August 2020 Update

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!


Prayer Requests

  • 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 dunningsinkenya@gmail.com.


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

Current Project Needs

We have several projects that are on the horizon, that we are excited about, but they require funding that we don’t have…..yet.  We believe and trust that the funding is going to come, and that each of these projects will be completed in the near future.  If any of these projects stand out to you and you are interested in making a contribution, we would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks for the consideration.


Project: Bandi Village Irrigation/Farm Project

  • Need: Well, Tank Tower, and Irrigation Lines for the Bandi Community
  • Cost: $10,000

3 years ago we began a partnership with local partner, Bocha Hussein, to start food production projects in villages in the Tana River Delta of eastern Kenya.  This area is prone to extreme drought, as well as periodic disastrous flooding, so the needs of the community are extreme. These projects provide water, sustainable food production, empowerment, and dignity for the women and men of these communities. They also provide wonderful opportunities for the love of Christ to be shared. At this point, we have food production projects in 4 different communities, but the word of these projects has spread throughout the region, so more and more requests have been made. The next community we plan to start one of these projects is Bandi, a community that we have worked with over the years through disaster relief and food aid.


Project: Tana River Community Toilet Project

  • Need: Elevated Toilets for the Community
  • Cost: $800 (for one elevated pit latrine)

One of the communities that we partnered with in Tana River County is in need of several, elevated pit latrines throughout the community.  This area is prone to flooding.  In the past, the issues that flooding brings have been exacerbated by the overflowing of latrines mixing with the standing water, leading to highly unsanitary conditions and sickness.  A few years ago, we provided an elevated latrine, and it did not overflow during recent floods.  The community elders have requested several more to be positioned throughout the village.  This is a need we would love to be able to provide for the convenience, sanitation, and dignity of the people, but also because we want to honor the request and the trust put in us by the Elders.  All of the work that  we do in this community encourages our partners (the team of local missionaries) that live in this community.  It is because of them (their work, commitment, and the sacrifices they we have made over the years) that we are even in a position to work, and be welcomed into, this community.


Nakuru CMD/Pistis Ed. Center Windows Project

  • Need: Window Repair in Classrooms
  • Cost: $650

The school building at Pistis Ed. Center is in major need of renovations.  The first area we hope to address is replacing several busted window panes throughout the building.  Nakuru is an incredibly dusty place (I have been told that Nakuru actually means ‘dusty” in Masai), so windy days make the learning environment less than ideal, as dust comes through the windows.  Also, it is impossible to keep the classrooms clean.  We want these students to have the best learning environment possible.


Project:  Smile Star’D Enterprise Building Extension

UPDATE: AS OF AUGUST 21, THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN FUNDED AND CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN SOON.

  • Need: New Building for
  • Cost: $13,000

Smile Star’d Enterprise is an amazing organization started by our partner, Alice Mwangi. The enterprise creates sustainable, reusable sanitary pad kids for young girls in order to help them stay in school. They also provide education on feminine hygiene in local schools. In order to meet this demand, local women are hired and trained as seamstresses. This has the added benefit of providing these women, and their families, with dependable and consistent work. The enterprise started 18 months ago with 4 seamstresses, but has quickly grown to employ 10 women. However, the current building they have is not large enough for all 10 women to work comfortably, so we want to help them build an additional structure.

June Update

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.


Family Update

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

Covid-19 Relief

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.  


Prayer Requests

  • 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. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

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

Covid-19 Relief Interview

Attached is an interview Jamie had with Doug Bartlett, Missions Director for the North Carolina Conference, on April 27, about the Covid-19 Relief Response in Kenya.

A few updates to the information given in the interview:

-660 kits have been distributed in Nairobi area (as of May 3, 2020)

-Kenya currently has 465 confirmed cases (as of May 3, 2020)

Covid-19 Response…

Partners and Friends,

We wanted to send you a quick update on how things are progressing here in Kenya.  We are doing well, trying to continue making the most of this season.  We have found a good rhythm of homeschool, family life, and work and ministry.

