This is the true story of my life...... My Name is Okwakau Melkizedeck. Four years ago after my Form Four, I thought that nothing is possible for me after KCSE results were out. I had a good grade, but not good enough to secure me a direct entry into the university. Our family is one of those that were deeply affected by the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and therefore getting to go to the university as a self-sponsored student was unthinkable. That time I never knew anyone who could just advice or encourage me about life and what really matters most in life. The first thing that always came into my mind was "mujengo" (casual construction work), which I did and earned a daily income of Kshs 300. It was not easy but I was trying to get something for myself. After struggling for some months as a "Mtu wa Mkono", I opted for working in a barber shop, then later on in a Car Wash. By this time, my younger brother was in university and also trying to make his ends meet. Sometimes I used to think how my life will be when my brother will be driving. It made me decide to follow my brother to Nairobi so that at least we can learn the way of life together, eat together when we had and go hungry together when we lacked - all our lives we have been living side by side from early ages to date. The one thing God gave us is a strong Family bond, full of love. In Nairobi things were never much better, but at least when my brother left his books behind I used study them a little and gain some knowledge. That used to help me a lot. My brother sometimes used come with his different friends and at times we used to go together with him to his university. I made lots of friends and was exposed due to the interactions. That is when I realized that when you stay with people with knowledge after some time you'll be like them; that is if you decide to be like them. Those friends made me learn a lot. With my brother, we always believed in a better future and therefore, staying motivated and being positive were our order of life. After some few months my brother introduced LEMP (Living Effectively Mentorship Program) into my life. At first I was not willing to join because I was always concerned about getting into university, without knowing I was ignoring a very important part of my life; and that my life needed something much more important - Mentorship. Of course he always insisted. At the time LEMP was running Season 5 and I only attended one class then disappeared. Days passed by then my cousin gave me Kshs 9000 to join KCA University to study Accountancy. My fee for the semester was Kshs 28000. I deferred because I had no one or anywhere to get and pay my balance. After five months I went back to the university and a month later I had nothing to pay for my fees then my in-law paid my fees, including for my KASNEB exams. I wanted to defer for the second time but my Brother-in-law paid the fees for me. I finished that semester and as usual the following semester was no much different, I had know one to pay my fees. I stayed In the house without any hope of going back to the university for a whole year without doing anything, I was really depressed. One day on Whats app I saw my brother advertising for LEMP Season 9. I decided just to go for a session because I was idle in the house and thought to myself that after all I had nothing to loose; that was when my life changed completely. I thank Douglas Waudo, our mentor who made me abide by to biblical teachings. Right from the first day, first class I felt that I needed more. I believe that this was God's timing in my life. After four classes I realized that the biggest problem I had was with my self-esteem, and that was what almost made me fail in life. Courage came from nowhere. Even before the 6th class I got a modeling job because of that courage from LEMP. In LEMP I realize my purpose and passion. I graduated from LEMP, and I am now living effectively without struggling with life like life before LEMP. Two weeks after graduating from LEMP, I got another job that pays well. Now I can pay my fees and save for my future. From LEMP I learnt that you "DON'T WAIT FOR A CRISIS FOR YOU TO START SOMETHING, THE TIME TO START IS NOW". From then I always trust God to direct me in everything I do. I have learned not to wait for change to happen, but to make things happen. I appeal to all to join LEMP, where you will discover your purpose in life and get answers to life's most challenging questions. Okwakau Melkizedeck, LEMP Season 9 Alumni.
