The story of New Life Foundation is at its heart, a love story. One that is borne out of selflessness, passion, and divine purpose. A natural place to start would be in Nairobi, Kenya in the late 1990s when a pastor by the name of Glorious Shoo and his wife, Josephine, started bringing in children from the streets under their care. After years of harboring a shared burden for needy and orphaned children, the couple’s first step toward children’s ministry came when they were taking further studies in theology in a foreign, albeit neighboring country.
“We started going out into the streets and inviting the children that we would find foraging around garbage dumps, or those wandering around bus stations, marketplaces, along the side of the road, and such places. Initially, we would invite them to our house for food; afterwards we would play games and read the Bible to them” – Glorious Shoo
This went on consistently for about three years and the couple were amazed at how their simple act of showing love and care had so much profound effects on the children. Children raised from the streets without hope or a future started demonstrating self-worth, praying for each other, and dreaming big.
When the couple finally graduated from college, the children came up in large numbers from all streets of Nairobi to celebrate with them.
“About 50 or 60 children came to our graduation; the college had never seen such a huge number of people attend anyone’s graduation – which was funny because as foreigners, one wouldn’t expect us to have such a large number of locals turning up on our graduation!” – Glorious Shoo.
At last, the inevitable had to happen. The couple had to return to their homeland Tanzania and resume their pastoral duties in church. The farewell between the couple and the children was a sentimental one, which featured long hugs, tears, and fellowship. The couple spent their last days making as many memories with the children as they could; they ate together, played together, prayed together, and laughed together. As Glorious and Josephine embarked on their one-way trip back home, they had no doubt on their minds about starting children’s ministry back in Tanzania, although, at the time, they didn’t exactly know how.
“It was one of those letters starting with, ‘we regret to inform you that ... ‘” Glorious recalled with a giggle.
“It was very disheartening at first. But when I checked out my wife’s application, I learned that she had passed! In fact, she was their top candidate. As it turns out, over 1000 candidates had applied for the position from over 46 countries in Africa, and they only needed three people, so it was very competitive. In the end, I was very happy for my wife ... I got to be the one to give her the good news” - Glorious
So in the year 2000, Josephine left for further studies in the United States and Glorious remained in Tanzania pastoring their church and teaching at a Bible college. It was around this time that things got very difficult; the financial burden on Glorious Shoo became almost unbearable.
“In order to communicate with my wife via email back then, I had to travel 50 miles to another town (Arusha) just to access the internet. Getting the bus fare to get there was a challenge in itself. To make matters worse, around this time our children who were studying in a boarding school were also sent back home because I was behind on their school fees for a while” – Glorious Shoo
The children only exacerbated the financial problems at home, because that meant Glorious now had to feed two additional mouths. He could barely feed himself at the time. Things got exceedingly stressful with time, and soon Glorious found himself burned out, frustrated, and depressed. In a desperate attempt to alleviate this burden, he looked up on the internet for places where he might find any form of ministry that catered to pastors. He came across Billy Graham’s The Cove retreat program for ministers, and Glorious Shoo applied right away.
During this time of grave despair in both body and spirit, a new email popped up on Glorious’ inbox. He did not know who sent it, nor where it came from. The title of the email was “The Hem of His garment”. He opened it and began to read...
You may be feeling down right now, as you are going through a very difficult time. You may think that you are alone and that God doesn’t care much about your troubles. You might be feeling alone, deserted, and abandoned.
But I want to encourage you that God cares and He knows what you are going through. He allows all these to happen to you so that you can reach out and touch the Hem of His garment. See, the hem is always found at the bottom of the robe, so in order for you to touch the hem, you would have to be down and low. But again, the hem of the garment of God is also the strongest part of the garment because that’s where much power is centered. Being low presents you with a unique opportunity to harness God’s power in its fullest of ways.
So if you are going through tough times and you are feeling low, do not give up or be dismayed, God can lift you up again. Just as He did with the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, He can do it for you too...
The sender of the email went on to encourage Glorious, pleading with him not to give up and to trust God’s timing. Urging him not to feel depressed or crushed at being at the bottom. Meanwhile, Glorious couldn’t prevent tears from rolling down his eyes as he prod through an email that spoke to him ever so directly, it was as if someone was reading his life like a book.
Feeling incredibly uplifted and rejuvenated, Glorious wrote back a reply to his mysterious email encounter. His reply was long enough, and it conveyed a sense of gratitude and awe but it inevitably carried two crucial questions, “Who are you and how come you know so much about me?”
Glorious could now breathe a little, but the drama was far from over.
Just when she was about to wire the money to Tanzania, Glorious learned that he had been accepted to attend Billy Graham’s, The Cove retreat conference for ministers in North Carolina, USA. In fact, they were gracious enough to grant him and his wife a free pass to their entire one-week retreat program after Glorious had explained to them that the source of his depression was financial problems. He, however, had to pay for his flight to and from America.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough money to pay for his trip to America and still pay school fees for the children. His wife’s savings could only cover one of those in full – but not both.
“My wife and I prayed for this. Then after a while, my wife told me that she feels that God had intended that I spend the money getting to the retreat event in America. She said I should go and ask the headteacher to receive our children back to school on the promise that I will pay their full school fees when I get back from the USA” - Glorious
Indeed, when Glorious explained to the school’s headmaster that he was due to attend an international conference in the USA and that he will pay back his children’s school fees upon return, the headmaster relented and received back the children.
So Glorious was on his way to the USA for the first time in his life. He had arranged with his wife and the two of them met at Colorado airport, and the pair of them made the drive to The Cove retreat center in Riverside, CA for the conference.
