Mully the Movie, the amazing story of Kenyan Charles Mully, opens a three-day run in selected theaters across the country. It’s playing in the valley at the Hacienda complex and the Blackhawk theaters.
Charles and his wife, Esther, have adopted thousands of Kenyan orphans and raised them as their own children in several different facilities—all known as the Mully Children’s Family. They have been doing it for more than 25 years.
I learned about Charles through Janine Maxwell, the co-founder of Heart for Africa. Before connecting with Heart for Africa, Janine raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Charles while she and her husband, Ian, were living in Toronto. They were running one of the most successful marketing firms in the city, but everything changed after she was in New York City on 9-11. She went to Africa with a friend and the orphaned street kids broke her heart, thus the connection with Charles.
When she led a small Heart for Africa group to Kenya in November of 2006, I joined her. One requirement was that I read the book about Charles Mully before we visited his children’s home and 200-acre farm about an hour outside of Nairobi. It entitled Father to the Fatherless.
After reading the book, I was fired up to meet Charles and learn more about the Mully Children’s Family. It should be noted that I have very low hero worship. I covered sports for more than 10 years so was around the Raiders, the A’s, the 49ers and the Warriors and their opponents. The same goes for the rest of my career where as an editor and editorial writer I routinely met politicians and other community leaders. There are not many I get fired up to meet like I was to meet Charles.
And, simply put, he’s the real deal. He grew up on the streets and started working as a young man. When he was a given a job by a Christian family, it continued his amazing journey. He parlayed that into his own taxi company in a small pick-up truck and then built a wide range of successful businesses.
He was a millionaire living on an estate when God broke his heart for the orphaned street kids. He started taking them into his own home—eventually out-growing it so he shifted operations south to outside of Nairobi. His fortune was exhausted during those years on the estate and he has depended on God for provision ever since—more than 20 years.
Charles and Esther adopt each orphan who “joins” the family.
He complements the dorms and schools with a robust agricultural operation that includes acres of greenhouses growing French green beans for export to Europe, plus field crops, chickens and tilapia ponds. Through the business enterprises, the operation is about 50 percent self-sustainable.
When Charles was visiting the valley a few years ago, I had the opportunity to host him at a several places. He was near the end of a long trip to visit donors and potential supporters in the United States and Canada. We went to Shepherd’s Gate in Livermore so Charles could share his story and a message with the women He did so, powerfully, but you should have seen the smile on his face when he met with the children.
He’d been away from home and dealing with adults for weeks. It was time for a “kid fix” for Daddy Mully. It showed his heart.