Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner!  Last year we had another amazing Christmas with all of the People to People partner feeding programs around Kenya (You can see a recap of last year’s Christmas Project below).

This year we will be providing gifts to nearly 500 children, as well as a small monetary gift for around 40 staff members.  We will also have 6 celebratory meals at different locations.  A breakdown of the requested gifts for this year is below:

Hosanna Children’s Home: New school shoes for 62 children and a monetary gift for 10 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Huruma Children’s Home:  New school shoes for 50 children, monetary gifts for 8 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Outreach Children: New school shoes for 8 children, a monetary gift for their parents, and a special meal.

Nakuru CMD: New school shoes for 56 children and a monetary gift for 8 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Isiolo Feeding Program: A gift (undetermined) for 38 children, a monetary gift for 4 workers, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Calvary Christian School Ruai Feeding Program: New backpacks filled with food items for 220 children, and a monetary gift for 13 staff members.

Lokichoggio Feeding Program: A special celebratory meal for 150 children and community members.

People to People Sponsored Pastor’s Children:  A monetary gift for 60 children and their families. (PtoP typically provides funds for this).

As you can imagine, this is a costly endeavor.  The budget for the above gifts, food, and meals is $8,000.  If you are interested in partnering with us to help make this Christmas special for all of these children, we would greatly appreciate it!  You can click here to do so: Dunning Ministry Account (choose “Ministry” in the account menu).  Any amount will be greatly appreciated!

2018 Christmas Recap:

 

September 2019 Update

It is great to be back in Kenya and settled back into our routines.  As many of you know, we were in the States for a 12-week furlough this summer.  It is always great to be home and to connect with family, friends and partners.  We were grateful for the opportunity to connect with many of you, but we wish there was more time so that we could have spent time with more of you.

 

We returned to Kenya at the end of July.  Over the last month, we have had quite a bit of transition.  We had to move to a new house (our previous landlord sold ours, so we found one in the same neighborhood), Jessica has expanded her role at Rosslyn Academy (more on this below), and the kids have started back to school.  There is always a period of adjustment after time away and each of these transitions added to this, but the last couple of weeks we have found a good rhythm and feel fully settled once again.


                                                            Projects Updates                                                                (The following projects are made possible by generous contributions and support of our partners.  If you are interested in supporting these, and similar projects, a contribution can be made here: Dunning Ministry Account (choose ministry option)

Tana River Delta Relief Distribution

According to the National Drought Management Authority, 2.5million people in Kenya are at risk of starvation due to drought and insufficient rains this year, which has led to poor food harvests.  There isn’t a sufficient amount of food, and the cost of what is available has risen by 10-40% in recent months.  The majority of these people live in arid and semi-arid lands.  The communities that we partner with in Tana River county are among those being affected.

Last week we were able to conduct a relief food distribution for 5 communities, numbering around 800 families and approximately 5,500 people.  We were able to procure a UN-approved, fortified food blend from a local company called Soy Afric.  The food blend is packed with vitamins, minerals, and meets all daily nutritional needs.  It is the type of food we want to be providing, however the distance from Nairobi to Tana River county is quite far, so transportation costs are high.  Fortunately, a friend from Convoy of Hope allowed us to rent their delivery truck and driver to make the delivery.  This was a huge blessing, and we were very excited to get this higher quality food option to these communities.

Each family received enough food to last between 1-2 weeks.  We celebrate this, but at the same time we were sobered because the awareness that the current needs are massive and these needs are only expected to increase. In early August it was estimated that 1.1million people were at risk of starvation, so that number has more than doubled in the last month.

Our desire is to be able to respond to such needs more efficiently and readily.  Of course, this requires more funding.  We would love a transportation option that is consistent and financially viable, and we would also prefer to have a stock of relief food waiting and ready for distribution.  These are both options that we are looking into.  For the time being, if you are interested in contributing towards our fund that made this distribution, and future distributions, possible, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can do so here: Dunning Ministry Account (choose ministry option).

 

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Tana River Community Agriculture and Irrigation Projects

One positive aspect of this trip is that I was able to check in on the 4 village agriculture projects we’ve partnered with.  This was very encouraging.  Even though these communities are still facing challenges like their neighbors, they are able to produce their own food, despite the drought and lack of rain!  The harvests are providing food and income for school fees and other needs.  Our partner, Bocha Hussein, is doing an amazing job overseeing these projects.

I will offer one specific highlight from these communities from the most recent project in Vumbwe village.  Their first harvest included kales, spinach, and tomatoes.  The proceeds from the harvest paid school fees for many children within the community, as well as provided food relief.  An unexpected benefit of this project is that it has provided a consistent watering source for a neighboring pastoralist community.  The Wata pastoralist were unable to find an adequate watering source for their herds, so they came to Vumbwe because they had heard of our agriculture project, and that our well is producing copious amounts of water.  Halima reached a compromise with them allowing them to bring their herds for watering each day.  We are currently constructing a watering trough away from the farm land for this community.  I was so proud of Halima’s (the lady overseeing this project) generosity in freely offering this water to a neighboring community.

 

 

Micro-Finance Loans

We recently had the opportunity to extend micro-loans to two Mothers of some of our People to People children.  Both women are starting small businesses selling fruit and vegetables in the local markets (with hopes of expanding to owning proper shops in the future), so that they can help meet the needs of their families.  We are proud to partner with them, and praying and believing that these small investments are going to give them the tools that they need to make a positive impact for their families.

