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Another Success Story

Pastor Peter introduced us to an elementary school close to his church in Banana by the name of Kawaida. Kawaida classroom EmptyKawaidaOriginally, Kawaida was located in nothing more than a cow barn that was converted (loosely speaking) into a school. The picture you see at right is of a Kawaida classroom when we first visited there. Since this picture was taken, the government built a new building, but did not furnish the school. The picture at left is what the interior looked like after the school opened for business. We have donated books, money and some supplies to Kawaida, under Pastor Peter's supervision and based on his recommendation. This is what Pastor Peter wrote a few weeks ago about the progress at Kawaida and also sent some pictures (click on any to enlarge):

Dear Dr. Stanko,                                     

Kawaida1JPGI know the majority of you are familiar with Kawaida Primary School. It's a school that we have walked with for more than 8 years.Its name Kawaida is a Swahili name meaning "something of no relevance" or "by the way." True to its name, it had Kawaida2remained like that for a long time.The school was in cow barns for many years without any comfort, maintaining the status quo, until the missionaries who came with Dr. John Stanko saw something different for Kawaida that included life, hope and progress.

Kawaida3Since then the school has experienced tremendous growth. First, it was moved to a modern building, We started a library there, and recently a group of donors have dug a borehole for them to access clean water. Another group have donated a computer, printer, and a scanner. To spice it up, the government has named it an IT model center, and they have started teaching with giant screens and videos. The journey started from a cow shed Kawaida4 and led to a modern school. What can we say in all this? We were faithful with little but God has crowned our work with beauty. The lesson is never get tired in doing good. There are plenty of needs but one step at a time we shall meet them with God's help. God bless all our partners - Pastor Peter

Kawaida5Last week, I announced that we are preparing to finalize our next shipment to Kenya, of which Kawaida will be one of the beneficiaries. The shipment includes laptops, Team Kawaidabooks, shoes (men's, women's and children's), and school supplies. When we announced last week that we would take bicycles, 15 kids bikes were donated. Someone wrote this week to donate office furniture. I am blessed by this donations, but now we need cold hard cash to make the shipment a reality. You can read my post from last week, and then please give to the shipment fees using PayPal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Let's repeat the success at Kawaida and replicate what's happened there in more places across Kenya. Thank you for your help!

The Impossible Dream

It's time to ship our next container to Kenya. The boxes are packed (almost) and we are in the last stages of Unit1collecting books and shoes. My thanks to my son, John III, and all the Kenya team for their diligence in seeing the project through to this point. The last container went over in April 2014 and the cost was $15,000 to get everything over and cleared through customs. Before I tell you how you can help with this year's shipment, let me give you a bit of history. (By the way, the warehouse pictures are from this year; the container pictures are from 2014).

Unit2In 2010, I was attending a book signing reception in Kenya with my publisher, WordAlive Publishing. None of my books were featured, but I was there to support other authors. There was a Kenyan cabinet level officer at the reception who was asked to make a few remarks. He said something unusual that impacted me during his speech and that was, "Our people in the villages are bored. Help us start libraries so the people have something to read." I had always heard that Kenyans were not that interested in reading, but it caused me to wonder if that was true only because there were few books to read.

I started bringing books with me after that, and I found that the people received them enthusiastically and Containershared them with their friends. Once I saw that there was a hunger to read, my question became, "Where and through whom would we be able to start libraries?" Those questions led to two more: "Where would we get books and how would we get them into Kenya?" It seemed like an impossible dream to establish learning centers in a foreign land.

In 2013, I saw that we could start our libraries through churches who had a significant and consistent commitment to community development. I had relationships with many leaders and churches, and it became clear that our first library should be in Banana under the oversight of Pastor Peter Kihungi. We dedicated the library in March of 2014 and shipped our books over later in the year that we had collected here in the U.S, along with musical equipment, shoes, kids jeans, Forkliftundergarments, and school supplies. Since then, we have started five more libraries, with two more slated to get started through this shipment.

The question always comes up: Is this a wise investment of resources? I can only say that in a country where there are few books and many children go to school barefoot, it seems to me that it is. Judging from the response of our partners, they are grateful for the supplies and have put them to good use. I have posted testimonies, videos and pictures that included the impact of the work we have done.

Now it is time to raise the money to ship, and I have $2,000 set aside. Obviously, we are going to need much Full Loadmore. We will ship the container when we have the money in hand. I am not sure how much it will be, for the shipping rates have changed, and we never know exactly what we will encounter when we clear customs. We have an excellent agent in Kenya who is a believer, but she can only do so much if she is assigned a bureaucrat who does share our commitment to this project.

You can contribute to this shipping fund using PayPal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. I have put this in the Lord's hand, so I will mention it throughout August, but will not try to strong arm or pressure anyone to give. Just pray and do what the Lord directs you to do. Where God guides, He provides, so this is His shipment for His children and church, and I am counting on Him to get the job done, as He always seems to do. God has made this impossible dream a reality, and I don't think we are to stop now. Thank you, and please be praying for this project that it may happen quickly and be expedited through customs in Kenya.