$10,000 Matching Grant!

I wrote you about our need to purchase land for the Dr. Stanko last August in this post. Since I wrote back then, I have raised StankoAcademy$38,500 of what is now the $55,000 we will need to purchase the land. I had arbitrarily chosen January 31 as a date to have the money raised and lo and behold, without announcing the deadline, today someone wrote to make a $10,000 matching grant challenge.
 
They will match every gift given up to a grand total of $10,000, which will help us reach our goal with a little left over. How fantastic is that?! Thank You, Lord, and thank you to the faithful donor who wrote that God has impressed them that "this is an eternal investment of His money" in a worthy project.
 
JSAcademyThe challenge expires on February 7 so now is the time to give and double your gift!  You can give through the Cash App ($stankojohn), Venmo (@John-Stanko-10), my mobile app, my website www.purposequest.com/donate, or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. I am overwhelmed by God's faithfulness on behalf of my partners in Kenya. Now let's finish the job He has started.

They Need Water - Please Help

The pandemic has caused difficulties the world over and our partners in Kenya are no exception. One of our partners is an Screen Shot 2021-01-08 at 9.51.55 AMorphanage of 72 (18 are high school age, the rest live in a group home led by our brother and friend, Pastor David Koech). I received this email from Rev. Koech this morning:

Hi Brother Stanko,

We thank God for we have started well with all our 54 kids reporting back. We were a bit worried especially for the teenage girls who had gone home [the orphanage sent as many children as they could back to their village with even distant relatives during the holiday break; now school has begun again].

Our current water situation is dire. During dry times and over corona time, we used a lot of money hiring motor bikes to bring water to support our work, but still our water source is not very clean water. Kiromwok High School (Pastor Amos' church) drilled a water well and we have talked with them. They are willing  to give us free water. The easiest way is use of motor bike since the school is 3 kms away (2 miles). This is clean water and it will be easy to hire a young man at 200 shillings/per day [$2 per day) instead of paying 20 shillings per 20 liter. A new bike is khs 120,000 [$1,200]. The same bike will assist us to transport our tea harvest at a later time. That's our current prayer need in order to serve clean water to the orphanage and the school  especially during this corona time when a lot of water is needed.
 
God bless you.
Rev. Koech

This process of transporting the water will be an all day every day event but is vital for the health and well-being of the children and their caregivers. Will you help me help the children have access to fresh water by helping purchase the motorcycle they need (yes, the picture here is an actual one from Kenya, which shows how important any transport is, especially in rural areas)? Please give a special gift today using Paypal on my website, the Cash App ($stankojohn), Venmo@John-Stanko-10, or my mobile app (designate Bomet Motorcycle). Of course, you can also send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your help in getting much-needed water to much-needy children.


Give a Kid a Christmas

Christmas in Kenya is not a time for toys and decorations, especially in 2020 as people are struggling just to eat. The custom WEMAChildis for the children to receive new shoes, a set of clothes, and a Christmas meal. For only $25, you can make that happen and thus give a kid his or her Christmas this year. We have 100 orphans whom God has entrusted to our care and your gift will give them a Christmas blessing that will last long after Christmas—except for the holiday meal. Is $25 (or more) too much to ask to help a kid, an orphan kid, have a Christmas?

COVID-19 has ravaged Kenya and our partners. God has been faithful to provide for them and every penny I have received in 2020 on their behalf has been sent over immediately. Now they are facing a Christmas like never before. Your gift will tell them you care and, more importantly, that God cares and is mindful of their plight. You will also be fulfilling the definition of religion as described by James, the brother of Jesus: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

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, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. Please give as soon as you can so I can assemble and send the funds prior to Christmas. Then their caregivers will know what they can do for the children. I want to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. As you get ready to enjoy Christmas hopefully with some family and friends, please consider sharing some of what you have with the Kenyan orphans with whom we work. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and I pray God’s blessings on you as you give a kid a Christmas in 2020. Stay safe and well.


Dr. Stanko Academy

At the beginning of the pandemic, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “This is a good time to raise money.” I StankoAcademythought maybe I had heard wrong, but at the same time, I knew the Lord was directing my attention to the needs of the Dr. Stanko Academy in Nairobi, Kenya.

