Thursday, January 09, 2020

Are You Ready for a New Beginning?

New Beginnings is a six month discipleship program based in Kenya which aims to help recent graduates grow in faith and transition to life after high school. SAMS missionaries, Dave and Lucy Chaves, have been grateful to be part of New Beginnings for the past nine years.

Each year a new class of participants joins, usually 6 to 12 in size, and a mix of males and females. The participants meet at a local church for small group Bible studies, book discussions, life skills training, and mentorship sessions. They also participate in short-term missions, community service, and occasional retreats. In 2019, there were 10 participants along with over 14 alumni who served as volunteer teachers and mentors.

Each participant learns about God’s purpose and calling; gains leadership, communication, and job skills, and has the opportunity to serve others in their community as well as engage in cross-cultural mission. While many of the participants grew up in informal settlements in Nairobi and attended school through scholarships, others have joined New Beginnings from the USA, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

To learn more about New Beginnings, click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

When Justice Cries:

A Family's Struggle with Injustice and Impunity

The date forever remains etched in my mind; it was the culmination of many of the worst days of my life. Fifth December, 2017 was a Tuesday morning and one of my childhood friends, Pam, had graciously agreed to accompany me to the city center, town, as many Nairobians would call it. The journey I was taking seemed surreal to me, how was I on my way to buy the last dress that my sister would ever wear?

It Wasn't Supposed to be This Way

I nearly lost my mind on that journey because this was never our agreement. It was an understanding between my sister and I that her wedding dress would be a gift from me. I knew the design she wanted, she had shown me pictures, and of course as big sister I suggested some edits to it. I was supposed to watch her walk down the aisle and ululate with my other siblings as our little sister was married. I never imagined I would be combing through town trying to find a dress for her to be buried in. Someone had played a mean joke and my world was crumbling on Muindi Mbingu street. I stood in the road and wept bitterly and shamelessly. My heart was breaking not just for me but for the rest of my family, how were we going to face the days ahead?

Does the Justice System Work?

Death, is horrendous for those left behind. It is hard enough to come to terms with when it occurs naturally, but when it has been willfully caused by another human being, those left behind are always very close to the grave themselves. My little sister, Chichy, was unfortunate to meet her death in such a horrible manner.

As a family we never imagined that anyone would kill our sister. She wasn’t the kind of girl to go looking for trouble, she was a neat and organized person, tiny physically but had a big heart for people. Kind and faithful, she enjoyed laughter, food, and singing. When she didn’t answer our phone calls, it never occurred to us that she would be dead. The worst, we assumed, was that she fell ill somewhere and her phone went off. Unfortunately for us, that was not the case. It was the biggest shock of our lives when she was found dead in her apartment, badly mutilated. Somebody murdered our baby sister.

Before her burial, the DCIO of Nakuru assured our family that it was just a matter of time before the suspected culprit, a prominent Nakuru businessman, was brought in. He was confident that all the evidence they had collected clearly pointed to the murderer. A private investigation also identified a key suspect and linked him to the crime scene. Sad to say but shortly thereafter the DCIO went mute on us. A year down the line, despite many efforts the family has never received any brief or update from the police.

A Case to Answer

We have been left with many unanswered questions. We do not know why our baby sister was brutally murdered and we fail to understand why a criminal is free to carry out his activities in the confidence that the police are of no consequence to him. Our fear is that this has happened for too long. While other people may be comfortable to go on with their lives believing that it is best to leave things as they are; our family strongly believes in justice. It was wrong for someone to murder our sister; it is wrong that we are expected to go on with our lives as if nothing happened. Something did happen, we were mercilessly robbed of our beloved. It is unthinkable that we have such an incompetent police system that is either not bothered about the plight of the innocent in this country or that seeks to benefit from their misfortune. As a family, we are convinced that we have a right to the truth, a right to feel protected and a right to feel safe in our own country.  We have been good citizens of this nation and we do our part to make it better, despite the little we have, it is our right to demand #Justice4ChichyAmina.

Chichy Amina, a banker at Stanbic Bank, Nakuru, was murdered in her home on November 23rd, 2017. Read more.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Business as Mission - Creating a Cafeteria in Siaya

Quickserve Delicacies opened its doors in mid June offering a host of local cuisine including wet fry tilapia, traditional chicken, roasted beef, ugali, chapati, rice, and more. The cafeteria is situated in the heart of Siaya Town and was established and is run by youth from the Anglican Diocese of Maseno West.

This is a unique effort at Business as Mission as the project was conceived and developed by the church in order to help address problems of poverty and unemployment among the youth. The Cafeteria currently employs five staff and serves between 50 - 150 customers per day. It is managed and run by a young entrepreneur with big dreams who believes in empowering the youth and supporting youth ministry. Kenya Connection has worked with the Diocese to raise matching funds to help setup the cafeteria. Check out a few quick clips we captured in between meetings and bites of tilapia during our visit in June 2015.

Business as Mission - Youth Cafeteria in Maseno West from iHope Photography on Vimeo.

Help us set up more youth businesses in Maseno. Make a gift to our business as mission project fund in Maseno West today.