The situation in Kenya is much the same.  The new regulations are that face masks are required, and no one is allowed to travel into or out of Nairobi.  We are allowed to move within Nairobi, but no more than 3 people in our car (no family outings), and limited travel is being encouraged.  The cases are climbing slowly, and the government has put more regulations in place.  The people that are suffering the most are those from the most vulnerable communities, due to loss of employment, immobility, and increased cost for goods.  National Geographic recently published an article that accurately presented much of what we are seeing in Nairobi/Kenya through this crisis.  If you are interested, you can find that article here: Nat Geo Article: Covid/Kenya

In response to the growing needs here, we have been conducting Covid-19 Relief Kit distributions over the last couple of weeks.  These kits include food, handsoap, safety masks (made by our partner, Alice Wambui, and the ladies of Smile Star!), and information concerning how to be safe during this pandemic.  We have currently distributed to 300 families in Nairobi, and 700 families from the communities we partner with in Tana River County (food goods, not complete kits).

Of course, we have aimed to approach the distributions with wisdom, striving to keep everyone (our partners, the recipients, and ourselves) safe.  Our approach has been to deliver the goods to the pastors/leaders that we partner with within vulnerable communities around Nairobi.  We meet each leader one on one to deliver the goods to a safe and secure site (usually church or school), wearing a mask and keeping safe social distance.  Then each leader conducts the distribution one family at a time at this secure location.  The benefits of this approach is that it places our partners at the center of the outreach, being the ones to bring hope within their communities.  It also ensures safety for everyone involved.  The person-to-person approach limits the chance of virus spread, and decreases the risk of insecurity due to the gathering of large groups of (understandably) desperate people (more on this below).


The response to these distributions has been tremendous.  Here are a few responses that have been shared with us:

“I didn’t quite know how serious the situation on the ground (was) until we started doing the delivery.  Some families were actually going to go without a meal tonight, but thankfully they have received provision.” -Tobias

“The community is so grateful” and “happy that the Christians remember them during their time of need.” -Bocha 

“This is an answered prayer.  I was really fretting about how to help some of the families weather this storm.  We also got a lot of calls and text from parents being so grateful for these gifts.” -Moses

“I know the lifestyle of people on this plot.  We live close together.  And, this whole virus thing is waking people up to God.  One woman said, ‘Is this how God comes through for people?’  Another woman said, ‘SO… YOU can think of us?’  I’m the only Luhya (tribe), the others are all Kikuyu (tribe).  Walls are breaking down.” – Lydiah

“Everyone on my plot today can smell that the others are cooking their beans and are all happy together.” -Lydiah


There has recently been several instances of riots and stampedes at large distribution sites.  Because of this, the government has recently announced that food distributions are no longer allowed. (You can read about this here: Voa News: Distribution Stampede).  Fortunately, we confirmed today that the way we have been conducting them is still allowed.  Each location just needs to report to their local government representative and get approval.  We are very grateful for this.  Our plan is to continue doing these as long as the needs are present and we are able.


A special thanks to the People to People Covid-19 Relief fund, WMM Missionary Ron Wooten, and the many generous individuals, that have contributed to this work.


We wanted to share this update, because none of our work would be possible without your support and prayers.  Thank you for letting us serve as an extension of you.  We know this is a difficult time for most.  We pray that each of you, and your families, are safe and finding moments of joy and peace.

With Love and Gratitude,

Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

Covid-19 Update

Partners and Friends,

We know that this is an extremely trying time for most of us in the world, as many of us engage in social distancing, isolation, and even quarantine, in response to Covid-19.  Of course, there is also the fear over what may come, what the long-term effects may be, and just how long this pandemic may last.  We are not aware if any of you have contracted it, or if you know anyone that has.  If so, please reach out so that we can be praying with you.

