In 2003, one American couple and one Kenyan couple made the decision to follow God's call together.
While Chip and Kim Maye served as missionaries in Kenya, East Africa, they were struck by the horrible situation of over a million children living on their own, in poverty. These children lived on the streets, most of them were orphaned due to HIV/AIDS and had no place to go. They were starving and dying. It was a scene that the Mayes could not ignore.
"It was like watching one of those heart-wrenching commercials about starving children on TV." Chip says, "You know, with the flies buzzing around children as they sit in piles of garbage. In the states, when those commercials came on, I would change the channel. But in Kenya, it was all around me and I couldn't change the channel."
Kim talked about their struggle, "After living in Kenya and seeing this huge need, we felt so helpless. We wanted to do something, but we knew we couldn't save over a million children on our own...then, I remember God telling me 'No, but you can save a few children with My help.'"
God was faithful and soon opened the opportunity for the Mayes to help 25 children.
Sylvester and Ruth Ondieki, had cared for the children of the slums independantly for a while before they met the Mayes. Ruth spent a lot of time ministering to the poverty-stricken families and children who lived in the slum areas. She had taught at a day school for street children that her church had supported. When the church abandoned the program, she continued the ministry on her own. Often, Ruth would care for children in her own home along with her husband and their son.
As one of his co-workers, Sylvester told Chip about Ruth's work with the 25 children at her day school and Chip felt the call from God to help. The two couples joined forces with a common passion and a common goal. They both loved the children they saw in the streets and they both wanted to holistically invest in them in order to develop godly men and women.
In 2003, Chip and Kim became the sole financial supporters of the day school in the Kawangware slum and Gethsemane International, Inc. was born. Every time they would visit the school, they saw more and more suffering. Children rumaging through trash for food and sniffing glue to numb the pain. They prayed that God would grow the school so that they would be able to rescue more orphans from the streets.
God did bless their efforts and the school was able to provide one meal a day for their students. After the Mayes term as missionaries ended, they returned to the states to raise support soley for Gethsemane. Soon, thanks to faithful supporters, Gethsemane became a permanent children's home. Gethsemane was able to rent a home to house and care for 30 children. These children gained Sponsorship and we began to invest fully into their lives. In accordance with our mission, Ruth and Sylvester, our first home parents, taught the children about Jesus Christ and watched as they grew in their faith day-by-day.
Now, years after God led two very different couples to the same decision of obedience, Gethsemane is a multi-home organization. We are providing love, care, and Jesus Christ to children in need. We truly are nurturing the growth of men and women who will stand as Beacons of Light in the remotest part of the world.
Gethsemane acknowledges that it was God who provided for and grew us thus far. We also wish to acknowledge all our Suporters and Sponsors who have been used by God to do amazing things! While Chip and Kim Maye knew they could not help these children on their own, they now see that it is by the power of God working through many people that great things are done!