[…continued from Part I…]
od Will Provide began in a living room with five recovering addicts, or students, and two pastors in 2005. It has multiplied since, first establishing the men’s rehabilitation facility, followed by a women’s center, and missionary college. Based largely on donations from local churches, fundraisers, and missionary services held by Fountain of Life Church, God Will Provide has expanded orphanages and/or churches in countries worldwide including Austria, Honduras, India, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Kenya, and Ukraine; plans for Somalia are in its early stages. Interestingly, “every single one of these [establishments was started] by people who were ex-addicts… Every single one of them were all students in the program at one point,” reveals Andy.
The organization is operated primarily by volunteers while food and supplies are provided by means of the community through donations. Local restaurants and grocery stores have donated food and groceries in the past. At times, family and friends of the GWP students have prepared meals to feed the staff and students at the Men’s Center.
The rehabilitation center has a built-in schedule keeping the students distracted from their old habits and their hands continuously occupied. They are assigned different tasks and projects, enabling them to learn and practice everyday skills while maintaining order and cleanliness of their living space. The following schedule resembles a regular day in Andy’s life as a student in rehab at the Men’s Center:
6:45am – Day begins
7:00am – Morning Prayer & blessing over breakfast
8:00am – 9:00am – Bible study
9:00am – Daily duties are delegated to each of the students. Once assigned, students work until 11:45am.
12:00pm – Afternoon Prayer & blessing over lunch
1:00pm – 3:00pm – Resume daily duties
3:00pm – 4:00pm – Recreational activities
4:00pm – 5:00pm – Bible Study
5:00pm – Evening Prayer & blessing over dinner
6:00pm – 8:15pm – Recreational activities
8:30pm – 9pm – Teatime/Dessert & Fellowship
10:00pm – Evening Prayer
On Tuesday evenings, the youth gathers together to fellowship, Wednesday evenings are reserved for prayer meetings, and on Friday and Sunday evenings, the congregation unites for a weeknight church service. On these days, the students prepare to leave for church immediately after dinner.
I asked Andy if he felt like he was in boot camp. Without any hesitation, Andy answers, “No. Absolutely not… That’s what I thought I was going to think because [of the schedule].” Instead, Andy frequently caught himself looking forward to prayer meetings, waiting on God and expecting to meet with Him.
It was at one of those prayer meetings that the lead pastor of Fountain of Life Church had a vision of beginning a project in Kenya. With Kenya on the horizon, the pastor prayed for wisdom and direction as to who the Lord would send to begin the mission in Kenya. “You are going to see these youth that are very dedicated in a project and they’re not going to do what they were asked. They’re going to do a lot more than they were asked. These are the people [who] are going to take over this project,” summarizes Andy of the pastor’s subsequent divine answer.
In the meantime, Andy and Johnny, another graduate of the program, shared a room together while at the Men’s Center. They would often have private bible studies in their room and frequently shared what the Lord would speak to them. They dreamt of going on mission trips together. During one of their conversations, Andy told Johnny, “… the place we’re gonna go, they’re gonna need courageous people […] that are not afraid of nothing… And that’s gonna be us. That’s where I wanna go with you.”
The two friends were on their third day of fasting when the pastor approached them outside. Johnny was in charge of developing an outdoor area with Andy’s help; a setting that Johnny envisioned would one day become a large gathering place where many people would repent. It would include a basketball hoop, a fire pit, an outdoor brick oven with a chimney, and a barbecue. Without the proper resources available, the two friends were digging dirt with shovels to level the ground. While they were still digging, they heard the pastor call out to them. “…Get ready for Kenya!” Because the friends were inseparable, he knew Johnny would lead the mission in Kenya and Andy would be his partner.
Still, it wasn’t enough to convince Andy he was going to Kenya and he prayed that the Lord would reveal His plans for Andy soon.
“How do I know that You want me to go and it’s not just me? I don’t want to go if I’m not going to be used by You [in Kenya]. If you have a different plan for me, I want to go somewhere else… Confirm [Your plans] for me through a random person [who] has absolutely no idea that You want me to go to Kenya or that I want to go to Kenya,” he prayed.
One evening, Andy had delivered a message to the youth for the first time. After the service, he walked into the foyer to socialize. Though he was standing with a group of people, he was inattentive to the discussion at hand. His mind distant from his surroundings, a thought sprung to his mind, “Remember you wanted your answer.” Andy turned and looked across the lobby only to see Justina headed in his direction. He watched as he locked eyes with the answer he had been awaiting, making its way to him. Once she was standing in front of him, Justina and Andy exchanged greetings before she made her intentions known. “Andy, I’ve gotta tell you something!” “You don’t even need to tell me,” he replied abruptly. Puzzled, she asked him what he was talking about. “Am I going somewhere?” he inquired expectantly. Her bewildered countenance became frightened. “Andy, I wanted to tell you that I had a dream last night that you had your bags packed and you had a sticker that said Kenya on it and you were going to Kenya!” It was the exact response Andy needed to finally believe he was destined to leave for Kenya.
“I had many, many, many confirmations of where God wanted to use me and lead me and I guess without these confirmations, I wouldn’t be where I am today… It’s [amazing] to see God’s hand at work and how He leads the people [who] are willing to sacrifice their life and do whatever they can for Him.”