 

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St. Joyuna Academy Ruai Washroom

St. Joyuna Christian School is a school that we have partnered with since 2009.  The school reaches around 200 children offering an education and two meals a day.  The washrooms on the compound were not sufficient to meet the needs of the population, so we are in the process of constructing new washrooms for the students

 

 

Rosslyn Cultural Field Studies

Each year Rosslyn Academy sends 16 groups of High School Students to sites all over Kenya to serve and to learn from communities and projects.  Jessica coordinates all of these trips and teams.  It is a massive undertaking, but she coordinates it brilliantly.  This year’s trips were all a great success.

In addition to Jessica coordinating all 16 sites, I host one of the teams.  Each year I take a group of 16 HS Sophomores to Emmanuel Preparatory School/Emmanuel Worship Center in Kanja, Kenya, for 5-days.  This year the students assisted in classrooms, participated in plastering and painting work projects, replaced broken window panes, learned about Embu culture, experienced the beauty of the surrounding area, and saw first-hand how tea is processed…from hand-picking leaves from the bush to the tea being roasted and packaged in the factory.  It was a great group of students, several of which I taught in 3rd grade.  It is a unique experience to be able to witness how these kids have grown and experience them as teenagers.

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New Role for Jessica at Rosslyn:

This year I was given the opportunity to go full time at Rosslyn Academy.  The official new title for this position is still a work in progress, but for now it is the Manager of International Communications and Alumni Relations.  It is very similar to a Director of Advancement position.  I am looking forward to taking on the challenges this new position holds.  I will be doing more work with marketing and branding, growing our Alumni engagement, while maintaining the responsibilities I previously held.  I am excited for the chance to pour my gifts and abilities into this role.  I will still be able to assist with our missions work on weekends and holidays, so nothing will change in that regard.

Note from Sophie:  I am now in 4th grade.  I have a very funny teacher who is named Mr. Hrvatic.  I have made two new friends named Lauren and Eva, which is nice because several of my good friends moved at the end of last school year.  This year I joined a drama club at my school, because I really enjoy acting.  We will perform a short play next week.  I am still taking piano lessons and I am learning chords!  I am also still doing gymnastics and playing intramural soccer.  Recently, I have discovered that I love building lego!  It is a fun challenge to make new creations.

Note from Ethan:  This year I have started 2nd grade.  My teacher’s name is Mrs. Kamau.  I am still playing soccer on Saturdays and taking drum lessons on Wednesdays.  Right now I really like to read and learn about animals.  A few weeks ago, my Dad and I went to the Nairobi Snake Park and I held a real snake!  It was an African Rock Python.  Rock Pythons are constrictors so they can’t hurt you.  I also saw a Puff Adder, which is the deadliest snake in Africa (not the most venomous, but the deadliest).  We also went on a game drive at Nairobi Game Park and lions were very close to us.  We also saw giraffes, birds, baboons, zebras, buffalo, impala and black rhino,

 

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Prayer Requests

  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that we are being called.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, villages and churches that we have partnerships with.
  • For our extended families as they live life without having us and the kids nearby.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.

Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

May 2019 Update

Partners and Friends,

We are currently scrambling to get everything in order before we depart tonight (Friday, May 3) for our 10-week furlough in the States. We are very excited to get home to see family, and to connect with as many of you as possible. On our way to the US we will be taking a long layover in Scotland to have a short family vacation so that we can pause between the busyness of the last several months and the different kind of busyness of the coming 10 weeks.  We will be returning to the Isle of Iona, a place with special significance for our family (though, we hope to not repeat the tragedy of Jessica knocking her front teeth out!  No bunkbeds for her this time!).  We will also be visiting the Isle of Skye for the first time.  Our plan is to do some hiking, sit by the ocean, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  We are really looking forward to this downtime to connect as a family,  spend time in prayer and centering, and to enjoy the beauty of Scottish landscapes.

Things have been good for us in recent months, but we have seen challenges for many of our partner projects. Kenya has been facing a terrible drought, and the long-expected rains have been extremely delayed. The irony is this time last year we were seeing flooding all over the country from too much rain. Fortunately, rains have started the last week or so. The Meteorological Society is predicting that they will be short, and not nearly enough, but we are praying that the rains will stay around for a while. Regardless, many parts of the country missed the planting window because of the drought. Some are predicting major food shortages in the future because of this. Please keep the country in your prayers.


People to People, Projects and Ministry

People to People Updates

Over the last few months we have been traveling to all of the People to People Ministries partner projects to get updates on the sponsorship children. We have nearly 200 children in the sponsorship program that are located in every corner of the country, so it is quite a large job to get updates on each child. But it is also a joy to connect with each child one on one and to spend some time with them. We see many of these children consistently throughout the year, but the update process allows us to connect with each one in a unique way. We finished our last updates on Friday, so now they are ready to bring to the States and send out to supporters.

 

Tana River Community Agriculture Projects

We are grateful that we have partnered with Bocha Hussein to start another Village Agriculture Project in Tana River County. This one is in a village called Vumbwe. We have provided a well, irrigation tank/tower, and irrigation lines so that the community can produce crops and sustain themselves. This is the fourth community that we have done this in, and they have made a huge impact. One example is in the community of Gardeni. The group of women that oversee the project informed me that in the last harvest, they decided to sell all of the crops and then divide the profit among each family in the community. Each family received around $50 that they were able to use as they needed. Most either purchased food or paid for their children’s school fees. It is an incredible testament of a community led program, headed by a group of empowered women, that is benefiting the entire community. The new project in Vumbwe is being led by a woman named Halima and she envisions a similar approach for their project. The other programs in Peponi and Odhole are also moving along.

