April 2021 Update

Partners and Friends,

We pray that you all are well. We are well, but we feel like we have entered bit of a time warp! Kenya’s fight against Covid has been going well, and in many ways better than most other places around the world. However, with the emergence of new variants, Kenya’s cases are rising and hospital wards have been filling up. In an effort to combat this, Kenya has returned to the same lock-down measures we were facing in March of last year, with a few differences. Schools are closed, restaurants are only open for take away services, no travel into or out of the lock-down zone (Nairobi and surrounding counties), and there is an 8:00pm curfew. One positive is that we are well equipped and familiar with how to function in this situation. We have had a lot of practice! Also, many of our projects and partners are within the lock-down zone, so we’ve been able to continue visiting. Unfortunately, Jamie did have to postpone several trips to locations outside the lock-down zone. Most of these were partnerships he hasn’t been able to visit in over a year, which is difficult, because we were finally at a point that some sense of normalcy had returned, so he had several trips planned. So it goes. Fortunately, the current measures seem to be helping. Only 4 weeks in and we are already seeing a significant drop in cases, deaths and infection rate. That being said, these types of measures always have negative impacts on livelihoods, especially those that are the most vulnerable (more on this below).

The kids are troopers and are doing an amazing job navigating on-line learning and being flexible with our every shifting schedules. They are adaptable and able to adjust to nearly any situation. Though, like many kids around the globe, they do miss friends and are grieving the loss of social experiences and school events and activities.

One good piece of news on the fight against Covid is that Kenya has started the vaccination roll out! Unfortunately, as with many things in our world, it is exposing the drastic divide between the rich and the poor in this country. Many people are finding it very difficult to gain access, and the current vaccination plan doesn’t have the majority of the population having access for years. We are praying that Kenya’s access to vaccines increases through COVAX, and that manufacturing and distribution continues to improve.

Speaking of vaccinations….we are coming to the States for a couple of months this summer! This is a regularly scheduled furlough, however, with travel restrictions and complications and the kids modified school schedule (before going back on-line), we hadn’t known for certain if we would be able to travel home this year. However, with the kids going back on-line and their ability to school from anywhere, and with us having access to vaccination this summer, we decided that it would be possible to come home. So we made a fairly sudden decision to come in mid-May! We have a lot to do to be in a position to leave for the summer, but we have time to get everything in order. We know international travel in the time of Covid is going to be a bit more tedious, but we are so excited that we will get to see family, partners, and friends for the first time in 2 years! Unfortunately, we will only be home for a little over two months, so we won’t be able to travel to as many churches as we would like. But we are going to try to get to as many as we can in this short period. We will be reaching out to pastors, missions directors and churches within the week. We are also working on an update video that we will send to all of our churches and partners that we are unable to visit.

As always, here are a few family shots from the last few months. Fortunately, (before things locked-down again) we were able to go camping in Samburu National Reserve a few months ago (this is a reserve we’ve always wanted to visit, but had never made happen), and take a trip to the Coast over the kids Spring Break (things locked down while we were away, so fortunately we got back in to Nairobi!). In February, Sophie also performed in the school talent show in front of hundreds of people. We were so proud of her. We’ve also had many wonderful weekend hikes in Karura Forest the last few months. Looking at these photos reminds us that even with this difficult season, and current lock-down, we are so grateful that we have had pockets to “get out” and enjoy this beautiful country.


Ministry and Project Updates

Relief Distribution

A fairly constant area of focus for us this past year has been relief.  Due to Kenya’s Covid lock-downs in 2020 and 2021, many people have lost income and consistent work.  So many people in Kenya work in the informal sector.  When the economy is disrupted, or the flow of commerce is negatively affected, opportunities for employment are scarce.  In addition, with schools, churches, and restaurants being closed for much of 2020 and now again for this past month, many teachers, pastors, and workers in the service industry have suffered greatly.  The result is that relief distributions to partner communities have become a fairly regular occurrence. 

In addition to the effects of the pandemic, Kenya has also been devastated by environmental disasters that have destroyed livelihoods.  Flooding has become a yearly event (sometimes twice a year) in the Tana River Delta, and over the last year locust invasions have infested cropland throughout the country.  We are not in a position to scratch the surface of helping to meet the needs that these types of events create.  However, we are grateful that, in partnership with incredible partners within these communities, we have been able to respond through food aid and relief.

