Below is a copy of the letter I sent to my donors a few weeks ago. Please read and respond as the Lord leads.
June 3, 2023
In April, I had a colleague invite me to meet a pastor from Ukraine. Pastor Alex was in the U.S. speaking at churches to raise support with his wife who now lives in western Canada where she took refuge with their two children when war broke out. Meanwhile, Alex returned to Ukraine on May 13 to continue to lead his church’s ministry to 50,000 displaced people in their area near Odesa. At the breakfast, I immediately connected with Alex and Anastasia (my heritage is Ukrainian) and they shared terrifying stories of the war along with exciting testimonies of God’s faithfulness to His people in the midst of it.
During the breakfast, they asked if I knew anyone who could help them publish a book about their experiences, one that would raise people’s awareness of the trauma the war has brought along with the stories of God’s intervention. I said I did know someone and that someone was me. Then they asked how much I would charge to produce the book.
How could I charge people who are ministering, at the risk of their own lives, to people who have lost everything, including homes and loved ones? They were touched by and grateful for my offer to be their publisher, and afterwards Pastor Alex and I met and talked for six hours before he went home to get the material I would need to finish the book. Now I am employing a summer intern whose sole responsibility will be to help me produce this project in its final form by July 31.
Immediately after my time with Alex, I was invited to speak over a weekend at the Somerset Correctional Institution about 60 miles from my home. I had an anointed weekend with the inmates, some of whom I am already corresponding with regularly. I promised to send a complete set of my books along with other Urban Press titles to the prison for their chapel library, and I have already received other inquiries to do the same for other facilities. How could I say no?
When I mentioned recently on a Facebook Live broadcast that I felt God was transitioning more of my publishing to be a ministry rather than a business, I had several people donate $1,500 toward that end, and I didn’t even ask. Now I am asking. Would you consider helping me do what I do as I assist others in telling their stories so their readers will be built up and blessed? Can you help me as you have with my work in Kenya to do what it is that God has put before me to do? And speaking of Kenya, here’s a quick update on the latest there.
The good news is that we have all our title deeds and paperwork for our new property. I was there in February with a team from the U.S. and we went to visit the land. I am still amazed at how God worked it out for us to purchase the land, during the pandemic no less. The land is already quite valuable and located in a growth area of Nairobi. God certainly knows what He’s doing!
While we were waiting for the new property to finalize, the property next to the existing Academy became available to lease so we are building a temporary expansion of our current site to be able to handle the influx of students and orphans who are being taught and cared for by our wonderful Stanko Academy staff. If you follow me on Facebook, you have seen the pictures of the expansion. Praise God that the construction is about $2,000 above estimates. Why do I praise God for that? I do so because the costs of materials and inflation have skyrocketed in Kenya but God has watched out for us and showed us sources for what we needed that were below market value. If you can contribute toward that overage, I would be most grateful.
Finally, the kitchen renovation that I mentioned last year for the Bomet orphanage is about to begin. The days of their smoke-filled cooking quarters are about to end! Last year, you also gave about $2,000 toward a new tractor for them, and we have been shopping around for a used one that is more within our budget. It will probably be around $8,000. That is also a need if you feel led to help.
If your heart is moved by any of what you have just read, you can give online or mail your check payable to PurposeQuest International, P.O. Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA, 15221-0882. PQI is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible. You can also give through my mobile app, the Cash App ($stankojohn), PayPal, Venmo (John-Stanko-10), or Zelle. As I close, I think of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 112:
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor (Psalm 112:7-9).
Your gifts will touch people in Ukraine and Kenya and your help will empower those in our prisons and jails to receive the kind of teaching they need but can seldom access. Go back and read the promises in Psalm 112 for those who remember the poor and then give as the Lord leads you to do.
Yours in His Service,
Dr. John W. Stanko