One person’s vision combined with the power of Jesus’ words can inspire a big change—which is how Life in Abundance International came to be. The organization was founded in 1993 by Dr. Florence Muindi, a Kenyan medical doctor who felt a call from God to serve Africa’s poor in a new way. Sixteen years later, her vision has taken shape in the mobilization, training and empowering of local churches to implement holistic ministries that focus on the poor and vulnerable.
LIA considers the ministries holistic because they address every part of people’s well-being: physical, mental, social, economic and spiritual. “Through training and equipping, we empower partner churches to carry out sustainable community initiatives that will continue long after LIA has moved on,” says Justin Narducci, the director of Life in Abundance.
LIA has ongoing work in seven countries in Northeast Africa, and 75 communities have been trained and empowered for holistic ministry. There are many factors affecting the war-torn region, and LIA has five focus areas: orphans and street children (community-based solutions); HIV/AIDS (awareness, support groups); economic empowerment (micro-enterprise, skills training, co-ops); primary health care (training in preventative medicine, public health); and community development (water and sanitation facilities, early childhood education).
One of the programs LIA is dedicated to is disaster relief—including helping those who are displaced in Sudan and Somalia. They also offered reconciliation training and food relief after the Kenya election violence at the end of 2007.
LIA also works extensively with street children who are abandoned due to poverty or as a result of war.
Abebech, a woman in Ethiopia, had given two of her daughters over to orphanages and her son was living on the streets because she was not able to care for him. LIA began helping her son through its street children program. Once the LIA staff learned of Abebech’s situation, they offered her food and medical support along with her son. The health trainers noticed that Abebech was getting sick frequently. Upon being tested, Abebech was confirmed HIV positive, and LIA began helping her through its AIDS support program.
Abebech has a talent for embroidery, and LIA offered her a small micro-loan and training to start her own business. Now, her dressmaking business is successful, she’s on anti-retroviral medication—and she’s given her life to Christ.
“I am thankful for a new life and a way to support my family with my business,” Abebech says. “I feel pride in what I am able to do and for who I am. I am also now a follower of Jesus—and that is my biggest praise.”