For us, we are all safe and doing well.  At this point, Kenya currently has 31 cases.  The government acted quickly when the first case was confirmed, and all schools were closed.  Since then, all international flight arrivals and departures have been cancelled, restaurants have been closed, church and large-group gatherings cancelled, curfew is being enforced from 7pm-5am, and social distancing and isolation are being encouraged.  Currently, there is a lot of chatter that an official lock-down may be coming.  At this point, Kenya is faring well, especially compared to many other countries around the world.  However, the biggest concern is that if this outbreak isn’t contained, the medical system could become overwhelmed very quickly and easily.   There is also a growing concern for individuals and families that rely on daily wages to support their families.  Many in this nation don’t have any kind of safety net to get them through.  There is additional concern of insecurity should things get dire, though we do not fear this and have faith that it will not come to this.

We are currently isolated at home, only going out for groceries.  We are grateful that we were able to drive to the coast last week during the kids’ Spring Break, before all of the restrictions came in place.  We spent a few days on the beautiful Indian Ocean, and even had a mini-safari game drive, in Tsavo National Park, on our way down.  It was a blessing to have that time before returning to Nairobi to settle in for this new season.

Currently, our days are filled with home school, gardening, board games, basketball, building legos, reading, baking, and long walks in the coffee fields that neighbors our compound, all while trying to stay productive and get as much work done as possible from home (more on this later).  We are trying to approach this season with hope.  We have started each morning with family prayer time, specifically dedicated to those affected by this pandemic, our own feelings and reactions towards it, and seeking to see Christ in the midst of it.  It can easily be overwhelming, but we are choosing to embrace this season as a sabbath.  A season where we are forced to slow down.  A season for prayer and reflection and listening.  A season to embrace the opportunity to enjoy the unexpected blessing of extended time together as a family.  That is not to say that we consider this pandemic to be a blessing, not at all.  We grieve for every person that has been affected, whether medically, economically, psychologically, etc..  But this crisis has reminded us, as crisis often do, of all that we have to be thankful for in this world.  We hope to approach each day with gratitude, while carrying the burdens of those around us in whatever we can, whether through prayer or direct engagement.  We are praying that an awareness of the ever-present Christ will be with all who need it during these trying times.

In regard to our work, tt is difficult to move forward when I am unable to travel, however, we are using this season to shift our focus a bit.  Specifically, to respond to needs that have resulted from this outbreak.  We have, fortunately, been in a position to assist a few people with funds for food and needed items.  We have been able to invest capital into one of our partner enterprises (Smile Sanitary Pad Program), so that the woman are able to continue making the reusable sanitary pad kits, even though distributions can not happen at this time.  This ensures that the 10 women employed by the enterprise will be able to continue drawing an income, though they will have to work in smaller groups and less often.  We are also staying in contact with all of our partners to ensure their well being, and to be available to assist with needs as they arise.  Please pray that we would have wisdom and the capacity to be able to respond when those doors open.

We are also moving forward on a few ongoing projects…..the water kiosk at St. Joyuna Academy, a plumbing and piping project at Nakuru CMD, and a fencing project at one of the community farm projects in Tana River.  These are all ongoing projects, so we feel comfortable moving forward even though we can’t be present.  We will share more details on these in a future post.  We are also preparing the materials and packets for the People to People Child Updates, though we do not know how long it will be before we can actually travel and complete them.  We are taking it one day at a time.

You are in our prayers.  Please contact us if we can be praying for you specifically.  As always, we love and appreciate you.

Grace and Peace,

Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan

(Here are a few pics of our time at the coast, game drive, and what life currently looks like for us…..because people seem to enjoy seeing the kids.  🙂  )

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

March 2020 Update

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.

Family Update

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.

The past few weeks, though I am always grateful, I have felt an overwhelming increased sense of gratitude for Rosslyn and what it provides for our family.  The school provides a safe environment where Sophie and Ethan can learn, grow, explore and develop.  They are learning so many new things everyday, growing in their faith and discovering their gifts and talents and I am grateful that they are thriving.  Rosslyn truly is a gift to missionary families.
It is so hard to believe that we are only 3 months away from closing down another school year.  This year has flown by and we are looking forward to the summer, because it gives us the opportunity to travel around this beautiful country and visit our mission partners as a family.  We are also looking forward to having our families visit us this summer!

 

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


                                                            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.

IMG_3333

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.

IMG_3101


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.