Please keep the people of Kenya in your prayers, especially those that reside in informal settlements, rural areas that depend on agriculture, and those in extremely remote areas that lack development and infrastructure.

Smile Star’d-Days 4 Girls Enterprise

Smile Star’d-Days 4 Girls 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 a little over 2 years ago with 4 seamstresses, but has quickly grown to employ 10 women, as well as a team of educational trainers and facilitators. This growth led to a great problem….the building they had was not large enough for all 10 women to work comfortably. We are happy to report that a new building is nearly complete! It will provide a more spacious workspace, as well as additional storage and work rooms. We are very excited about this development!

Tana River Irrigation/Agriculture Projects

We are excited to report that the 5th Community Irrigation/Agriculture project in Tana River has been completed!  This project is in a community called Bandi, a community we have had a long relationship with through disaster relief and food aid.  It was delayed due to heavy rains earlier in the year, but now the work is completed and the farm is already producing food for the community (pictured below).  If you would like to read specific details about each of these projects and how they are impacting these communities, you can read about them here: https://dunningsinkenya.com/2021/04/21/an-update-on-tana-river-projects/

We are currently working with our partner, Bocha, on plans to do yet another project in a community called Mtampani.  This project will be managed by Grace, a tremendous leader in her community.  She has a heart to help meet the needs in her community as well as a desire to share the love of Christ with them.  This project will serve as catalyst for each of these desires!

CFS: Rosslyn Cultural Field Studies

In March, I was able to take a group of seniors from Rosslyn Academy on a Cultural Field Studies trip to Ormanie Suswa.  Each year Rosslyn sends 16 groups of HS students to different locations all over Kenya for cultural learning and service.  This a huge initiative that Jessica coordinates and plans each year.  As of February, Jamie has also agreed to volunteer a bit of time each week to Rosslyn as their Service Learning Coordinator.  This involves finding opportunities to connect Rosslyn students and staff with service opportunities throughout Nairobi and Kenya.  Part of this involves assisting Jess with coordinating CFS, so this is now something that we will do together.

Due to Covid, most of this year’s trips had to be cancelled, but we were still able to offer the Seniors an opportunity.  Making sure that the teams were responsible and safe (for themselves and the host communities) during Covid required a lot of extra planning and logistics.  Ensuring all activities were outdoors, modified sleeping arrangements, washing stations, providing masks, transportation adjustments, Covid tests for 70 participants before and after the trip.….it was a lot to manage.  However, to give these students this opportunity after a year of losses made it worth it.  Not to mention, the benefit to the communities.  They were all grateful for the opportunity to host the students. 

Jamie also hosted a site in Ormanie Suswa, and Ethan joined the team as well.  The team was immersed in Masai culture.  They learned to slaughter a goat, build fire traditionally, night hunt with nothing but flashlights and sticks (successfully!), and even track wild elephants.  They also ministered in the local church and assisted the community with rebuilding the barrier fence around the community dam that was trampled by elephants.  It was a great experience for the students and community, especially after a year of social isolation and distance. 

Odhole Elevated Pit Latrine Project

We were able to provide another elevated pit latrine in the community of Odhole.  The elders of the community requested these last year because the community does not have enough latrines for the population of the community, and the ones that exist often flood during rainy season.  This leads to sickness and disease.  This is the 3rd one we have been able to provide.  We hope to continue providing them at different locations throughout the community.  This effort not only improves sanitation and dignity among the community, but it also serves as an opportunity to continue building relationships and establish trust with the elders and leadership.  This, along with other relief and sustainability efforts we have conducted in Odhole, further empower the team of local missionaries that reside there to work and minister.

Hosanna Dairy Project

This Hosanna Dairy Project continues to grow and improve.  Currently there are 6 heifers and 4 calves with two more on the way!  The project is growing so quickly that we are now making plans to build another cow shed/feeding area to house the expanding herd. 

They are currently producing around 70 liters of milk a day!  Around 20-25 liters of this are consumed by the children and staff each day, and the remaining is sold at around $0.40 a liter.  The income generated, in addition the savings from eliminating the need to purchase milk for consumption, is making a huge difference. 

