Partners and Friends,
Greetings from Nairobi! We are well and finally enjoying some rain here in Kenya and it is very welcome (we have been in quite a drought). Things have been going well for us, though our 2022 got off to an unfortunate start. Just after Christmas, Jessica and I tested positive for Covid. We had mild cases, but it did mean that the majority of the kids Christmas break was spent in isolation (luckily they avoided getting it again). The kids were so worried because part of their Christmas gift was a trip to the Masai Mara to go on a proper safari, and our isolation period could have run into those dates. Fortunately, after 8 days, we tested negative and we came out of quarantine just in time to go! The kids loved it and they got to see so many amazing Kenyan animals. Since we have lived in Kenya for 14 years, we think of this as something we have done many times, but we realized that since we hadn’t done one in several years the kids didn’t have strong memories of a “proper” safari (when you are in the official safari vehicles and stay at the lodge). It ended being the perfect way to end a break and kick off the New Year.
The biggest recent news in our family is that we have added a new member! Meet Axel, our 3-month old Rhodesian Ridgeback that Sophie and Ethan have been hoping and praying for for months (years for a dog, but months for Axel). We have had him just over a week and he is already an integral member of our family!
Update from Sophie: Things have been going well for me. I am still on the worship team at school, and I am on the Student Leadership Team for Middle School. We help plan activities and events at school. I was also in the Middle School play (The Enchanted Book Shop) and played as the Wicked Witch and was the Student Director. I am still playing piano, and I am very excited about my recital on May 19. I also have a new hobby, photography. I got a new camera for Christmas, and I love taking photos.
Update from Ethan: My favorite things to do are still soccer, basketball and skateboarding. Recently I went on a field trip and we hiked Mt. Longonot, which is a dormant volcano. In January, we had Sports Day and I won 5 ribbons! I am also still playing drums and I have a recital in a few weeks. I also was chosen to play mallets in my school concert.
Project and Ministry Updates
St. Joyuna Academy, Ruai
We have had an ongoing partnership with this school (formerly Calvary Christian School) since 2009! Over the years we have seen much growth for this school and church. The school now has around 230 students that receive a Christ-centered education and two meals every day. We have also been able to invest in two successful income-generating activities (Chicken Project and Water Kiosk).
In the last few months we have been constructing a new classroom structure to accommodate the growing student body. The project is on-going and is in it’s final stage. We have made a lot of progress, but are raising funds to finish the project (if you would like to support this project you can do so here: https://give.iphc.org/missionary/james-and-jessica-dunning, choose “Dunning Ministry” in drop down menu).
We were also able to provide dozens of tree saplings to the students to meet the new Kenyan Curriculum Standards. The students in Class 4 are required to plant the trees, tend them, and harvest the fruit. The passion fruit and avocado trees we provided will meet this need, but also supplement the school feeding program with nutritious fruits!
Hosanna Children’s Home Dairy Project
The dairy project at Hosanna continues to grow! The new Cow Shed has been completed and was commissioned towards the end of last year. It is a nice modern space that includes feeding areas, storage rooms, and a room for the caretaker.
The herd now has 10 heifers and 2 bulls. 7 are producing milk and they are getting around 100 liters per day! Unfortunately, one calf that was born in February passed away. It was the first loss of the project, which was difficult. But we are grateful for how well the project is doing overall.
Tana River Delta Projects
The work in the communities of Tana River Delta through out partnership with Bocha Hussein is continuing to go well. In the last several months the irrigation/farming project in Mtampani has been completed and they are producing crops in a dry and parched region, the water project in Ramada is providing much needed relief to many people from several communities, another water project in Karach Dera has been completed, and we have helped conduct several relief distributions.
Sadly, the drought in Kenya has continued to be a major issue over the last several months and people in this region are feeling the effects greatly. That coupled with the impact of world events on the price of goods and fuel, as well as the on-going effects and economic impact of the Covid pandemic has left many people without access to adequate food. As of March, over 3.1 million Kenyans were facing food shortages and insecurity, with the number projected to increase to 3.5 million by May. The events in Ukraine are also expected to have a considerable impact moving forward, as approximately 45% of Kenya’s grain is imported from Ukraine/Russia. Because of this, things are expected to get even worse, but we are praying for Divine intervention and that we will be in a position to respond as much as we can to these needs. Fortunately, the rains have started. Though late, we are praying it will be adequate and even make up for the recent lack of rain and failed rainy seasons and will help alleviate some of the suffering that people are facing.
Thank you for your support which helps us respond in these situations.
People to People Child Sponsorship Updates
Starting in March, we always began our annual PtoP Child Sponsorship Update process. We currently have 196 children in the program, so the update process requires a lot of time and travel, but it is always great to have 1-on-1 time to connect with the kids face to face. (Thanks to Chris Dunlap for the high quality photos….I think it is obvious which 2 are the high quality ones).
Micro-Business Seminar at East Africa Bible College
Jamie had the opportunity to conduct a 2-day seminar with the students of EABC in March. The training went well, and we are excited to see how these future pastors and leaders use business as a way to sustain their ministry, churches, projects and families.
Rosslyn Academy Cultural Field Studies
CFS is a program at Rosslyn Academy that gives students an opportunity to learn from the culture and experiences of the greater Kenyan Community. It is also a time for them to serve and build relationship with different communities, programs and ministries. Jessica has always helped plan this event and I have often assisted by hosting a site. However, with Jamie stepping into the part-time Service Learning Coordinator role, we are now planning this event together. For the HS, this typically entails sending 16 different groups of students to various locations across the country. The students engage in cultural experiences, service initiatives and intentional reflection and devotional activities. This a great program that offers mutual benefit for the students as well as the communities and programs being partnered with. Through CFS trip and service days, the students were able to plant over 400 trees at partner organizations, clean school grounds, conduct community and forest litter clean-up, paint rooms, visit local churches, engage in ministry, provide funds for new classrooms, conduct relief distributions, pack and distribute 500 menstrual kits, participate in home visits, and interact with and play with children across the country. They were also able to experience the beauty of this country and learn from the amazing work and ministry of people and organizations all over Kenya, not to mention learning about the culture and customs of this incredibly diverse country. Unfortunately, since it is only a 5-day experience and the sites are separated by hundreds of miles, we were not able to visit all of the sites while the teams were there, but I was able to visit 4 of the 7. It is amazing to see the impact that communities have on these students and the impact the team has on the communities. It is a truly a beautiful picture of mutual and relational service and Christ-like love.
Jamie also helped coordinate the 8th grade CFS experience. I had the chance to help lead a group of 50 8th Graders on a 3-day trip up Mt. Suswa. I coordinated the logistics with the local community and the team was able to help install a water harvesting system that harnesses the steam from natural steam vents (Mt. Suswa is a dormant volcano) and stores the water as it cools. The students also earned about the Masai community and culture, hiked to the summit and explored the volcanic caves, and had meaningful opportunities to identify Christ’s work within themselves, the host community, others and creation. Grateful to be a part of coordinating and leading this experience.
Mt. Suswa Relief Distribution
Another area greatly impacted by the recent drought are communities in Kajiado and Narok counties. In January, I was able to coordinate a relief distribution around the Mt. Suswa area on behalf of Rosslyn.
- For the millions of people facing food insecurity and the uncertainty of what is to come.
- For the Nation of Kenya, and the individuals, ministries, communities and churches that we have partnerships with.
- 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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