Here is a well-written article about the work I do in publishing and in Kenya.
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
You probably would not pay big money for a ticket to a ball game, unless you were a huge fan and your team was in the World Series. That's exactly what I'm asking you to do, however: Make a generous donation and come see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, September 3 at 6:35 pm for the benefit of Kenyan orphans. Let me explain.
A generous supporter has offered to donate his private box for the upcoming game at beautiful PNC Park on September 3. He will pay for the box, the entrance tickets, and the food that night. He has 18 tickets and is looking for 18 people who are willing to make a donation for the privilege of attending the game, and all the proceeds will go toward my work in Africa.
One year, we raised $19,000 from the game and we used it to ship a container of goods for schools and libraries. We used $5,000 to refurbish 22 computers for community computer centers. We distributed the rest of the money among our orphanages to feed the children. We are looking for a similar amount this year from ticket sales.
If you have never attended a game in a private box, you have missed a sumptuous affair, with great food and a super view in the air-conditioned comfort of a private box (below is a picture taken from one of those private boxes). The experience is topped off by the dessert cart on wheels, featuring all manner of rich and sweet treats. In a sense, you can come to the ball park this year and 'pig out' with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for the benefit of those who do not have the same privileged luxury.
The tickets will go on a first-come, first-served basis. You can pay with a credit card, via PayPal, through my app or website, or by check (payable to PurposeQuest International). All contributions are tax-deductible (minus the cost of the game tickets). Maybe you can't go but can pay for someone else to attend the game? Or perhaps you will give something to help increase the total amount donated for those in need. However you are led, you have six weeks to act, or until the tickets are gone - then you can simply give to help.
Write me today and I will put your name on the ticket list, or just donate to a worthy cause, and I will work to distribute the money when I go over to Africa later this year. Thanks for your help and let's make this an event to remember for those present and for those who will benefit.
My first trip to Kenya was in 1997 when I visited Pastor Don Matheny at Nairobi Lighthouse Church. I returned off and on for a few years and then didn't go for about four years until my now good friend, Kentice Tikolo, wrote me in 2003 asking me if I ever came to Kenya. She felt like Kenya needed the purpose message and she was opening the door to do what she could to facilitate a visit.
It worked out for me to return in 2004 and I have been going back every year, often making multiple visits. In 2008, the Lord spoke to me once when I was there that I was nothing but a "hired gun" and I knew exactly what He meant. I was touring and speaking while I was there but I was not really benefiting the people or building close relationships with those who had needs. I 2009, I brought a team over with me and this time the team did not just follow me around to hear me speak. We began to go out into the communities and I had those with me doing more. In 2010, I took another team and it was then that we formulated our strategy of building relationships with a few ministries with whom we felt the Lord join us and where we could make a difference. I knew that we could not help most of the people so why not concentrate on really helping a few.
My last trip on 2020 before the pandemic was to Kenya with another team but this one was different. The Lord was showing me that we needed to do some things differently and now that I have had a year to think about it, I am announcing a return to Kenya in February 2022 and I am inviting you to come along for a two-week tour that will change your life and the way you relate to poverty.
What will be different about 2022? For one thing, I hope we can dedicate the new Dr. Stanko Academy and Orphanage grounds and facilities while we are there. Then I plan on returning with the team to the Academy for consecutive days to build better relationships with the students, orphans, and staff. Then I hope to have some medical personnel along so that we can tend to the medical needs of the children, the staff, and their families. Then we will visit our partners in Bomet to do the same thing. Of course, there is always time for a safari when we go and that will continue in 2022.
I don't have the exact dates yet (I want to visit the country before I take a team to assess how things are), but I am thinking it will be the last two weeks of February. Right now, I am asking for you to let me know if you would like to go. That isn't a commitment and you don't have to pay anything right now, you just have to write and say, "I want to go to Kenya with you in 2022." Then as information becomes available, I will share it with you.
