Here is a well-written article about the work I do in publishing and in Kenya.
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.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “This is a good time to raise money.” I thought 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.
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.”
Over 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 the 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 $27,000 toward the goal and I haven’t even made the formal announcement—people contacted me to give. That represents more 40% of the need—thank You, Lord. I have shared this project with a few ministry partners here in the U.S. who are “all in” and will contribute toward the project as well.
Perhaps you would like to make a special gift in memory of a loved one, in which case we would certainly be glad to designate a classroom, the library, or the orphanage with the name of those you wish to honor. Or maybe you simply wish to make a special thanksgiving offering to the Lord in light of His faithfulness to you and yours through this recent ordeal?
Also, this campaign needs to be separate from any of my other commitments to my partners in Kenya, so please keep in mind that this is a special one-time campaign. There is still a serious crisis in Kenya, and I need to continue to send monthly support so they can buy food and other necessities—and I need your ongoing help to do that.
Of course, any contribution toward the building fund is tax-deductible. You can give through my PurposeQuest International mobile app, the Cash App ($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.
As 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 when 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 Kenya. 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
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.
During 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 started 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).
The 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 government 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.
The third library is in the village of Kikuyu, where there is an Anglican training center 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.
The 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 that 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!
After I posted last week that I needed money for my upcoming trip to Kenya. a generous donor called to say they would match every dollar you give up to $3,000. What a blessing that is! The deadline to give is next Sunday night, May 19, because I depart the next day. You can give through my Facebook link if we are friends there, or you can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
What we raise from this campaign will empower me to conduct leadership training like I did in 2016 and 2018 (the church's leadership team is pictured here) and also support our other partners in the good work they are doing. It enables me to cover all my expenses as I go and that is a great relief. As I write, I have received $1,186 so if we are going to reach the $3,000 goal, I need your help. Please give today and make the investment to double your blessing through this matching grant. Thank you and God bless you!
I am heading over to Kenya in two weeks to conduct some leadership training and to connect with our partners. My first visit will be to Bomet where I will conduct two more leadership two-day seminars, which will make my fifth and sixth seminars in the area. We usually have around 100 to 150 at each so that means we are approaching 1,000 leaders trained in the times I have been there. I am raising $3,000 for those events, which include a video projector, seminar notes, and books. You can give through my website for donations or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. You can also give through my Facebook page.
In the last several weeks, I have sent money for our little Mary, who is in her second year of secondary school, so she is not so little any more. Pastor Francis reports that she is doing well and her performance bodes well for her chances of going on to university. I also sent money for the Upako teachers, who attended a professional seminar over the Easter break. We are blessed to have teachers who serve the Dr. Stanko Academy on a full-time basis.
We are well on course to empower Kenya through Education and now we have our seventh library in Ruaka. It's a combination of kids' exclusive library, movie room, and larger library. Thanks for being a faithful partner along with all our supporters. May God bless you in abundance.
I sent $300 toward our library expenses.
Then we got this report from Belver concerning the WEEP Project that provides sanitary supplies for young women in various schools. April was the first month that PurposeQuest began supporting WEEP with $650 per month:
In 2015, my son, John III, visited Kenya and heard that many young ladies missed a week of school every month because they lacked the necessary sanitary products to accommodate their monthly needs. He found this situation unacceptable, so he began his own nonprofit organization named the Women's Equal Education Project (WEEP). He engaged a team of ladies in Kenya to assist and began sending money every month so the supplies could be purchased. The ladies then went into certain schools, conducted a training session (I include pictures of John III in the class as the WEEP team trains), the young ladies registered to receive product every month, and then they could be assured of their sanitary supplies. The result: young women were properly using appropriate sanitary products and could attend school every month without interruption. What a blessing.
The program started in St. Theresa Secondary School with 100 girls, no small beginning, and today services almost 300 young ladies every month in that school. In addition, the program has expanded to include the following schools with the number of young ladies registered following:
- Riruta Satellite Secondary School - 60
- Riruta Israel Primary School - 50
- Kids Empowerment Primary School - 36
- Bethany Primary School - 70
- Zeal Covenant Primary School - 22
- Light Christian Primary School - 38
Here is one final thank you from our year-end efforts to help our orphans, this time with their school fees. Here is a note from our friend and caregiver Alice (along with a picture of four of our orphans while on Christmas break at home with Alice):
Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were good ones and that you found time to relax and enjoy God's goodness at this time of year. Now it is time to resume our normal rhythm and routine of life, and the same is true for the orphans we help care for in Kenya. I will be going over with a group of 21 people in February and will show them firsthand what we are doing there, but here is a report from Alice, who tends for the children (who are becoming young adults) at Each One Touch One Orphanage (the picture is of Phyllis and Gladwell as they head off to school this term). The reason the children look so good is because of Alice's tender care, and we shudder to think where the children would be without her:
Dear brother John,
As you know, I was able to send money to our partners in Kenya to help the orphans and children celebrate 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: