An Orphan's Christmas Party

As you know, I was able to send money to our partners in Kenya to help the orphans and children IMG_20181220_165214celebrate Christmas. In Kenya, it is not a time for massive decorations and trees surrounded with gifts. It is a time when the children receive some new clothes, shoes, and some Christmas treats. Here is a report with some pictures from one of our partners reporting on how they used some of their money:

Dr. J, 

We are too excited that we could not wait for 25th to celebrate Christmas. Our Christmas has come earlier and we are already praising and praying. A lot of thanks from the teachers and the children. At least a new outfit and new shoes as the tradition is here during Christmas. The clothes goes beyond the Christmas festivities thus we will remember for a long time. The nice food prepared for the children by their teachers led by Madam Lilian tastes yummy for real. 
 
IMG-20181224-WA0018Now the children sent a very big thank you to you and every hand involved in making them happy and cared for. We got clothes, shoes and food and we are very grateful to you and team for the continued support. I really know what this means to us and the children. They feel good even better than others with their parents around. It is my prayer that you continue doing this for the orphans every year as you used to do. 
 
Tell your friends to continue praying and supporting these little orphans for the heaven rejoices when they are cared for.  Your son John Stanko has made sure that needy teenage girls who are going to school receive IMG-20181224-WA0013sanitary towels and health care every month. In this project he supports over 500 in Kenya through WEEP-Upako managed by Belver. May God give him strength and resources to help more. I also want to thank you for for supporting the orphans education by providing fees and teachers support. 
 
We wish you a merry Christmas and prosperous new year 2019. Looking forward to setting our eyes on you in February. We have 3 orphans who passed very well and needs help with school fees. 
 
Pastor Francis 
 
The problem is that these children need to eat and their shoes will wear out. I need your help to help them not just at Christmas but all year round. Please make a donation toward their needs Donate to the Orphans' Fund or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and Happy New Year from my household to yours.

Thank You and Merry Christmas from the Orphans

Thanks to you, I was able to raise more than $3,000 for the Give a Kid a Christmas Campaign. I sent the money over right away and here are two thank yous I received, with a promise of pictures after IMG_20181221_121719_0Christmas. This one is from Pastor David (pictured right):

Brother Stanko - on behalf of all our lovely children, my family and the staff, I have to say thank you. Surely for the last two days I had missed words of thanking God and you for serving together here in Kenya. Though far away you and your friends have become a big blessing by supporting us in our ministry here at Kenduiwo Children's Home. We received your double blessings.

I am writing from Mulot open air market biggest here in our county of Bomet where I took my wife Sarah, matron, and two other ladies to confidently do shopping for our kids. Surely our God does not leave his people to be ashamed.

Once again thank you. Let me continue waiting for them here in the vehicle since I am not good in shopping as they are. God bless you - Pastor David

The second one is from Pastor Francis:

Dr J - Thank you so much for the Christmas gift. We are shopping for new outfits for the orphans and they will shine like the rest of the children in this community on the Christmas day and beyond. We are very grateful. Will report back after Christmas - Pastor Francis

I appreciate your support and help to provide a holiday celebration for the children. I love what Pastor David wrote: "Surely our God does not leave his people to be ashamed."

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Stanko household and from all our orphans in Kenya.


Give a Kid a Christmas

Last Christmas Day, I received a text from one of our orphanage managers in Kenya that read: Dear Dr. John – It is Christmas and we have nothing for the children. Can you help?

I usually send money, but last year I was saving my resources to ship the book container so I HappyKenyaKids1had not forwarded my usual Christmas blessing. After I received the text, I immediately borrowed $300 and wired it over so  the day after Christmas there was a holiday for the 20 orphans at that orphanage. I was unable to help the others I had helped in the past.

Christmas in Kenya is not a time for toys and decorations. The custom is for the children to receive new shoes, a set of clothes, and a Christmas meal. This year, I want to prepare in advance so there are no Christmas Day emergency texts.

For only $25, you can give a kid a Christmas in Kenya. 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! The first person I recently shared this with immediately wrote a check for $25, and I am hoping you will have the same response. Is $25 too much to ask to help a kid, an orphan kid, have a Christmas?

Red Donate ButtonYou can give online or mail your check payable to PurposeQuest International, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA, 15221-0882. PQI is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please give as soon as you can so I can assemble and send the funds prior to Christmas so the caretakers know what they can do for the children.

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and I pray God’s blessings on you as you give a kid a Christmas in 2018. The children from the Each One Touch One Orphanage send their greetings as well, as you can see in this video.

*****

As a Christmas gift from me to you, here is a link to my audio message (40 mins) titled "Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas."


A Thanksgiving Gift for the Orphans

My heart is burdened for the 100 plus orphans we have a relationship with in Kenya. This week in America, we will consume more food than many of those children will see all month. What's more, the Stanko family welcomed a new addition this week, a brand new baby boy named Benjamin. Today, I sent an offering of thanks to the Lord in honor of my grandson, and I invite you to join me.
 
