Car Smasher builds garage
It took me some time to persuade my friend Andy Smith to visit Kenya with me, as I felt his church needed a third world focus as well as the great work he was already doing in the Roehampton Estate, which is one of the largest council estates in Europe.
Andy was a little squeamish about coming with me to Africa, even though some of the stories he told me worried about the work on the estate made me something careful, things like the fact that if you want home deliver Pizza then you have to phone and arrange to meet the delivery man on the other side of the main road, they will not deliver on the estate because they lose their deliver bike, money and pizzas. Great place to live it seemed to me, give me Africa any day. Andy took to Kenya like a duck to water so to speak.
The following year 2005 he decided to go again this time with some of the young people from Roehampton including Luke, Luke was famous on the estate or rather infamous, he had dropped in to the Regenerate club but also took a liking to stealing Andy's car and rolling it down hills into brick walls. Just for fun you know. Seemed a bit surprising to me that Andy was still willing to take him with him, but he did.
Kenya turned Luke Clifford's life around, along with giving him a vision for a garage the trip changed his life and he came back with the idea to build the garage to help people by supplying work. He has since raised over £ 6000 for the project, and has been back 3 times to help with the project.
He came back from that first to visit and told us he had found God, more than that he was determined to help young people there, from his own small wages he got Andy money every week and made it quickly possible to buy land and prepare for his dream of building a garage for the youngsters there.
Last February 2007 Luke won the Anthony Walker Memorial Prize, the top Champions of Respect award from the Evangelical Alliance. Luke was honored for initiating the garage project in Kenya. Click here to see Luke receiving his award. http://www.eauk.org/media/respect-champions-of-respect-awards.cfm
Local press, Premier Radio, have all picked up this story, and some have even donated money for the project.
Back in Roehampton Luke, has now stopped trashing Andy's car and is helping to facilitate all the other good work on the estate there such as the juice bar drop in site the Bus program; and the many, many other things to change the thinking really to Regenerate. If you want to know more have a look at the web site.