Lydia Sokoto, Regional Director of Human Resources shares her faith-filled journey from the Kenyan countryside to older adult services at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS).
Growing up as the middle child of 12 siblings, Lydia says “you’re always caring for others, older or younger siblings alike.” Living as a family of 15 on her father’s humble teacher salary presented many financial challenges, “but what we did have was an abundance of faith, instilled by my parents” Lydia said. Whenever faced with hardship, Lydia’s parents would always respond with hope and trust: “Ngai niegu ́ka” which means “God will provide” in Lydia’s native language of Swahili. She and her siblings learned from her parents that in all things, God must be present and guiding your path.
Years later in 2002 Lydia would carry her faith thousands of miles away; traveling to Minnesota to attend college. While going to school she worked as a certified nursing assistant at a nearby care center where she found her calling. “I was raised to be respectful to older adults and to be the hands and feet of Christ for them. I learned that I could make a career using the standards my parents taught me and my faith. When I put those two things together, it just felt like the right thing” she said.
Lydia recognizes the central role of her faith as she reflects on her journey to PHS. “God picked Moses, not because he was an eloquent speaker, but because he had a plan. Even though I am not a native English speaker, I know that God brought me from Kenya to do this work and each day I ask for him to walk with me and guide me on the journey.”
Lydia was later hired as the Human Resources Manager at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington and continued to seek out opportunities to unite her faith and work. Through her experience as a resident assistant, Lydia learned what compassionate care truly meant. She excels at incorporating Christian values in her management role. “Even in difficult situations; respect, fairness and love are at the center” she said.
Today Lydia serves as a Regional Director of Human Resources, supporting 18 PHS communities. In the Human Resources role, each day is different and presents both challenges and blessings. “When a situation comes to me as regional HR, my first reaction is to pray about the situation using the simple words: “Mwathani tigutorika.” It is difficult to directly translate this phrase, but in essence, Lydia makes a faith-filled proclamation of trust in God’s presence and asks for the wisdom and knowledge needed to navigate through every situation.
The Christian Culture of PHS encourages Lydia to take the opportunity to pray with employees at work and uplift others with devotionals. Lydia concludes, “The mission of PHS aligns well with my values and faith. I trust that I am here for a purpose and that God will continue to provide the guidance and grace in every situation.”