Big News!

Big News

I am very excited about my next steps as Director of Kimbilio Project. Moving forward, I will spend six to eight months of every year in Kenya to lead the Kimbilio Baby Home, build relationships with other children’s homes, work with the government, and lead our Kenyan and American staff. During 2013, I will spend June through November in Kenya! The remainder of my time will be spent in America traveling to meetings, fundraising, and speaking engagements. I look forward to staying in touch with you while I am in Kenya and connecting with you when I return to America.

I need your support in order for this to happen. Click HERE to give and support what God is doing with Kimbilio!

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4 Years Ago

St. Louis Collage

I grew up in a very small town and was raised in a Baptist church. When I was 9 years old, I prayed a prayer, which I thought meant I would go to Heaven. I thought this was all there was to being a Christian. Growing up in a small southern Baptist church I thought all there was to Jesus was legalism (not drinking, smoking, doing drugs, cursing, etc.). This is the life I lived until everyone started to get their license in high school. Being at a small high school, most of my friends started drinking so I thought I had to as well to fit in. I started chasing things of this world, while thinking all I had to do was show up at church every Sunday morning.

Senior year of high school came around and I started to realize there was something more to life than the things of this world, but did not really know what this was. Jesus started moving in my heart, but I did not know it Jesus. I went to Clemson after high school and continued to live two lives (one in the things of this world, and the other at church and Clemson FCA). Spring Break of Freshman year came around and everyone was making plans. A lot of my friends were going on the FCA mission trip. Clemson FCA does a mission trip every Spring Break where they take around 400 college students to a city in the United States to serve with various ministries. It was after the deadline to sign up, but I decided to go on the FCA mission trip to St. Louis. There were still spots open so I was able to go. I did not know what God had in store for me on this trip.

The group that I was placed with served at a transitional home for people who are homeless, called the Hope House. In the backyard of the Hope House was the home of Eric and Aaron. They would watch us play with the kids from their backyard. One day I decided to go down and talk to them through the fence. This is when God started to break my heart. On Tuesday, March 17, 2009 after our session I went back to my hotel. I opened my Bible and started looking through scripture. At this time I started balling my eyes up and knew God was telling me to surrender everything and follow Him. Throughout this trip I realized I never truly understood what it mean to follow Jesus. It is so much more than legalism and “doing the right things.” Jesus wants a relationship with us. Sitting on the bed in my hotel I knew I wanted this relationship with Him! From this point forward, Jesus gave me a new heart that longed for Him and His truth!

The next day I decided to leave the Hope House compound and went to play with Eric and Aaron in their backyard. This is when God showed me missions was going to be a part of my life forever and I felt Him tell me to go on a foreign mission trip.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of visiting friends in St. Louis and we drove by the Hope House. I was able to reflect on God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. He had taken me to St. Louis Freshman year for me to realize there was more to Christianity than legalism. To follow Him meant that I was to live for Him, not live to not sin. Following Jesus is a true and whole surrender of all things, reading and living by His word, leaving all things for Him, having a community to hold you accountable, knowing that He gives us eternal life and that the same power that rose Him from the dead lives in us!

The Rodes Family

Our vision for Kimbilio Project has always been to have an American family that lives in Kenya to lead our staff. In August, I felt God prompt me to start praying for this family. At the time I was very confused as to why He wanted me to do this because I did not think it was time to even think about hiring this family. Just a few days later I received a text message from my sister asking me if I remembered Will and Kelly Rodes from NewSpring Church, in Anderson, SC (the church I attended while in school at Clemson University). She told me to go search for a blog they had posted about their next steps. I found their blog and as I read it I stopped in my tracks and was in awe. Their blog was announcing how Will was resigning from his job at NewSpring and he, Kelly, and their two year old boy, Liam, were headed to Mozambique to attend a missionary training school. They would return home at the end of December, believing God would have their next step ready. I knew Kelly because she worked the front desk at NewSpring but had not actually met Will. I decided to reach out to Will and ask him to grab coffee before they left for Mozambique. In the chaos of packing his family up, he found time to meet with me.