This project is one incredible example of our desire to see our partner programs empowered through self-sustainability initiatives!  The ministry of this home is so important, as very real needs are met, and the love of Christ is shown to these children and community on a daily basis.  This dairy project serves as a catalyst for helping make that ministry continue and thrive.

St Joyuna Chicken Project

Another great example of a successful sustainability project (and micro-finance loan initiative) is the chicken project at St. Joyuna Christian school.  The project was started with a gift of 200 broilers, feed, feeders, etc., but it was expanded through a micro-finance loan we were able to offer.  The project now has 400-450 broilers at a time, groups of 200-250 purchased 3-4 weeks apart.  This ensures that 200 chickens are ready to sale every 3-4 weeks, while the newest brood are growing. 

These funds help sustain the feeding program and meet the financial obligations of the school.  A few pics of the current brood (as of April) are below!


Prayer Requests

  • For the country of Kenya, and all nations that lack adequate access, to gain greater access to Covid vaccines.
  • For safety and protection as we travel to the States for a couple of months this summer.
  • 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

An Update on Tana River Projects

As you know, we have had the opportunity to start 5 different irrigation/agriculture projects in partner communities throughout Tana River Delta over the last several years. These communities are fairly isolated and frequently suffer from a cycle of extreme drought/flooding. Our partner, Bocha Huessin, lives and works in this area, sharing the love of Christ and finding ways to advocate for, and assist, these communities. Through our partnership with Bocha, we have been conducting relief distributions in this region for many years, however, we wanted to find a way to invest in the community in ways that provide meaningful work, food security, access to water, and dignity. These projects do just that. To be clear, we are only a part of the success of these projects. Bocha’s commitment and dedication to these projects and people is impeccable. Below is an update of how each project is currently doing. In addition to these benefits, these projects also open the door for deeper relationships and opportunity to share the love of Christ. We are also planning a 6th project in a community called Mtampani within the year!


Gardeni

The project in Gardeni is being managed by a woman named Fatuma and her team of 10 other women. They primarily use the project to grow tomatoes, kale, spinach, and lentils. As a committee, they have decided to sale all of the produce they harvest, set a portion of money aside for future plating, and divide the remaining income between the other households (52) within the community. The men in this community were not as interested in the project, so Fatuma and her team took ownership. This is a project that blesses the entire community. It empowers these women with dignified work, and also gives them to means to bless and serve their community. The recent floods were extremely high and water covered the farm, but fortunately, they had just harvested. They have since returned and replanted.


Vumbwe

This project is managed by a Christian woman named Halima. She uses the farming project to generate income, provide relief to the community, and as an avenue to disciple woman that work on the farm. They primarily grow kale, spinach and tomatoes, and also distribute the produce to the most vulnerable members of the community. They have also saved money and purchased goats and are now doing goat farming as well!


Peponi

This is the first project we ever started. It has been going for 4 years now! It has faced difficulties over the years, but continues to overcome these challenges to be a regular source of food for the community. It is managed by a local Pastor, Noah, and his family. However, there isa possibility it will be handed over to the community for management. They have just planted tomato, kale, and okra seeds in seed beds, and will transplant them in the coming month.


Odhole

This project was started a few years ago, and it has had major challenges. Shortly after completion a hired tractor accidentally damaged most of the irrigation lines, which have not been able to be repaired. Even with that, the water in the well and tank is abundant, so they are still able to farm the 5-acre plot. This project is managed by Charles, Lucy, and a local missionary team that resides in the village. They predominantly grow maize and lentils. The crops are sold to generate income to help sustain the team that resides there, and the reaming supplement the local school feeding program and is distributed among the most vulnerable within the community.


Bandi

This is our most recent project. Unfortunately, just as the construction was starting, the floods came and delayed progress. However, at this point, they have returned to their homes, construction has finished, they have planted, and crops are growing. This project is managed by a group of young adults that have trouble finding meaningful employment. They are using this project as an income generating activity, as well as to provide a portion of each harvest to the most vulnerable members of the community.

Mtampani

This is our next project site! This project will be managed a female leader and elder in the community named Maria. She is an incredible woman with a tremendous faith in the Lord and a passion for her community. This project will help to provide a reliable food source for this community, and well as meaningful work and employment!

