How it all began
Silas and I first met at Ebenezer Life Centre, when I was led by God to serve in that orphanage in Kenya. After God confirming, to both of us, that we were to be husband and wife, we got married in October of 2004, and began our journey together. It soon became clear that God had laid similar dreams in each of our hearts, about uplifting the poor in Africa, preaching the gospel and a passion to parent orphans.
In 2008 while living in Ottawa Canada, we developed a burning conviction in our hearts that we were to start with the little we had and begin a school in Kenya. As we shared this vision with some of our family and friends, their hearts were stirred to help, with the little they had. So in July of 2008 our school in Kenya began with one teacher, who recruited 30 students. The school was in a local church in the village of Yogo, held in a mud hut. During the week it was a school and on the weekends it was the church.
Knowing how severe the poverty is in that region, a close friend, Sue Blake insisted that our school serve two meals a day to the children. She gave a large donation to start that dream and lay that foundation. As we began planning and dreaming for the future, we desired that the region develop and that in order for it to have long term stability and effective support, it needed to be self-sustainable.
On August 5 2008, through our good friend Lynn Fraser, God lead us to meet a new couple, Roland and Theresa Poirier. They had been dreaming of uplifting the poor and providing a way for food security. Roland had expertise in farming and agriculture and had already successfully created community gardens in Canada and the US which gave back and help sustained some of those locally in need. They were dreaming bigger, wanting to venture into a third world country, when they met us.
You Feed Them
They were quick to suggest that we meet their pastor, Shawn Ketcheson of Trinity Bible Church of Osgoode Ontario. Unknown to us, their church had been praying corporately, seeking God’s direction for them. They had a burden to feed the poor. After several meetings and more connections with more people, God lead us to start an organization called Youfeedthem. (http://www.youfeedthem.com/)
The name and conception of Youfeedthem (YFT) was derived out of the scripture verse found in Mark 6:37-44 NLT. After preaching to the multitudes, instead of sending everyone away hungry, Jesus said to his disciples “You feed them.” In the end, the disciples brought the little that was found amongst them and Jesus blessed it and God multiplied what they had brought. God laid a solid reminder in all our hearts that as we trust and obey Him, where He leads, He will multiply the little we give and bring to Him. We can all testify to His faithfulness and His incredible goodness day after day!
Through the active partnership with Trinity Bible Church we were able to provide tax receipts for those partnering with us financially through YFT. Youfeedthem continued to grow. In April of 2011 a mission team from Community Bible Church of Stittsville, (CBC) visited Seje, a possible second village for YFT expansion. They fell in love with the children and people of Seje and returned home to Canada, committed to helping YFT uplift the people of that community in Kenya. In September of 2011, CBC brought that dream to fruition by starting a school with 30 students, one teacher and one cook who prepared two meal a day for the children. Together with YFT, CBC became the core partner for our work in Seje, providing tax receipts for those partnering to uplift that community.
More in our hearts
Although Youfeedthem’s main initiative is food security, through self-sustainable, duplicable farming, it became clear to Silas and I that God had laid more in our hearts, as a family. We were to be a bridge to bring more holistic solutions to the multiple needs that were evident within the communities in Kenya. God opened doors and more people began to partner with us to bring;
Clean drinking water
Bringing electricity into the remote village of Yogo
Self-sustainable, duplicable farming
Women’s Oasis program that supports widows with micro businesses to enable them to provide for their families.
To start a church in the heart of Siaya town, which we both pastor, called Christ Glory Centre (A ministry under VOSH)
Yogo youth group, uplifting and encouraging the youth in the region, who are pooling their resources and working together creating community jobs and building a brighter future. (Inspired by a visit from a youth and dear friend of ours, Ryan Dekker from Canada, through YFT.)
A cement foundation was laid for a clinic and dispensary in the village.
Hosting teams of missionaries to participate in the projects, hands on in Kenya.
Engaging the government to get involved.(World Food Day was hosted on our farms in Yogo in 2010 through YFT)
Training locals with farming technics used on our farms.
Creating opportunities for partners to facilitate initiatives in their hearts. (One such example was Pastor Vinita of AMIC Canada had a specific desire to purchase bikes to give to Pastor’s in the region. Such a gift meant that our Pastors could have more time at home with their families because it took considerably less time than walking. A gift of great value!)
God had given Silas and I, a word in 2004 about becoming “a bridge” from Canada to Africa. Although at that time we understood little of what that meant, we are now starting to see what He had in mind. As much as lives were being radically changed in Kenya, deep transformation was taking place in the hearts of the North Americans that were partnering with us and particularly those who went on the mission trips to Kenya. We began to see this divine exchange. While North Americans were coming to help serve and fill the desperate physical hunger needs in Kenya, the Kenyan’s were filling up the ravenous gaping spiritual hunger that lay in the hearts of many North American’s. There was this beautiful exchange taking place! We were becoming a bridge in which God could do so much more!
