Over an all-you-can-eat lunch at the Country Buffet in Englewood, Colorado, Mwangi Ndegwa shared his story with new friend, Matthew Bachali. Both were born in 1969 but their childhoods could not have been more diverse. Mwangi, a poor Kenyan who received his first pair of shoes in 9th grade and Matthew, a Midwest boy who enjoyed the comfort of the United States in the 70’s and 80’s. What bonded them together was a shared passion for Jesus Christ, and what God placed on their hearts together that day in 2010.
Mwangi’s home village of Theri, Kenya, had been in a 30-year slump – 80% unemployment, devastating poverty, disease, unclean water, no electricity or sewer system or trash collection. One in every three kids were abandoned or orphaned. It was a story from Dickens, only it was not a work of fiction. Mwangi wanted to help, to give back, to be a part of the solution. But how could these two men help?
Fast forward four years and many more lunches together and Emmanne Ministries was born. Mwangi and Matthew formed a non-profit in the U.S., flew to Kenya to explore the need, and returned with a simple plan… begin with the “least of these,” the orphans of Theri. A year later, Emmanne Children’s Home was opened, and eleven beautiful children were placed in the 300 square foot home with two staff members that were tasked to give love and care.
What do you do when you hear about great need in the world?
Until 2010, we did very little. Yes, we gave money to charities and to our churches. Yes, we volunteered at local ministries to help the homeless and the poor. However, something unique and wonderful happened to us in 2010. We could not shake the suffocating need presented to us, and we decided to do something about it.
Emmanne Ministries was birthed out of friendship between a Kenyan and an American.
We have imperfectly shaped this ministry from an insatiable desire to “do good” in the world. Doing good is a biblical idea. Its root is in following Jesus, the greatest example of doing good in history. So we have gone to Theri, and we have set up a ministry that is built on the idea of actively and tangibly loving people.