The last couple of months have been surreal to say the least. By far, it is the most unique experience we have lived through. Like most people around the world, we have been living life mostly isolated, predominantly at our home, while balancing work, homeschool, family time, and all of the stresses and joys that have come with it. We are grieving all that has been lost by so many around the world, as well as the smaller losses we have experienced. In the midst of all of this, we have also found moments of joy and grace weaved throughout every day. For this, we are grateful. We pray that you have also felt the hand of the Creator on you and your family throughout this season. May you have an acute awareness of the grace, peace, hope and love of Christ in each moment of every day.
On top of living through the Covid Pandemic, the events of recent weeks in the US have also left us feeling overwhelmed. What we see play out on our screens every day makes us long to be there to stand in solidarity with those that suffer. We lament for the pain that our black brothers and sisters feel. Our prayers are with all those that have been oppressed and betrayed. Our prayer is also that everyone will remain safe, both protesters and police. Our prayer is that voices will be heard and that those in positions of leadership, on all levels, will have the wisdom to know how to hear and respond to this cry, to find a way to move forward, and to bring about much needed change. Our prayer is for the Church, and every individual within, that we will embrace a posture of listening with humility and that we will allow the light of Christ to lead us in the ways that we should respond.
Covid in Kenya Update
The pandemic in Kenya still feels young. The restrictions the government put in place very early were very effective in slowing the spread, however, we are still experiencing increases in cases every day. As the government begins to navigate opening back up, there is a fear that the virus will then spread rapidly. At this point, there is still a nightly curfew from 9pm-7pm, and no movement is allowed into or out of Nairobi and Mombasa counties, which are the hot-spots for Kenya. Other than that, most restaurants are still closed, there are passenger limits on public transport (though a recent outbreak has been attributed to public transport), and people are being encouraged to wear masks nationwide. President Kenyatta made an announcement on June 6, and extended all of these restrictions for another 30 days.
The kids are officially done with 4th grade (Sophie) and 2nd grade (Ethan). They both (and their stand in teacher, Mr. Dad!) made the most of homeschool over the last 9 weeks, but they desperately missed their friends, teachers, and classroom routines. That being, sad they are both very excited for summer break. Though, without being able to visit projects, take day-hike trips, go camping, or even leave Nairobi, summer may look very similar to the last 9 weeks…just without the homeschool time. We are looking forward to more time working in our small garden together. All of this time at home has given us a chance to expand it a bit, and even though we have a small yard, we have made the most of the space. We will also continue to take advantage of having Karura Forest, Paradise Lost (a small picnic/camping spot near our house) and Nairobi Game Park within the Nairobi area, as well as our evening walks in the spectacular coffee farms that surround our house. They are also looking forward to developing their hobbies…..music, baking, crafting, lego, basketball, etc.
We have also celebrated quite a few special holidays during this period of isolation……our 15th wedding anniversary, Easter, Ethan’s 8th birthday, Mother’s Day, Jamie’s birthday and Sophie’s 10th birthday. It has been tough (especially for the kids) to not be able to celebrate their birthdays with all of their friends, but we are grateful that we have been able to find creative ways to celebrate. We are also grateful for our close family friends, the Ibs, that live in our neighborhood. We are in a prayer group together, we support one another in many ways, and we often celebrate together. When this all started, we decided to extend our family circles to include one another ( we have since learned this is called “Double Bubbling”….apparently). It has made a tremendous difference for us to have another family to celebrate these milestones with.
Ministry and Projects
We have continued to partner with leaders and pastors based in vulnerable communities around Nairobi to provide relief for those most affected by this pandemic. At this point, we have been able to distribute approximately 1,000 relief kits through our partners. If you would like to read a more detailed report on some of these distributions from last month, you can click the following links: https://dunningsinkenya.com/2020/05/04/covid-19-relief-interview/ and https://dunningsinkenya.com/2020/04/18/covid-19-response/.
Tana River Flooding and Covid-19 Relief Distributions
The communities we partner with in the region are suffering in ways unimaginable to most. All of the communities that we partner with are currently living in displacement camps. This type of flooding is normal for this region, but it is happening much more often and with greater intensity, recently 1-2 times a year. Due to COVID, and its impact on the economy, the government is unable to respond to the needs of the people in any meaningful way. Combining the devastation of a natural disaster with the impact of an international pandemic, in an already vulnerable region such as this, is overwhelming. We are grateful for the faithfulness of our partner, Bocha, and his heart for the people of his community. Together we have been able to conduct three relief distributions (the first two to 700 households, and the most recent to 1,300 households). A long-term solution is needed for these people. Ideally, they would be provided land that is above the floodline where they can settle permanently, while maintaining their current land for farming and agriculture. This kind of solution doesn’t come easily, but it is our prayer.
Hosanna Dairy Project
We are excited to introduce you to the newest member of the Hosanna Dairy Project! We were able to purchase this beautiful heifer, Farasi, last week and in a few short months she will give birth to a calf. She is the latest addition to the project that is providing steady income, as well as meeting the dairy needs of the 65 children at the home. New sheds have also been built to accommodate the growing herd. Isaac (pictured) is the director of Hosanna. He and his family, do an amazing job providing for the children in their care, as well as managing the variety of agricultural and income-generating activities that help sustain the ministry.
St. Joyuna Water Kiosk
In March, we were able to invest in a water kiosk income-generating project for the school and church (Calvary Worship Center Ruai) . A borehole was drilled last year by Water for Nations, so there is access to plenty of water. However, the surrounding community often faces water shortages.
Eunice, the school director and pastor of the church, has a huge heart for her community. In addition to pastoring the church, running the school, and providing a feeding program, she recognized the huge benefit that this source of water could be for the community. The kiosk officially opened for sales in April, and already we are seeing tremendous benefits for the ministry and the community. The water kiosk is providing water to the community at a fair price, while generating income for the work of the school and the church.
- For a solution to Covid-19 and for Kenyan (and US/World) leadership to have wisdom to know how to move forward.
- 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.