Here is the response Pastor David sent me from his smartphone (here are two pictures of my most recent visit to the orphanage last August):
 
Brother Stanko,
 
Thanks a lot for standing with us as a family. It has always been answered prayers even before IMG_3663we make that prayer. Of late we have been hesitant releasing some of the very vulnerable children to stay with their guardians during such school break as usual. The outcome of this has been negative.one girl got pregnant during last  April  break when staying her grandmother. Right now we have more than ten children of such status staying with us in our house when the rest left, so your donations was on time for us to use in taking care of them. May God always bless you.
 
I was on the way to share with you some of the prayer needs we have as a family.
 
IMG_3660We currently have a need for building better and spacious house due to my added responsibilities  as an area director apart from the above  cited issue.part of my duties is to host  church visitors  and  missionary we have adopted as an area. Also many church and  community meetings are often held here, some old granny visit their children and at times spend the night here. The list can be long even better washrooms are also a need.
 
My plan is to do it in phases. The estimate cost is 1.2m khs ($12,000US) to completion. My strength is the tractor we have for local transport and now we have few kids hence can save part of our family small income to purchase the wall blocks and sand.
 
Pray for us for this dream to be a reality.
 
Pastor David
Director
 
Every penny you give will be forwarded to our partners in Kenya, who desperately need our help to feed the children. You can give your Thanksgiving offering through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

A Spirit of Fear

If you are like me, you know 2 Timothy 1:7 by heart: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). I use this verse often when I coach people to find purpose or to be creative, and I have felt free to use this truth in many other areas of life and ministry, including my own. Therefore I was surprised this week when I looked at this verse in the context where it is found, and discovered that I should not be as free to use this verse as I have been, for it seems to be  specific and focused in one and not all areas of life.

In the verse before seven, Paul wrote these words: "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God FanIntoFlamePicwhich is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV). Paul was urging Timothy to recognize the gift he had and instructed him to fan the gift into flames. When our homes had a fireplace, I would often have to employ this tactic. If I could get a small flame going, I would gently blow on it, giving it more oxygen so that it would spread. That is what Paul was telling Timothy to do: Take the smallest spark of his gift and do what he had to do to make it burn hotter and brighter.

So the context for not having a spirit of fear is not applied to all areas of life, but to the expression of our purpose and gifts. Paul would not tell us not to be afraid where our gift is concerned unless it was a common tendency for it to happen. We shrink back in fear when we have a chance to express who we are instead of taking every opportunity to do so and to learn how to do it more effectively.

Where are you afraid to express your gift? In fact, do you know what your gift is? Have others laid hands on you to confirm or release the gift? What can you do to fan it into flames, giving it the oxygen it needs to flourish and prosper. I have been on a search and destroy mission the last few years of my life to find and eradicate fear, and it's been a large task. I suspect this will continue for the rest of my life.

What are you doing to confront and neutralize the fear where your gift is concerned? I encourage you to read these verses and the others in 2 Timothy 1 and do what Paul was advising Timothy to do, which was to stop hiding behind his fears but to step out into the light of self-expression, which is the only way to honor God for making you who He made you to be.


The Rest of the Beds

If you remember, last August you helped me raise money to help get orphans off the ground and into IMG_20180926_130207some beds. We purchased the bed frames but have been unable to purchase all the mattresses, since money given through Facebook takes 60-75 days to be processed and sent. I was able to send money last week and here is the report from Pastor Francis:

Dr. J,
 
We bought 18 mattresses today so we need 8 more plus blankets and bed sheets. The children are very happy and excited. Thank you very much for the support. The children will soon be from the floor onto the beds. God bless you and all who stretched out their hands and made it a reality -  Pastor Francis.
 

As soon as the rest of the money arrives, we will take care of IMG_20180926_141703those other mattresses and blankets. Thank  you for helping to make this possible, but keep in mind that the children have ongoing needs. Please contribute today toward their health and welfare by giving through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and God bless you for your compassion toward these children.


A Ring, A Porsche, and a Blast from the Past

My trip to Oklahoma City last week was a good one all the way around. I reconnected with my friends at Victory Church where I spoke to staff and in both Sunday services. I met with my friends Ted and Tami Miller, and I worked on an exciting new book with author Jed Chappell. I also ate at Swadley's, my favorite BBQ restaurant three times. There were three unusual things that happened during the trip that I just had to share with you.

THE RING

Last Friday, I went for my morning walk covering 2.5 miles. When I got outside my hotel, I realized I had not removed my rings and they were tight on my fingers, so I took them off and put one in each pocket. I put my wedding ring in my left pocket because I my phone was in that pocket, and I never remove my phone--or I had not up to this particular morning.

As I walked, I saw a few things I wanted to show my wife when I got home, so I did what I usually do not IMG_4159 do--I took out my phone to take some pictures. My last stop was a historical marker explaining that the site was formerly an orphanage for Native American children. Today, it is the home for a beautiful new bank building, which I thought was indicative of our culture--we used to take care of children, but now we take care of our money.