We are also excited that we are upgrading all of the projects to solar water pumps. This will save each program money, since they no longer have to set aside funds for fuel, but we are also excited to lower the environmental impact of the projects.

Micro-Business Seminars

During my visit to Tana River, Jamie also had the opportunity to teach a micro-business seminar to a group of leaders from several communities. My hope is that when I return, I will receive some business plans from them and we can consider investing in these micro-enterprises.

In April, Jamie also had the opportunity to give a talk on sustainable approaches to ministry with a organization that is run by a close friend of ours called InnerChange.  This particular program is an apprenticeship (Deep Coaching) that provides mentorship, spiritual direction, and training, to a of group young coaches in the Nairobi area to equip them to have a greater impact in their communities through sports programs.  We are looking forward to building on this when we return and continuing to develop this partnership and relationship.

 

Other Speaking Opportunities

In February, Jamie was invited to travel to Santiago, Chile, to present at the 6th Global Assembly on the Power of Micro-Economic Investments in missions and community development. It was an wonderful opportunity to connect with others from around the globe and to speak on a topic that he is very passionate about.  He was also able to take a day and do some hiking in the Chilean Andes at Cajon del Maipo.

In April, the church in Kenya celebrated their 40th year. Jamie was invited to speak on the history of People to People Ministries in Kenya. He also had the opportunity to speak to 150 leaders from around the country on what he believes is the call of the church: to practice, and be known for, the “Upside-Down” Kingdom values of Christ….love, compassion, radical generosity, servanthood, hospitality, self-sacrifice, peacemaking, humility, mercy, justice, and forgiveness.

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Family Updates

End of Year Music Recitals/Concert

Since we are leaving a few weeks before the school year ends, so that we can maximize our time in the States this summer, Sophie and Ethan will miss their end-of-year music recitals. We planned a mini-recital for the two of them and invited many of our friends. We are so proud of how they are developing in their piano (Sophie) and drum (Ethan) skills.

Sophie had an Elementary Spring Music concert where she was chosen to play prelude music on the piano, sing a solo, and play in a specials chimes group.  We are so proud of the way she is developing her musical gifts!

Birthdays

In the last week we have celebrated Ethan and Sophie’s birthdays with their friends. Ethan’s actual birthday was April 26. He is now 7 years old. Sophie’s birthday is not until June 11 (she will be 9), but she really wanted to celebrate with her friends before we depart for the US. We will celebrate both again with family when we get to the US, but it meant a lot for them to have parties with their friends.

Graduate School is finished!

After two years of balancing work, graduate school and family, Jamie has completed his Master’s Degree in International Development from Eastern University! He isn’t able to attend the commencement ceremony in PA next week, so our friends came together and held a surprise graduation for Jamie and Rachael….our friend that also just completed a Masters in Theological Studies.  It was the perfect way to celebrate this huge accomplishment.


Prayer Requests

  • That the next several months we are home on furlough would be a meaningful time of connecting with our families, friends and supporters.
  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that we are being called.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, villages and churches that we have partnerships with.
  • For our extended families as they live life without having us and the kids nearby.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.

Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

February 2019 Update

Partners and Friends,

We hope that each of you are well.  We are enjoying a hot and dry February here in Nairobi, which is quite the opposite of what many of you are experiencing.  If you find yourself really craving the sun, we would love to host you in Nairobi.

You may have heard about the recent terrorist attack in Nairobi.  A few weeks ago a group of Al-Shabaab militants attacked an upscale hotel.  Al-Shabaab is the same group that attacked Westgate mall several years ago, and have committed several other atrocities over the years, however, recently they have been less active.  The response of Kenyan security forces was effective and the threat was neutralized relatively quickly, however 21 people lost their lives.  We were not directly affected by this attack, however, many people lost loved ones and the nation has been shaken.  We are confident in the security measures that exist in our home and school communities, and security measures citywide are in place.  Please pray for those affected by this tragedy, for security forces that are taking measures to protect citizens from senseless violence, and for the nation of Kenya.


Family Update

We have had a great few months since our last update, and we have several exciting things on the horizon.  One of those is that we will be coming to the U.S. from May-July for our 3-month furlough.   We are looking forward to time at home with family and friends, and we are currently working through some ideas of how to maximize our time and connect with as many of you as possible during that time.  Of course, being away from Kenya for furlough means that the next few of months are going to extremely full, as we work on getting updates on the People to People sponsored children and make visits to several projects around the country.

Next week, I (Jamie) will be traveling to Santiago, Chile, to present at the 6th Global Assembly.  I have the opportunity to speak on the Power of Micro-Economic Investments in missions and community development.  Of course, this is a topic I am very passionate about, so I am excited for the opportunity.  My graduate studies are going well.  I am currently in an Applied Research course (which is proving useful in developing evaluations on the impact of projects) and then will move into my final course (Financial Management for NGO Management) of the program.  It’s been a great experience, but I am very excited that the end is on the horizon.