"Joining LEMP is the best thing that happened to me the first quarter of this year. For years I have been longing to meet someone who could mentor me and guide me. It seemed my wishes were futile, until late last year when a friend told me about LEMP. After going through the brochure, I knew for sure that LEMP was a program I could not afford to miss. I wanted to know my purpose, maximise my God-given potential, live effectively on earth and become an agent of change in my family, to my buddies, church, society and nation. My sincere gratitude goes to LEMP fraternity for selflessly giving their time, resources and willingly choosing to share knowledge, experiences, ups and downs to ensure that young adults live a life of purpose, and avoid the mistakes of youthfulness. The nine LEMP modules were eye opening to me. From each module I learnt important lessons that I am using, and will continue to use as an effective agent of change. On spiritual development module, I learnt that I am a spiritual being; who is a spirit, that lives in a body and possesses a soul. The Spirit of God dwells in me, and whatever I do in my physical realm has spiritual consequences. My soul determines who I am. I have resolved to guard my mind because this where my self-dwells by constantly reading God’s word to saturate my heart and my mind because from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. My purpose is now clear and I am living it out in my own simple way, and this has brought fulfilment in my life. The Bible is my reference book, my manufacturer’s manual. From Personal Development module I now value expansion of one’s self-awareness, knowledge and improving personal skills. My energy is now refocused to better my strengths, and see to it that I deal with my weakness to be wholesome. I have enrolled for Tissue Culture training to improve my laboratory skills and read diverse range of books to expand my knowledge. To explore my creative side, I joined a friend who does face painting for kids. I now set goals to motivate myself and turn my vision into reality. Professional Development is very core in the competitive job market, and thus I am working to ensure that my knowledge, skills and experiences meet the job market demand to improve my chances of employment. I am looking forward to go for attachment in one of the research institutes, where I have already applied for. I now know how to write a presentable cover letter and CV, and how to negotiate for a competitive salary. I understand qualities that employers value and the necessary skills that I need in order to be hired. I believe I will have a successful interview when I will be looking for employment in the near future, because I will be too equipped to be ignored. Networking was something I didn’t value that much. However, I have resolved to connect with my lecturers for they have vast knowledge and experiences that is essential in my career development. I have learned to keep positive people in my network, and expand the circle of my network using every opportunity I get when I meet people in scope with my career. I will ensure I am known by them not just knowing them. Furthermore, I have learned to use social media as a resourceful platform to brand myself professionally. It is always everyone’s desire to be financially independent. Budgeting my money and time are the core values I also adopted from LEMP. Currently, I am saving up for my furnishing business that I plan to start during the long holiday. My health is my wealth, for without good health my wealth is useless and my purpose won’t be accomplished. I am reading articles on good nutrition and exercise. I am planning to have a weekly program of exercising. I have resolved to take care of my body for it is the vehicle to fulfilling my purpose on earth. After the module on Leadership Development I took an evaluation of myself as a leader and an agent of change. This made me desire to be a transformational leader like Jesus Christ, who was principled-centred, with strong character and integrity, and above all, spiritually founded. I desire to be a wise leader who will lead by example as I direct and guide others towards achievement of set objectives. I have also resolved that books on good leadership will be part of my library too. I am planning to nurture those behind me with reference to 2 Timothy 2:2. I believe with these skills and knowledge, I am fully equipped to be an agent of change with felt impact on my generation through the guidance of God and the Holy Spirit." Loice Mukami Kariuki, LEMP Season 6 Alumni and student at the University of Nairobi.
One of LEMP's best moments is to hear an alumni sharing their story of how the program not only changed their life, but how they are also changing other lives, and by extension the world around them. Well, such is the story that I am about to share. Its the story of Ngumbo Njoroge, an alumni of LEMP Season 2 (the chap in glasses in the picture above). I remember the first time I met Ngumbo on October 10, 2015 in our second class of LEMP Season 2. Apparently he had missed the first class because that is the day he was to commit suicide. He showed up in class looking lost, dejected and frustrated in life. Our first conversation will forever be engraved in my memory. He had hit rock bottom and was in the process of contemplating suicide. I have decided to give this program a chance. Its my last shot. I have nothing to live for at all, he spoke with finality. Fast forward to now, Ngumbo story makes me give glory to God for turning his life around. His is a story of hope, gratitude, and more importantly a story of how to live effectively on earth. Ngumbo sent us this email and we couldn't resist sharing. As you read it, remember this: We are all alive on this earth at this moment in history with a divine assignment - to make a difference in our society: Hello LEMP, Happy to inform you that we launched Gatanga Youth Mentorship Program on 19th February. In a conversation with Mr Douglas Waudo earlier this year, I had expressed intent to share some of the ideas I had picked from LEMP's Season 2 with other young people, for me that was through a mentorship program targeting high school and primary school students in my Gatanga constituency of Murang'a County. I shared the idea with friends and peers and so far the program has a team of 15 mentors. We had our first event at Jogoo Kimakia school on 19th February that was very successful and we are receiving positive feedback from the students, the administration and other stakeholders. It was the first of its kind in the school. Our vision is to roll out to other schools in the district. Our next event will be in March, this time in a primary school. Our goal is to share our experiences and knowledge to the younger generation to equip them to become agents of change in society. I am personally grateful to LEMP for positively influencing me. I am positively influencing the world in the best way LEMP taught me. I may not change the whole world but through this program, I will change someone's world. God bless LEMP. God bless Africa. Sincerely Ngumbo Njoroge- Agent of Change and LEMP Alumni.