In April of 2011, God began to speak to Silas and I that it was time, as a family, to move to Kenya. Much growth had taken place and the projects needed a full time director on the ground, overseeing everything. With YFT being a nonprofit organization, none of us drew an income from the projects. When we moved to Kenya in September of 2012, we attempted to run a transport business to sustain our family but it proved to be too demanding with the vast growth of the projects, consuming majority of our time. It simply wasn’t feasible.
As YFT continued to grow, Trinity Bible Church, being a small congregation felt burdened with the financial administrative need of YFT and believed that it was time for them to entrust that responsibility to someone else, as they continue to partner with us in other ways. As YFT we had to make a big decision on whether to apply for charitable status on our own or to find a new partner?
Most of YFT’s committee were not in a position to accommodate the immense needs and resources involved in becoming a charitable organization. We simply weren’t in a position to facilitate that at that time. So we began looking into other organizations to partner with.
After much research, investigating and meetings, we began a partnership with Hungry For Life (HFL) in July of 2013. Areas where we had previous gaps with lack of experience or personnel, have been met through HFL. (http://www.hungryforlife.org/) God it seems was girding us up and positioning us for even more growth.
Today all YFT projects are facilitated through Hungry For Life. Silas and I are living in Kenya with our son Ephraim (6yrs) and have become the “field partners” with HFL, who facilitate the initiatives of YFT. As a family, we are also partnered with an organization called The Great Commission Foundation (http://tgcfcanada.org/ that is able to be an umbrella of accountability for us and provide tax receipts for Canadians partnering with us financially, as a missionary family serving in Kenya. We began fundraising for our family needs in July of 2013 to enable us to continue our work unhindered, in Kenya.
We oversee the above projects in Yogo and Seje villages. In Yogo our farms have grown to 12 acres, 8 of which are fully irrigated. This has allowed us to harvest throughout the entire year. Our school in Yogo, currently goes to class 4 (or grade 4) with 140 children and grows a grade each year, as we intake new students in January.
In Seje, our school has 76 students and goes up to class 2 (grade 2). Our children there are also fed two meals a day and in both villages our children are preforming well above the national average. Some farming has begun in Seje but we are excited about the animal husbandry that will begin in New Year for both communities, in order for them to become self-sustainable.
YFT continues to grow as both individuals and corporate organizations partner with us. It has been noted by international agencies and governmental officials in Kenya, that for a third world county, we have experienced unprecedented growth in just 5 short years. We recognize that our success has been primarily due to knowing and working in unity with trusted people on the ground both in Kenya and Canada, and also through the generosity of many partners. We count ourselves truly blessed be a part of such endeavors!
Please check out our unique symbiotic relationship between our school and farming in Yogo, supporting the lives of the most destitute orphans and families in the region. You’re welcome to visit our partners at the following addresses and to learn more about what we all do.
http://tgcfcanada.org/ (The Great Commission Foundation is the organization that provides tax receipts for Canadians, sponsoring us as a missionary family, serving in Kenya. They can provide a means for anyone internationally wanting to support us with a financial gift but can only provide tax receipts for residents of Canada. They provide us with accountability and t4 like receipts for our tax purposes as well. We are grateful for all their hard work and making giving more feasible. If you are seeking to help sponsor us as a family, you can visit our “Come partner with us” page of our blog for more details or go directly to the link below to give. **Please make sure any gift is designated to “Silas and Kimberly Owiti Oduor (Youfeedthem)” otherwise it will go directly to support TGCF only. **
http://www.youfeedthem.com/ (Youfeedthem, the organization we founded, that we still work through. A passionate team of committed friends who work tirelessly to uplift the lives of the poor. Here you can see up to date articles, pictures, developments, growth and our dynamic team and some of our partners.)
http://www.hungryforlife.org/ (Hungry For Life, through whom all the YFT projects are facilitated. An incredible group of people who serve selflessly throughout the world.)
http://www.trinitybiblechurch.ca/ (Trinity Bible Church of Osgoode is a dedicated group of people who have been with us since the inception of all the projects. There steadfastness and love, have been an anchor of support in our lives and each of the communities in Kenaya.)
http://www.amicov.ca/sponsorshipA.html#SponsorOnline (AMIC who partner with our school in Yogo both for building development and sponsorship of our children to enable them to attend school. This is a small congregation in Russell Ontario with big hearts, big dreams and have done big initiatives within our Yogo community in Kenya and our lives personally.)
http://cbcstittsville.com/main/ (Community Bible Church of Stittsville Ontario who partner with us to serve the community of Seje, in Kenya. They are a deeply committed group of people with a tenacious spirit to do whatever it takes to uplift lives! They have persevered within the Seje community when others have given up hope. They have seen God move on their behalf, doing what many thought was impossible!)
Thank you for your interest in our lives and all that we do. If you are wanting to receive our personal monthly updates, filled with lots of great pictures and videos you can email me so I can add you to our group emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you!
In the precious love of Christ,
The Oduor family