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The Story of Wilco & Lydia Venter and Their Family
Who Live and Work in Kenya Hoping and Praying to Make a Difference
if Only in the Life of one Person or Child.
by Lydia Venter


Growing up in a white South Africa definitely made a mark on who we are, or who we thought we are. Working for the far right wing parties and fighting to preserve the Afrikaner was part of our lives until the early 1990s, when the Lord radically revealed Himself to my husband, Wilco, and myself.

 

God's calling is irrevocable. His promises yea and amen! Our story is a story of faith, patience, endurance, pressing in, pressing through We waited 10 years since the time we felt God's calling and the realization of it. During that time He continued molding us, preparing us, shaping us and yes, even using us.

 

Through visions and prophetic words He showed us our future — our lives would now focus on children and we would reside in Kenya. When we adopted our first black daughter - Maki - in 1995, we lost two huge families.  The price we paid for being obedient was enormously huge, but not near as big as what our Lord Jesus had paid on the cross. We adopted another two children over the colour line while still living in South Africa, and many more adopted children would follow.

ph1

In Aug 2001 we left South Africa in a 4x4, trailer in tow, with three children and heaps of excitement for the future. Nine days later we arrived in Kenya, the "Promised Land." Kenya is a land that we would later discover was not only filled with 'milk and honey' (literally), but also with unbearable poverty, corruption and in many instances utter hopelessness.

 

In September 2001, we started lecturing at a Bible College in Njoro, a small village near the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley Province. Although we loved seeing all of the young men and women that have accepted the Word of Truth, we knew that our calling and passion was mostly for children. This was confirmed even before we moved to Kenya, when the Lord told us that the Bible College is not our destiny, but that it will only serve as a platform to get us started in Kenya.

 

In 2003, YASHA Ministry was born. YASHA is a Hebrew word, declaring that help and deliverance are freely available to provide a haven of safety for every child of God. Our heart was to love the unlovable, to reach the unreachable, and to touch the untouchable. After being in Kenya for many years, we still haven't found many other "wazungus" (white people) working in some of these areas. Our prayer is that the Lord will ignite a passion in the hearts of people to reach out to some of these marginalized areas.


During this time we started working among the Kalenjin and the Ndorobo people in the Mau Forest. Just a note: Ndorobo means "poor people without cattle." It is told that the Maasai and Dorobo were under a tree, when God had to choose one. The Ndorobo believes that God then chose the Maasai. Thank God that He had sent His Son to proclaim freedom for the captives… to open prison doors and to set the oppressed free. (Luke 4:18)

 

In the years since 2003 while working with these people, we planted several churches in different locations. Although there is a true hunger for God amongst the people, it also takes time to get people grounded in the Word as many can not read or write. Quite often someone becomes the local 'pastor' simply because he's the only one possessing a Bible. But we've seen great occurrences over the years. What a privilege it was to bring a lady of 105 years to the Lord several months before she passed on. In another incident Wilco was ministering in a small village, called Kobor.There was a couple who attended the meetings and the wife was born again, but not her husband, Maritim. This old 'mzee' had never set foot outside his ancestral area and he had never seen a white man before. It was an absolute privilege and an utter joy and jubilation when Maritim finally made a commitment to Christ. ph2


Not many people want to work in these isolated areas. Wilco often had to go with the motorbike ("pikipiki") as the vehicle can't reach some villages.  The narrow and bumpy path winds over hills and through water crossings. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:37)


Additionally, we established several nursery schools in the forest. Education is an extraordinary and difficult challenge in these remote areas. Until a few years ago only 10% of these children proceeded to secondary level. Although education is still fraught with difficulties, we thank God that more schools have recently sprang forth. In the Learning Centres that we initiated, we use the Accelerated Christian Education system. We've modified it into a nursery school program and it works exceedingly well. We've achieved excellent results over the years with many of our nursery graduates going straight to Standard Two. We usually keep track of those advancing to primary level and our kids usually end up amongst the top performers. Through the Lord's grace we even had a boy who was top academically in the entire district after joining primary level. The exams in Kenya are the same for everybody, whether you live in the middle of Nairobi, or reside in the remotest of areas. It sounds unfair, and basically it is unfair. This makes it more imperative to reach out to 'the least of these'.

 

 

Several years ago we started realizing that street children are increasing at an alarming rate. At that time our lives were filled with children (our own and ministry) and frankly speaking, we just had no grace nor time nor energy to do something about it. The years went by until one day in May, 2012 we received South African visitors. One of our guests, Etrisia Lillie, had her smartphone in for repairs.

 

As we were in Nakuru town the whole day, we passed many street kids. They all knew us, so wherever we walked we could hear cries of "Mama Venter, Mama Venter." I've asked Father God many years ago to make my forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint (Ezekiel 3:9) unless He wants me to do something in which case His Holy Spirit has to prompt me. I simply could not afford to be emotionally vulnerable every time I saw a child suffering. That would have broken my spirit many years ago, as we are daily confronted with brokenness, poverty and rejected human beings.


At around 4pm that afternoon we went to pick up Etrisia's mobile phone and, as we were waiting for her to return from the shop, two children suddenly appeared at my car window.  It's hard to explain what had happened in those few seconds as I've looked into their eyes. I suddenly saw their hurt, their rejection and their pain. I also saw their potential, their future and the amazing love God has for them. Within 5 minutes six street boys were in our car (see photos). That incident marked the birth of the YASHA Hope Centre (www.educateachildtoday.blogspot.com) and over the years we felt the pain of seeing former street boys returning to the streets, but also had the joy to witness lives being changed by the power of the resurrected Christ.

 

 

Susan Ndungu and the wonderful children God has given her, is also in relationship with YASHA Hope Centre (see photo). Susan lives in Nanyuki and has a degree in Special Needs Education. Let us share with you about one of her little angels.

 

Sylvia, a Samburu girl, was born with cerebral palsy in 2008. (See Photo 6) In many villages people view this as a curse. In the village where she was born, the community decided to kill her. This death sentence occurred in December, 2011. Of course God Almighty has to put His stamp of approval to everything that's to happen on earth, so here's what happened. Sylvia's uncle was the first young man to ever join university. During that December he attended one of Susan's workshops on how tos deal with special needs children. He then approached her after the session, telling her about Sylvia.

Susan immediately notified the children's department in Marsabit and, within a few days she found herself traveling to a small town near the Ethiopian desert where she met with the authorities to go and take Sylvia away from her parents. She was then taken to an orphanage in Maralal where she stayed until September 2012. Susan and Lydia travelled two women alone to this remote village. What was to be a 3-hour journey, turned out to be a 9 hour nightmare.  They encountered floods and ventured into an area of unrest where tribes were fighting each other due to cattle rustling and theft. God didn't allow us to know about the floods nor about the unrest as He knew that we then would have probably postponed or canceled the trip altogether.


In exasperation, during the trip, Lydia cried out to God, asking: "Why do you allow two women to go through this agony for a girl who is deformed, dumb and blind??" She clearly heard God's answer: "This is what my Son did to come to a world that is deformed, dumb and blind." That journey changed her perspective forever as it made her realize how precious each person is in God's eyes.

 

In the years we have served in Kenya, we had been attacked, robbed, mocked and cheated! We've also met the most amazing people children of God who loves and adores their heavenly Father and who serve Him in truth and in spirit. Yes, we have been blessed beyond measure, beyond understanding, beyond reason This is where God wants us, this is where He uses us and this is where we want to be. God loves Africa God loves Kenya. "