If you are interested in supporting this project, you can do so in the following ways:

To give on-line go to:

Use this link: Dunning Ministry Account (choose “Dunning Jamie Ministry” Option further down on the page.)

To send donations by mail:

  • World Missions Ministries
  • PO Box 12609
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73157
  • Attention: James/Jessica Dunning
  • Ministry Account #11521M

January 2021 Update

Partners and Friends,

Happy New Year!  We pray that you are well.  As we begin 2021, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the state of affairs in our world.  With the pandemic continuing to rage around the globe, political, racial and social divisions in the US and abroad, and the loneliness, isolation and fear many are facing, it is a difficult period in time for many.  It can easily leave us feeling hopeless.  However, we know that we have hope and that hope is in Christ.  Therefore, our prayer for 2021, for ourselves and for each of you, is that we will be acutely aware of Christ in the midst of our every moment.  We pray that we would be sensitive to following him, and that our only motivation will be to see his Kingdom come in our communities and nations.  His Kingdom that is known for love of neighbor and enemy.  A Kingdom that maintains a deep concern for the marginalized and the poor and the suffering.  A Kingdom that is self-sacrificial, generous, and full of mercy and grace.  A Kingdom that is upside-down and counter cultural.  We pray, Come Lord Jesus, Come.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.    

We have continued to ease our way back into the new “normal” of the Covid-19 era.  Sophie and Ethan both returned to in-person school last week (Sophie started back in November).  They are incredibly happy to be back at school and to be with friends again.  Of course, things aren’t completely back to normal.  There are no after school activities, and they only interact with the students in their homeroom class.  The Covid numbers in Kenya have continued to drop since November, but with all Kenyan Public schools returning for the first time since March, we are praying that we don’t see a surge in cases.

We had a great Christmas here.  It is always difficult to not be with family over the holidays, and this year was even more isolating because Ethan picked up a bacterial infection on Christmas Eve.  Since he had a fever, and we didn’t know exactly what he had, we isolated from our friends that we normally celebrate Christmas with until we had the results of Ethan’s bloodwork.  Of course, it was a food/water related bacterial infection (which are not uncommon here) that was not contagious, but we had already missed our Christmas Eve/Christmas Day traditions when we got the results.  All that being said, Ethan was not his normal energetic and joyful self on Christmas Day, and we spent the day at home just the four of us, but it still turned out to be a beautiful and joyful day in many ways. We have so many blessings, and we made sure to focus on those as we celebrated together.  We did take a night the week after Christmas to visit a local hotel so the kids could swim and enjoy the pool before starting back to school. It was just enough to feel like a short holiday for the kids before starting back to school the following week.


Ministry and Project Updates

Hosanna Dairy Project

The Dairy Income-generating Project at Hosanna Children’s Home has continued to grow!  As of December, they are selling an average of 44 liters of milk every day (@ $0.40 per liter).  In addition, the cows are producing all of the milk that is being consumed by the children and staff of Hosanna (20 liters per day).  This project continues to generate income, as well save income by providing milk for consumption!  The first heifer we purchased (Sheriff) has now given birth to 3 more calves.  Her first born (Sheriff Jr.) recently gave birth to a calf.  The second heifer we purchased (Farasi) has also given birth to a calf.  Another partner organization contributed funds for an additional heifer, and she has also given birth to another calf!  In all the project now has 7 females and one male (Molo…who will be sold when he is bigger).  We were also able to assist with the hiring of a piece of land so that Napier grass can be grown, which greatly reduces the cost of feeding the growing herd.  In addition, the biogas system that we installed many years ago is working again, so the waste from the cows is converted into methane which is used for cooking!  This greatly offsets the cost of firewood, charcoal, and gas canisters.  (If you are unfamiliar with biogas systems, this is a great resource that breaks down how it works: Bio Gas).  We are so proud to have been a part of this project and continue to be amazed at the amazing work Isaac, Gitau and Ngombo are doing to make it successful.

Isaac and the Hosanna staff have also done an incredible job using every inch of their property to produce food, and they have inspired and motivated some of the children and teens to embrace this endeavor.  It is incredible to see all that is being produced at this home.  It is a beautiful picture of the vision we’ve had to see sustainability and progress among the programs we are able to partner with. 