5716(Image taken from : https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/jan/24/billions-of-locusts-swarm-through-kenya-in-pictures#img-12)


Prayer Requests

  • 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. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

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

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner!  Last year we had another 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).

This year we will be providing gifts to nearly 500 children, as well as a small monetary gift for around 40 staff members.  We will also have 6 celebratory meals at different locations.  A breakdown of the requested gifts for this year is below:

Hosanna Children’s Home: New school shoes for 62 children and a monetary gift for 10 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Huruma Children’s Home:  New school shoes for 50 children, monetary gifts for 8 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Outreach Children: New school shoes for 8 children, a monetary gift for their parents, and a special meal.

Nakuru CMD: New school shoes for 56 children and a monetary gift for 8 staff members, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Isiolo Feeding Program: A gift (undetermined) for 38 children, a monetary gift for 4 workers, as well as a special meal for everyone.

Calvary Christian School Ruai Feeding Program: New backpacks filled with food items for 220 children, and a monetary gift for 13 staff members.

Lokichoggio Feeding Program: A special celebratory meal for 150 children and community members.

People to People Sponsored Pastor’s Children:  A monetary gift for 60 children and their families. (PtoP typically provides funds for this).

As you can imagine, this is a costly endeavor.  The budget for the above gifts, food, and meals is $8,000.  If you are interested in partnering with us to help make this Christmas special for all of these children, we would greatly appreciate it!  You can click here to do so: Dunning Ministry Account (choose “Ministry” in the account menu).  Any amount will be greatly appreciated!

2018 Christmas Recap:

 

September 2019 Update

It is great to be back in Kenya and settled back into our routines.  As many of you know, we were in the States for a 12-week furlough this summer.  It is always great to be home and to connect with family, friends and partners.  We were grateful for the opportunity to connect with many of you, but we wish there was more time so that we could have spent time with more of you.

 

We returned to Kenya at the end of July.  Over the last month, we have had quite a bit of transition.  We had to move to a new house (our previous landlord sold ours, so we found one in the same neighborhood), Jessica has expanded her role at Rosslyn Academy (more on this below), and the kids have started back to school.  There is always a period of adjustment after time away and each of these transitions added to this, but the last couple of weeks we have found a good rhythm and feel fully settled once again.


                                                            Projects Updates                                                                (The following projects are made possible by generous contributions and 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 option)

Tana River Delta Relief Distribution

According to the National Drought Management Authority, 2.5million people in Kenya are at risk of starvation due to drought and insufficient rains this year, which has led to poor food harvests.  There isn’t a sufficient amount of food, and the cost of what is available has risen by 10-40% in recent months.  The majority of these people live in arid and semi-arid lands.  The communities that we partner with in Tana River county are among those being affected.

Last week we were able to conduct a relief food distribution for 5 communities, numbering around 800 families and approximately 5,500 people.  We were able to procure a UN-approved, fortified food blend from a local company called Soy Afric.  The food blend is packed with vitamins, minerals, and meets all daily nutritional needs.  It is the type of food we want to be providing, however the distance from Nairobi to Tana River county is quite far, so transportation costs are high.  Fortunately, a friend from Convoy of Hope allowed us to rent their delivery truck and driver to make the delivery.  This was a huge blessing, and we were very excited to get this higher quality food option to these communities.

Each family received enough food to last between 1-2 weeks.  We celebrate this, but at the same time we were sobered because the awareness that the current needs are massive and these needs are only expected to increase. In early August it was estimated that 1.1million people were at risk of starvation, so that number has more than doubled in the last month.

Our desire is to be able to respond to such needs more efficiently and readily.  Of course, this requires more funding.  We would love a transportation option that is consistent and financially viable, and we would also prefer to have a stock of relief food waiting and ready for distribution.  These are both options that we are looking into.  For the time being, if you are interested in contributing towards our fund that made this distribution, and future distributions, possible, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can do so here: Dunning Ministry Account (choose ministry option).

