Partners and Friends,
Greetings from Kenya. We pray that you have experienced a great beginning to 2020. We have had a busy, but life-giving, start to the year. We have a lot of exciting news to share with you concerning our work and ministry and our family as well. We are grateful for each of you, for your partnership, support, and encouragement.
Note from Jessica:
The first semester of the school year is always extremely busy for me at Rosslyn Academy, so I am very much enjoying the normal pace and consistency the second semester of school brings. During this semester my focus is on Alumni Engagement, Marketing, New Staff Transition and many other things. These are all areas of focus that I really enjoy pouring myself into.
Note from Sophie:
This year has been amazing so far, because my class went on a field trip to Mt. Longonot and we hiked up to the crater rim. Mt. Longonot is a dormant volcano! Another reason I have been enjoying this year is because our school let’s us do so many extracurricular activities. I am performing a dance with a group of fourth graders to a song called “Baba Yetu,” at the Elementary School concert. “Baba Yetu” means “Our Father” in Swahili. I have also been in Drama Club after school, and I was chosen to sing in the choir in the High School musical. The name of the musical is Twelfth Night. I am so excited to be in the musical as an Elementary student, because it has always been my dream. I have also been practicing playing chords on the piano while singing. This is a video of me playing:
Note from Ethan:
I have been enjoying school because I have been learning about quadrilaterals in Math. Those are four-sided shapes. I also like recess because I get to play basketball, soccer, and throw the frisbee. Sometime I play Sharks and Minnows. In January we went camping and I ziplined for the first time, but I had to do it with one of the workers because I wasn’t heavy enough, so I wouldn’t make it to the end. We also had Sports Day at school a few weeks ago. I am looking forward to Spring Break because we get to go to the beach!
Projects Updates (The following projects are made possible by generous contributions and the 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 account option at the bottom).
St. Joyuna Academy, Ruai-Water Kiosk Income Generating Project
We have been partnering with St Joyuna Academy and Calvary Worship Center Ruai since 2009. Recently, a new borehole and water tank tower were provided to the school by Water for Nations. This has been a huge benefit for the school and church, because they now have access to plenty of water, in an area that often faces water shortages.
We are currently in the process of constructing a Water Kiosk income-generation project, so that this water can be provided to the community at an affordable discounted rate. The income generated from the project will provide additional resources for the school, and serve as a source of sustainability, while also being an incredible blessing to the entire community. The community will know that this church, in addition to being a place that feeds and educates many children from the community, is also a place where they can receive fresh water at a fair, affordable price year-round. We are very proud of the work and ministry of Eunice, and are so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to partner with her over the years.
Heavy Flooding in Tana River Delta
You may remember that in September we conducted a relief distribution for many communities in Tana River Delta due to the extreme drought. In Nov/Dec, the rains finally came, but the amount was substantial, leading to extreme flooding in this region. Many of the same communities that were suffering from drought in September had to relocate to displacement camps because their communities were under water. The drought/flooding cycle is common for this region, but there has been an increase in the regularity of such events. These recent floods led to increased food insecurity, as well as a rise in the potential for contracting malaria.
In December, we were able to provide 374 households with mosquito nets, as well as food. In early February, we were able to provide 1,100 households with additional food. Each of these distributions was a blessing for the affected communities, however, they were only a small drop when compared to the overall need. We are still looking into ways that we can respond more substantially, efficiently and quickly in the face of such events.
Tana River Community Agriculture Projects
Sadly, the flooding negatively affected the farm projects in the communities that we partner with. Most of the crops were lost, just a few weeks before they would have been ready for harvest. However, I was encouraged to see that as soon as the waters receded and they were able to return home, they immediately replanted. They were discouraged, but maintain an incredible sense of optimism and determination. I am humbled and challenged by their resilience.
New Washrooms for Greenlight Academy
Greenlight Academy is a school that we have recently formed a partnership with that is based out of a local church. The school reaches around 150 children each day. The washrooms on the compound were not sufficient to meet the needs of the population, so we were able to have new ones constructed.
Team from Thrive Church
In early February, we hosted a scouting team from Thrive Church. Thrive has been standing with us for nearly 6 years, so it was an honor to host a small team from there. We had an extremely busy week with them, visiting 11 sites/projects/communities in 7 days and driving/flying/walking hundreds of miles. It was also an incredibly fruitful week. We look forward to hosting a larger team from Thrive in 2021.
Global Development and Relief Summit
In January, I was invited to attend a Global Relief and Development Networking Summit in OKC. Representatives from 10 different nations, representing 11 different development and relief missions organizations, came together to discuss the possibility of forming a partnership network.
It was an honor to be in the room with so many incredible people that are engaged in inspiring work for the Kingdom.
An added bonus, is that I was able to stop off in NC for two days to spend a bit of time with my family. We go long stretches without seeing them, so we try to take advantage of any opportunity to see them, regardless of how short it may be.
Locust invasion in Kenya
Kenya is currently facing the worst locust invasion in over 70 years. This invasion has truly been terrible, and could become much worse if it isn’t contained soon. At this point, the countries in the Horn of Africa are being most affected, and in Kenya it is mainly in the Northeast of the nation. None of the projects and communities we work with are in this region, but there is danger of the locusts spreading further east/south which could reach the Tana River region where we have done several community-based agriculture projects. The infestation is posing a major risk to food security, in regions that already face chronic food shortage. The most recent prediction I’ve seen stated that at the current rate the swarms could increase 500 times by June, and this would be truly devastating for the whole nation.
The locusts were being contained with pesticides, but I recently read that the chemicals have been depleted. So, there is an urgent need for more. We are just praying that it can be contained quickly, and that the needed resources would come from other nations and agencies. We haven’t been affected, nor have any of the communities we work with, but our heart still breaks for those that are suffering.
- 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.