Trip to Haiti and Other News

Here are some things going on and random thoughts on the future:

1.  The Kenya container drama continues. We have been informed that we need to fumigate the shoes we are sending (providing a certificate of the process) and also to provide a health certificate stating that there is no leprosy in the sending country. If any of your friends in the U.S. are lepers, please let me know so I can inform the Kenya authorities.

2. I currently have 26 people going to Israel next April, with 13 going to Rome after our pilgrimage. There is still time and room to book your space. Check out the website and then join us for the trip of a lifetime, one you have probably wanted to make for quite some time.

3. I received a surprise invitation to go to Haiti before Christmas for a day of leadership training. I Haiti will depart on December 18 and return on December 21, a quick trip. If you care to contribute toward my expenses, please do so using my website link.

4. We have been called to schedule our Kenya shipment inspection. After that, we will get a pick up date. I will need help on that day to load the container with the 800 boxes, desks, bikes and other "stuff" we are sending. I cannot give you a date, but if you think you may be able to help, please let me know.

5. I just sent my latest commentary off to begin the publishing process. That means I will have published commentaries on Matthew, Mark, John, Acts and five of Paul's epistles in 2017 (Paul's epistles should be available in late December).

6. My writing goals for 2018 are to publish two more volumes of my commentaries (Luke and Paul's epistles to the Thessalonians and to Timothy). Then I will edit five of my existing books to make them current plus will author three new books and record two audio books. All that is in addition to the books I will edit and oversee for others through Urban Press.

7. In order to achieve my 2018 goals, I am looking at what I need to stop doing. So far, I have decided to discontinue my weekly radio show and I have resigned an administrative position I held with a school. I am also cutting back from teaching three college classes to one for the next semester. Every productive person needs a to-do list and a stop-to-do list.

8. I am still looking for the last $3,500 to cover all the Kenya shipment expenses. You can give online using PayPal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.

9. If you are looking for a good devotional and study book for 2018, may I suggest my revised Life is a  Gold Mine: Can You Dig It? and the accompanying daily devotional. Both are on sale through my Urban Press website.

That's about it for now.


Back from Nigeria

My trip to Nigeria from October 12-30 was many things: grueling, exhausting, exhilarating, fun, challenging, and enlightening. This past week was busy, as the first week back usually is, and I am IMG_0107sleeping well but still finding myself tired at the end of the day. The first week in Nigeria was spent teaching a graduate level class on Contemporary Communications; the second was participating in the 29th annual Believer's Convention sponsored by Gospel Light International Ministry (GLIM) hosted by Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude.

I met people from all over the world who are part of the GLIM family, and was reunited with my old traveling partner, Dr. Ron Kenoly. It was a wonderful reunion and brought back many good memories of our travels all over the world from 1991 to 1995 for Worship International, the ministry arm of Integrity Music. The attached picture is of my parting gift from GLIM, which is a tailored suit complete with cuff links! I could get used to wearing it, for it is comfortable, yet considered formal wear in many African countries.

Now that I am back home, my focus is on finishing the shipment to Kenya, which currently is bogged down in paperwork. We are waiting to hear when our inspection will be, which is the prelude to a shipping date. We will need help loading the container on whatever day the trucking company assigns, and I am still trusting the Lord for the remainder of the funds needed to finalize the shipment. If God directs you to help, you use my website link with PayPal or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.

And don't forget that my 2018 trip to the Holy Land is coming up April 24-May 4, with a short trip afterwards to Rome. There is still time to register, but time is running out. Don't miss the chance you have been waiting for to connect with the land where Jesus walked and taught.


About $4,000 short

The container shipment for Kenya has progressed to the point that we are waiting for our shipment ID Containernumber, after which the shipping company will contact us, we will complete the paperwork, pass inspection Stateside, pack the container, and send it off to Baltimore and then to Mombasa and then to Nairobi. It has been a long process, and just yesterday I received two car loads more of books to include. This is the project that just keeps on giving!

The agent in Kenya has said we will need $10,000 to clear customs and pass inspection over there, and we are not sure exactly how much we will need for the shipping cost. My guess having talked to others is that the container will cost $5,500 to ship (it could be higher, but not lower), which would put us about $4,000 short from what we have now to pay for everything here and over in Kenya.

So I am asking you to dig deep and help us at this hour to ship over the 27,000 (Yes, it has grown to that) books, 3,000 pairs of shoes, school supplies, and so much more to our partners in Kenya. Anyone who has been to Kenya with me can tell you how important these supplies are, for they simply are not available over there in any of the schools, private or public. In 2014, we sent a 20-foot-long container (pictured above); this year it will be a 40-footer!

Red Donate ButtonYou can give through my website using PayPal or a credit card, or you can send a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your generous contributions of supplies so far; now I need to count on your generosity to finish the job. It has been more than three years since we sent over a container, so this is the last time for a while that I will be asking your help for this endeavor. Thank you and God bless you!