SOME HISTORY

A few years ago, my partner Pastor Francis wrote to inform me that the school he had founded was no more. The landlord, in an effort to reclaim the land where the school was, had enlisted the help of the local police who at midnight raided the compound and destroyed the school. Pastor Francis was devastated, just like the school, not sure if he could continue or rebuild.

I put the word out and we raised some money enabling him to relocate and build a new school. As God would have it, the new version is superior to the old one (although much smaller) and as a token of his appreciation, he and the staff renamed the new school the Dr. Stanko Academy with the byline “Sweat for Success.”

JSFrontStankoAcademyOver the years, I have supported five of the teachers there and visited whenever I was in Kenya. Last year, Pastor Francis informed me that their lease expires in June 2021 and it would soon be time to move. Oh, I neglected to mention that Pastor Francis also has an orphanage and the children attend the Dr. Stanko Academy. When we raised money for new beds for the orphans last year, they placed the beds in the Academy classrooms, which now double as school room and dormitory—not an ideal situation when children are sleeping inches away from a metal roof on the equator.

Thus, when they move next year, we will need to find a place for the orphans and a school.

A GOOD TIME TO RAISE MONEY

Based on their need as well as God’s promise, I am therefore starting a campaign to raise $50,000 for StankoAcademySignthe Stanko Academy by January 31, 2021. This money will have to include the land purchase, the school, and an orphanage to house the children. I am not sure we will have enough for furnishings or equipment, but this is the amount on my heart.

The good news is that, as I write, I have received $27,000 toward the goal and I haven’t even made the formal announcement—people contacted me to give. That represents more 40% of the need—thank You, Lord. I have shared this project with a few ministry partners here in the U.S. who are “all in” and will contribute toward the project as well.

UpakoClassroomPerhaps you would like to make a special gift in memory of a loved one, in which case we would certainly be glad to designate a classroom, the library, or the orphanage with the name of those you wish to honor. Or maybe you simply wish to make a special thanksgiving offering to the Lord in light of His faithfulness to you and yours through this recent ordeal?

Also, this campaign needs to be separate from any of my other commitments to my partners in Kenya, so please keep in mind that this is a special one-time campaign. There is still a serious crisis in Kenya, and I need to continue to send monthly support so they can buy food and other necessities—and I need your ongoing help to do that.

Of course, any contribution toward the building fund is tax-deductible. You can give through my PurposeQuest International UpakoLittlesAssemblymobile app, the Cash App ($stankojohn), Paypal, my website, or by sending a check marked “Dr. Stanko Academy” to PurposeQuest International, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. 

I have placed this project in God’s hands and will trust Him for the outcome. I am encouraged by what I already have, and know the total amount is well within God’s ability to provide. Please pray for the project that we will find land and be able to build something adequate with the money we raise. And of course, please pray for the orphans and children who are suffering during this worldwide crisis.


Update from Kenya

IMG-20200705-WA0010Here is a report from our most recent sanitary product distribution in Kenya:

This is to give you a brief report on the June distribution. We managed to reach as many girls as possible. The total number of girls we reached is 422 and 69 of them were not present on the distribution day, but were around, so we left them the 69 pieces in their various schools. Once they pick them, we will have their photos. We also had talks with the girls and they really enjoyed and learned from the sessions. We hope to facilitate more learning sessions during distributions in future, as they help us identify the challenges the girls have with regards to menstruation. Otherwise, they are healthy, and we all appreciate the amazing support. Attached IMG-20200705-WA0007
are some of the photos randomly selected from June’s distribution (click on them to enlarge).
 
Of course, the pandemic has caused a disruption in our normal distribution system and procedure, but I am confident the team on the ground is adapting as best they can--as we are all doing no matter where we live.
 
IMG-20200705-WA0008Thank you for your support that allows me to send $700 per month to equip these young ladies with what they need to attend school and live normal lives. We have been able to maintain this level of support throughout the months of the pandemic because of you. If you would like to give toward this program which we call WEEP, Women's Equal Education Project, you can do so through my PurposeQuest International mobile app, through PayPal, through my website, or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA, 15221-0882. Thanks again and God bless you and our WEEP workers on the ground in Kenya.

