April 2019 Newsletter: Reflecting on a Legacy of Compassion

Two years ago today I saw my dad for the last time before he lost his battle to cancer a short while later on June 12th, 2017. I received his terminal diagnosis before Easter and immediately boarded the long flight from Washington, D.C., to Nairobi to help him and my mom navigate the next stage of care.

My July 2017 letter to Learn for Life Kenya friends summarized the compassionate man that my father was and the many lives that he had touched along the way in his work as a church pastor and senior leader, respected member of his community, founder of two orphanages, and advocate for the less fortunate. I continue to hear stories from friends and strangers of the many acts of kindness that my dad and mom quietly extended to people in need, and I continue to learn and grow from their inspiration. Most days I feel energized by reflecting on my dad’s life while other days I experience deep sorrow. I am grateful for my family, siblings, Learn for Life Kenya Board members, friends, and work colleagues for giving me the strength and encouragement to carry on his incredible legacy.

Since my dad’s passing, I have sensed his presence in many, many ways. The most significant and visible impact has been with the project he entrusted me to see to fruition – the Vocational Training Center. I faithfully adopted the project as my third child, and it has brought me many blessings that show me glimpses of the fulfilled life my dad led and the one that I aspire to lead.

The most significant lesson I have learned is the power of friendships. During the past 2 years, I have met and heard stories from many of the incredible lifelong friends my father made during his days in the 1960s while a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, including Reverend Dr. John Huffman and later his wife, Anne, whom I was named after. My dad was deeply committed to his friends, and they were deeply committed to him, and learning about the support they provided to one another over the decades has been another source of inspiration to me.

One such example of this was the work my father did with the late Reverend Ed Danks, a very close friend from his time at the Fuller Theological Seminary in the mid-1970s, in establishing the Tumaini Children’s Home in Nyeri. Reverend Danks was a similarly compassionate, kind-hearted, and generous man, and the legacy he and my father left in building and overseeing the children’s home continues to live on, grow, and evolve. This past February, the US Friends of Tumaini held their inspiring biannual gathering at Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, where they discussed the important work the Children’s Home is doing to provide vulnerable children with food, clothing, shelter and psychosocial support and how to help this ministry become more empowered and gain a greater degree of self-sufficiency.

As I reflect on my father’s friendships and the impact that they have had in helping people in need, I am so grateful for the friends that I have made through Learn for Life Kenya and the important work that we have been able to do together in building the Vocational Training Center. Each phase of the construction is cementing old friendships and building new ones.

This year my Lenten study of the book Reckless Love by Tom Berlin helped me to reflect on our journey together toward carrying on my dad’s legacy as we seek to empower marginalized youth in Kenya. The book teaches us to BE LOVE in all that we do.

Begin with Love and Kindness

Expand your Circle

Lavish Love

Openhearted Love

Value the Vulnerable

Emulate Christ.

Thank you for the love you have shown for the less fortunate in Kenya and for coming along with us on this journey onward and upward.


Anne Muindi-Shemenski

Co-Founder, Learn for Life Kenya

Vocational Training Center Update

We are currently raising funds to continue construction at the

Vocational Training Center. Phase 7 includes:

•Staircase balustrading

•Metal casement doors

•External wall finishes

Jifunze Kiswahili (Learn Swahili)

Our Swahili Word of the Month:

Kwa upendo - with love

Posted on April 27, 2019 .