A Week of Good Deeds

I am in the delightful position to not only distribute the resources you donate to our friends in Kenya, AcademyNapTimebut then also to receive their profound gratitude for the help. This week I heard from two of our special friends, and I wanted to include their comments for you to savor, as it was indeed a week of good deeds being done in accordance with Galatians 6:9-10: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

First, let's hear from Pastor Francis, who also sent along some pictures:

Dr. J,

LatestMaryI received the money you sent for teachers pay [$600] and gave it to them.We are very grateful to you for the big support. I don't have much else to tell you about today but I sincerely want to thank you and all those involved in helping these orphans to make it to the next day through feeding, education, prayers and even visiting Kenya to give them hope and encouragement. There are so many needy people in the world but God brought you to us. School activities are on and the children are in good health. The teachers are committed and are handling the 153 children at school everyday. The needs are so many but we are blessed with your involvement with us.

Continue praying for us.
Pastor Francis
 
 
I am including three pictures, one of little Mary, who is being sponsored to go on to high school, and two AcademyDesks of the Dr. Stanko Academy. Notice that four children sit at one desk, and that the building is metal [hot and noisy] and that the children nap on a mat over a concrete floor.
 
Then, our second message is from Alice to let us know that Obed ($800: Thank you, Tim) and Gladwell ($750: Thank you, Sue) are enrolled and ready to start this school term:
 
Dear Dr. John,
 
I am writing to express my sincere thanks and those of Gladwell and Obed to you and our associated friends for sending Obed and Gladwell to a better school. 
 
By taking these children to Mudasa Academy, to join Phyllis, you have given them better wings to fly. I pray to God to lead them into spiritual life so they can concentrate on their studies in purity and without being stalked by the devil for failure. I lift my eyes upon the Lord seeking for his blessings for you and all other EOTOO friends who have seen about half of our children get an opportunity to excel in school and hopefully in their lives.
 
I have asked Rose to list for me the exact money received for each child and will send the expenditure soon. Gladwell went to school on Monday and Obed was admitted in the same school on Friday.
 
Thank you and l say thank you again. 
Alice for EOTOO
 
I wish I had something new to report on the container shipment. I am waiting to hear from our agent in Kenya, but things are ready to go -- except that we still need some funds to complete the clearance fees. Please give generously so that we can continue these "good deeds" similar to the ones described above. You can give using PayPal through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you, and I trust this opportunity to give is a fulfillment of your own obedience to Galatians 6:10, which is to do good to all, especially the household of faith.

A Library TV

This past week, we had a few opportunities to bless our friends in Kenya. We sent school fees for several of our orphans at Each One Touch One, school fees for Mary at Upako, and then sent funds to TV2purchase a television for our Banana library. Pastor Peter wrote to acknowledge that the TV had been purchased and installed in the music school building behind the library:

Dear Dr. John,

The WAPIS team says thanks for the donation of $600 that has enabled us to buy a smart TV and wall mount stands. The system will be used for our e-learning classes and movie time entertainment for recreation. The TV has been mounted in our music room space for convenience purpose. Once more God bless all our partners.

Pastor Peter

TV1In addition, we have finalized the paperwork and are awaiting the next step for the container shipment. We have $10,000 of the $14,000 estimated shipping cost, so we are still trusting the Lord for the balance needed. I was tempted not to help with any of the needs in Kenya this time around so I could save money toward the container, but I thought that would not be a faith statement. God is able to provide for all the needs in Kenya, and I don't need to be fearful of His ability to provide. Therefore, we invested the $2,000 this past week to meet school and learning needs.

Obviously, I need your help if we are to finish this year strong and continue to bless our partners in Kenya. Can you help with a contribution toward the container, which will strengthen our existing libraries and start new ones? Can you give toward the feeding and schooling of our orphans? This past week, I received a $10 gift via PayPal, and I know that it may be the "biggest" contribution I have received this year, for it represented a sacrificial gift on the part of the giver. Won't you also give a special offering to help the poor? You can give using PayPal via my website or you can send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.

Thank you and thank You, Lord, for helping me help others as God continues to open doors and hearts for ministry in Kenya.


School is Out in Kenya

Kenyan schools take a break in August, and this year is no exception, especially since the WAPIS2schools were needed as voting venues for the national election that was held on August 8. When school is out, however, our libraries are the "in" place to be, as you can see from these pictures. This break is a time when many students make use of our libraries, especially our biggest one in Banana. Pastor Peter sent me an update with pictures this past week, and I am including it here so you will know for sure that the work you are supporting in Kenya is being carried out with integrity and excellence:

Dear Dr. John,

The school holiday is here once more and the students are making good use of the library. We are happy that majority of the youth are able to utilize their free time well. In the country, we have come out of election last week and there was some chaos, but we thank God it's now calm.

