Partners and Friends,
We hope this update finds you well. Here in Kenya, we are moving into a new season as things are starting to return back to “normal” for the first time since March. Of course, things aren’t truly normal at all. But we are embarking on a new version of normal that allows us to resume many of the activities that we are accustomed to, but in such a way that we still do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable individuals, communities, and mitigate as much risk as possible. The government of Kenya still has many regulations in place (masks, social distance, isolate when possible, 9pm curfew, no alcohol sales in restaurants, controlled population at church services and public gatherings, and no in-person school until January), but as long as these regulations are met, much of life is returning to this new form of normal. We were grateful that roads opened up last month, so we were able to get a couple of camping trips in (pictures below), which was so good for our souls.
That being said, there are many things that haven’t returned. Rosslyn begins school next week, but the entire semester will be on-line. This is a huge privilege that we do not take for granted because all public Kenyan schools were closed and the vast majority of Kenyan children will lose an entire year of education. So, we are grateful for the opportunity for the kids to start 3rd and 5th grade online, but of course they would love to go back to school in person. They also miss many of their friends (we are still committed to only having direct contact with 2 other families, and all other interactions are in-direct…distanced, masked, outdoors, etc….in an effort to reduce the potential spread). Ethan desperately wants to play soccer with a huge group of kids, and Sophie longs to hug her friends and interact normally. It has been a challenge for all of us, as it has been for most people around the globe, but we are grateful that the kids are in full agreement with how we are approaching it.
With school resuming on-line, Jess returned to work at Rosslyn full-time last week. Part of her role at Rosslyn is facilitating the transition and arrival of all new staff. This is always a big task, but in the time of Covid-19 coordinating international travel from a variety of nations, planning and executing large group gatherings and trainings, and hosting new arrivals, has been even more challenging than ever. But as you could safely assume, she handled it all spectacularly. It was all conducted professionally, safely, and with excellence.
She is glad to be back in the office, but this has of course led to a major transition for our family. With the kids having school online, Jamie will have to predominantly work from home during the week so that he is available to oversee the kids schooling. Any travel or project visits will have to happen on weekends. Last semester we both had the flexibility to work from home, so it made coordinating ministry, school, work, and home obligations much more manageable. We know the next few months are going to be different, and possibly more challenging, but we are also looking forward to this challenge. There are gifts hidden within each difficult and trying thing we encounter, so we are committed to being attentive as those gifts are revealed.
We know that you are also facing your own challenges during this time. We pray that you will also be aware of Christ’s presence and grace in the pains and the joys of this season, and that the gifts hidden within will become more visible.
Recent Family Happenings
Ministry and Projects
Current Project Needs
We have several projects that we are currently making preparations to begin. If you would like to read more about these projects you can scroll down past this update, or click here: https://dunningsinkenya.com/2020/08/17/current-project-needs/
Covid-19 Relief Efforts
Over the last several months, we have continued to stand with our local partners in meeting the needs of communities that have been affected by this pandemic, through food, goods, and mask distributions. At this point, approx. 1,800 households from communities all over the country have received Covid-19 relief, and many of these have received relief 2-3 times.
Another major need that the pandemic has created is the need for on-going education for children, since Kenyan schools have been closed. In the coming months, we will be investing in providing materials and tutors for the children at our partner children’s homes. This will ensure that they are able to stay on track with their education and be ready when schools reopen.
St. Joyuna Academy Chicken Sustainability Project
The chicken project at St. Joyuna Academy (formerly Calvary Christian) was our first venture into income generating, sustainability initiatives back in 2011. The chicken project was highly successful, and provided consistent income and food supplements for the school and church for years. However, due to several factors related to the market, the project was temporarily shut down for a couple of years. We are excited to announce that through the combination of a gift/micro-loan the project is relaunching! There are currently 200 chicks brooding, with another round of 200 on their way. The chicks are ready for the market after 6 weeks of brooding. The cycle has been set up so that every 3 weeks a new flock will be ready to sell. This initiative, in combination with the water kiosk income generating project that was started in April (read more in our last update: https://dunningsinkenya.com/2020/06/12/june-update/), St. Joyuna has made great strides toward self-sustainability, while meeting the needs of the school, church, and greater community.
Hosanna Children’s Home Dairy Project Update
We are happy to report that the Dairy Project at Hosanna has continued to grow! In June, we shared that we had purchased a new heifer, Farasi. In late June, she safely gave birth to a female calf, Molo. With the addition of Molo, there are now 5 females in the project. Just two weeks later Sheriff Sr. (the first heifer we bought a few years ago) gave birth to another calf, this time a male. The male calf will be raised for 2-3 years and sold for profit.
Isaac, the director of Hosanna and overseer of this project, has made an incredible connection with a local Dairy Co-op that has agreed to purchase all of the milk produced (that isn’t consumed). This is a great development because it provides a guaranteed market! This project is such a blessing, as it provides milk for the children, much needed income, and educational opportunities for the children to gain agricultural skills.
Micro-Finance Loan Opportunities
Another group that Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on is small business owners. Unfortunately, a few of the individuals that have started businesses through micro-loans in the last 1-2 years were unable to maintain their business during this climate. Fortunately, we have been able to stand with them during this time and are committed to seeing these businesses get back on their feet.
On the brighter side, we have had the opportunity to extend a few new loans during this season. These loans are creating opportunities for individuals to generate income that will sustain themselves and their ministries. We are excited to see these how these small businesses grow and develop.
Tana River Agriculture Projects
We are pleased to share that the flooding from earlier this year has subsided and the communities were able to return to their homes. Even though they had lost their previous crops, they immediately got back to work. Through our partner, Bocha, we are able to provide seeds to help get them back on track. As you can see, they wasted no time in bringing life to their communities through those seeds!
- 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, communities 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 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