Jessica:  A big part of my work at Rosslyn Academy is overseeing various events throughout the school year.  In the month of December one of the things I am responsible for coordinating is the school’s annual Christmas Project, which is a four week long school wide fundraising project.    This year as a school we raised 1.6 millions shillings (approximately $16,000).  It is always amazing to see the Rosslyn community pull together to bless others during the Christmas season.

In the coming months I will be helping coordinate and run an International Schools Basketball tournament at Rosslyn, in which 6 different international schools will compete.  This tournament includes schools from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Senegal. Another component of my job during this semester is working with our new staff members and helping them make the transition to Kenya.  This is probably one of my favorite parts of my job at Rosslyn.  Having made many transitions in our life, I understand the importance of doing that well.  I truly enjoy helping people through this process and helping ensure that they have as smooth of a transition as possible.

Note from Sophie:  I am still doing gymnastics, and we just started learning moves on the trampoline.  Piano is going well.  I am learning new songs with fourth intervals.  A couple of weeks ago we started Basketball Intramurals at my school.  My Dad is my coach and our team is the cheetahs, but since our color is orange we call ourselves the Cheetos!  This semester I have four new students in my class, but two are just learning English.  I am trying to be a good friend to them so they will be comfortable and I can become friends with them.  Soon I will have the 3rd-5th grade concert.  I am in the chimes group, in the choir, and I am playing a piano part.  On Sports Day, I won the 400 meter for my heat, but not for my whole grade.  I can’t wait to see my family this summer in America.

Note from Ethan:  I am still in soccer classes on Friday and Saturdays.  I really like it.  Two weeks ago we had Sports Day at my school.  I got a 2nd place ribbon in the sack race and I won my heat in the 400m race, but got 3rd place overall for my grade.  At school we are learning about quarters, halves, and thirds in Math.  I am having fun in school.  We have something soon called Spring Break.  I am excited to go to America this summer!


Projects and Ministry

Northern Kenya Visit

A few weeks ago, I traveled up to Northern Kenya to visit our feeding programs in Lokichoggio and Kakuma Refugee Camp.  While there I was also able to celebrate Christmas (though late) with the community.  One highlight of this was that Sophie traveled with me!  This region of Kenya is very remote, and as far north as you can go before getting to S. Sudan.  Sophie has been asking to visit with me for years, so we finally made it happen.  During our trip, she made a “5 Clue Challenge” video for her classmates, so I will share that below for your enjoyment.  The feeding programs there are going well, and it was wonderful to be with our friends and to celebrate together.  However, the children and families in this region face tremendous challenges.  I am currently prayerfully considering ways that we can partner together to see a bigger impact in meeting the needs of this community.

Christmas Project

You may have seen this update already, but if not, please click on this link to see an update on Christmas Project 2018.  It went very well this year, thanks to the generosity of people like you!

Bryan Nix Visit

In November, we were able to host the new People to People Ministries Director, Bryan Nix.  It was great to get to know him, hear his vision for the ministry, and to allow him to visit some of the projects hear and learn more about our programs in Kenya.

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Hosanna Dairy Project

The Dairy Project at Hosanna Children’s Home is running well.  “Sheriff,” as she is lovingly called, is producing around 18 liters of milk per day, which is both sold and consumed.  Around 10 liters per day is consumed, which is saving the home money.  The remaining milk is sold and the profits sustain the project, as well generate a small amount of additional income.  You may remember, Sheriff gave birth to a female calf in August, so we are awaiting the day (approx. 1.5 years from now) when she will be able to start producing milk as well.

The biggest expense of raising the cows is feeding, so we are currently looking for available land to grow fodder to supplement their diet.

Tana River Village Agriculture Projects

All three of the Irrigation and Farm projects in Tana River Delta are going well.  The different projects (Peponi, Gardeni, and Odhole) have recently produced maize, watermelons, tomatoes, kales, and other vegetables.  Because of the success of these projects and the empowerment they have given to communities, we are planning to do an additional project in Vumbwe village.  Vumbwe is home to around 74 people and it is one of the villages that our partner, Bocha, works with regularly.  The community longs to have access to a reliable water source so that they are able to farm and produce what they need to sustain themselves.  The project will be led by Halima (pictured below), a determined woman that has an incredible faith and passion for her community.  In addition to meeting critical needs and empowering communities, these projects are opening doors for Bocha to share Christ.

I will be traveling to this region in March to meet with the Vumbwe community, check on progress of other projects, and to conduct a Micro-Business training for a group of around 15 people.


Family Photos from the last few months:

In November, Sophie and Ethan were selected to be in the Rosslyn Academy Talent Show.  Sophie and her friend sang a song and choreographed motions, while Ethan played the djembe.

Over Christmas Break, we spent a few days at a beautiful cabin in the Abedares with friends.

In December we also took a family camping trip at Hell’s Gate National Park for one night and hiked the gorge.

We had a great Advent and Christmas in Kenya, but we missed being with our families.


Prayer Requests

  • That the next several months would be productive so that we will be prepared to be away on furlough from May-July.
  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that we are being called.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, villages and churches that we have partnerships with.
  • For our extended families as they live life without having us and the kids nearby.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.

Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner!  Last year we had an amazing Christmas with all of the People to People partner feeding programs around Kenya (You can see a recap of last year’s Christmas Project below).