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Back to School

One challenge of Kenyan schools returning to in-person schooling is the COVID-19 protocols and requirements of the Kenyan Government.  Though they are necessary, they have provided unique hurdles for small, church-based schools to overcome.  Fortunately, through the support of many of you, we have been able to assist with some of these needs.  As a part of our Christmas project, we were able to contribute funds to Emmanuel Preparatory school to build an additional classroom structure so that they can meet distancing requirements.  For St. Joyuna Academy, we were able to provide 30 new desk units so that students can meet distancing requirements.  We have also been able to contribute reusable face masks for children at partner homes and schools, as they are required by the Government.  We expect that these will be an on-going need as the masks will need to be replaced periodically.  Many students in Kenya lost an entire year of education, as on-line learning was not feasible for the vast majority of the population.  So, we are so grateful to see these children returning to school, and we are praying they all stay safe and healthy.

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EABC Micro-Business Seminar

In November, I (Jamie) was able to teach a Micro-Business and Economic Empowerment Course that I designed for East Africa Bible College.  This was the first time teaching this course in this context, and it went well, but I was also able to see many places were I could make changes to (hopefully) make the course more beneficial and effective for the participants.  This course may be becoming a consistent part of the EABC course schedule in the future, so I am looking forward to continuing to grow and develop it.

Micro-Businesses

Several of the businesses that have been started through our micro-loan program are continuing to grow and develop, though they all faced very difficult times in 2020.  Currently, the loans we have provided have been used to start and sustain chicken projects, vegetable and produce shop, a shoe vendor, a sewing project, and a beauty product shop (pictured below).  Our heart is to see our local partners, both individuals and institutions, to be self-sustained and to be in a position to provide for themselves.  These loans are one small piece of that vision.

Christmas Project

In case you missed our update video on Christmas Project 2020, you can see it here: Christmas Project 2020


Prayer Requests

  • For unity of leaders and citizens as we seek to mitigate the risks, and find a solution to, the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya, the US, and the World.
  • 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

November 2020 Update

Partners and Friends,

We pray that this update finds you well. Like most people these days, we are continuing to push forward, taking things a day at a time. We have entered into a slightly new season. Sophie has returned to in-person school. The Kenyan government allowed transition years to return to school, due to the National exam schedule, so Rosslyn took this opportunity to allow Grade 5 to return. She is excited to return to school and to see friends, but she is not excited about wearing a mask all day and having to stay in her desk most of the day. Ethan, of course, is disappointed. We have developed some good routines while doing on-line school from home, so he is disappointed at the prospect of being home alone for the next 6-weeks. Truthfully, we don’t know how long this will last. The Covid cases in Kenya had remained quite low, with a very low death rate, and as of August it felt as if the pandemic was nearly neutralized. However, with the loosening of restrictions, we are seeing cases reach the highest levels yet in recent weeks, and the rate of infection among tests has been going up significantly. Due to this, Kenyan schools haven’t returned in full to in-person learning as planned, and there is a good possibility the government will reinstate containment measures this week. We are waiting to see what the President will announce. We keep telling the kids….we take it a day at a time and hold it all loosely.

Overall, we are well. We were able to take a trip to the Abedares over Mashujaa Day weekend (National Kenyan Holiday celebrating national heroes). The Abedares are a highland mountain range in Central Kenya that can trick you into thinking you are in the Appalachians….(if you don’t look at the vegetation too closely). It was good for us to sit by (and play in) an ice cold river (yes, even in Kenya) and enjoy the view of rolling hills covered with tea fields. The weather was quite cold and rainy, but nothing a nice fire couldn’t help.

Recent Family Happenings


Projects and Ministry Updates

Christmas Project 2020

We are currently in the process of planning for this year’s Christmas Project. If you would like to read more about it, you can do so here: https://dunningsinkenya.com/2020/10/27/christmas-is-coming-6/

Covid Relief Distribution in Oloitokitok

Last month we were able to deliver relief food to 18 different churches in the Oloitokitok area. These communities, like many in Kenya, have been hit hard by the negative economic impacts of the pandemic. Ethan was able to join me (Jamie) on the trip, so on the way home we stopped off at Kimana Sanctuary to camp for the night. We were surprised with beautiful views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and many amazing animal encounters. Working and traveling around Kenya never disappoints.