When I got back to the hotel, I reached into my left pocket and my wedding ring was gone, having fallen out someplace along my walk route. I drove to the places where I knew I had taken pictures but could find nothing. I decided to suspend my search until the next morning when I would walk again, IMG_4170retracing my Friday route. It was hot and I figured no one was going to be out walking, so my ring would probably stay put, if it was even visible.

Around 5:30 that day, I turned onto my hotel road, but pulled over to go look once again at the area around the marker. This time I walked up into the grass where I had taken the picture and, lo and behold, there in the grass was my wedding ring, right where I had dropped it nine hours earlier.

A PORSCHE

On my way home, I flew through Atlanta, which is a big airport. My plane pulled into Terminal A, but I had to go all the way to Terminal F (1.25 miles away--I know because I have walked it before). I was deciding whether to walk or ride the tram as I walked off the plane when a young lady right outside the plane door was calling my name. My first thought was, My flight home has been cancelled and they are here to tell me personally.

Instead, the Delta Airlines official asked, "Would you like a ride to Terminal F?" When I responded I would, she said, "Follow me," and led me to the stairs where baggage handlers enter and exit the jetway from the tarmac. We walked down the stairs and Nicole (from Venezuela) put my briefcases in the back of the car. When we got in, she said, "You spend so much time in an airport and we thought this would help you out." She then proceeded to drive me through all the planes and baggage carts across the airport to Terminal F. When I inquired what kind of car we were in, Nicole responded, "A brand new Porsche." I asked her if she could drive me home to Pittsburgh, but she said she could not. Oh well, I tried.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

After I spoke in the first service last Sunday, a man came up and stood before me, not saying anything. Finally, he spoke and asked, "You don't remember me, do you?" I thought he looked familiar but could not place him. He then identified himself as my college fraternity brother, who I had not see in 47 years! Naturally, I was surprised and we talked as much as we could, for I was selling books and people were coming and going at my table.

When I looked Lou up later, I found out that he was a wealth advisor and guess where his office is? His office is close to the historical marker where I lost my ring. I was staying in a hotel across the street from a man who I once knew but had not seen in almost five decades. I would have never known, except that his assistant sent him an invitation to church, he saw my name, and decided to come check me out.

I have always advised writers that if they want to write interesting things, they must do interesting things so they have something to write about. I thought those things were interesting, so I had to share them with you.


Could Use a Little Help

It's the beginning of September and school fees are due in Kenya. Here is what we need and here is what I have:

  1. EOTOO Tuition for six orphans: need $1,775, have $1075
  2. Little Mary's tuition: need $600, have $300
  3. Upako Teacher's Salaries: need $625, have $100
  4. Little Felix school fees: need $200, have $200
  5. Banana library: need $900, have $0

That makes a total needed of $2,425. It is not unusual for contributions to drop off after we raised so much for the orphan's beds and library needs in August. If you can help with this current need, please give today, either through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. On behalf of our orphans and partners in Kenya, thank you!


Kenya Tour 2019

KenyaFlierPicI have released the dates and information for my tour to Kenya from February 14-24, 1 Kenduiwo Child2019. I already got my first two applications and I think there will be a big group going for what will be a wonderful trip. I am attaching all the information you will need below for you to download. Read it over and then consider joining me and my friends for a trip you have always dreamed of making. The time is now; don't let fear rob you of your opportunity.

Download KenyaFAQ2019

Download KenyaFlier2019

Download 2019KenyaApp


Brick Business

My first visit to Kenya in more than a year gave me a chance to catch up with our partners and get IMG_20180711_120654updates on the various projects with which we have been involved. One of them was the brick-making business we helped establish for Pastor Francis and Upako Centre. I was delighted to find out how well the business is doing and how much it is helping them with their 23 orphans and school operation. Here is Francis' report:

IMG_20180711_120731The one brick making machine is now supporting part of the orphans feeding program and this is very helpful. We hire out the machine to local people in the community for a fee but we also produce quality bricks (when the machine is not hired) and sell in small quantities. This is a good project and we will [eventually] expand and add more machines. God bless our donors. Francis.

In addition to that, the delivery of beds continues at the Upako orphanage, with the latest ones IMG_20180711_120627arriving a few days ago. The money for the bedding is coming in and we will be sending it soon. These beds are handmade and I promise you they will withstand a nuclear blast! (I am including pictures that are a bit small, but click on them to enlarge and enjoy.)
 
I sense, or maybe it's because I want to sense, that someone is considering a significant contribution toward the work in Kenya. If that's you, don't be afraid. IMG-20180810-WA0023(1)If it's not you, then join me in thanking God for His abundant provision and let's call the money in together. If you would like to contact me about a gift that would establish something in Kenya in honor of a loved one or as a gift of thanks to God, please contact me at johnstanko@gmail.com. If you would like to give to my work, you can do so online or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and let's have faith for a financial blessing for the orphans.