Thanksgiving Offering

Here is a report from WEEP, our project that distributes sanitary products to young ladies every WhatsApp Image 2019-11-19 at 7.27.58 AMmonth. Please read the report through to the end and then consider contributing to my ministry's Thanksgiving offering to support WEEP and my other programs for the poor:

With the new scheduling for schools in Kenya, most students are on break for the month of November. With that considered, this month has been a mix of in-person distribution to schoolgirls as well as direct distribution to the schools, allowing the girls who are on break to pick up pads at their convenience. Since school resumes in January, this will be the same method of delivery for the month of December.
 
WhatsApp Image 2019-11-19 at 7.27.57 AM (1)As WEEP moves towards finishing its fourth year of operation, we are pleased to report that we continue to provide pads to well over 500 girls at this time. In January 2016, when operations first began, we had started with one school and slightly more than 100 girls. Our first school continues to maintain an attendance of three times as many (300+) at present and we have maintained our relationship with seven schools overall. The photos attached are part of the November distributions.

I tell the Lord almost every day, "I owe You, Lord. I am grateful for your blessings and am committed to WhatsApp Image 2019-11-19 at 7.27.57 AM
do Your will--no matter where or what it is." In this season in the U.S. when we give thanks, someone has generously offered a $500 matching gift for the work of my ministry. Every dollar you give now becomes $2. Let's give thanks together as we remember my work among the poor. Your gift this Thanksgiving season will help me continue my work In Kenya and in other places. If we are friends on Facebook, you can give through that fundraiser. Otherwise you can give on my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.


Brick Project

A few years ago, a generous donor helped purchase a brick-making machine for one of our
orphanages. Here is a report on what that project has done this year. At the end of this update, read how you can sponsor a project of your own:

THE BRICKS PROJECT

TIME

QUANTITY

SALES

STOCK

JAN-MARCH

5300 PIECES

32,000.00

 

APRIL-JUNE

10,300 PIECES

61,600.00

 

JULY-SEPTEMBER

  8,000 PCS

48,000.00

 

OCT-NOVEMBER

   6,400 PCS

18,900.00

 3,300 PCS

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER

 ON GOING

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 8.32.49 AMThis project has three youths on regular basis and about seven casuals working according to the demand. The three youths are paid their monthly dues from the sales while the casuals do piece work and for every piece they produce they charge ksh 1.5 (that is a penny and a half in U.S. currency). 

We pay all related bills and wages, and the rest of the money is spent in buying food for the orphans. Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 8.33.05 AMThis business is helping a lot and is covering about 20% of the food budget at the orphanage.

If you are looking to make an investment in the poor as a thanksgiving offering to the Lord for HIs faithfulness to you and yours, please contact me and I can suggest that projects that will be meaningful to you and your family. Thank you and God bless you as you consider how to help the poor.


Kenya Book Drive

It's time for another book drive for my libraries in Kenya, starting now and ending January 15 IMG_5924

WHAT I NEED: wholesome fiction, Bibles, leadership, spiritual, general interest books, kids books
WHAT I DON'T NEED: Textbooks, encyclopedias and other multi-volume reference books, fantasy books that involve fairies, demons, or witches, IMG_5925comic books.

Three ways to donate: 

1. Drop them off in the sanctuary lobby (in the blue bin) at Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh.
2. Ship them to me (write me for the address).
3. Coordinate a pick-up with me.

Remember, the deadline is January 15. Thank you for your help.


Kenya Library Update

IMG_5919As you may know, I have been sending and taking books to Kenya for nine years now with the idea to start libraries in local communities. The idea to do this came years ago IMG_5920when I attended a book launch for my publisher in Kenya at the Serena Hotel. A cabinet level officer for education was at the event and made a simple request: "Our people are bored. Help us start libraries." I thought this suggestion was unusual for two reasons.

First, I had heard Kenyans were not that fond of reading. I had heard the derogatory but somewhat humorous saying that, "If you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book." Second, everyone else who was there that night was from IMG_5922Kenya. I was the only outsider, and I assumed if the Kenyans present were interested in libraries, they had had their whole lives to do something about their absence.

