Charles Mulli is a Kenyan boy in the 1950s. His alcoholic father, Daudi, often beats his mother, his two siblings and him. One day, 6-year-old Charles wakes and realizes that his family has abandoned him. He begins living with his maternal grandmother. She loves him, but she has little food and no money to send him to school. At the age of 6, he must beg to survive.
After two years, Charles’ mother returns to her mother’s hut. She had been unable to hold onto her new baby during a horrendous beating by Daudi and dropped the child into the fire they cooked on. She came to beg her brothers to pay for their hospital visit, and they did. After mother and child are released from the hospital, Daudi returns and takes all three home to his family’s village.
There is no room for Charles in his family’s hut, so he lives with his paternal grandfather, who sends him to school. Within the year, Charles finds his family has left him behind, again. His grandfather puts him on a train headed to the city where they went.
After many days, Charles locates them, but he is not welcome. His father sends him back to his maternal grandmother. Unfortunately his uncles won’t let him near her. They are afraid that he will get part of their inheritance if he stays with her. In his mother’s tribe, inheritances are passed down to sons. Since he is the son of a daughter, they don’t want him to inherit what doesn’t belong to him.
Though his Aunt Muthikwa tries to help him, her husband wants nothing to do with Charles. Eventually, Charles is tired of being a burden on her family and is afraid that his aunt will be punished by her husband if he stays. He now must beg for food and a corner to sleep in someone’s home. By age 11, Charles finds occasional menial work so he doesn’t have to beg as much.
At 16, Charles begins to lose hope. After a friend invites him to church, Charles accepts Christ as his Savior, prays for forgiveness and asks God to help him forgive others. He realizes that if God forgives him, he must forgive his relatives. Charles becomes an active member of the church.
At the age of 17, Charles graduates from eighth grade and can’t attend high school because he doesn’t have the money. Charles briefly moves near his family, who is living in a different city, and attempts to help provide for them. But he struggles to find steady work. He leaves for Nairobi, a three-day walk, and gets a job with a wealthy Indian family, the D’Souzas.
Charles works hard around the D’Souzas’ home and eventually is promoted to the position of field clerk in the D’Souzas’ business, Kukuzi Fibreland. Through his job, he meets and proposes to a Christian woman named Esther. Since Charles doesn’t make enough to support her as his wife, he finds another job at a construction company called Strabag. Charles and Esther marry and begin a family.
Charles’ wife and children briefly live with his parents, as is their tradition. Daudi wastes the money Charles gives him and continues to beat his wife and children, though he doesn’t beat Esther. Charles moves his wife and youngest sister, whom he and his wife adopt, out of his parents’ home and threatens to report Daudi to the clan elders, who will probably sentence him to be beaten to death.
Instead of moving to Yemen with the company he works for, Charles leaves its employment and starts a matatu business, a shared taxi service, despite Esther’s doubts. As he drives around town, he becomes aware of the street children around him and feeds them and tells them Bible stories when he can.
Charles’ business quickly expands, and he diversifies into being a distributor for gasoline, oil and lubricants. Through this, he becomes quite wealthy. He lives in a large house and sends his children to good schools.
Daudi continues to abuse Charles’ siblings and mother, and illegally sells land that Charles has bought three times. Charles reports him to the clan elders, and they find him guilty of being a violent man. However, before Daudi is killed in the beating he receives, Charles saves him. This is the first time the clan elders have ever retracted a verdict. Eventually, Daudi turns away from superstitions and witch doctors, and toward God, changing his ways.
Charles drives to Nairobi for business, and street kids steal his car. As he takes the bus home, he begins to wonder who will help the street children. Three years later, Charles is still thinking about those street kids. He struggles with God to better understand what he should do, until he finally realizes he needs to use all his resources to help these children.
Charles tells his family that God is calling him to help street children in Kenya and sell all his businesses. Despite their doubts, Charles sells his businesses and many of his possessions. The week of his decision, he gives three street kids a home. He allows others to stay in an old shed on his church’s property. There, he feeds and educates some of them.
Charles invites about 20 of them to church, but an elder asks them to leave. Later, the church board tells Charles to stop bringing street kids to church property.
Charles moves the kids to his home in Eldoret. Charles and the children work hard, building small huts for classrooms, kitchens and places for the kids to stay. Within two years, Charles’ personal money is gone. Sixty-two staff members work for Charles’ ministry, which is known as Mulli Children’s Family (MCF). Esther realizes they only have enough food for one day and no money to buy more. After they pray, a woman brings food and money for the ministry, saying that God told her to load a truck with food for them. Anytime food, money or resources are needed for the children, God provides.
They move the children to Ndalani, to land they’d bought for their retirement. Charles, Esther and their hundreds of children begin to build what they need to live there.
Charles is told that he is a diabetic and must slow down for the sake of his health. He chooses to continue the work of the ministry. After some difficulty, Charles registers to teach high school and builds the school building on Ndalani property. The kids who go to his school are successful, and the school ranks among the best in the nation. When MCF struggles to acquire clean water, God leads Charles to an underground well, something unheard of in the area. MCFs’ garden expands, and they begin to export crops to Europe. A home for young mothers is also added.
When Kenya erupts into violence after a presidential election, MCF assists those affected. The Mulli family brings a 65-member team from MCF to help the people who were traumatized by acts of violence. Charles and Esther house 250 additional children because of the violence.
God continues to bless MCF, and Charles helps those who live in the town near his now self-sustaining facility with water and food. He also starts a project to help the environment in Kenya, growing hundreds of thousands of trees and giving away 1 million saplings a year.
Daudi, Charles’s father, becomes ill with cancer. Daudi gives Charles his blessing and tells him to continue his good works. Charles reflects on his father’s transformation from an alcoholic to a respected Christian man. After Daudi passes away, over 3,000 people attend his funeral. Charles continues to run MCF with his family.