I’m going on 5 years in Kenya (not including the additional one year of preparation) and what a journey it’s been. When I first came to Kenya I was on a team called “Kenya Initiative”. It’s possible some of you met me on our crazy adventure across the US in a van raising support for our project through auctions, dinners, speaking engagements, and mostly 5k races.
Within one year our team had dwindled down in size, and eventually our mission shifted from a community-development-based to almost entirely spiritually-based ministry. The focus moved from business development and micro loans, school sponsorship, and community farming and water projects to things like discipleship classes, outreach, and Bible studies. We felt the need to “rebrand,” if that’s what you want to call it, so we went from “Kenya Initiative” to “61project.”
During this time, I was serving under an organization called Adventures in Missions. The same organization that I had previously gone on the World Race with. 61project operated under the Adventures in Missions umbrella for 3 years – until August of 2015.
This past December, I decided to transition myself and the ministry under Oasis for Orphans. The vision of Oasis is to “rescue and develop every vulnerable orphan in southwest Kenya.” That’s about 100,000 children. What Oasis is doing within their ministry sites was quite similar to what I was doing here in Maai Mahiu… but on a larger scale.
By joining Oasis and becoming a “Site Mentor” I will now be ministering to staff and children at two different locations – Maai Mahiu and The Valley. I’m also working with Oasis in creating and implementing holistic development curriculum as well as assisting in new site development. We consider and develop programs to help with educational, spiritual, emotional, and physical needs as well as empowering and working with the orphans’ families (there are sometimes cases when an orphan has a living grandparent, aunt or uncle, or other person who is technically his or her guardian) through reading plans, tutoring, discipleship, Bible studies, conferences, and more. The need for orphan care is constantly changing and growing and I am helping identify future site locations, staff, and leaders for the care of these orphans.
This all means I will be traveling more than I have been since being in Kenya, but I’ve been blessed with a pretty awesome staff that is doing a wonderful job with our kids here in Maai Mahiu. I’ll be splitting time pretty evenly between the two locations.
So what does this mean for 61project? Well, for the ministry – nothing, we’re continuing as usual, developing kids spiritually and educationally through after-school and weekend programs. As for the name – we are now fully under Oasis and are dropping any other name. All donations for the ongoing ministry in Maai Mahiu will be made through the Oasis for Orphans website. Consistent and substantial financial support is needed just as much now as it has been in the past few years. I do not receive a salary from Oasis – I am a missionary who is supported wholly by faithful donors from afar. Food, clothing, medical costs, rent, ministry supplies and program costs, staff support, and much more more are all funded by those of you who believe in what the Lord has me doing here in southwest Kenya.
In other words, I have to raise 100% of the money needed to fund everything going on in my “personal ministry” – that is, everything we are doing in Maai Mahiu. This includes support for 8 children in guardian care (school fees, food, housing, medical costs, etc); 10 staff members; after school programs (books, study materials, pens, pencils, etc); rent for the ministry site; and more. Those who generously give each month are not only supporting the work being done in the community of Maai Mahiu, but also are helping to provide for me and my family of five.
I am humbled and grateful for your support. Please continue to spread the word about what we are doing to make disciples and share the Gospel. If you have questions about what is going on in Maai Mahiu, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can email me or Julia Price (stateside admin) and we’ll be happy to answers any questions you may have.
I hope this clears up any potential misunderstandings or questions. I am so thankful for all of you who have been with me on this journey! Here’s to 50 more years (and no more name changes).
Would you consider setting up a monthly pledge to help support the ministry and my family in Kenya?