This year we will be providing gifts to 588 children at our partner orphanages and feeding programs, as well as a small monetary gift for around 40 staff members.  We will also have 5 celebratory meals at each location.  A breakdown of the requested gifts is below:

Hosanna Children’s Home: New school shoes for 60 children and a monetary gift for 11 university students, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Huruma Children’s Home:  New school uniforms for 50 children, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Nakuru CMD: New school shoes for 55 children and a monetary gift for 7 university students, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Isiolo Feeding Program: New school shoes and text books for 38 children, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Lokichoggio Feeding Program: New blankets for 127 children, as well as a special meal for everyone.  We will also be providing 27 mosquito nets for children that did not receive them last year.

Calvary Christian School Ruai Feeding Program: New backpacks filled with food items for 180 children.

People to People Sponsored Pastor’s Children:  A monetary gift for 60 children. (PtoP typically provides funds for this).

As you can imagine, this is a costly endeavor.  The budget for the above gifts, food, and meals is $8,300.  If you are interested in partnering with us to help make this Christmas special for all of these children, we would greatly appreciate it!  You can click here to do so: Dunning Ministry Account (choose “Ministry” in the account menu).  Any amount will be greatly appreciated!

2017 Recap:

(Lokichoggio Mosquito Net Distribution and Isiolo Computer Lab, not shown in video)

Update October 2018

Partners and Friends,

It is always a joy to pause and reflect on what God is doing through the work in Kenya, as we write these updates. We feel so blessed and often times unworthy of the amazing people we have the opportunity to work with here and the opportunities our family are afforded by living here.

We also enjoy putting together these newsletters because it gives us an opportunity to let you know how much you mean to us.  We are fully aware that without your prayers and support of our family, the work taking place in Kenya would not be possible.  Please know that we think of you and pray for you often.

We have added a new section to the newsletter this month with a personal update from Sophie and Ethan, so be sure to read all the way to the end to see what they have to say.


Project Updates

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner! Last year we had an amazing Christmas with all of the People to People partner feeding programs around Kenya (You can see a recap of last year’s Christmas Project below).

We are currently in the process of determining what each program prefers this year.  We know that we will be providing gifts for nearly 500 children, as well as hosting 5 Christmas meals/celebrations!  Many of these gifts will include school shoes, backpacks, food items etc.  We will share a more detailed list once we have it finalized.  This is a costly project each year, usually costing between $7,000-8,000, but it is a project that is very dear to our hearts.  If you are interested in supporting it we would greatly appreciate it!  You can click here to do so: Dunning Ministry Account (choose “Ministry” in the account menu).

(Above images were not included in the video)

Tana River Village Irrigation and Agricultural Projects

The projects in Peponi and Gardeni are both doing very well.  As you remember, both of this villages were devastated by the flooding in April (click here for more details), as both were completely under water and all residents had to relocate to temporary camps.  In recent months they have returned home, begun rebuilding, and started farming once again.

Recently, Bocha (our partner that oversees these projects) made an amazing connection with a young agriculture student from Edgerton University that was looking for a place to do his internship.  Bocha convinced him to come serve in the communities in Gardeni and Peponi for his internship.  He has introduced the communities to many beneficial farming concepts!

In Peponi, the maize crop is growing quite well and they are expecting a tremendous harvest.  They also have planted green grams (lentils) that are doing well.  In Gardeni, they are growing tomatoes and onions in seed beds, and have planted watermelon as well.

The farm project in Odhole Village is also getting off the ground.  They were affected terribly by the flooding, and the village could only be accessed by boat.  Since the water has receded, they are in the process of preparing the land and will start planting in the coming weeks.

These projects provide much needed food relief to the communities, as well as help sustain the workers that live and serve in these communities.  With every seed that is planted, each crop that is harvested and through the abundance of water flowing from each well, these communities are seeing God’s grace in their lives, and the love that Christ has for all of us is being demonstrated.

We hope to start another similar project in a village called Vumbe, but are lacking funds.  If you are interested in helping us get this project off the ground, you can click here (Choose Ministry in the account drop down menu), or email us for more information.

Micro-Business Seminar

Recently, Jamie was asked to give a micro-business seminar to a group of youth from South Sudan and Eldoret.  The seminar was designed to give these boys some tangible ideas of how they could sustain themselves and their families.  It covered the basics of creating a business plan and vision for starting a small-scale business.  We are hoping that this will lead to partnerships with these boys moving forward.

Since the seminar went well, we are also hoping to continue adapting the training so that we can offer it more regularly to partners and groups.  Jamie’s coursework and our experience partnering with sustainable projects over the last few years has really informed this seminar, but he has also been meeting with a few experienced local individuals for suggestions on how to help make the training more complete and beneficial.

Rosslyn Cultural Field Studies (C.F.S.)

Each year Rosslyn Academy sends 16 groups High School Students to sites all over Kenya to serve and to learn from communities and projects.  Jessica coordinates all of these trips and teams.  It is a massive undertaking, but she does it brilliantly.  This year’s trips were all a great success.

In addition to Jessica coordinating all 16 sites, we also host one team of sophomore students.  We take them to Emmanuel Preparatory School/Emmanuel Worship Center in Kanja, Kenya, for a 5-day visit.  During our time there the students assisted in classrooms, participated in a plastering work project, learned about Embu culture, experienced the beauty of the surrounding area, and saw first-hand how tea is processed…from hand-picking leaves from the bush to the tea being roasted and packaged in the factory.  It was a great group of students, several of which Jamie taught when they were in 3rd grade.  It is a unique experience to be able to reconnect with these kids and to see who they have become and are becoming.

