Last month, I was visiting the Stanko Academy in Nairobi, Kenya with 10 others who accompanied me on the trip, when I heard something bizarre and troubling. Two of our teachers, Boniface and his wife, Shebby, were being introduced. Last year, this couple lost a child right after birth, but Shebby is now eight months pregnant. That’s why what I heard was so preposterous, so surprising that I had to get confirmation of it before we did anything else. What did I hear?
I learned that Boniface and Shebby were living in one of the classrooms at the Academy (pictured here), in a room with metal roof and concrete floor, with no wash facilities, heat, or privacy—except for a curtain they had put up in the middle of the room. I couldn’t believe my ears. What did I do? What could I do?
I took the mike, asked them to come forward, and told them to go look for a place to live for which we would pay the rent for two years. Plus, I promised we would give them some money for furnishings and household items. Their monthly rent: $60, which makes the total cost for the two years $1,900. How could I not help them for such a relatively small investment? How could I have Shebby, whose pregnancy is already high-risk, continue to live in those conditions? I could not and I hope you agree. As I write, they have found their new home.
LIFE IN KENYA
That’s what life is like in Kenya and I’m always confronted with unexpected and moving needs, for which I sometimes have no answer or resources to help. One church asked me to assist them build out a Sunday School classroom and church office: cost $3,000. Our friend, Pastor David, needs a tractor to fetch water down a treacherous road that requires a three-hour round trip up and back: cost $18,000. The Stanko Academy must expand where it’s at so the orphans who attend there don’t have to sleep on the floor while we build out the new Academy on our recently-purchased property: cost unknown for both the temporary and permanent facilities.
I won’t describe the other needs that were presented to me, but they’re all in addition to the daily needs of 100 orphans (28 at the Stanko Academy and 72 at another ministry), our Stanko Library sites, school fees, and the usual medical and clothing expenses for the children. I have to keep reminding myself and our partners that I’m not their source—God is. I’ll always help as God provides but I can’t promise beyond what I have. Yet it’s difficult not do so when we have so much (and often take it for granted) and they have so little. That’s where you come in.
I’ve often been overwhelmed by the needs I see and have neglected to do something because I didn’t consider it substantial or “big enough.” I didn’t give $1,000 because it wasn’t $10,000. I didn’t give $100 because it wasn’t $500. I didn’t give $50 because it wasn’t $100. Perhaps you have done the same. But I assure you, if your heart is moved by what I’m writing and you want to help, then doing what you can—and not waiting to do what you can’t do right now—is the way to go. Your $10 gift will feed an orphan for a week. Your $120 will pay the rent for Boniface and Shebby for two months. Your $500, along with that of 25 others, will enable us to purchase the tractor. You get the idea.
PAUL SAID IT BEST
Paul explained what I’m describing when he wrote,
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little” (2 Corinthians 10:12-15).
In short, I’m asking you to do what you can do right now to help our friends who are in need. Give what you have and allow God to mix your gift with those of others so the needs can be met. The only promise I made on my trip was to Shebby and Boniface; I told everyone else I will help as the Lord provides through you. Of course, any contribution you make is tax-deductible. You can contribute through my PurposeQuest International mobile app, my website, the Cash App ($stankojohn), Paypal, Zelle, Venmo, Facebook, or by sending a check made out to PurposeQuest International, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
I have no promises to make if you give to these causes, other than God is watching. He’s mindful of the poor and wants His people to do likewise. I’m giving you a chance to invest in people who can’t say thank you, who have nothing to give in return, except to say, “Thank You, Lord” as Shebby and Boniface did when I told them what we would do. In fact, as I mentioned at the beginning, they have secured a home and sent me some pictures to show us around (click to enlarge them or watch the video here). While they may never meet you or know who you are, God does and we know He has a way of rewarding those who are faithful to causes that are near and dear to His heart. May the Lord bless you for your prayerful and financial support.
In His Service,
Dr. John Stanko