At 127, we believe gospel-centrality is key to caring for vulnerable communities well. There are many reasons for this, but just one is that the gospel catalyzes long-term impact. After all, when someone comes to know Christ they are transformed into justice-seekers themselves: Christians pursue justice for the vulnerable because God cared for them in their vulnerability.
One great example of this type of long-term impact is found in the life of 127 Worldwide partner Chris Omondi. In episode 30 of the Simply 127 podcast, Chris speaks about how he became involved in ministry in the Kibera slums of Kenya. From his story, we see just how vital the gospel is to the formation of the next generation of justice seekers.
Chris grew up in Kibera and was raised by his stepmother after his parents divorced when he was four. He had a difficult childhood, often going hungry because his family could not afford to buy food. As a thirteen-year-old, he heard about a ministry called The Blue House, which gave out food to young people in Kibera. In hopes of receiving a meal, Chris visited The Blue House.
Once he got there, he met a youth pastor named Peter. While Chris was not interested in the gospel message Peter shared that day, he was interested in the church camp that Peter advertised. Chris knew that this camp would be a chance to travel out of Kibera for the first time in his life. He became even more excited about this opportunity when he heard that The Blue House was giving out a few select scholarships to allow those without funds to attend. Chris desperately hoped that he would win one of these scholarships.
By God’s grace, Chris did receive one of the scholarships to attend the camp. While there, Chris heard the gospel again. This time, it truly invaded his heart and he accepted the salvation and hope freely offered by Jesus. Chris’s life was transformed. He started helping Peter at Swahiba Networks, the nonprofit Peter founded to serve those in Kibera. Chris also began to be mentored by Peter and year by year grew in his relationship with the Lord.
Now, at thirty-three years old, Chris is the Program Director of Swahiba Networks. He has mentored other young people in Kibera, many of whom work for Swahiba now. Most of the staff at Swahiba is made up of those who were previously served by its programs. Because the gospel was shared with Chris, the lives of many more young people continue to be changed, and the entire community witnesses the upstream impact of gospel transformation. The gospel keeps bearing fruit in the slums of Kibera as Chris proclaims the very same message that propelled him into a life of seeking justice for the vulnerable.