This is our fourth year leading a group, and it has become a trip that our whole family looks forward to (especially Sophie and Ethan).

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Speaking Opportunities

Jamie was asked to speak on the topic of Service at the CFS kick-off chapel for all of the Rosslyn High School students.  He spoke on the idea of approaching “service” through a posture of humility, love, and a desire for mutuality.  He also spoke in the Middle School chapel that day on the topic of being Contemplatives in Action, as we seek to see Christ in every moment of every day. He was reminded of how much he enjoys teaching and connecting with students.

He also had the opportunity to speak at Emmanuel Worship Center in Kanja, where he shared a message on “The Parable of the Merciful Father”.

In addition to giving the micro-business seminar, he also had the opportunity to develop a Cross Cultural Competency Training seminar for one of his graduate courses.  He presented the seminar to the staff at Calvary Worship Center as a trial.  He received positive feedback and encouragement, so he is planning on continuing to build upon it for opportunities to share it in other contexts in the future.


Family Update

We have had a combination of several public/school holidays over the last couple of months, which has given us the opportunity to get out into nature several times as a family.  We have learned that this is one of the most refreshing, life-giving, and rewarding ways we can spend time together.  We are thankful that we have had so many chances recently, and that we live in place with so much beauty!

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Jamie has just completed his 7th course in his International Development Degree.  He only has 3 more courses left in the program.  The program will be finished on April 28, and it is safe to say that he is counting down the days. He has also has been asked to speak at the 6th Global Assembly in Santiago, Chile, in February.  He will be sharing on our experiences with Micro-Businesses in missions.  He is excited for the opportunity.

Jessica continues to enjoy her work at Rosslyn Academy.  The beginning of the year is always busy, as the HS CFS program takes place only a few weeks into the school year.  Now as we look forward to the Christmas season and the celebrations we facilitate at our partner feeding programs and orphanages, she is also gearing up to to lead Rosslyn’s Christmas Fundraising initiative called the Christmas Project.  Last year this endeavor raised 1,700,000KES for 4 amazing organizations.  She is excited about this upcoming season of work and sharing the love of Christ with those in need during this very special time of the year.

Message from Sophie:  I am enjoying 3rd grade so far.  My teacher is Mrs. Gitonga.  She is an amazing teacher.  I just started learning cursive and multiplication.  My favorite specials class is Art.  I like Art because we learn about famous artists like Keith Harring and Vincent Van Gogh.  I am also taking piano and gymnastics classes.  In piano I am learning scales.  In gymnastics we are doing backbends and aerials.  I played Intramural Soccer after school.  I liked making new friends, but soccer is not my favorite thing.  But Daddy says I am a good defender.  My favorite author is Megan McDonald, because I love Judy Moody and The Sisters Club books.  I also love going on hikes with my family because we see beautiful things.

Message from Ethan:  I love 1st Grade.  My teacher is very nice and funny.  I like Math because it is fun.  My favorite specials are Music and PE.  Ambassadors Soccer (on Saturday) is really fun.  I also have soccer practice on Friday with Coach Lydia.  On Wednesdays I have drum lessons.  My teacher said that I’m doing good.  We had a Harvest Festival at our school.  I got to ride a horse and a camel.


Prayer Requests

  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that we are being called.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, villages and churches that we have partnerships with.
  • For our extended families as they live life without having us and the kids nearby.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.

Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

August 2018 Update

Partners and Friends,

We are currently in a place where we feel that we are starting afresh, embarking on a new year, which may seem odd considering it is August.  Due to Jessica’s involvement at Rosslyn Academy, the kids starting a new school year, and our tendency to travel to the States for furlough during the summer months, the pattern and flow of our lives seems to lead to a new beginning each August.  Perhaps my spending 10 years as a classroom teacher created a permanent since that the year begins in August, not January.  Regardless, we are excited to be settling back in and are looking forward to what this year will have to offer.

(Disclaimer….this is a long update, sorry!  Please read it in sections and come back as often as you like).

Quick Trip to the States

This summer, we spent nearly 4 weeks in the U.S.  We referred to this trip as a bonus, because it wasn’t in the plans to go.  I needed to attend the Residency for my second (and final!) year of the Master’s in International Development that I am pursuing, however, originally, I was going to go alone.  Fortunately, it worked out for Jessica and the kids to come along and to have nearly 2 weeks with each of our families.  We normally expect that it will be 2 years between seeing family, so this 1 year bonus was a blessing.

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On our way back to Kenya we had a 24-hour layover in London, which was just enough time to give the kids their first tour of many popular sites.  We’ve recently read The BFG, Chronicles of Narnia, and watched several movies that were set in London, so they were excited to see the actual places that inspired these stories.

Grad School Update

As mentioned above, I am now in my 2nd year of my graduate program.  The residency is an intense 18 days of coursework, connecting with professors and colleagues, and laying the groundwork for the year to come.  This year’s courses are focused on Disaster Relief and Mitigation, Advocacy, Cross-Cultural Skills, Applied Research, and Financial Management for non-profit work (with a small focus on Micro-Credit).  All in all, these courses, as well as the ones I’ve completed (Economic Development, Community Development, Theology of Poverty, Leadership, and Program Planning) are giving me so much knowledge and resources to (hopefully) be more effective in our work.