WAPIS3Please continue praying for us that we maintain peace.

God bless all our partners.

Pastor Peter

I sent Pastor Peter $600 this past week to purchase a television for the library so the students can watch educational DVDs, and also so the library can sponsor movie nights for the community. I will send pictures of what that looks like when I receive them.

In the meantime, we continue to make progress on our next installment of books being sent to Kenya in our container. Our agent in Kenya promised that she would finalize WAPIS1 the first steps this coming week so that our shipment of 25,000 books, desks, shoes, and school supplies can be sent over soon. I am not sure what this shipment will cost, but I am trusting the Lord for the funds to continue this important library project. Please consider a gift toward the expenses of the shipment, which you can give through my website using PayPal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.

It is my prayer that the Lord will see fit not only to fund the container shipment, but also to help us outfit all our libraries with new tables, shelves, chairs, computers, and televisions. I have been praying that we would be able to raise $100,000, which I have already planned how to distribute among our partners. If you are looking for good ground into which you can sow Kingdom seed,  I commend the work we are doing in Kenya for your prayerful consideration. Thank you, and thank You, Lord, for Your provision and help.


Progress in Kenya

When I take visitors to Kenya, I tell them that we do not give to needs while we are there. That is because there is need everywhere. Instead, we build relationships and invest into those we know and trust. That is why I give you regular reports from just a few places because we have decided not to try and change the world -- just a small portion of it. This week, I heard from Pastor Peter LillianGradand Pastor Francis. First, let's look at what Francis had to say:

Dr J,
The support you are giving to the teachers here [at the Stanko Academy] is really helping. Lilian completed another step of training and graduated on Friday 21/7/17. This means that the children are going to get the best and the entire leadership has been sent light. She had started the training but was not able to complete because there was no money. Thank you so much for the help. Lilian is now in a new level of her teaching profession and is continuing with studies. Pastor Francis
 
Then I heard from Pastor Peter after I asked him if a big screen TV would be of use in our Banana library. Here is what he wrote:
 
Dear Dr. John,
 
It's so wonderful to hear the progress you are making with the shipment and with God all will be possible. We say thanks to all the donors of different items and special thanks to your son for his tireless effort toward this project. Here in Kenya the schools will be closed in two weeks time and hence the library will experience unusual turnover but will manage. For the TV, the majority are ranging $500 and we need a DVD machine and wall mount stand that will cost about $100-150. In total, we are looking at $600-650.This will be very important during this holiday. Once more, May God bless all the work of your hard and grant you favor. Pastor Peter
 
So here are the needs coming up for our partners in Kenya:
  1. $600 due August 1 for our teachers at Upako;
  2. $650 for our library TV and DVD (if you want to understand why we are doing what we do to establish libraries, watch this video);
  3. $15,000 for our shipment ($1,750 came in last week, so we need $8500).

You can give as the Lord leads using PayPal through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest International, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. All of these needs are urgent and dated - they are due by August 1. I ask that you pray and then do what God directs you to do -- today! Thank you and God bless you.


The Time to Ship Has Arrived

For the last three years, people have donated books, shoes (for men, women, and children), school supplies, desks, bicycles, Bibles, puppets, toys, and other odds and ends. The time has come to ship the container so that our friends in Kenya can enjoy and utilize what has been given. That shipment will require money to send, by my best estimate around $15,000 of which I have $5,000.

We have upgraded to a 40-foot container to accommodate the 700 boxes (in 2014, we sent Warehouse 290 boxes in a 20-foot container, pictured below right) that are in three warehouses (like the one pictured at right), for which we have paid $400 per month. Those 700 boxes contain:

  • 25,000 library books (fiction, nonfiction, reference, textbooks)
  • 2.500 pairs of shoes
  • tons of school supplies
  • 75 laptop computers
  • 35 bicycles
  • 10 desks

BoxesMy son (pictured right) sorted, trashed what could not be sent, packed, labeled, coded, sealed, and arranged the last 500 boxes (like the ones pictured left - click to enlarge) in three warehouses with little help from anyone. He has Unit1lived and labored over this project for the last year as a volunteer, serving the Lord and the people of Kenya. The work isn't over yet, for we will have to find volunteers to help us pack the container the day it arrives, come rain or shine.

In addition to supplementing the libraries we already have, we will establish at least three new libraries out of this shipment - and knowing how resourceful Kenyans are, it will probably be more than three. Why are we doing this and why is this project worthy of your financial support? Here are a few reasons:

  • If we are going to fight poverty, we must support the people not only with food, but Containerwith educational opportunities. Where there is a library, local leaders report that boredom goes down, which means that drug abuse and teen pregnancy also decrease.
  • The libraries provide a place to study away from the limitations of their homes, which often do not have electricity or a quiet place to study.
  • The libraries become hubs of learning. Our library in Banana has an art and music school, as well as a hair salon where ladies learn cosmetology as well as earn money providing hairdressing services.

