Hogue brought Agunda on this 45-minute plane trip to avoid an eight-hour drive that resembled an obstacle course more than traveling on a not-so-paved road. She also wanted to see about the possibility of buying land for Agunda’s mission.
“I learn to not make promises,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t turn out.”
This time they did. After Agunda looked at three pieces of land, he picked out a one-acre plot for a new home for he, wife Elizabeth, their children and their extended family. With money she raised and contributed to, they paid $7,000.
A year later, they bought another one-acre strip for $7,500.
Like the plane ride, Agunda didn’t know how the journey would go in adopting 25 persons on top of his and Elizbeth’s three children.
But he had faith, he had pastor Nolen Rollins and he had angels like Jennifer Hogue.
“God used (Rollins) to help me fulfill God’s purpose for me in life,” Agunda said. “I had the feeling of what God wanted me to do but I was grounded until God brought him my life. He helped me identify other capabilities in me which I didn’t know through the GPS training.”
Agunda added by connecting with Hogue in 2016, “great things we have achieved for God’s glory.”
Elizabeth and Hilary started taking in children in 1997, even before they had their first child two years later. In 2012, they officially started the Agunda Children’s Home. Agunda also is the youth patron at Christian Restoration Centre. Right now, they are caring for orphans ages 4-25.
Elizabeth and Hilary don’t distinguish the orphans from their own children.
“They are some of my favorite people in the world,” Hogue said. “We were meant to be family. We have similar values and dream and believe in God for things.
“They hardly ever ask for anything, which makes it so easy and fun to give.”
When the youths are not in school, about 18 weeks out of the year, Elizabeth and Hilary help prepare them for secondary education while giving them professional training.
“We are teaching the kids in agricultural and poultry-rearing skills, good cooking and leadership skills,” Agunda said. “Big kids take care of small kids and we give responsibilities in different areas in the house. My wife Elizabeth is very supportive to me and she is part and parcel of this ministry.”
Besides mentoring, Elizabeth and Hilary give the youths a strong foundation in God.
“Faith and belief in God is everything to us,” Agunda said. “Faith in God has made it possible for us to achieve our goals. Before sunrise, everyone in the family participates in morning devotion with God and before going to sleep everyone participates in giving thanks to God. It has been our tradition and everyone in the family has taken it as our tradition, which they never fail to do even in our absence as their parents and caregivers.”
It is approximately 8,000 miles from Southwest Florida to Nairobi, Kenya, one of the farther long-distance connections in GPS Life Journey.
When Rollins visited the Agunda Children Home for the first time in 2012, he quickly realized the Agundas needed to move. He helped fund their transfer from a one-room apartment - which had one light and no running water - to a three-room building that was safer and cheaper.
When Hogue – who had done missionary work in Russia for 10 years – came to visit, she helped arrange the move to the small town in Western Kenya called Siaya. It has allowed Agunda and a farmhand to have a vegetable garden, fruit trees and raise chickens and produce eggs, which are sold as well as eaten.
Sponsors have contributed $2,800 to put in a well and well pump. Fencing also was put around the land. Sponsors also donated five laptop computers for youths going to college. Hogue organized a GPS Life Journey session with the church’s youth and has helped the youths with their tuition fees. She arranged an internship in agricultural for the eldest boy in the project, Juvenal, where he traveled to neighbor countries of Tanzania and Rwanda.
“The boy is now the one in charge of our agricultural program for the sake of our food security.” Agunda said.
Agunda said future goals include:
· Coming up with permanent buildings so he won’t have to pay rent.
· Having a multi-purpose hall where we and the local community could worship God.
· Training youths in crafts and life skills.
· Training youths in different professions in life so they can train others.
In Kenyan culture, Agunda said names have meanings.
For instance, 4-year-old Samuel Rollins is named after Nolen Rollins because as Agunda explains, “Nolen has been the major pillar into this love ministry we are doing so the kid was born when Nolen was in the picture.”
Hogue, 40, who has known Rollins for 20 years, said she’s been treated like his third daughter.
“He’s been the spiritual leader in my life,” she said. “I’ve gone on these trips to Russia and Kenya with businesspeople who have been successful in life; but they ask, ‘What is my significance? What else does God have in store for me?
“It’s God’s grace and favor. I feel so blessed and fortunate. When you live out that passion and purpose, it’s so much more fulfilling. Life has a deeper meaning. And when I see Elizabeth, Hilary and their family, I don’t know if I’ve adopted them or they’ve adopted me.”
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Nolen Rollins, Founder & President of GPS Life Journey