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  • Writer's pictureDavid Moore

Connected by passion for the children of Parkishon

Surely it is an unlikely connection. Cris Willis and her family live 10,000 miles from Parkishon, a small village in Kenya. The Willis’ live in Cumming, Georgia. They run a high-end gift store – Parson’s a family business Pastor Hirbo is a humble pastor who owns no property, had no vehicles and relies on God for provisions to meet the basic needs of his family. Very different people from two different worlds and cultures. But, they are connected by their passion to help the children of Parkishon.

In August 2011 Cris and her 18 year-old daughter Kacey traveled to Kenya and then went another 12 hours of which 6 hours was on a public bus through the desert to Marsabit in northern Kenya. There they met Pastor Hirbo and the children of Parkishon. During this mission God entrusted them with a small child – Yewlanda who was desperately sick. Cris and Kacey were able to work with the Partners for Care staff to rescue Yewlanda. (See 2011).

Cris reaching out to the children of Parkishon

But, the story didn’t end there. Returning to the US, Cris met with her family and they prayed asking God what He was calling them to do to help the children of Parkishon. As a family they made a decision to help Pastor Hirbo through Partners for Care so he could help the children of Parkishon.

The children of Parkishon have many needs. One of the most urgent needs is to treat their hands and feet for jiggers infestation. Many of the children spend their days in the manyattas (hut-like houses) because they cannot walk because of jiggers infestation. Jiggers treatment consists of soaking the feet and hands in a strong soap and covering them with vaseline. The jiggers are white fleas that become parasites living in the hands and feet of the children. They lay eggs multiplying. They rob the child of necessary nutrients and keep them awake at night as their itch and are painful. Children even lose fingers and toes if the jiggers are not killed. After the jiggers are killed vaseline is used daily to help restore the fingers and toes. But without shoes the jiggers will return.

Starting in September Pastor Hirbo has traveled the 15 kilometers to Parkishon every week from his home in Marsabit to treat the children for jiggers. Often he spends the night in the village. He has gone from manyatta to manyatta searching for the children with jiggers. To date he has treated 315 children… and they are still jigger free. With Cris’ help Pastor Hirbo has put shoes on their feet to prevent the jiggers from returning. He has taught the moms to spread cow dung on the floor of the manyattas, which helps keep the jiggers out.

Pastor Hirbo walking up to Parkishon

Treating a girl for jiggers

Fitting the children with new shoes

The children displaying their new shoes

And, Pastor Hirbo is reaching this unreached Rendille tribe as he tells them of the Great Physician. Sitting on the floor of the manyattas he tells them of the love of God. He has brought 39 to Christ. Cris knew that sometimes Pastor Hirbo walks the 15 kilometers to and from Parkishon. For Christmas Cris told her husband that all she wanted for Christmas was a motor bike for Pastor Hirbo. And, that is what he gave her. This trip I was blessed to help Pastor Hirbo purchase a motor bike, helmet and insurance. Pastor Hirbo said “nothing can stop me now!”. He will see that Parkishon is jigger-free. And, he will the move to the next village.

Pastor Hirbo on his new motorbike

Our work at Partners for Care is to find people like Pastor Hirbo and then find people like Cris and her family who can equip them carry out their passion. It is truly a blessing.

Witnessing God working in Kenya,

Connie Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

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