“I don’t remember who arrived first, me or her – there was about an hour difference. But it was so good to finally reconnect with my wife again” – Glorious
The Cove was a beautiful place, with an air of relief and tranquillity. Glorious and his wife got to meet and engage with other ministers from all over the world at this conference, it was a much-needed interaction and fellowship.
One lady, in particular, approached Glorious and asked him,
“What is your most pressing need at the moment?”
And right away Glorious said,
“School fees for my children”
“How much is that?”
Glorious told her the amount, and she replied,
“I’ll take care of it”
Glorious was momentarily dumbfounded, he almost couldn’t believe it. So he repeated the amount again. And the woman said,
“Yes! I’ll take care of it – all of it”
Here is how Glorious himself recounts the incident:
“At first I wanted to hide about the actual amount of my children’s school fees. You see, when we moved back to Tanzania from Kenya, our children couldn’t fit into the Tanzanian education system. The curriculum back then was primarily in Swahili and our children having started off with the English curriculum in Kenya, couldn’t manage Tanzania’s public schools. So, we had to take them to a private school and that’s why it was very difficult for us to manage their school fees. So when this lady said she’ll take care of our children’s school fees, she was taking a very huge load off of us, I couldn’t believe it. That’s why I kept repeating myself over and over” – Glorious
This incident spoke volumes to Glorious, and there, he had a profound revelation,
“God was clearly saying, ‘I am taking care of your children, now you take care of other people’s children’. God was reinforcing what He already said to us. So I committed myself back to God, and said, ‘I am not going to doubt about what you have said, I am going to take care of other people’s children, as you have done this to me without asking then for other people’s children I can ask ...’ So, we resolved to start an organization for needy and orphaned children. When my wife returned to California for her studies, she began writing the primary components and structure of the organization. She is even the one who came up with the name, New Life Foundation” - Glorious
Altogether, Glorious spent three weeks in the United States, which coincidentally, his wife, Josephine, got a short break from her university that perfectly overlapped with his stay in America. Together they were able to meet and forge relationships with other people in the ministry such as Becky Fisher, a well-known children’s minister in the USA. They also got to meet, Christine Robinson, the woman behind that mysterious email to Glorious a while back. Christine had reached out and connected with Glorious via email, and when she learned that Glorious was coming to America, she arranged to meet with him and Josephine.
Christine, like Glorious, had also been through a time of severe depression and burnout, and in her frustration, God had led her to connect with Glorious in a miraculous way. It is a wonderful story itself, but that’s for another time. Suffice to say, it was an encounter orchestrated by God himself at a perfect time.
So when Josephine completed her studies in the USA and returned to Tanzania, the couple set their plan in motion. Together, they started New Life Foundation at their rented house in Moshi in May 2001. They enrolled their first 14 little children most of whom were needy or orphans. By the end of that year, they hosted 41 children full-time at their house. Over years, New Life Foundation grew and expanded to include four different departments.
Fountain of Love: Training & Outreaches
Fountain of Joy: Vocational Training programs for teen mothers or pregnant girls or those at risk of prostitution and human trafficking.
Fountain of Zoe: Home for abandoned babies and orphaned children
Fountain of Hope: Schools that offer quality education with an emphasis on the needy and orphaned children.
Today, 20 years later, New Life Foundation in collaboration with supporters from the USA, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and Tanzania has provided free education to over 700 needy and orphaned children; most of them starting at a very young age of 5 – 10 years. New Life Foundation, in collaboration with community institutions, has sought out and provided free education to about 200 children coming from the remotest, almost forgotten tribes in Tanzania, such as the Hadzabe, Sonjo people, and some of the most interior Maasai communities. New Life Foundation provides clothing, shelter, and other basic needs for these students as some of them had never worn clothes before.
“We would bring these students to New Life Foundation and they couldn’t even speak Swahili (the native language of Tanzania), they could only speak their tribal language. Some would sneak out of school to go find a bush somewhere because they couldn’t use a toilet...” – Glorious
“But once they got hang of the language and the way of life. They excelled very well. Some of our top-performing students have been from those tribes” - Glorious
New Life Foundation has also rescued, trained, and empowered over 100 teen mothers and young women once victims of prostitution and human trafficking. Most of these women have now become independent businesswomen, with shops and workshops, while some have secured decent jobs. New Life Foundation has also played a big role in breaking the chain of prostitution by taking in and fully supporting children whose mothers have been practicing prostitution for various reasons, and thus prevent them from falling into the prostitution cycle.
Through Fountain of Zoe, New Life Foundation has raised over 50 abandoned or orphaned children from infancy. Most of these children are now in their teenage years, and the organization still supports their full-needs.
Children from Fountain of Hope schools have excelled academically with some winning national and international awards in several competitions. Graduates from Fountain of Hope have won scholarship opportunities in various countries in the fields of technology, engineering, and medicine.
Fountain of Hope still provides quality English medium education to over 250 students, 70% of which are either orphans or those coming from very poor or remote backgrounds. The organization is partly supported by the funds of the 30% of students that pay school fees, and the rest is from the support of donors and sponsors. Former students have from time to time donated back to the organization that once supported them, while some occasionally drop by with gifts and presents for Baba and Mama Shoo, still, some have volunteered as teachers or staff in the past.
This year, 2021, New Life Foundation celebrates 20 years since it was first started in 2001. We celebrate 20 incredible years of saving lives, investing in children, and sending out world transformers. We also celebrate our supporters all over the world who have donated towards our mission or helped sponsor one of the needy and orphan children we have.
Here is how you can become a sponsor, or make a donation.
We will hold a small celebration on the Saturday of 31st July 2021, at our grounds in Moshi, Tanzania to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Follow us on Facebook for updates, stories, and testimonials leading up to this day.
God bless you, and have a great day!