Volunteering to work for the community is not for the faint at heart. It is a complex undertaking that comes with tremendous challenges. It requires one to give out their all without the expectation of reward. This is a service to community that has no pay. In this line of service, you typically see people at their worst and hope that you will impact their life such that you’ll leave them, functioning better than when you walked in.
Not too many people or organizations would offer themselves to do community work round. But this is what one man and his organization have dedicated themselves to doing. This year, Bishop David Thagana and his ministry, Glory Outreach Assembly, are marking 30 years of community work.
“We are marking 30 years transforming lives the church, compassion, peace building and conflict resolution and leadership development,” says Bishop Thagana. “The lives changed gives us joy that we live one day at a time, we are spreading the gospel, changing lives, and making out nation better.”
Over the last thirty years, GOA has grown to over 300 congregations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi and Tanzania. In the same vein, today, GOA runs eight homes which host 310 children. “We have also started a foster care program where some of the children are taken in by foster parents,” he says.
Out of the eight children’s homes, GOA Has one home that cares for the HIV Positive children, while the rest care for the orphans who lost their parents and children form less fortunate families. This helps identify and meet each child’s specific needs more easily. These homes are located in Naivasha, Mai Mahiu, Nyahururu, Ndunyu Njeru, Joska and Kieni.
GOA has also been setting up farms in arid areas as one way of supporting marginalized communities. The farms, which have also been set up in all his eight children’s homes, specialize in projects such as dairy farming, poultry, rabbits, potatoes, fruits, and vegetable farming. “We realized that it is not viable to always donate food and decided to start small farms in Turkana where we could teach locals how to be self-reliable,” Bishop Thagana says.
GOA also runs several schools from primary level, secondary and adult school in Nyandarua, Laikipia, Samburu and Turkana. These include the Naotin Adult School in Turkana Central, Nabwelpus School in Turkana, GOA Education Centre in Kinangop, GOA High School in Kinangop and GOA Ngirashi School in Laikipia ensure that quality standard education is affordable to the less fortunate.
“Our aim is to ensure that the less fortunate in our communities are able to get quality education that is affordable. We have had children who couldn’t afford education but have passed through our school and have passed well. Adults in the marginalized areas can now read the Bible, write and do basic arithmetic and that has improved the quality of their lives,” he says.
GOA ventures in arid areas such as Turkana have seen our teams go to the front line in conflict resolution in those areas. “There cannot be any farming or schooling if there is no peace. We have to create a peaceful atmosphere first where locals can coexist, work together and school together without war,” he says.
Bishop David Thagana the presiding Bishop of GOA is a certified Christian Leader, leadership coach and mentor “I am the Bishop of Glory Outreach Assembly (GOA). I also serve as the General Secretary for the Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya (FEICCK).” These roles are not far-fetched. Between 1998 and 2009, he studied theology at the East African School of Theology and the Beulah Heights Bible College in Atlanta Georgia. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology. In August 2012, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Leadership at the Pan African Christian University.
Running the vision of GOA though, has not been easy. “I have had some low moments in this journey. The most depressing moments have involved children succumbing to HIV; when I take in a child, give them care and raise their hope in life, then end up losing them to HIV/Aids at a young age,” he says. Bishop Thagana adds that it is also very heartbreaking when he is sometimes forced to turn away a needy child because the resources he has are limited. But God’s grace, he says, has been sufficient.
“My family’s support and the warm and beautiful smiles I get from tens of my children have been a blessing. What more can a father ask for! Remember when a child belonged to the village? When everyone took every child as their own? I keep praying that we’d go back to that spirit of responsibility and parenthood. Our children are our future, regardless of what afflicts them. We can build a better Kenya by protecting and guarding the future of every child!” he says, adding that it behoves every Kenyan to be his fellow Kenyan’s keeper.