The Creech family has changed Kenya – and Kenya has changed the Midland family, especially through their involvement with Kenya Widows and Orphans Ministries (KWO).
Terry Creech (’81) met his wife, Cherie (’79) at LCU. They married, moved to Midland, began to raise a family, and started to feel the call to Africa.
“We fell in love with the story of what people were doing in Kenya and wanted to be part of it,” said Cherie.
Cherie has been to Kenya 18 times, Terry has been three times, and their youngest daughter Katelyn just returned from her ninth visit. Their daughter Kristin has been once, which Cherie jokes is because “that whole baby thing gets in the way.”
The family helped fund an orphanage in 2008, then another in 2009. Cherie joined the board of directors for KWO, a Midland-based independent non-profit corporation which grew from the evangelistic World Bible School ministry.
“When you lose your husband,” Cherie said, “you lose your property, you can become a slave or secondary wife, kids can become slaves. It’s a very horrible situation to be a widow in Kenya. We hire widows to oversee cooking and taking care of orphans. It helps redeem the women, too.”
LCU has fostered a deeper relationship with KWO thanks largely to Cherie’s ties to both the university and ministry. Many members of the LCU community have traveled to Kenya to work with the ministry, including Raymond Richardson, vice president of advancement, and his wife Laci, missions professor Jim Beck, nursing professor Daniel Hatch, and President Tim Perrin and First Lady Lucy Perrin. To read a Q&A about the Perrins’s trip in 2014, click here.
LCU annually welcomes KWO representatives to visit campus and participate with student events. This year, representative Mauryn Mbuvi met with the LCU soccer team, who donated soccer equipment for the orphanages in Kenya.
Mbuvi also spoke at the Katwalk for Kenya fashion show, hosted by ENACTUS in tandem with the campus-wide Hunger Games, to raise awareness for the ministry and the issues KWO seeks to address. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase items or donate in support of the ministry.
Today, KWO helps 2,600 children with 15 orphanages and nine feeding stations and employs roughly 100 widows. The ministry started a vocational school for the orphans once they graduate from high school. KWO also does medical and vocational mission trips each year.
The Creeches said they see a different, deeper spirituality from Kenyans. Cherie was impressed by the spirit of forgiveness and openness and joy in Christ she saw.
“These people are doing everything they can to lift themselves out of despair,” said Cherie. “We’re trying to create adults who can make a difference in the future of Kenya spiritually and financially.”
Terry added: “It’s a holistic approach. This encourages for lasting change.”
After eight years of helping Kenya, the country and its people have made a difference to the Creech family. There are changes beyond the soul – like the calendar. Cherie and Katelyn will return to Kenya Dec. 28 to run Camp 53, which kicks off the KWO program year.
LCU seeks out ways for students, faculty, and staff to make a spiritual impact locally and globally. Through relationships with ministries like KWO, Olive Branch, and Let’s Start Talking, LCU strives to provide students opportunities to go, to bless the lives of others, and be blessed by them, like the Creech family has been blessed by Kenya. To read about more LCU mission trips, click here.