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College grad works to open Kenyan orphanage
by Caroline Young
cyoung@neighbornewspapers.com
October 03, 2012 11:35 AM | 3361 views | 4 4 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo <br>
Edward Phillips, director of the Kimbilio Project, plays with Samuel, one of the Kenyan orphans he met on one of his mission trips.
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Edward Phillips was 19 when he entered the gates of a Kenyan orphanage for the first time in June 2010. As he walked closer and closer to the building, he said God started to speak to him.

“I really just felt God move something in my heart,” Phillips said. “I felt the Lord tell me, ‘You’re going to be a part of starting a home here.’”

Initially, Phillips, of west Buckhead, said he was overwhelmed by the message he received that day on a mission trip in Kenya.

“I was open to it,” he said. “But I was going through that stage where I didn’t know what to do. I was like, ‘Where do I even start?’”

Now 22, Phillips is the director of the Kimbilio Project, a mission to open a 75-child orphanage in Nanyuki, Kenya.

Kimbilio means “refuge” in Swahili.

“There are about 2.6 million orphans in Kenya,” Phillips said. “Some kids are stuck in the hospitals, police stations or even on the streets, and we want to reach them, and we know God has called us to.”

The project is part of the organization Choose to Invest, founded in 2002 by Kristin and Nathanael Avery, who now live in Kenya with the majority of the Choose to Invest employees.

“Kristin and I knew that we would start children’s home in Africa one day but we weren’t sure how that would happen,” Nathanael Avery said in an email. “Edward participated in our Journey Internship experience and began to share the visions he had for the same thing.”

Phillips was a communication and public relations major at Clemson University in South Carolina, which gave him the skills to conduct fundraising and networking efforts for the project.

Phillips said they need to make $10,000 by November to secure the land, which costs a total of $30,000. In all, they need to raise $600,000 to build, hire staff and house the children.

“By August of next year, we would break ground, and then have the children and be operational by 2014,” he said. “The goal is to have at least five kids by December of 2014.”

The main fundraising event is the annual Run for Orphans in February in Alpharetta.

Phillips came up with several other ways for people to donate, including hosting a dessert night to raise awareness of the project.

“Anyone who donates to the project will have their name engraved into the foundation of the orphanage and receive updates on our progress,” he said.

Once the orphanage is off and running, Phillips said they will start the project’s second phase of family style homes and eventually, a school.

“Our number one goal is to holistically care for orphaned children. We have experienced many different styles of orphan care here in Kenya but nothing seems to be nurturing the whole child,” Nathanael Avery said. “Our focus will be to care for children in such a way that they will grow in to the person they were created to be and that they will become leaders who impact those around them.”

On the Web:

www.choosetoinvest.org/#/kimbilio-project
Comments
(4)
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April Hayes
|
October 05, 2012
I love reading about people who do not let fear or overwhelming opportunities paralyze them from action! I'm curious to know how many children the children's home will house. Sadly, five kids by the end of 2014 won't be a stretch.

April Hayes

The Boaz Project

Edward Phillips
|
October 08, 2012
Hi April,

I am so glad you got to read my story! Our first phase will house 75 children. We plan to be a home that facilitates adoption so these children can transition into a permanent family setting. Not only do we see adoption as great for the children but we believe it is Biblical as well. As children that will also clear space to bring in more children. "Five kids by December 2014," is only part of our phasing since we will just be getting up and running. I would love to hear more about The Boaz Project. I looked around your website and I love knowing that you all are reaching children around the world for Jesus. Feel free to email me, edward@choosetoinvest.org and we can chat more!

Thanks,

Edward
Douglas Riggle
|
October 03, 2012
What a great story... it's amazing what one trip can do to you! I can easily relate... one trip to the Ukraine changed my life forever. With millions and millions of orphans around the globe, it's wonderful to see someone taking a step of faith to make a difference!

Keep up the great work!

Douglas Riggle, President

Orphan World Relief
Edward Phillips
|
October 08, 2012
Doug,

I am glad you got a chance to read this story. I would love to connect with you and learn more about Orphan World Relief!

Please email me when you get a chance. edward@choosetoinvest.org.

Thanks,

Edward
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