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Tana River Community Agriculture and Irrigation Projects

One positive aspect of this trip is that I was able to check in on the 4 village agriculture projects we’ve partnered with.  This was very encouraging.  Even though these communities are still facing challenges like their neighbors, they are able to produce their own food, despite the drought and lack of rain!  The harvests are providing food and income for school fees and other needs.  Our partner, Bocha Hussein, is doing an amazing job overseeing these projects.

I will offer one specific highlight from these communities from the most recent project in Vumbwe village.  Their first harvest included kales, spinach, and tomatoes.  The proceeds from the harvest paid school fees for many children within the community, as well as provided food relief.  An unexpected benefit of this project is that it has provided a consistent watering source for a neighboring pastoralist community.  The Wata pastoralist were unable to find an adequate watering source for their herds, so they came to Vumbwe because they had heard of our agriculture project, and that our well is producing copious amounts of water.  Halima reached a compromise with them allowing them to bring their herds for watering each day.  We are currently constructing a watering trough away from the farm land for this community.  I was so proud of Halima’s (the lady overseeing this project) generosity in freely offering this water to a neighboring community.

 

 

Micro-Finance Loans

We recently had the opportunity to extend micro-loans to two Mothers of some of our People to People children.  Both women are starting small businesses selling fruit and vegetables in the local markets (with hopes of expanding to owning proper shops in the future), so that they can help meet the needs of their families.  We are proud to partner with them, and praying and believing that these small investments are going to give them the tools that they need to make a positive impact for their families.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

St. Joyuna Academy Ruai Washroom

St. Joyuna Christian School is a school that we have partnered with since 2009.  The school reaches around 200 children offering an education and two meals a day.  The washrooms on the compound were not sufficient to meet the needs of the population, so we are in the process of constructing new washrooms for the students

 

 

Rosslyn Cultural Field Studies

Each year Rosslyn Academy sends 16 groups of 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 coordinates it brilliantly.  This year’s trips were all a great success.

In addition to Jessica coordinating all 16 sites, I host one of the teams.  Each year I take a group of 16 HS Sophomores to Emmanuel Preparatory School/Emmanuel Worship Center in Kanja, Kenya, for 5-days.  This year the students assisted in classrooms, participated in plastering and painting work projects, replaced broken window panes, 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 I taught in 3rd grade.  It is a unique experience to be able to witness how these kids have grown and experience them as teenagers.

IMG_1066


New Role for Jessica at Rosslyn:

This year I was given the opportunity to go full time at Rosslyn Academy.  The official new title for this position is still a work in progress, but for now it is the Manager of International Communications and Alumni Relations.  It is very similar to a Director of Advancement position.  I am looking forward to taking on the challenges this new position holds.  I will be doing more work with marketing and branding, growing our Alumni engagement, while maintaining the responsibilities I previously held.  I am excited for the chance to pour my gifts and abilities into this role.  I will still be able to assist with our missions work on weekends and holidays, so nothing will change in that regard.

Note from Sophie:  I am now in 4th grade.  I have a very funny teacher who is named Mr. Hrvatic.  I have made two new friends named Lauren and Eva, which is nice because several of my good friends moved at the end of last school year.  This year I joined a drama club at my school, because I really enjoy acting.  We will perform a short play next week.  I am still taking piano lessons and I am learning chords!  I am also still doing gymnastics and playing intramural soccer.  Recently, I have discovered that I love building lego!  It is a fun challenge to make new creations.

Note from Ethan:  This year I have started 2nd grade.  My teacher’s name is Mrs. Kamau.  I am still playing soccer on Saturdays and taking drum lessons on Wednesdays.  Right now I really like to read and learn about animals.  A few weeks ago, my Dad and I went to the Nairobi Snake Park and I held a real snake!  It was an African Rock Python.  Rock Pythons are constrictors so they can’t hurt you.  I also saw a Puff Adder, which is the deadliest snake in Africa (not the most venomous, but the deadliest).  We also went on a game drive at Nairobi Game Park and lions were very close to us.  We also saw giraffes, birds, baboons, zebras, buffalo, impala and black rhino,

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Prayer Requests

  • 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. 
Can we pray for you?  Please send us your requests at jamandjessdunning@gmail.com

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