Birth Center Nears Completion in Rural Kenya

Bwana asifiwe,” Paul called out as he walked onto the job site. Some of the familiar faces returned the greeting. “Praise the Lord!”

It was February 2016, and Paul Robbins, an ANM staff member and carpenter, had returned to Kenya to help fulfill the dream of Tom and Hellen Malande for a rural birth center. Tom and Hellen direct a ministry called Family Impact, with the goal of transforming families through the gospel.

A decade before, Hellen, a nurse and midwife, investigated the dangers of childbirth in remote areas of western Kenya. Maternal and infant mortalities rates there were some of the highest in the world. She started to dream and pray.

As Advancing Native Missions spread the word about the project in the United States, Paul drew up plans for the facility. It would include delivery and recovery rooms and a midwives’ cottage.

Funding came gradually, and construction progressed as funds allowed. By the time Paul made this trip, it was time to put up the roof. Tom gathered a group of local men to learn skills from Paul and continue the construction. The team installed roofs on the center and the neighboring midwives’ cottage, and window and door frames in the center.

Another big challenge loomed. The local government would not agree to deliver electricity to the ministry’s compound, which also includes Family Impact’s privately-owned public library.

Other members of the team, Richard and Debbie Hall, decided to act when they returned home to Iowa. They organized a fundraising and advocacy effort to coincide with RAGBRAI, a bicycle ride across Iowa that draws more than 8,500 participants annually. They raised $6,600, enough to complete the electricity connection.

Now Tom and Hellen are working on the interior of the center and raising funds for staffing. The facility will be the only privately-owned birth center in East Africa. Additional funds are needed.

“Through these two places on the same property, a very wide audience will open for an unreached people to hear the news that there is not only a God in Heaven, but that He has come to visit them with the Good News of the saving love of the Messiah,” Paul Robbins said.

Help staff the facility by funding a midwife’s salary for a day: just $48.

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