Their signs read, "From street survivors to future leaders... Will you help us get there?"
Last week, MITS brought in our first intake of new students from the streets. We bring in students in groups for several reasons:
1) It's easier on the students. Leaving the freedom of the streets and entering a new school where you don't know anyone is a scary experience. When we bring in new students in groups, the shock of being the "new kid on the block" is lessened. Though they are not always the same age as one another, frequently our new students develop fast and deep friendships with the other students in their intake group—much like your class year in grade school.
2) It's easier on the staff too! New students mean new bedding packs, tours of campus, orientation, and answering an endless amount of questions about life at MITS. It's a lot easier (and more fun) for the staff to welcome several students at a time and help them start their new life away from the streets.
3) It helps us find sponsors. See those seven fresh faces? (Eight if you count the baby.) Their days on the streets may be behind them, but our work supporting them—teaching, feeding, loving, and mentoring daily—has just begun. After assigning them a bed, a uniform, and meeting their needs, our next step is to prayerfully match each of them with a sponsor who donates monthly toward the cost of caring for each of them. Might that sponsor be you? Visit our Sponsorship page to learn about our student sponsorship program and—if you feel led—register to support one of these seven precious new students during their time with us at Made in the Streets.
Last month, Francis Mbuvi and Moses Okoth came to the United States to join up with our executive director, Brad Voss, and put in a lot of miles in support of Made in the Streets! Over the course of one month, these three guys visited MITS supporters and churches in 10 cities, building new relationships and dreaming for the future of ministry to street kids.
Here's what went down, by the numbers:
10 cities • 8 churches • 6 flights • 3 universities • 10 host homes • 50 cups of coffee • 100s of conversations • 1 broadway musical • Lots of MITS supporters • Lots of barbecue
Brad Voss, MITS' executive director, shared his thoughts on the trip, "We had a fantastic trip across the United States talking to lots of people about Made In The Streets. We made new friends and met up with many long-time MITS friends and supporters. We had some memorable experiences and received some incredible hospitality along the way. We attended an amazing fund raising dinner in Nashville; spoke in church classes, youth groups, and worship services; visited high school and college classes; met with leaders from KWO; met leaders from ACU, LCU, Lipscomb, and Pepperdine Universities; visited The headquarters of Apple; and met up with some cast members of the Lion King in New York City. We are so thankful to the many hosts and supporters that kept us warm, housed, fed and encouraged along the way. What a great trip!"
2016 was a big year for us... from new students to new hires to new ministry efforts on the horizon, we are amazed at how much has happened and how faithful God has been! Take a look at our 2016-17 annual report here.
Want to get involved with what MITS is doing? There are many ways to partner with us. Please consider sponsoring one of our students, making a one time donation, or even scheduling a visit to come see us in Kenya.
We'd like to introduce you to Brad Voss, who has joined the Made in the Streets team in the new year as our brand new executive director! Based on what we've seen so far, we are certain that Brad is the right person to lead MITS into a new season of growth over the coming years.
Check out Brad's responses to five questions that shed some light on why we think he's so awesome (and think you will too!), then read on to catch the rest of his bio.
#1: How did you first hear about MITS?
It's been a few months since we rolled out news of our plans to start a street project in Ethiopia. You can read more about the inspiration and intention behind the project on our Ethiopia Project page.
The latest developments are that this August & September, four street ministers from the Aleme's ministry in Addis Ababa will visit us in Nairobi to observe our model of outreach, recovery, and equipping. They will mentor under our staff and learn from our successes and failures over the past 20 years. They will return to Addis Ababa to start implementing what they learned.
In the new year, we will send two of our own team to Addis Ababa in January and two in February to help advise and coach the Ethiopian ministers in creating a ministry that fits the street context of Addis.
It is our hope and prayer that the Made in the Streets Ethiopia team will be able to stand on our shoulders and reach even greater levels of success and transformation than we have seen in Kenya. For now, we ask for your prayers and support as we cultivate and support this much needed street ministry.
More updates to come!
Those of you who follow Made in the Streets on Facebook or elsewhere already know about the destruction of the shops we built along the highway. These shops were on city land, and we have a written agreement with the City Council for use of the highway access area. But... As with many things, it only takes a bribe to have a city council employee come with thugs to destroy.
So... There is evil in the world. But that does not stop the work - ministry to street kids goes on, and we adjust to the new reality. We can rebuild the shops along the access road on land that belongs to us - the Team will decide about that soon. If you want to help us with this rebuilding, let us know - firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also good in the world - an excess of good that comes down from the Father of Lights, who redeems and makes holy and keeps on loving. This picture shows Charles and Francis Mbuvi with Dereje Aleme and some young men in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Made in the Streets will "export" our style of street ministry.
In our fundraising campaign to fund both the ministry in Ethiopia and the building of a Christian Camp near Nairobi, we are seeking "the 99." You know who they are - the 99 are at home with Jesus, they are safe, they have a job and a house and a car, their retirement funds are growing, they are comfortable in their faith. But...the 99 know where Jesus is - He is out there looking for THE ONE, the homeless and helpless and unredeemed one. And the 99 want to be out there with Jesus, standing at the giving edge of human need. We are looking for "99" who have been blessed by God and will give $10,000 each in 2015 and 2016 to further the development of street ministry.
So...if you have been blessed, you are welcome to take part. Send to Made in the Streets, 409 Franklin Road, Brentwood, TN 37027. Write us for more info - email@example.com
On Tuesday, June 16, at midnight, some of the MITS property was bulldozed by an unknown group. Founder Charles Coulston posted this to the MITS Facebook page at 1:45 p.m. the next day:
"We ask you to tell God you love MITS and ask for His blessing of courage and perseverance. Some thugs - saying they represent the City Council of Nairobi - or some corrupt City Council members came at midnight with a bulldozer and pushed down the shops belonging to MITS. This is where we let skill students get experience with the public. We also have guards living there. The team has salvaged some of the equipment and furniture, but much was destroyed. There is evil in the world. But we are reading Nehemiah and remembering that it is about people, not property. If you want to help us recover in any way, please write me firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks..."
As I read Charles' words, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 came to mind.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
We know as Christians we will face adversity. It's a guarantee. But we find peace in knowing that though we may be hard pressed, we will never be crushed with God watching over us. As we face opposition in this world, let us continue to illuminate Christ's light through the way we live.
Lord, let this experience strengthen our faith in You so we may be a living testament to your faithfulness and never-ending grace. Help us as we pick up the pieces, literally, and as we look toward Your plans for us for the future.
To learn more about how you can help in recovery efforts, email email@example.com.
When you do this for 27 years, you're bound to pick up a few stories and lessons along the way. Thoughts, impressions, news, and highlights from our staff, visitors, donors, students and alumni.