Beecher City man to lead construction of rescue center for Kenyan … – Effingham Daily News

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Updated: January 10, 2023 @ 10:18 am
Jim Reed, left, and Michelle McGowan of In His Hands Orphans Outreach stand in their office in Beecher City with photos from some of the group’s various trips and projects. Reed will be overseeing the construction of a rescue center in Kenya. McGowan is the founder of the organization.

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Jim Reed, left, and Michelle McGowan of In His Hands Orphans Outreach stand in their office in Beecher City with photos from some of the group’s various trips and projects. Reed will be overseeing the construction of a rescue center in Kenya. McGowan is the founder of the organization.
A local volunteer with In His Hands Orphans Outreach will soon be getting a project underway in Kenya that is expected to improve the lives of orphans throughout the region.
On Jan. 11, Jim Reed of Beecher City will be traveling to a region in western Kenya to oversee the construction of a rescue center.
This is just the latest in a number of In His Hands projects aimed to improve the overall quality of life in nations all over the world, including China, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Myanmar and Ukraine.
In His Hands Orphans Outreach founder Michelle McGowan said the organization officially began back in 2008 when it received its 501©(3) status, but had already been helping orphans for about three years.
McGowan started the organization after receiving a “calling from God” when she was a little girl and first learned about the orphans living on the streets of China. It would also be in China that the organization would make its first trip.
The organization’s next project took place in Haiti, where Reed first got involved with the organization.
Reed has been an instrumental part of the organization ever since, according to McGowan.
“Jim is just open to wherever God leads him, and he’s just been great about wanting to help out with whatever he can do,” she said.
Before Reed began constructing buildings for In His Hands, he worked as a general contractor throughout Effingham County and surrounding areas.
“I became involved with the Haiti project due to the fact that construction was ongoing on buildings and people in these countries, like Haiti, do not understand how to work with wood,” Reed said.
“People make fun of me. I was supposed to retire,” he added. “I have a philosophy that the Lord has been good to me, and he’s given me so much. And as he gives, he also demands. I need to give back.”
While he was in Haiti, Reed supervised the construction of an infirmary and a guest house. It was also during that time he became “totally enthralled” with the children there.
“These are the type of kids that you just don’t see here,” Reed said. “These are kids that are happy with almost nothing.”
Reed’s upcoming task is no small feat as he will be traveling to Kenya alone to oversee the construction of the rescue center and doesn’t plan to return until the project is complete.
“I have a one-way ticket to Kenya,” Reed said. “I’m a big one for finishing what I started, and I would like to be back sometime before the middle of March.”
Reed said despite being a bit uncertain of what he might experience in Kenya, he is confident he’ll be able to get the job done.
“I’m only going to do what I’ve spent my entire career doing,” he said.
One of the organization’s leaders in a community near Kisii, Kenya, where the rescue center will be constructed, is Pastor Daniel Mose, who, along with his wife, Loyce, have unofficially adopted five children there.
McGowan said Daniel and Loyce Mose dream of caring for more children in the area, and the rescue center is meant to make this dream a reality.
Since March, the organization has fed over 70 local children and widows a day, and once the center is built, this number is expected to rise to the hundreds.
The organization has already purchased two acres and is currently raising money to buy three more on the land adjoining it. McGowan said the organization has received a significant number of donations to fund the project in Kenya, but is still working to raise $95,000 to purchase the remaining land. In His Hands received a $40,000 matching grant from the Market Street Group, which was more than matched by $55,000 in donations.
“We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support for this project,” McGowan said.
A well has already been installed on the purchased land, which was the organization’s first step in Kenya due to the region’s urgent need for clean drinking water.
McGowan said many Kenyans die every year from drinking contaminated water. Even Daniel Mose overlooked this need because he, like many Kenyans, had grown accustomed to being without clean water.
“It just wasn’t on his radar,” McGowan said of Mose.
The organization will be constructing a flat roof for the first 2,000-square-foot section of the rescue center that will allow them to continue building up onto the center in the future.
Reed will have to survey the “irregularly” shaped land before much of the construction can begin.
McGowan said in His Hands doesn’t just try to find homes for orphans in impoverished countries, they also work to improve the overall quality of life in the communities they visit.
The organization will provide widows in Kenya with small business loans, which they also did in Haiti, in an effort to give disadvantaged women more economic independence and security.
“It’s not a handout, it’s a loan, which I think brings a lot more success because that is something they can feel pride in,” said McGowan.
McGowan said widows in areas like Kenya are often vulnerable because it is difficult for them to find work and provide for themselves.
“There are so many that have absolutely nothing, some of them are starving, and women are not treated well,” she said.
In His Hands has another plan to ensure these widows get the food they need.
“We expanded that program to encourage widows to take in orphans, and then we provide food for them so that the widow and the children can eat,” McGowan said. “This is an opportunity for them to not be hungry themselves if they’ll take care of children and love them as their own.”
The organization also uses its funds to pay the $240 for education of some of the children there who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend school.
“It’s very hard to improve your life when you can’t read or write,” McGowan said.
When Reed goes to Kenya, one of his tasks will be recruiting workers to help with the project. Using local labor will provide a number of Kenyans with much-needed jobs.
“The unemployment situation in the rural areas of Kenya seldom runs less than 48%,” Reed said. “These are what you call ‘willing workers.’”
In addition to the rescue center, Reed will be overseeing the construction of a school and a medical clinic that is urgently needed in the region where something as minor as a cut can be fatal. Twenty-one percent of the population in the area has been lost to AIDS, which has left many children to fend for themselves, according to McGowan.
“Oftentimes, it’s the oldest kids in the home that have to rise up and be parents to the little kids,” she said.
This has caused desperation among many children in the area who are more vulnerable to abuse and are often forced to do things no child should have to do for food.
“That’s why this is so urgent because I’m hearing story after story about the nightmare these kids are going through,” McGowan said.
Though the lives of these children are far from easy, Reed and McGowan both said it is very rewarding to see how happy the kids can be at times playing soccer and other games.
“It is very rewarding to see how getting involved and doing something can change so many lives,” McGowan said.
In addition to donating his time and money to the organization, Reed and his wife sponsor a child in Haiti.
McGowan and other missionaries from the organization plan to join Reed in Kenya in mid-to-late February.
In His Hands is holding a banquet on Saturday, March 18, during which Reed will provide updates on the Kenya project.
Anyone interested in attending the banquet should contact In His Hands to sign up in advance.
In His Hands encourages adoption and fostering, but they are also looking for additional missionaries to go on the trip to Kenya, as well as people who are interested in sponsoring children.
Anyone interested in volunteering, donating or sponsoring a child should go to inhishands.org.
To help raise funds for the remaining three acres in Kenya go to the website and select “Kenya support” in drop-down box when asked what you want to sponsor. Additionally, check donations can be sent to In His Hands at PO Box 425, Rochester, Illinois, 62563.
Nick Taylor can be reached at nick.taylor@effinghamdailynews.com
or by phone at 618-510-9226 or 217-347-7151 ext. 300132.
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