We shared our stories and how God placed Africa on our hearts. After our time together came to an end, I knew there was a connection and they were supposed to be a part of Kimbilio. I realized this is exactly why God prompted me to start praying for the family that would lead Kimbilio in Kenya. I kept in touch with Will and Kelly during their time in Mozambique. God brought along the four ladies, Kimbilio interns, in October and that is when we knew God was leading us back to the idea of the baby home. I presented this idea to Will and Kelly and asked them to pray through whether they would be a part of this in any way. After much prayer as to what God had next for the Rodes family, they knew Kimbilio was what was next. Will, Kelly, and Liam were able to travel to Kenya at the beginning of January to spend time with the Avery’s, founders of Choose to Invest, and the rest of our staff in Kenya. After returning home they completed interviews with members of our Board of Directors. Everyone was in agreement and knew that the Rodes family was the perfect family for this job!

I am so excited that Will and Kelly are now on board with Kimbilio. From the start I felt an immediate connection with this family that I cannot even explain. God has made that connection stronger every day. I love Will, Kelly, and Liam and cannot wait for God to use them in Kenya for Kimbilio Project!

To read more about the Rodes family and the Kimbilio interns click here: www.choosetoinvest.org/kimbilio/staff

Vision

Everyone of you has a vision for something. This vision could be to be a Godly man or woman, great father or mother, be Jesus to people you work with, teach your child about Jesus, be a missionary, plant a church, etc.

Most of you know my vision. On June 19, 2010 I visited a children’s home in Nairobi, Kenya while participating in the Journey Internship with Choose to Invest. I stooped through the door of a painted gate to see a four-story, concrete orphanage before me. At the time I felt something move in me and I was not sure what it was. With each step that I took towards the orphanage I knew what was moving in me. It was a vision God was giving me to start an orphanage in Kenya. Not just another orphanage but an orphanage that cares for children holistically, develops leaders of orphan care within our staff, and helps other homes better care for their children. This vision began about two and half years ago when I was only nineteen years old and each day it becomes more of a reality.

If you are not aware, we announced that we are starting a Kimbilio Baby Home, Kimbilio’s first step to providing a refuge for orphaned and abandoned children. You can see that announcement HERE. Jesus brought some incredible individuals along to help make this possible. Will and Kelly Rodes (along with their two and a half year old son, Liam) who will lead daily operations at Kimbilio. As well as the Kimbilio interns (Caitlin, Ellen, Erin, and Mollie) who graduate college in May and will move to Kenya to help set up the baby home.

About two weeks ago we hosted our second annual Run for Orphans in Alpharetta, GA. Will, Kelly, Liam, Caitlin, Ellen, Erin, and Mollie all came into town to help with the race. After the race we all got to hang out and get to know each other more. I was overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness and sovereignty the entire weekend.

We ended the weekend by attending a gathering at Passion City Church. After church we spent some time praying together. As we sat in a circle on the floor praying for what is ahead, I absolutely lost it. I could not hold back the tears of joy and gratitude. I was sitting in a circle of people who were going to help make the vision God gave even more of a reality. I was sitting with what I like to call a family that will be a part of Kimbilio providing a refuge for its first children in Kenya! I thought of the babies stuck in hospitals with no place to go, no love, no care, and to most people no hope, but I was sitting with a group of people that God will use to rescue these babies, helping them know their Heavenly Father and that they are not a mistake. Two and half years ago I would never thought I would be sitting in this circle, but I worship a big God who knew exactly what He was doing and continues to orchestrate every detail in my life.

If God gives you a vision, He will see it to completion. Trust Him to do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I hope this can encourage you to continue to walk in faith and trust God that He fulfill that vision. He is always orchestrating the details of your life, even when you do not realize it. One day you will be able to look back and see how sovereign He is and always will be!

In Christ,

Edward

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