How much love does it take to reach beyond their outward appearance to redeem the lives of these little people? As much love as one can give, and then some. It requires Agape love, the kind that comes from God.
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“Yes, you may feel unqualified, undereducated, under-gifted, or even unworthy. Yet … those are excellent qualifications for God to do a mighty work. This story is a perfect example! It demonstrates how amazing things can happen as a result of sincere faith and obedience.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Agape’s Children is the heart-warming story of how an ordinary woman responded when confronted by child beggars in Kisumu, Kenya.
Darla’s story of how she rescued street children and transformed their lives by the power of God’s love, will grip your heart. Can one person really make a difference? These boys and girls, rejected by their own, hooked on glue, and sick with scabies, HIV, or worse, often run from help. How much love does it take to reach beyond their outward appearance to redeem the lives of these little people? As much love as one can give, and then some. It requires Agape love, the kind that comes from God.
On the inside, these street children are as real as you or I. Their spontaneity will make you laugh. Their vulnerability will make you may weep. And their responsiveness to the gospel of Jesus Christ will encourage you to rejoice. They are so real, Darla knew without a doubt that God loved them deeply, and He told her to do the same.
Today, instead of nearly one thousand children in the streets of Kisumu, only one hundred and sixty remain. Instead of growing up to be street thugs, these little champions are being reintegrated with family, winning life-achievement awards, and blossoming in Christ. Darla and the Agape team are changing the world, one little boy and girl at a time.
About the Author
At eight years old, Darla opened her heart to Jesus at a Vacation Bible School. Six years later, she clearly remembers a compelling nudge from the Holy Spirit when she heard a missionary speak at a Christian camp. From that point on, her goal was to become a medical missionary.
For twenty years, she accumulated life experience as she raised three sons and worked as a registered nurse. Finally, her opportunity presented itself, and Darla received an offer to travel to Kisumu, Kenya, with a community development team. As she learned the local tribal language and became acquainted with many of the street boys, she was touched by the tragedy of their lives. As a result, she founded Agape Children’s Ministry with a leap of faith in 1993. The ministry has grown by God’s grace beyond all expectations. To date, over two thousand children have been rescued from the streets.
Darla and her husband, Dr. Paul Calhoun, former president of Medical Ambassadors International, were married in 1995. Between them they have five sons and seven grandchildren. They make their home in Glendale, Arizona.
Agape’s Children was a delightful surprise! I’ve hardly been able to put it down. Most of all, I’m excited to share it with my children as a read aloud for our family. This true story tackles the issues & challenges facing Africa’s street children with dignity and respect. I’ve walked away with a more grateful heart, and an inspired spirit.
African has had a little piece of my heart since my youngest daughter traveled there several years ago with a short term mission team. She came back filled with exuberance and a new found love for serving Christ after working with Ugandan children. As I began Darla Calhoun’s story, I could almost hear her excitement and trepidation as I remembered back to my daughter’s trip and how we were all so caught up in helping her prepare to go out into the world to share the love of Christ with others. When she came back from her trip, one of the African words she shared with us was Muzungu. It is the word Africans use when referring to a white person. It is not a derogatory term but a generalization. My daughter was honored to have been called Muzungu because she feels it connected her in a small way to the children of Africa. Darla Calhoun, in her book, Agape’s Children Freed from the Streets, found herself also being called Muzungu when she arrived in Africa.
In the early 90’s, as Darla was working as a camp nurse, she was asked what she planned to do with the rest of her life. A fellow volunteer invited her to attend a fundraising event for Mission: Moving Mountains. Darla agreed to attend assuming she would learn a little about the organization but was surprised when they offered to let her become part of their mission team. Mission: Moving Mountains was headed to Kisumu, Kenya to provide community development and could use someone with Darla’s background in nursing. She had also worked with African children in the past on a trip to Uganda. Darla felt the draw to go but needed to spend time in prayer and to talk with her family about the offer.
After winning approval from her family, Ms. Calhoun accepted the offer and traveled to Kenya. She was expected to learn the local language of the Luo people within a time frame of six months. It was a daunting task but she immersed herself in the culture and began to pick up words here and there. As she began to practice the language, she would often try to talk with the local street children. They thought she was quite funny but readily accepted her as a non threatening Muzungu friend.
The longer Darla interacted with the children the more concerned she became with their health and safety. She learned, by talking with an older African boy that most of the street children had either been abandoned or had to learn to live on the streets in order to escape an unsavory home life. Darla befriended the children and soon came to know them by name. She made a point to learn their stories and do what she could to help them. Darla’s heart was so touched by their stories she knew she had to do more. She felt a strong desire to find a way to help get them off the street. Darla began to pray and ask God to help her get some of the children off the street. As she prayed, God began to answer and honored her obedience with great blessing.
Agape’s Children Freed from the Streets is a beautiful story of inspiration. It tells how one determined person with a love of Christ can make a difference in the world. The book is filled with vastly different stories. Some stories are joyful and others extremely sad, but all are honest accounts of what Darla experienced while interacting with the precious boys of Africa. It tells of challenges she faced as she worked to help them break away from bad habits like stealing, sniffing glue, and begging. It tells of difficult medical challenges and even death but at the center of it all, hope remained the core of Darla’s ministry.
The book is over 300 pages long but is a very quick read. The author writes with compassion and heart. I think this book would be of interest to anyone seeking to learn more about overseas missions in general but in particular to those interested in learning more about necessary work in Africa.
Agape’s Children Ministries is still going strong today. Their work has helped over two thousand children move from a life of poverty on the streets into a better, more productive lifestyle.
I was provided a review copy of this book by Aneko Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it highly.
While Agape’s Children: Freed from the Streets, discussed a sad topic, it was a joy to read. The story of Darla Calhoun, told with the help of Donna Sundblad, was inspiring. Agape’s Children shared many “Battles and Blessings” as it told the stories of many young boys (and a few girls) who found themselves living on the streets for a variety of reasons. Calhoun proved that one person can make a difference as the ministry she began helped these young boys grow into young men who, for the most part, were successful at reintegration with their families and society with a skill or trade.
While reading Agape’s Children, my three year old son asked what the book was about. How is it possible to summarize a book with a multitude of sad stories (as well as many happy endings) for a three year old? So I said, “It is about children who live in Africa getting help and learning about Jesus.” His enthusiastic response was, “Oh, cool!” In the end that it is what it is all about. It is “cool” to help children and teach them about Jesus. For boys who knew little or no love, they discovered thorough the Agape Ministry, that God loves them and always will love them.
I recommend this book to all interested in missionary work, providing assistance for children in dire situations, and those who want to see proof that one person can truly make a difference.
I received a copy of the book from Aneko Press for my honest review. I truly enjoyed this book.