The first day Andy and Johnny decided to hold a church meeting on African soil, in a town called Oyugis, Johnny was meditating and preparing a message for the community. Overwhelmed and uncertain of what the people needed to hear most, he determined to share the promise that only Jesus gives true rest:
‘8 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Andy encouraged Johnny to proceed with the message, trusting the locals would welcome the message wholeheartedly.
Andy remembers precisely when Johnny preached the message; he waited and thought to himself, “There it is. [The message is] out there.” He watched his friend pause to scan the room and then he repeated the Scripture, this time louder. Just a short time later, the team noticed a native woman walk into the building they were renting. She was wearing a head scarf with a skull pattern printed on the fabric. They concluded the service with the opportunity to pray together, fellowship with another, and share testimonies.
Andy recounts the translation of the woman’s words after she stepped forward to speak:
‘Well, I have a testimony… My son is in prison for life [and] my husband died of HIV. I have no money to eat [and] I have nowhere to go… I woke up this morning [intending] to commit suicide. I was [on my way] to kill myself. I’m a witch doctor – [I knew] my life [was] over. So I decided to walk and I looked over and I saw the sign [on the building]: God Will Provide…’ The woman stopped to listen. ‘God, if you exist, then speak to me.’ At that exact moment, Johnny said ‘Come to Me…’ from inside the building. She continued, ‘God, if that’s you talking, I want You to say it again.’ Once more, as if on cue, Johnny repeated the Scripture. Once she heard the message from outside the building, she knew that God was speaking to her through somebody else. She prayed and repented, dedicating her life to the Lord.
That was the defining moment when Andy and Johnny realized the need to build a church in Oyugis. 30% of the population is Muslim while the remainder claim to be Christians. However, the ‘Christians’ do as they please just as long as they come to church to repent on Sunday. Polygamy is the norm. The Bible is read and taught religiously instead of allowing it to transform their minds and their lifestyles. The church in Kenya has developed church meetings into a business, demanding those who attend to pay a fee. The people have been blinded by the lie that one must be rich to be a Christian. Otherwise, they are not accepted. Andy and Johnny saw the need to tell the people the truth about what it means to follow Jesus.
The pastor prayerfully determined where the project would be developed. The time had come to get to work. Andy and Johnny, combined with their team and the locals, leveled two acres of land using shovels alone, built a brick fence around the property, dug a well about thirty feet under the ground and installed a water tower for a shower. The crew also built a small dirt hut for shelter from the scorching heat. More recently, the cement foundation of the orphanage was laid. Because tools in Kenya are low quality and expensive, Andy packs a lightweight backpack for his personal belongings to last him a month. Every time he leaves for Kenya, his two checked bags are filled with supplies consisting of solar panels, inverters, converters, shovels and more. Just this month, the group arrived in Kenya with backpacks stocked full of school supplies and personal hygiene items for the orphans. They also have a large container about the size of a semi-truck’s trailer waiting to be filled from brim to brim with equipment and materials. Anything from rugs and dishes to clothing and furniture are readily accepted.
Andy returns home for two months at a time to earn money and help raise funds and awareness to further the project that he and Johnny began just over a year ago. The success of this project is directly proportional to the donations given toward this specific mission. If there is no money, there are no supplies; therefore, progress cannot be made. Still, many times Andy and Nadja have witnessed the provision of the Lord. Having little money to begin with and school loans to pay off, Andy would not be able to go to Kenya if not for the donations that trickle in just days before his departure. And for the first time, Nadja will be joining Andy in Kenya for three weeks at the end of the month.
During the triumphs and even the trials, including Andy becoming ill with typhoid fever, the couple has witnessed God’s hand in motion through it all.
“[We] do see God leading it. He does it so you can’t say, ‘Look! I did this! I worked and I made the money so we can go.’ That’s why He puts you in a situation where you […] have no way out. After seeing all this […], now I understand why I went to jail… So I can never say I got myself out of it… It’s just God at work and that’s it.”
Andy plans to continue working alongside Johnny until the project is brought to completion. They have a desire to help educate the orphans and teach them basic life skills. Eventually, they want to disciple the children and ultimately train them to become future leaders over the mission. At some point, they hope to have a doctor come and operate a health clinic for the community. But if it were up to Andy, he “would move all of Africa to America.”
Coping with Andy’s addiction and getting him the help he needed to clear his system was no easy task for Nadja. However, the experience has brought them closer together and made them stronger as a unit. “I’m [even more] in love with him,” she says as she longingly gazes at her husband. Andy has remained cleaned for the last two and a half years. His family and friends consider Andy’s recovery a miracle.
“My lifestyle [has] changed so dramatically that they’re not really expecting [me to] slip… There are some people [who] go through the program that fall, of course. They’re hoping I’d never be one of them and I know I’ll never be one of them… Every time I would even get a thought [to use], I’d think of the nightmare that it was. It was a nightmare. Never again… Never, never, ever, ever.”
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Note: Justina’s real name has been altered to protect her identity at her request.
For more information on Drug Rehabilitation at God Will Provide International Mission, please visit their website here.