1 Empty Library 1The library project started at the behest of a cabinet official in Kenya, who said to me, "Help us start libraries. Our people are bored and have nothing to read." I found that to be true, and that is why we are doing what we do. The picture at left (click to enlarge) is a new school the government built in a village. What you see is the library, and the school has 600 children! Compare the picture at left with the picture of our new library in Banana with Pastor Peter (right below).

Now I need your help. I need to raise the money to finish the task we started. You can give Library1 through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. This has turned into a huge project, but I know God is able to fund the work and expedite the process of shipping and clearing customs.

This truly is a faith shipment, for I have no foundations, churches, or organizations who support this work. We are doing this because we have seen firsthand the impact that the libraries have made in the communities and schools where they exist. We have given ourselves to the work because this is doing something for the poor for which they cannot repay us or you. We are doing this because we know God has led us to do it.

Won't you stand with us, my son and I and the other supporters who have given resources, time, and money? More importantly, won't you help all the youth and adults who will benefit from what is in this container? I pray you will find it in your heart to do so. Thank you and God bless you.


My Ministry Updates

There is a lot going on, or should I say, coming up with my ministry work. I thought I would take this opportunity to update you and give you a chance to get involved. Here goes:

  1. I have 14 people signed up for my 2018 Israel trip from April 24-May 4, and many have inquired IsraelWebsitePicand more than a few said they are going. There are also 8 people signed up for the after trip to Rome. You can find out more about the pilgrimage at the tour website.
  2. My next trip to Kenya is February 22 to March 9, 2018. The first informational meeting is on Sunday, July 30 at 12:30 PM at Allegheny Center Alliance Church in room 120 of the Union Place building. Please let me know if you plan to attend.
  3. My latest book, a commentary on the gospel of John, is available for purchase on Amazon.
  4. I am ready to ship my next container of books and school supplies to Kenya. This shipment has 25,000 books, 2,500 pairs of shoes, desks, bikes, and a ton (literally) of school supplies. I need help with the shipping costs. You can contribute using PayPal through my website, or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
  5. I next speak at Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the weekend of August 19-20.
  6. I will be speaking at Victory Church in Oklahoma City on Sunday, September 3, in both services.
  7. This fall, I am teaching two leadership courses at the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in Pittsburgh. On Wednesday nights, I will teach How to Start a Nonprofit Organization from 6 to 9 PM. On Saturday mornings from 9 to noon, I will teach History of Urban Leadership. Write me for more information.
  8. I will be in Lagos, Nigeria from October 14-30 teaching at the satellite school for Southwestern Christian University.
  9. I am working on my second work of fiction that involves lessons from the relationship of David and Saul, as well as from the book of Psalms.
  10. In addition to the above, I am enjoying my time as president of Urban Press, for which I am involved in many book projects for other people.

Please write and let me know if you would like to participate in anything I have listed above or if you have any questions. And please know that what I do, I do in faith, trusting God for my provision. If God leads you to help me, please contribute using PayPal through my website, or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.


Upako School Van

After their venue was ransacked and destroyed last year, the school and then the orphans at Upako UpakoVan1Centre had to relocate to a new site. As God always does, He has worked this out for the good and today they are thriving in their new venue. Leadership did not want to leave any of the children behind in the transition, so they have been transporting students to the new school, having to rent a van to get the job done. This week, Pastor Francis wrote me the following update concerning their school van:

Dr. J,
God's grace is amazing. We have been using an old van to transport some children from Kawangware to Dr. Stanko Academy for a fee daily on school days. The owner took it for repair and painting but instead of painting the ordinary colour, he painted the van with our new school colour and branded it DR. STANKO ACADEMY. He asked us to continue paying him the daily fees of 23 dollars as usual until we buy our own. The Van looks good UpakoVan2and we are happy with the branding. God can command a stranger to help along the way. Step by step, things are falling on the right track and I thank God for everything. God bless you for continued prayers.
Blessings - Pastor Francis
I was blessed that they were blessed with this development and by the looks of everyone in the pictures, they truly are happy and blessed! There are many things I appreciate about our partners in Kenya, and one of them is their faith in God. They trust Him daily, not putting their faith in us but in Him, where it should be. For that reason, God watches over them and grants them unexpected blessings as Pastor Francis described.
 
Won't you stand with our friends who are standing in faith, trusting God to use you to meet their needs? You can help with their van expense, their teacher salaries, the bunk bed needs for the orphans who actually stay and live in the classrooms, or the school feeding program by contributing to my ministry. You can use PayPal via my website or send a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your help, and may God bless you and our friends in Kenya as together we serve God's Kingdom through our faithful service.