One Step Closer

Last Saturday, we took a big step closer to seeing our long-awaited container getting off to Kenya. We IMG_0865had 15 volunteers, most of them from Light of Life Rescue Mission here in Pittsburgh, show up to empty and consolidate the boxes in our four storage units. We then packed them on two trucks to take to the Light of Life warehouse. There we sorted them by color (they are going to six different locations in Kenya) on 17 pallets and then wrapped them in shrink wrap.

Now I am waiting for word from Missionary Freight Expediters of how much it will cost to ship a 40-foot container through the shipping lines with which they work. We are back to a 40-foot container instead of a 20-footer since it will be less complicated to pack a container with more space.

IMG_0874I spent $400 on Saturday on gas, tolls, and truck rental. When added to the $1,000 invested in boxes and tape, $500 on pallets and shrink wrap, and at least $4,000 on storage rental, we have invested about $6,000 so far in the project. I am guessing that it will require about $13,000 to ship.

That leads to the question: Is it worth it to spend all that money on used computers, 27,000 books, and boxes of educational supplies.

The short answer is yes.

Our partners in Kenya would never be able to find or pay for educational supplies. What worth can be placed on a young person leafing through a book and reading or seeing something that will change his or her life? What price can we put on a church having a community library to attract people from the community where the students can find a predictable environment to study, with textbooks and computers? We take for granted all those things, but they are rare in Kenya, and we are making a difference through the centers we have established. This container will only add to the impact we are having.

I am attaching below the fundraising letter I sent to my mailing list last week. I need your help to replenish my finances once this container is off to Kenya. If you have never given to my ministry before, this would be a good time to do so. Please read the letter and then give using Paypal on my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and please pray that we receive a favorable quote on the shipment and that it clears customs easily. Thank you and God bless you!

Download FRLtr2018-1

Cool Pictures

I received an update from Pastor Francis this week and a picture from Alice, so I am sharing what I got IMG_20180119_114551with you.

Dr. J,

We are grateful to God for everything.we have entered into the new month of February and we are all well. God has shown us mercy and has granted us another opportunity IMG_20180119_090212this new month without demanding for any payment. If it were that God was to charge us for the oxygen then we could be in huge debts. This is a new year and am trusting God for miracles. The children need a small parcel of land where we can start doing things in a more sustainable way as we continue feeding, educating and clothing them. Big prayer.
IMG_20180119_075802They are still using the mattresses on the floor so we need the small beds. Thank you for the continued support.
Stay blessed,
Pastor Francis
Alice didn't say much but her picture was from a school visiting day where Phyllis, Gladwell, and Obed IMG-20180203-WA0007are now attending, with your help. If you can help with the land or the beds that Pastor Francis mentioned, please let me know. You can make a contribution using my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and enjoy the pictures! (Click on them to enlarge.)

We Need a Breakthrough

First, let me update you on the ongoing saga of our container we are trying to ship with 3,000 pairs of shoes and 27,000 books. This past week, the shipping company from Miami contacted us again to request a picture of a printer we are trying to send over. Then two days later, they informed us that they must do another inspection of our warehouse, although this time it will be a remote inspection using an iPhone. They want to look at the bicycles we are sending along with a few other harmless items.

Besides this company's incompetence (we have now talked to 10 different agents in that company since UpakoLittlesAssemblySeptember 18, when we initiated the process), it seems that the Kenyan officials are requesting all this documentation. It is amazing that we are trying to donate these supplies, but so far have been unable to do so.

We must move the 750 boxes to place them on pallets for pick up, but we cannot do that until we can inform the new warehouse exactly how long those boxes will be there, and we can't know that until we get a firm word from the shipping UpakoKidscompany who must get permission from the Kenya government to pick them up. Confused? Join the club; we have been confused by the process since September.

On a happier note, school is back in session at the Dr. Stanko Academy UpakoPlayTimeand Pastor Francis sent these pictures this week (click to enlarge). My favorite is the one with the beaming young lady and a bewildered little one standing next to her in his (or her?) winter attire. This is a reminder of why we are trying to press through the bureaucracy and inefficiency to spend $15,000 to get this container over there, for we know what a blessing the resources will be to our UpakoClassroompartners.

Please pray with us that God will give us a breakthrough so we can get this stuff where it belongs. Also, please give toward the container shipment for I am paying warehouse fees every month while we wait for the pick up date. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and may the Lord help us help our friends!

A Beautiful New Church in Kenya

Those who have been to Kenya know Pastor Peter. He is one of the most gifted leaders we have NewChurchmet there (and there are many good ones) with a specific talent for building churches. We have visited the church he built for St. Michael and All Angels in Banana and marveled at what was accomplished as a faith venture, for Peter had little outside help raising money. He raised it brick by brick.

IMG_1450Last year when we visited Kenya, we toured a new church he was building in another area. The concrete was poured, the walls were up, but the church was far from finished. Over the holidays, Peter sent me pictures of the finished product and it looks amazing! Take a look at what the Lord has done through Peter and the people there.

We thank God for His help and for raising up Pastor Peter to spearhead the work of the Anglican Church in the area where his leaders have assigned him to serve.

A New Year in Kenya

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a blessed holiday season and that you have started 2018 full of faith and hope. Thank you for your faithful support as the year ended, which enabled us to continue our support of those we love in Kenya. I stayed in touch with our Kenyan partners throughout the holiday, and have sent school fees to Each One Touch One and Mary at Upako. Then I sent support to Pastor David in Bomet, paid the teachers at Upako (along with a Christmas bonus) and sent a small gift to Pastor Peter and his family. Now I am wrestling with the shipping company over the container, but unfortunately have nothing new to report, so keep praying for a breakthrough.

