how we came to be

KWO ministries is an independent non-profit corporation that was birthed from the World Bible School ministry at Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, Texas.  

Kenya Widows and Orphans Ministries is not a typical missions ministry.  The founders of this ministry did not set out to build orphanages, schools, or provide hope to vulnerable and weak Africans.  Their only goal was the gospel.  Sharing the good news about Christ with people all over the world is what World Bible School is all about.  Using a printed bible correspondence course, WBS teachers have been teaching about Jesus to millions of people in hundreds of countries for over 50 years.  No, this ministry is not about what people can do when they set out to care for orphans and widows, its about what the Holy Spirit can do when we are faithful to his call to make disciples.

John DeFore was an oilman.  He worked in the energy industry in a regular job for decades, just like most of us.  He got involved with World Bible School in Corpus Christi, Texas at the urging of a preacher there.  The steady, patient style of teaching that WBS uses appealed to him, but the longer he did it, the more restless he became.  When he moved to Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, TX, he brought that restlessness with him.  He wanted to know what was happening to his WBS students.  Were they able to be baptized?  Where they able to find a church?  He embarked on a bold plan to hire former students in Kenya as “follow-up workers” to make contact with the students as they came to faith, and assist them to become mature disciples in Christ.

The Holy Spirit was with him, bringing the right people and circumstances together to multiply his efforts.  Soon, more that 20 workers covered big parts of Kenya, checking on students, enrolling new ones, baptizing, organizing churches and helping to bring the gospel to a broken world.  Their efforts began to bear fruit and soon the number of those being saved was over 1,000 a year.  Not only was the Spirit adding to their number, He was growing their maturity and causing them to turn their attentions to the most helpless in their country.

This video explains the genesis of the orphans work:

In the early 2000’s, the regular communications with John’s workers began to take on a more desperate tone.  The AIDS epidemic was ravaging rural Kenya; an entire generation of the most productive members of society was being lost.  There were orphans and widows everywhere.  The young churches did all they could to help.  Not content to condemn the sin of a fallen world, they were determined to change it.  Many church members had orphans living in their homes, and in some places they huddled in the tiny church buildings at night to seek shelter, never knowing from where their next meal would come.  John and some other Christians sent what money they could for food, but they were not wealthy and knew it would not be enough.

John’s advice to his workers was to pray, and he added his prayers to their own.  One day the Spirit prompted him to tell the story of the orphans to a Christian family and they were moved to give some money to build a few small buildings to house the orphans at a church called Dirubi, in western Kenya.  Thomas Alwala, the WBS worker from that area was one of John’s first students and he had a faith that was unshakeable.  He knew that God could deliver these kids and many more if they were faithful to ask.  His estimate of the building’s construction costs and the check from the American Christians arrived in John’s hands on the same day for the same amount and he knew that God was speaking.

  The next video tells the story of how the orphanage work started.

Since then, John and now the successor to his work, KWO Ministries, has held to a simple model.  Tell the story of God’s amazing faithfulness to His people.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work, and hang on.  Story after story, donation after donation, and orphanage after feeding station, God is redeeming the lives of widows and orphans in Kenya through the power of his Holy Spirit moving through individuals in His church.