Robert Karanja, 25 years old, has been working with Youth for Christ at Taraja Boys home for 3 ½ years. He was formerly the custodian helping the Head Parent, Theopista, to run the home. Theopista left Taraja at the end of 2008 as she felt the Lord leading her to move on.
When Robert’s supervisor approached him with an offer to take the leadership of the home, she saw shock and then fear on his face. She asked him to go pray and then get back to her. Robert is a very prayerful young man and has a deep walk with the Lord. He did indeed pray, as others were praying for him, too.
General Assembly in 2008, Robert, one of the young leaders (shown here on gala night at Youth for Christ’s General Assembly), had been deeply challenged by the call to serve God. Little did he know that this would come so soon. This is what Robert says in his own words:
“When God calls someone, He has a purpose. I didn’t know that turning my life and my all to Christ would stamp me for His call. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had to choose either to insist on his own will, or for grace to do the assignment. That is how I felt when Mrs. Ojiambo asked me to take up the leadership of Taraja Boys Home. I prayed and met my mentor, to whom I gave all the reasons why I couldn’t do it. My mentor read to me Mark 6:37 and said, ‘God uses that which is available to do the impossible.’ I tried to run, to hide, but finally, broken, God spoke to me using Psalm 139:7, and I couldn’t flee from His Spirit. The cross is the pattern for me. I should give my life for others as Jesus did for me on the cross. Prayer and faith have carried me this far.”
Once Robert said yes, he hit the ground running. Thank God for his youth. He has the vision, the energy, and the drive. He loves the boys without spoiling them. He has their best interest at heart. Even more importantly Robert loves the Lord and relies on Him for wisdom. He is now coordinating events at Taraja which has a total of 28 boys, 20 of whom are at the home full time. Others are in boarding High School and come to the home during the holidays.
What are some of his fears? Robert is terrified about support raising. But after training, he is willing to try. He recently raised a donation in kind of 100 kilos of rice, 9 kilos of beans, and 40 kilos of green grams. That has encouraged him to go on.
He is also afraid of not being a good role model. However, he is trusting God with all his fears. He has seen God work, like when the water pump broke and Taraja had no water at all. He prayed with a fellow staff member, and soon after, it rained so heavily that they had enough water for a week!
Other challenges include transporting the boys to school and feeding them. Now maize, beans and bananas are growing in the Taraja garden. Your prayers for Robert and other young leaders like him are vital to this ongoing ministry.