I received the following updates from Kenya. First, let's read what Pastor Peter wrote:

Dear Dr. John

Here in Kenya we are all well and looking forward to Christmas time. The library continues doing well in empowering student and I know when the computers arrive we will modernize the computer section and continue in cataloging all the books. Karen school performed best in this year standard Eight Exams and many will join good secondary school. We are looking forward to 2018. The music school is perfect and we have excellent student who are doing amazing work. The widows are busy in farming, bead work, and in the salon, and we thank God for them. Finally my family and ministry are well and God has been faithful. To all our supporters God bless for your tirelessly sacrifice and commitment.

Pastor Peter

PhyllisObedGladwellThen here are some pictures from Alice of three of the youth we are supporting with school fees (there are six total) along with her report on the latest developments at EOTOO. In essence, with so many of the children off to school, Alice has closed down the orphanage that she has had since 2009:

Dear Dr. John,
We want to thank God who has brought us this far and hope that he will see us through 2017 and into 2018. We thank you too for staying close to us as a friend and doing the best you can to help fulfill important matters in the EOTOO children's lives.
Rose did inform me that you sent through her some kshs 40,000 a week ago to add on another 40,000 that you had sent earlier. I would imagine it is Sophia fund money. Kindly correct me if that is not the case. All in all, l wish to thank you for responding to our request positively.
I did send e-mail out to contacts that have been assisting EOTOO financially and sometimes in PhyllisAliceObedkind expressing the difficulties we face trying to raise funds  for rent and my fears of not opening the home for the year 2018. Only one 'donor' - who is not still active - responded like they would communicate. One other lady was willing to team up with somebody else to put one boy in boarding school. It looks increasingly that we may not open the home in January. It is sad but hasten to count my/our blessings that we have received since 2009 your immense contribution included.
What l wished to ask is, were l able to stay with Joseph and Javerson in my rural home as they conclude their Primary Education (Std 8), would you supplement me with the purchase of the food that l have to buy from the shops like sugar,  flour, cooking oil, etc? Joseph is willing to relocate to the rural areas. I have not been able to talk to Javerson. For Joy and Elvis, their stepbrother wants to know upfront whether l would see them thorough secondary school. I am trying to get Jane and her brother Ngige in another children's home.
Sorry for being this long with my message.
I am sending another $600 today for Elizabeth's school fees, and I know other needs will emerge as the year begins (Alice asked for help above with food for some of the children who now live with her). Please continue to remember their cause and send a contribution using my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and God bless you for helping the poor in their hour of need.

Thoughts of Kenya

I have abandoned any hope of shipping the container this year, and I am not sure what the holdup is. PeterChurch3We had our inspection (we had to pay for that this time) and have talked to everyone we needed to contact. We just can't get any response or movement! Meanwhile, we continue to pay monthly storage, and the weather is not getting any more conducive to packing. Therefore, I am holding off putting any more pressure on the company until after the first of the year when we have plans of moving all the contents to a warmer storage unit where it can be put on pallets, wrapped, and prepared for pickup. I have given it to the Lord and I will focus on happier things.

PeterChurch2First, Pastor Peter has completed his latest building project in Kenya and it is a fantastic building as you can see from these pictures. We have decided to deliver the container when it finally gets to Kenya to Peter, who has graciously agreed to host it and coordinate its distribution while our friends at Clarence Matheny Ministries move into their new ministry home.

Then we received this update from Pastor Francis at Upako Center and the Dr. Stanko Academy:

Dr. J,

As I prepare a better report for the good work and support you have given to our community touching on the needy lives here, let me highlight on the activities at The Dr. Stanko Academy where the grace of God is dancing in low places.

A brief report on what is going on at Dr. Stanko Academy in Nairobi.

We provide care to 25 orphans who have nowhere else to call home. They are between the ages UpakoFaculty of 3.5 and 17 years. The children stay at the Centre where they receive food, shelter, education, and spiritual guidance. This year we have managed to feed and keep them mostly on 2 meals instead of 3 with money donated from Rev. Dr. John Stanko and friends and with money generated from the bricks project .

Community  low cost school for the needy.

Dr. Stanko Academy operates on a rented premises made of iron sheets-we have class rooms for early childhood development, junior primary and senior primary, office, girls bedroom and UpakoVanKidsboys bedroom, a kitchen and pit latrines. There are 148 pupils attending school here including the orphans apart from Mary who is sponsored in a private mission school by Dr. J. We have 11 teachers working with the children, 5 of them receive their monthly pay from D. John while the rest get what we have for them locally.

Sanitary towels

We have continued to supply sanitary towels to girls in 7 schools within the area and 406 girls are beneficiaries .This has seen the girls attend school throughout the term without being absent because their monthly problem is taken care of by weep project under the care of John Stanko III.

IGA-Bricks project

This year we have made and sold 18,200 bricks. The money is helping in feeding the orphans and taking care of daily activities at the school.

Pastor Francis

Christmas is only two weeks away, and I would like to bless our partners with a Christmas gift. Will you help make that possible? You can give through my website using Paypal or a credit card, or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882 and I promise to forward every penny I receive to our friends in Kenya.

Thank you for remembering the poor at Christmas time and may God bless you with the joy and peace of the season! 

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.