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May 2016
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Crisis at Upako

UpakoDown1Last Friday, I received notice along with documentation that the venue that we had known UpakoDown4 as Upako Centre had been maliciously destroyed. I knew that the landlord wanted to evict Pastor Francis and his work, and that the courts had intervened that allowed Pastor Francis time to relocate. I have never inquired more into the process because I never want our partners to think I am checking up on them. If they want to share with me, they know they can. I also knew that the community had not wanted this transition to happen, for Upako had been good to them and their children. Here is the message along with the photos I received last Friday:

Dr. J,

We are looking up to heaven to continue living after our landlord hired armed goons escorted by the police who came yesterday night and damaged Upako Centre, reducing it to nothing. The classrooms, kitchen, the UpakoDown9food store, and my office have been destroyed. I am asking for urgent help to fix the mess and keep going. It is really sad to see our police guard the strong against helpless orphans and unarmed teachers who could do nothing. My plea with them to allow justice take its course felt into deaf ears. May God help us. UpakoDown10

Pastor Francis

Then I received this message from Pastor Francis Sunday morning:

Dr. J,

UpakoDown11I received the money you sent and we have moved to the new place we identified earlier. All the children are safe and I thank God for the great help and for you. Thank you for standing with us during this moment as we collect our pieces together for the benefit of the orphans and for the glory of God. Today is Sunday and the structure UpakoDown12we had for a church building for the faithful in the slum was destroyed along with the classrooms. I am leaving to meet with the church members out in the open for a short service then I will hold another service with the children at the new place.

The Upako Project had the full support of the community members, especially the poor since some of them brought their children for free education to the Centre. When the landlord tried to evict us before, the community protested and I think that is why they involved the police and goons to keep UpakoDown6the community members at bay as they destroyed Upako.

Continue praying for us. I am determined to continue with this ministry for this is what God called me to do.


Pastor Francis

I immediately sent $500 last Friday, and will send more. How much depends on you. Can you help our friends who have been dealt this devastating blow? I have set up a special link on Paypal for Upako, and every penny that is given will be sent to them as quickly as possible. You can give online or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. If you can give $5, I urge you to do so at this time, for that will go a long way toward helping Pastor Francis and his team recover from the shock of this attack. Thank you, and please be in prayer for our friends at Upako.

The Needs Are Great

When I take a team to Kenya, I give them some advice that has served them well. I tell them, "When you go to Kenya, you are going to see needs and you are going to want to meet those needs. You cannot, for there are too many and they are overwhelming. We do not give to needs; we give into our relationships and build those, meeting the needs that those relationships serve and represent."

What's more, I have discovered that I cannot save the whole world. I cannot save Kenya. In fact, I cannot save or rescue anyone, but I know Someone who can do all of that, and His name is Jesus. Therefore, I look for Him to direct our steps and then empower us to make a difference.

I write that this week because I received the following update from Pastor Francis:

Dr. J

The amazing grace and peace of God be with you all. We are all well and the children are in good health despite the hard conditions that they live in. The number of the children who live here now are 23 and for LaptopPicthem to have two meals a day, each one of them needs $1. They need blankets, mattresses, bed sheets, and warm clothes. They also need school textbooks (6 text books per child) and the cost is $7 a book. They also need black school shoes  for ages 4 years to 17 years. We are in need of cooking pans for our kitchen and other basic needs. Used laptops are also good so that we can introduce them to the new technologies so please can you donate one.

I am glad that you and I are committed to serving God in different capacities including praying for these needy children. My appeal is that we equip them with the most needed basics for their life and school. I wish to welcome you to join me in changing and maintaining the lives of the innocent orphans by feeding, clothing, and providing a roof over their heads. By doing this, God will continue providing the rest including good health for all of us.

You can invite a friend to also do something.You can also sponsor a child to join a good modern school for $600 every quarter. Remember that it is not a burden when you are doing it for God.

Pastor Francis

Red Donate ButtonIt has been my custom to share the needs that are made known to me and trust that the Spirit will lead those who are touched and want to help. If you would like to meet any of the above needs, I can vouch for Pastor Francis as a man of integrity who will use what you give for the intended purpose. He is also at peace trusting the Lord to meet these overwhelming needs. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. We are getting ready for our next shipment of goods to Kenya, and we will of course share part of that shipment with Pastor Francis.

By the way, if you have an old laptop that is in working order, you can donate it to the ministry and we will wipe it clean, convert it to the Linux system and send it over for the ministries to use. We are also still collecting books and school supplies, if you have any that you don't have a place for any longer. Thank you for your help, and let's continue to invest in our relationships and watch them bear fruit for Him.

Bricks and Hungry Kids

Pastor Francis often sends me updates on Saturday, knowing that I will send them along to update you on UpakoFoodLineSunday. Here is his latest, along with some pictures (click on them to enlarge):

Dr. J,

I trust that you are well. We are doing well generally and we thank God for everything. The bricks project is picking up well after along break due to the rainy season that has ended, so we are back on track again. The children are in good health; thanks for feeding them. Mary is doing well and is doing her final primary school exam at the end of this year so that she can continue with her high school starting next year. May God keep her safe and give her strength.

UpakoKidsCircleWe produced bricks for a client in Kericho last month and we have completed making 150 bricks for a brother in Bomet. If this continues, it's going to be a great work. Moving the machine from place to place needs a pickup vehicle but we are moving around with public transport, which is not very easy.

The brick project will add value to what we have been doing and it is our viable step towards sustainability. We are doing all that we can to make sure that it is successful.

Pastor Francis

UpakoBrickPileAs you probably know, we were able to help Francis purchase a brick-making machine, which has enabled his business to expand. We pray that it will flourish.

At the same time, Pastor Francis works every day in the Kawangware slum district, and as you can see from the pictures, the conditions can be grim. When you look at the children, you can see their poverty and despair, living a day-to-day existence, along with their families. The meal that Pastor Francis gives them is often their only one of the day; they often go to bed hungry.

Please help us help these children. This past week $465 came in, and I am grateful that something arrives almost every week. I pray that you will be the one to give this week, UpakoBackLookwhich you can do through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you in advance for your help. Let's give to the children so that they have something to eat when they stand in line. Thank you, and God bless you for your generosity!