I decided to experiment and bring in some books during my subsequent visits, and the IMG_5923
interest in getting and reading them was intense among my friends. Then I started bringing suitcases of books when i came or brought others with me. Then we heard that people were shipping containers to Kenya with all kinds of supplies, and I hitched a ride, so to speak, in some of their containers to get even more books over. Finally, I started to fill and ship containers with nothing but books, used computers, and schools supplies to distribute to our partners.

IMG_5924During my last visit, I asked to go visit some of our libraries started by Pastor Peter Kihungi. We have two other libraries outside of Nairobi, but there are four IMG_5925started by Pastor Peter and these are the ones I am reporting on in this update. The first and biggest is in the village of Banana, about a 45-minute ride from Nairobi. There we have built a building to house our largest collection, and we now are equipped with Wifi so the youth can use the computers to access information online. The pictures of this library are pictured above (click on picture to enlarge it).

IMG_5941The second library is at the Kawaida Primary School close to Banana. This is a government school that is relatively new and shows progress every time I visit. The IMG_5942government built the school, but the community must supply and outfit it, so we gave some money for shelves a few years ago. As you can see in the pictures, the shelves are not sturdy enough and have sagged under the weight of the books. You can also see the use the books have had. Frederick, the headmaster, has asked for more books and another investment in shelves, which he promised would be built to handle a heavier load the next time.

IMG_5954The third library is in the village of Kikuyu, where there is an Anglican training IMG_5957center used for all types of educational endeavors. The day I visited there was a cooking school going on, and there are Bible classes and many other vocational offerings made available to the people. This library, like our other libraries, needs help with shelves, tables, and chairs. Many of the books they have cannot be put out permanently, so they are stored in boxes and brought out for special occasions.

IMG_5959The fourth library is located where Pastor Peter is currently pastoring at Christ the King Anglican Church in Ruaka, a growing area due to the recent opening of Two Rivers Mall, the largest mall in Africa, or so I am told. The church recently designated funds to build their own storage cabinets that lock, a significant investment IMG_5960that indicates they recognize the value of what they have for the youth of their community. They also established a nursery room with some of the books for the younger children, using a Disney theme, which is quite common in Kenya.

The need for our libraries is for shelving and library furniture. If you care to contribute, you can use my website to do so, or you can send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. If you know anyone or any organization that funds library projects, I know our libraries are worthy investments, and the resources will be put to good use with accountability for the results. If you have donated books over the years, thank you. I am not in the position right now to receive more books, but when I am, I will make the announcement. Right now, if you can help us care for the books we have sent by building shelves and tables, please give generously. Thank you and God bless you!


WEEP Update

In case you missed the announcement, PurposeQuest began partnering with the Women's Equal Education Project in April to provide sanitary products for young women so they can maintain good attendance in school. You can read more about the scope of WEEP's work in this update

Our good friend Belver Odhiambo, daughter of Pastor Francis, is our WEEP coordinator in Kenya who IMG-20180731-WA0049sent these two updates in June, along with pictures. Here is her latest report:

In the 21st century accessing sanitary towels is a necessity and no girl should stay at home during the 'rainy' days or maybe use rugs (yes, the young women use all kinds of substitutes if towels are not available). We say a big thank you to PurposeQuest for partnering with WEEP in making this need a reality by providing for at least 500 girls within Dagoretti Sub-county, Nairobi with  a packet of sanitary towels each month. 

Then here is her earlier report from May:

IMG-20180731-WA0009Sorry for the late update May was a month of many activities but we thank God for everything. We purchased 11 boxes and reached 489 girls altogether. The girls are in good health and are very grateful for the help that has now kept them in school, and they are able now to improve academically. We are also thankful for the big support and ongoing promise which will help the girls achieve their goals in life. Find attached receipts and photos of some girls 

You can partner with PurposeQuest as we support WEEP with $700 so they can purchase all the supplies they need to keep this important work going. You can give through our website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your help, and thank you, Belver, for coordinating the WEEP work in Kenya.