Getting around the village

Public transportation has developed new forms. Fifty years ago, residents of Bungoma would walk for a whole day to reach Luanda, enjoying the beauty of Nyanza and sharing roast maize along the way. Today, there are a variety of efficient and affordable ways to get around the villages of Western Kenya.

Throughout the region bicycles are being replaced by motorcycles. Bicycles became famous carrying passengers across the Kenya-Uganda Border and developed the Swahili moniker "boda-boda", from one border to another. Motorcycles are known by another fun name: "piki-piki" and I can verify that one motorcycle can carry up to four passengers and dozens of chickens. Motorcycles are now the main form of transportation for many, from home to the marketplace, farm, or job. 

Another recent arrival on the transportation scene is the affordable and efficient Toyota Probox, which ferries passengers longer distances on more established roads. Back bench variations of the vehicle legally hold six passengers, but we've seen up to 17 in a single car. To accommodate as many travelers as possible, the driver encourages passengers to squeeze as much as possible, all children are carried or stand, and it is normal for the driver to sit on the lap of an extra passenger while driving. . .Matatus are also common in Western Kenya and ply the major highways ferrying passengers between cities and towns. These colorful vehicles are an efficient and affordable way to connect.

School Campaign - TextBooks and Supplies for Uyoma

In June, it was our joy to visit Uyoma Primary School in Western Kenya. The nearly 500 students welcomed us with eager smiles and had a blast playing games with Josh. We've been engaged in a campaign to provide textbooks and other resources to under-equipped rural schools and Uyoma is our first key partner. Some of the youth we work with in Nairobi have gotten very involved in this mission and we are excited to see how it continues to develop.

Thanks to generous contributions from friends in honor of Michael C. Normile, we were able to deliver 150 textbooks as well as a fourth month supply of sanitary towels. We are hoping to continue to raise funds towards this campaign and eventually establish a library at Uyoma. Check out a short video from our visit to Uyoma below:

Uyoma Primary Visit from iHope Photography on Vimeo.

Donations to the school supply fund can be made to SAMS. Just select the box for

Friday, October 24, 2014

Our Traditional Wedding Ceremony

I've visited the homestead of my wife's father before, but this time it was official. In Dholuo culture, marrying a daughter of the boma is finalized through an official gathering at the father's home, where relatives host a wedding feast and receive gifts and bride price from the groom. My first delegation traveled to Alego Kaluo in 2009. However, the husband of a younger daughter may not officially visit the father's home until his elder brother (the husband of the first daughter) has first presented himself. So after, 5 years of marriage, I finally had the privilege of traveling to Kaluo to solmenize our marriage through traditional wedding.

 Dave accompanied by his two representatives: Rev. Francis and Rev. Peter.
Uncles of Lucy share a hearty meal of brown Ugali (millet), roasted goat, and traditional chicken during the wedding celebrations.

Aunties present a gift to their special visitors.
This is the house where we planned to stay (on a new ministry property in Siaya), but due to heavy rains we quickly made other arrangements.
Josh and Paul prefer the Mwalimu Guesthouse in Siaya.

Inspiring Hope Group Launch

Earlier this month we held the official launch for Inspiring Hope Group (IHG), a fellowship, savings, and business development group for youth in Kenya.

Nearly one hundred parents, friends, and partners joined us for the event at ACK Christ Church in Westlands.

IHG currently has 22 members and runs two businesses: iHope Farms and iHope Photography (

 Words of encouragement from local clergy during the IHG Launch.
Group members during a meeting at the Chaves family's flat.
Our Farm Manager, Benjamin inspects onion seedlings being prepared for transplantation at the project site in Bungoma, western Kenya.

Graduation Day

Congratulations to Lucy!

Graduating from St. Paul's University Divinity School with first class honours. Photos from the campus and ceremony in Limuru, Kenya:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christ Church Youth Dinner

Sports Day

Earlier in July, Josh participated in a Sports Day at his school. A few photos:

Occultism, Spirit Possession and Hysteria

During a recent visit to Western Kenya, I accompanied a friend for an emergency pastoral visit to a local primary school. Students, teachers and parents gathered at the rural school along with the local Chief, Councilor, District Medial Officer, Police Commander and four military personnel. 

All of these had come in response to school hysteria and multiple cases of demon possession. Also present were religious leaders from a local cult who over a period of several days used a variety of rituals to try to "appease the evil spirits." According to local leaders, the spirits were annoyed because a promised human sacrifice was never delivered. In a case that garnered national media attention, learning was paralyzed in the school for weeks.

Here's an interview with one of the teachers along with a few clips I shot:

After the cult leaders were encouraged to leave, a ministry team from the Anglican church and other local evangelicals engaged in prayer. Six girls received deliverance and relief of symptoms ranging from fainting, temporary paralysis, and violent writhing and shaking. The girls made a decision to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and deliverer.

Diocesan Youth Pastor, Peter Omondi addresses distressed parents.
Local government leaders look on.
 Prayers following deliverance session.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Family Shots

 Paul Wilson relaxes after a tough day.

 Josh organizes his team for the Youth Fun Day.
Josh and Paul