,” which pairs Kenyan children with people who support them financially and through prayer. Louise is in charge of keeping the spreadsheet of godparents and children, and she shares updates about the children with their godparents.

People who have never visited Kenya and have no plans to can still help by “adopting” a child through the Godparent Program.

One of the funniest things Louise remember is the older Kenyan children getting cell phones. Their mentors and parents were fussing about the kids being on their phones all the time.

She said she told them, “Welcome to our world.”

In addition to Global Connections’ home for abandoned children and the educational aspects, the organization has a baby home and a feeding program. The feeding program hands out a bag of food every two weeks to women who walk up to 30 miles to receive help.

To help, contact Louise Powers through the Batesville First United Methodist Church at 563-4534.