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