Nakuru CMD Visit

A recent visit to Nakuru CMD was bittersweet. Tragedy stuck at Nakuru CMD last month, as a fire burned down the girls dorm. Fortunately, all of the children were in church, so no one was harmed. At this point, the cause of the fire is unknown. The girls are moving into one of the school classrooms, and we are working on making renovations so that it is a more suitable dormitory. We have a plan to replace many of the lost items as a part of this year’s Christmas project. You can read more about that project below.

Though we were sad to lose the dorm, it was good to see our recent window renovation project for the classroom building. I was also able to spend some time speaking to the children.

Hosanna Dairy Project Update

The Dairy Project at Hosanna is thriving!

Chickens and Water at St. Joyuna

Speaking of income generating projects that are thriving….the chicken project and the water kiosk at St. Joyuna are doing extremely well. We were able to provide the first round of 200 broilers, feed, and needed items to the school. The second round of 200 chicks were purchased through a micro-finance loan that we were able to offer. It takes 6 weeks for the chicks to mature and to be ready for market, so they are now able to sell 200 (at 320/-, $3.00 each) every 3 weeks! This income provides for the many needs of the school and the church. The water kiosk is also continuing to generate income while meeting the needs of the community. Due to Covid restrictions, the school is currently only allowed to have Class 4 and Class 8 in person, but they are hoping that the full school will resume in January.

Days for Girls Red Line Campaign

Our partner, Alice, hosted the Days for Girls Red Line Campaign in Nakuru last week. It was an incredible event that highlighted the great work of the enterprise: providing reusable sanitary pads to school girls, education on menstrual health and sexual reproduction, Covid response, and empowerment through employing a team of seamstresses. Jamie was proud to attend the event and speak, and it has been our honor to partner with this enterprise since it was a dream in Alice’s heart.

Micro-Loan Updates

We continue to look for opportunities to invest in the lives of individuals and partners by investing in economic opportunities through micro-loans. We are excited to have offered several loans in the last few months, and we are encouraged by the small businesses that have been started: chicken project, cosmetics shop, produce stand, and sewing project. Covid-19 has hit small businesses especially hard, so be in prayer that these individuals will have wisdom in how they manage these businesses.

Elevated Latrine Project in Tana River

On my last visit to Tana River the elders of one of the communities we parter with expressed a huge need for elevated pit latrines for community use. The community doesn’t have access to many toilets, and the ones that do exist often overflow during rainy season flooding. So the elevated latrines were a major need. The elders, along with our partner and local missionary to the community, Lucy, made a plan for the location of elevated latrines throughout the community. In the last month, we have been able to have the first two constructed. As funds become available, we will build more.

(The Community expressing gratitude and celebrating the new pit latrine)

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

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). Due to Covid-19, several of our partners are facing challenges that are unique to this year, so we are aiming to do all we can to assist with these needs.

This year we will be providing gifts to 420 children.  We will also have 6 celebratory meals at different locations, however, we are still in the process of figuring out the safest and wisest way to do this.  A breakdown of the requested gifts for this year is below:

Hosanna Children’s Home: New school shoes for 71 children, 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, and a special meal.

Nakuru CMD: We will be providing gifts to 70 children. The girls dorm was lost to a fire in recent months, so we are planning to make renovations to convert one of the existing buildings to a usable dorm.  We will also replace the beds, blankets, towels, and sanitary products that were lost.  We will also provide a gift for each boy, but this gift has not yet been determined (they were not affected by the dorm fire).  This will be a very expensive piece of this year’s project.

Calvary Christian School Ruai Feeding Program: New backpacks filled with food items for 220 children, as well as a new laser jet copier/printer for the school, which is needed to effectively be able to meet the government demands for Covid reporting.

Emmanuel Prep. School:  We have assisted in constructing a new classroom block so that they are able to meet the governments Covid standards for returning to school.  

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

Isiolo Feeding Program: A special celebratory meal for 80 children and community members.

People to People Sponsored Pastor’s Children:  A monetary gift for 65 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 $9,000.  If you are interested in partnering with us to help make this Christmas special for all of these children, we would greatly appreciate any amount! 

You can click here to do so:  https://give.iphc.org/missionary/james-and-jessica-dunning Please use the “Dunning Jamie Ministry” Account box on the bottom left.

Christmas Project 2019 Recap:

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)