New School Year

The kids have now started back to school.  Sophie is in 3rd grade (hard for me to imagine that if I were still teaching, she is now old enough to be in my class!) and Ethan is starting 1st grade.  They are looking forward to a new year.  Sophie has decided to continue with piano and gymnastics this year, and to also participate in Intramural soccer and basketball (short seasons with 8 sessions after school).  Ethan has decided to continue playing soccer with Ambassadors, and to start taking drum lessons (I know that I am extremely biased, but he seems to be a natural).  With a piano, drums, my mediocre guitar playing, and Jessica’s voice, a family band may be in the works.


Projects

Tana River Delta Drought Relief

In March and April, Kenya received an incredible amount of rain, following a season of prolonged drought.  Sadly, the copious amount of rain led to extensive flooding wreaking havoc in many regions of Kenya.  One of the most affected regions was the Tana River Delta, where we have relationships with several villages through our partnership with Bocha Hussein.

These people deal with extreme drought the majority of the year, but during the rainy season heavy rains come to the highlands, which causes the Tana River to completely flood their villages in the Delta (this year was extreme, which happens every few years).  They go from no water to a dangerous amount of water.  Thousands of people lost their homes and had to relocate to temporary relief camps.  In April, we conducted a food relief distribution at one of the relief camps that housed three of our partner villages.  We were able to provide food relief for nearly 500 families, as well as a medical clinic in one of the camps.  Since then, we have also sent funds for a few smaller distributions in villages with extreme malnutrition, and were able to help with some medical needs to children affected by malnutrition and cholera.

The only benefit of this flooding is that the soil is nourished with minerals transported from the highlands, and the water table is replenished, which is critical since they rarely get significant rain.  Both of these effects will aid in the long-term success of the irrigation/farm projects we have started in these villages, but this benefit is a future one, and offers little consolation in the moment.

The water has started receding, and many are returning to villages to start the rebuilding process.  However, the needs are still great.  We are considering doing another distribution in the coming month.  Speaking of which……

Humanitarian Relief Prayer Request:  We are currently prayerfully considering methods that we can use to make our response to humanitarian disasters more efficient and timely.  I have formed a partnership with a local company in Nairobi that produces a UN-approved, fortified food option for extreme scenarios.  We would love to be able to provide this product in times of disaster, however, transport and storage are a huge consideration.  We are thinking through what possibilities we have available.  As you know, our primary goal is to partner with these communities in ways that promote long-term, self-sustainability (through projects like the irrigation and farm projects), however, in times of extreme disaster, acute, immediate needs become the priority.


Hosanna Dairy Project Update

The project at Hosanna Children’s Home is going extremely well!  The Sheriff (the dairy cow we purchased a few months ago) gave birth to a healthy, female calf (that will one day provide milk as well!) and is now producing 20 liters of milk per day, after the calf has eaten.  The milk production is being used for consumption for the orphanage (10 liters) , as well as providing much needed income to sustain the home (10 liters sold @ 40cents per liter).  Between what is earned in sales and saved through producing milk instead of buying, is around $9 per day.  Alternative food options to boost production are also being considered.  This project is off to a great start!  Thanks so much to those of you that supported this project.

For more detailed info on this project, check out the last update: April 2018 Update

Hosanna Fish Project Update:  You may remember that we helped start a Fish Sustainability Project at Hosanna a few years ago.  The project has had ups and downs, but is still pushing forward.  They have just harvested catfish which were sold, but mostly consumed by the children.  The pond has been restocked with Tilapia fingerlings.


People to People Updates

We now have over 200 children in the People to People Child Sponsorship Program for Kenya.  In May and June we were able to get updates on all of these children, which is always a great way for us to stay connected, and continue to build relationships with these kids.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child from Kenya, you can email rlowder@iphc.org and request one of our children!


Agricultural  Projects

We currently have two farm projects that we are partnering with for two great ministries.  These farms will generate income for these ministries helping them to become self-sustaining.

The two ministries are:

SMILE STAR’D SANITARY PAD PROGRAM is a ministry that provides young girls with sanitary pads and menstrual health education in order to help keep them in school.  Many girls in rural Kenya start to miss school once they reach this milestone in their lives, fall behind in their studies, and eventually drop out.  This project, run by our friend Alice Wambui, aims to provide these girls with an option to remain in school.

ODHOLE COMMUNITY VILLAGE:  We were able to recently provide a borehole, elevated storage tank, and irrigation pipes for a farm in Odhole village (one of the villages affected by the flood).  The next step is to start the farming activities.  They are planning to plant an 11-acre farm.  The harvest will be used for a few purposes: to sustain the village school feeding program ministry, to meet the needs of the team that is living in the village and teaching at the school, and to provide relief in times of crisis.

If you are interested in supporting these farming projects, or any projects like the ones mentioned above.  You can make a contribution here: Dunning Ministry Support (choose “Ministry” account in drop down menu) and 100% will go towards such projects (if you have a specific project you would like to support, shoot us n email and we can help you get it set up!)


 

Recent Happenings

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Prayer Requests

  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that we are being called.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, villages and churches that we have partnerships with.
  • For our extended families as they live life without us and the kids nearby.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

 

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.

Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

April 2018 Update

Partners and Friends,

I began the last email by stating that we would get back into a regular pattern of sending out these updates, and I now realize that it has been nearly 4 months since we sent one!  We, once again, apologize for the delay.  My graduate school courses are providing an abundant source of knowledge and growth, but it has come with tremendous demands.  My most recent course was extremely demanding, but I am encouraged that my current one is much more manageable.  All that to say, I have found time to write something that isn’t for a class! 