Right now, I already have 12 people who have said "I'm in." Why not add your name to their list and begin to prepare now for what's ahead. If you have any other questions, just write me at [email protected] and I will get right back to you. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that the world can change in a moment's notice. Don't put it off if it's in your heart to do. Faith would dictate that your faith action at this moment is to say, "By God's grace, I'm going." I look forward to hearing from you.
Four times every year I send out a fundraising letter to my donor list of a few friends and ministry partners. This year, i thought I would share what I send with you so you know what I am up to and what the needs of my ministry are. Please enjoy the pictures, which have gotten a lot of feedback from those who have received them so far.
This is my first letter of the year and I hope it finds you well and prospering in the Lord. I continue to stay busy but before I tell you about that, I thought I would personalize this letter a bit more by showing you pictures of some of those you help through your generous gifts to my ministry. Let me explain what you see.
- The “Watercycle.” This motorcycle is used to transport water for 52 orphans from a well three miles away over treacherous, muddy, mountainous roads. The yellow cans are what the driver uses to carry the water. He does this all day every day so the children have water to drink and bath. We purchased this vehicle I have named the Watercycle for $1,200.
- The Faculty. I send the teachers $100 each per month. That is their income to live on. Classes are back in session and they are doing a fantastic job.
- The Young Ladies. Every month, we send $700 so 500+ young ladies can receive the sanitary products they need to stay in school. I received a communication this week asking if we can increase the money we send because the number of girls needing help has increased due to the pandemic (those students cannot go back to their boarding schools so are attending local schools).
- Staff, students, and orphans. There are 120 students attending the Stanko Academy and 20 of them are orphans. These orphans live at the school where their bunk beds are set up in the classrooms. I have included pictures of only two of the orphans with their names and ages: Joy (6) and Moses (11). We send food money every month.
Speaking of the Stanko Academy, I thank God that our campaign for the land purchase was a fabulous success. Our goal was $50,000 and it looks like we will have about $61,000 when all the pledges are paid. That’s good because the land will cost around $55,000 (we are still negotiating) and then we will have to fence it off and do some other land prep work. My thanks to you if you gave or prayed.
I hope to return to Kenya this year. I am also planning on taking a team over in February 2022 when we will follow a new format when we visit. This will include a medical team and much more concentrated daily effort at the Stanko Academy, which I hope we will be able to dedicate during that visit. I also plan on releasing my book with co-author Irene Mureithi on that trip. Let me know if you are interested in going with me in 2022.
My work continues to be non-stop as I make the most of my time at home. I feel like I have a full-time online flock as I write, counsel, coach, and pray for people who write me through my various social media platforms. I am teaching weekly online classes on creativity, purpose, the gospels, and Christian thought and I connect on a daily basis with people all over the world. I have produced 100 blog radio shows and 150 Facebook Live sessions during the pandemic and the ministry feedback has been gratifying.
Right now, I am also working on books for authors in Australia, South Africa, the UK, and Kenya—as well as many in the U.S. Some can pay something, others can pay nothing, but that is not the basis I use to decide with whom I work. That is up to the Lord’s direction and it is always fascinating how He shows me who my partners are to be.
I have only included pictures of a few of our ministry partners, but rest assured there are many more who throughout the month benefit from your generosity. You are truly helping to feed and clothe the hungry and the poor. If your heart is moved by what you read or see, you can give online at my website 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 so your contribution is tax-deductible. You can also give through my mobile app, the Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15).
I know the orphans and their caretakers will thank God for your generous support, and it is a special thing to be commended to God by those who have nothing with which to repay your generosity except with their prayers and thanks to Him. I urge you to be generous in your giving and I promise to be a good steward of your resources and the opportunities before us. May God richly bless you and our Kenya partners.
Yours in the faith,
Dr. John W. Stanko
The pandemic has caused difficulties the world over and our partners in Kenya are no exception. One of our partners is an orphanage 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].
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.
Christmas in Kenya is not a time for toys and decorations, especially in 2020 as people are struggling just to eat. The custom is 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.