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Pearl Partner Spotlight: Kenya

This blog is a part of an ongoing series on Forward Edge’s Pearl Partners. Check out our highlights on Cuba and Haiti and enjoy this interview with Jane Wathagana.  

20 years ago, Jane Wathagana was a successful businesswoman in Kenya, the Director of Animal World Safaris and Elangata Luxury Camps, when she met an American tourist named Dave Watts, who had come to see a safari in the Maasai Mara. After an amazing safari spent conversing together, Dave and his wife asked Jane if there were any opportunities to serve while they were abroad in Africa; so she introduced them to her mother, affectionately known in their community as “Mama Beth” who helped provide food for about 60 underprivileged children in a Kenyan town called Kijabe. Dave and Mama Beth connected instantly, and Jane was thrilled to see her mother’s humanitarian work being recognized… but she had no idea how this moment would change the trajectory of her own life forever. 

Upon returning to the U.S., Dave connected his new Kenyan friends to Forward Edge, and over the course of that next year, the ministry of Mama Beth Children’s Program became Forward Edge Pearl Partners. Originally, Jane had been apprehensive to doing the type of work her mother labored for so tirelessly; but God began to work on Jane’s heart. She started volunteering on the weekends to support her mother’s ministry and help break the cycle of poverty she grew up experiencing.  

“Every time I saw a needy child, it was like I saw a little me. I wanted to help more so that this generation of children’s lives would be better” she shared. But for Jane, she felt like this ministry wasn’t her calling – it was her mother’s. “To me, my volunteer work had nothing to do with God’s calling. I was doing it to help my mother, so that her legacy could continue… or so I thought. In reality, it had everything to do with me, and it changed me slowly but surely. By God’s grace I was becoming exactly like my loving mother.” 

In 2015, Jane visited the U.S. for the first time, to attend a Forward Edge event. “I was so excited because it was my first time in the U.S. and I was ready to meet everyone and tell them about our work in Kenya; but I didn’t know what God had in store for me. I didn’t know that it was time for my turning point.” The speaker at the event spoke on being “fully available to God and who he sends you to.” Jane felt, in that moment, that God was speaking loudly and clearly to her.  

“When I got to my room that night, I barely slept. All I wanted was to talk to God, have a conversation with him and know if He was the one who calling me into ministry, or if I was just doing it for my mother. I asked God so many questions and he answered me directly. That night felt like I was Jacob in Genesis 32, wrestling with God. I asked Him:  

Why would you choose me to do this important work when I have older brothers and sisters who could have joined my mom and done it better than me?’ And God answered me from 1 Samuel 16. ‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ And when Samuel comes to the youngest sibling, David, God says ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’ It was as if God was saying the very same words to me.  

Then I asked him ‘Lord, how will I do this? I love these children and I don’t want to fail. How will I get the resources to do what I feel called to do?’ And he answered me from Isaiah 45:2-3: ‘I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God who summons you by name.’  

That next morning, I woke up knowing that It was God who called me into the ministry, to lead Mama Beth Children’s Program. It was not just for my mother – it was my call as well. Since then, I have never looked back and I have seen God do what he promised me that night, and I know that He is able to do so exceedingly.” 

Since then, Jane has led Mama Beth Children’s Program courageously and faithfully, with a vision to serve and share the love of Jesus with as many children as possible. Two decades after her mother began serving 60 children in Kijabe, the program now has feeding programs at four different schools, providing meals for 1,082 children, five days a week. Jane’s testimony is an incredible example of faithfulness to God, and how He can work in us and through us, when we say yes to his calling. 

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Transform a Child's Life Through Sponsorship

Miredita (hello), my name is Theo

  • location

    Kosovo

  • 14 yrs. old

    09-21-2009

Entered the program: September 2023

Theo lives with his mother and sister in a one-bedroom apartment that they own. The family lived for many years in a rented apartment but the owner was always threatening to evict them as they couldn’t pay the rent regularly. Theo’s uncles and some cousins gathered enough money together to buy them the apartment they’re in now. Theo’s mom sleeps in the kitchen and he and his sister share the bedroom.

Theo's parents are divorced. His dad visits sometimes and tries to bring food to help out. Theo’s mom tries to make some money sewing traditional clothing in the summer when there are tourists. She receives government assistance but it doesn’t even cover the utilities; her siblings try to help with money for food and firewood, and hand-me-down clothes for Theo and his sister.

Theo's sister, Leona, is also in the Corner Stone program.

Sponsorship Level What's this?

Three $38 sponsorships are needed to cover the complete holistic care of one child. Cover one, two, or three sponsorships.