Sherwood and Bethany Griggs
Living Hope Centre Managers
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It was undoubtedly a lifestyle change when Sherwood and Bethany moved to Kenya and became managers of The Hope Centre in September of 2009. They relocated from the fast-paced bustle, activity, and city life that are characteristic of Atlanta to the laidback, rural, farm life that characterizes Oyuma, a village located in southwestern Kenya. This couple who was accustomed to the traffic on interstate 85 had to readjust to traffic jams on dirt roads composed of furry, cud-chewing bovines that are, surprisingly, unafraid of SUVs. They quickly learned that electricity, running water, and toilets are considered luxuries in their village, and with the exception of a handful of bicycles and motorcycles, their well-used, 1987, Mitsubishi Pajero is the only vehicle in the village. (This fact has caused Sherwood to act in the role of local ambulance for a few late-night emergencies—one of which involved a neighbor hanging halfway out the passenger window with a large flashlight to illuminate the pitch-black country roads when the headlights failed to work.)
Sherwood and Bethany find themselves acting in a variety of roles, but they are learning, quite possibly their most important role, is empowering and encouraging staff members, neighbors, church members, local community leaders, school teachers, and local businesspeople to take an active role in supporting the work of The Hope Centre. By encouraging stakeholders to be involved, the community is less likely to feel a sense of dependence on western help created by paternalistic relationships. Rather, they are empowered to recognize their own skills and abilities and to look for ways that they can contribute to the welfare of their children.
Living in Kenya comes with its share of challenges, but the reward for following a dream is far greater than the cost. God has been faithful to meet Sherwood and Bethany’s needs, and they have seen his capable hand at work as he answers prayers in ways that they wouldn’t have expected. They ask that you join them in prayer for God to bless their marriage, to give them wisdom, and to grow them daily in their personal walk with the Lord. Their prayer for you is their prayer for their own life and ministry—that God “would do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” Ephesians 3:20.