Let's talk money for a minute. It is such a hard topic to address because we never want anyone to feel like we aren't appreciative or that we are saying/implying that you aren't doing enough. However money is very much necessary for missions like ours to work. For our ministry to continue and grow in the way we feel like God is leading it also requires our donor base to grow.
As a missionary it is hard to know how much to put the needs of our ministry out there. How many needs to communicate and how many posts about our financial needs are okay. When discussing with others you will get answers all over the board. Someone may say "never ask for money and God will just provide" someone else will say "I think one post a week is plenty" and someone else will say "communicating your exact needs when needed is the best way because different people like to give for different things." We have noticed that it is true, some people are interested in giving to specific things like only widows, only orphans, only agriculture, only the church or only to support teachers.
The truth, we are finding out is, that there is a fine line in communicating needs and burning people out. In reality our ministry has needs come up daily, in addition to our regular needs and land purchases. Because we are a new ministry we still aren't even fully set up, besides the unfinished building, we are still building beds, creating closets and in process of setting up an official office, including files, locking file cabinets and the many other office type needs.
Because of our former partnership with a local "Bishop" and all his wrangles, he caused us to lose some donors. I get that there for a little while we looked unstable and we were having a rough time. Jeff and I have been focused on keeping the children safe and some have disagreed with the way things were done. All I can say is that EVERYTHING that we did, EVERY choice made was made because it is what we felt was best for the children involved. Now that we have made it to the other side of those wrangles and the courts ruled in our favor, life is moving along and our ministry is growing. In some ways it feels like it is growing too fast, in other ways it feels like it is crawling and most of the time it just feels perfect!
So if you are wondering about our needs we have plenty, let me share some of them with you. In about a month we have a land purchase that we have agreed to and need, we have a matching fundraiser going on for that. In a few months we need to plant our rented 1 acre field with beans and I'm researching ways to increase the yield because beans are a large expense for us and a daily need. We really, really, really need to open a school. We currently have the space and permission to start a school, but we lack the funds yet it is relatively inexpensive to start and run a school here. We have two widows that we minimally support, one of them needs a new home built ($250) because hers is deteriorating. The other widow who is blind needs a new mattress ($50) and about $50 a month to pay for a caretaker. We also have a list of about 15 children waiting to come here and a couple of newly widowed Mamas needing food and school fees paid for their children, but we don't have have the funding to support them. Then we have beds (our Mercy Beds cost about about $275-$300 and it provides 3 complete beds), clothing and medical care (which is SO cheap compared to the US). We also have a church and Bible school that meet here weekly. Currently chairs and a sound system are rented, but if we were able to purchase those things we could direct those funds elsewhere.
So, how can you help change a story in Kenya in addition to or besides giving money? Pray for us, share our posts, pray for us, share our story, pray for us, hold a fundraiser for us, pray for us or help us set up a Facebook group where we can auction off donated items to help support our mission here in Kenya. Any and all help is appreciated and it really is changing stories here in Kenya.
Jeff and I aren't perfect at this missionary thing, it is a continual state of growth and patience for us both. If you feel like we've messed up along the way, you are correct and for that we are sorry. Some of what we have walked through has been unavoidable, but everything we've walked through has strengthened us and our ministry, so it wasn't for nothing. Jeff and I have given our whole self over to this process and we are willing to grow and change in any way God would have us. If you have ever supported us in any way, thank you! It is a huge deal to us to get encouraging private messages/emails/comments on FB posts, to know others are praying for us and for people to take the time to give and keep up with the mission God has sent us on.
James 1:27 is our life verse. It is exactly what we are trying to do here and nothing less.
What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world. James 1:27
**added note by AFM president David Shelton**
For those who want to partner with us or help with current needs with one time gifts please visit our MCH Giving Store to help, and we truly relish your prayers, your encouragement and helping us spread the word to engage more like-minded Christians who want to serve Christ with us. Click button below to visit online portal. More options soon to be added!