2018 has been a great year for us, so far, but is moving along so quickly.  It is hard for us to believe that Sophie is nearly finished with second grade, and Ethan will soon move on to 1st grade!  This year they have continued to grow in their interests and in developing their personalities.  Sophie has a strong sense of compassion and justice, and Ethan is extremely thoughtful, kind-hearted and generous, though they are trying to figure out how to apply these traits to one another on a regular basis!  Sophie continues to love learning to play the piano, gymnastics, and reading.  Ethan most enjoys soccer, Star Wars, super heroes, and getting as dirty as possible.  They both love camping and hiking, but they don’t really have a choice on this one…it is a family requirement. 

Jessica and I are both doing well.  She continues to thrive in her role at Rosslyn Academy, as well as providing tremendous support and insight into our work.  On March 26, we celebrated our 13th Anniversary, and as far as I can tell, we are both still happily married. 

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Wedding Anniversary Pic

We will be coming to the States for a few weeks in June/July for my Masters program, but I will be spending the majority of it on the Eastern University campus in Pennsylvania.  I will have a few days with family before class begins, and a few days after, when we are hoping my sister will be visiting so that we can see her and meet our new nephew, Asher (born January 20).  Our plan was for me to come for my courses, but to bring the kids for a “bonus” visit with grandparents.  However, Jessica’s parents thought this plan was incomplete, so they have offered to bring her home as well!  So it looks like Jess and the kids will have a mini-vacation in the US…..while I am slaving away in class.  We have gotten used to only coming home every couple of years, but we are so thankful for this small bonus trip so that we can see family. 

Aunt Jenn’s Surprise Visit

 Jessica’s sister, Jennifer, surprised the kids with a visit during their Spring Break.  They were so excited to wake up to find her sitting in the living room.

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Zipline at the Forest


People to People and Ministry

Northern Kenya Visit

Jamie traveled to Northern Kenya to visit the People to People NK feeding programs, in Lokichoggio and Kakuma Refugee Camp.  In Lokichoggio, we were able to distribute over 100 mosquito nets in an effort to prevent malaria contraction among the children.  We were also able to share a meal with over 200 people in the community.  This feeding program feeds over 100 children every Sunday.  They face many challenges in this region, including food insecurity, lack of assess to water, frequent drought, lack of education and diseases, so we hope to be able to increase feeding to at least 2 days per week, and more if possible. 

The feeding program in Kakuma Refugee camp happens every Sunday in Locharidome, a poor and arid area just on the outskirts of the camp.  The children in Locharidome are mostly abandoned and are extremely vulnerable.  They depend on the weekly meals for survival.  Of course, one meal a week isn’t enough.  We also hope to increase the feedings at this site to at least 2 days per week.  This program is operated by an incredible woman named Veridiana, a refugee from the DRC, and her team.  They sacrifice their own time and resources to feed, teach, and instruct these children.  We are honored to partner with her. 

If you are interested in supporting these feeding projects.  You can make a contribution here: Ministry Support (choose “Ministry” account in drop down menu)

Hosanna Dairy Project

Hosanna is home to 65 orphaned children, and is one of our partner orphanages that we work with in a variety of ways.  They have had a successful dairy project over the last several years that has provided both milk and income to the home.  However, their current cows have gotten older and are not producing as much as they used to. 

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, we were able to purchase a new heifer recently.  She is a holstein breed, and is named “The Sherif.”  She is pregnant and should give birth in the next two months.  We are hoping for a female birth so that she can be raised as another producer.  If a male is born, he will be sold.

Once she starts producing, we have been told to expect anywhere from 25-40 liters of milk per day.  Some will be used for consumption for the children, the rest will be sold for profit and for feeding costs.  The current rate in this area is 40/- a liter (40cents).  This project is going to make the orphanage a decent income, as well as save a lot of money since milk will be provided.

 

Creation Care Conference

In February Jamie attended a Care of Creation Conference with our partner from Tana River, Bocha.  This conference provided education and training in conservation agricultural practices.  These practices will help Bocha sustain the agricultural projects in the villages in Tana River, maximize crop yields, while conserving water and healing and restoring the soil.  We are excited to see the positive effects of these practices.  My hope is to send more of our partners (that are interested) to these conferences in the future.

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Speaking/Worship Opportunities

Jamie has had several opportunities to speak recently.  These included Calvary Worship Center, St. Julian’s Centre, Locharidome IPHC, and Rosslyn Academy Elementary’s Spiritual Emphasis Week. 

Upcoming Events

May is going to be a busy month for us.  We will be visiting all of our partner People to People programs to get updates on the 171 sponsored children in Kenya.  Jamie will also be traveling to Tana River County to visit the three village well/farm projects that have been started, to initiate a small micro-finance program for some community members, and to spend time with our partners there.


Recent Happenings:

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Prayer Requests:

  • That we would love God and others as He loves us, and that we will be faithful in all the areas that He is calling us.
  • For continued direction and wisdom in our work.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger every day.
  • For Sophie and Ethan…that they will feel a meaningful connection to our ministry and that they both will grow to love and follow Jesus.
  • For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, and churches we support.
  • For our extended families as they live life without us and the kids.
  • For good health, safety and protection. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

 


                    

We love and appreciate you all!  Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean everything to us.  Thank you for partnering with us.
Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan