This update is long overdue. We’ve been so busy doing the things we hope our Father is instructing us to do. I say ‘we hope’ because it is so easy to get caught up in busy work and miss His perfect will. We know He will guide us even if we stray. Our only goal is to grow in the love of God and share that love with all we come in contact with.
We are finally making progress in the process of becoming a Kenya recognized official ministry. Why is this taking so long? We have been misguided by self seekers who took full advantage of our trusting hearts until now. God chose the time to reveal all things to us and now we are finally on the right track. We’ve learned so much about ‘being wise as serpants’ and are better able to identify those who would merely fake a friendship in order to benefit from our lack of knowledge and trusting hearts. Alas, we are now genuinely a registered ministry called, StoneHouse Ministries International. We are now officially authorized to open new churches, orphanages, schools and any other ministry related work. We also are liscened to officiate at weddings, funerals or any other religious event. We can ordain men who will be legally recognized as ministers.
We now have up to date visas on our passports with enough time to allow us to obtain a re-entry permit that will cover us coming, going and staying in Kenya for the next two years.
The church, StoneHouse Fellowship, is growing numerically and spiritually. We have over 40 youth and young adults who meet weekly on their own motivation.
Our choir is getting help from our good friend Sammy, who has helped others by instructing them in how to lead in praise and worship.
Sundays are full with teachings and preaching and our gatherings are giving people a chance to share their testimonies. People are getting close and relationships are growing.
The ladies group is slowly progressing. We’re learning the best way to help these ladies. This too has been a learning process. After trying different ways to make it work, finally we are providing the materials for the crafts they make and paying them for their labor. That seems to be working best. We have an outlet for sales with a local curios shop. Sales are slow but we expect them to pick up soon as the tourists are starting to come.
The economy in Kenya dropped very low, before, during, and after the election of the new president. People were afraid to buy and sell because of the devastation of the previous post election violence of 2007. We watched as they successfully fought for a peaceful election. Because of this we haven’t been able to sell their crafts but now things are beginning to improve.
I’m working on a sewing school curriculum and I’m looking forward to getting that started. We’re still waiting on finances to get the rest of the supplies we need to start. Mainly we need electrical step down converters to plug the machines into. This will cost about $175.00 – $25 for each of our 4 machines and 3 sergers. We also need tables and chairs, scissors, thread, pins, tape measures, and other basic supplies. I’ve set up a sewing room in our house and I’m able to do a little with one on one lessons now.
L.E.A.R.N is still a main focus. Helping children go to school is a big deal here. Every school requires tuition fees and uniforms. If you can’t pay for your child they are sent home. No free school here. We have only 12 faithful sponsors and hope and pray that God will move on the hearts of others to donate to this program. The cost is only $80 three times a year to help a child. Many come to us asking for help with college tuition. We are focusing on the primary and secondary school children for now but hope to expand our support to college kids in the future.
We also have a school of our own now called, StoneHouse Academy. This school was started 4 years ago in the home of James and Beatrice with 5 children and now has around 85 primary age students. With most students paying tuition we are able to help a few children, who are unable to pay, with free tuition. We want to improve the facility and educational opportunity to attract more students.
Health care is becoming an integral part of life. A few weeks ago a young couple brought me their 14 month old son. He has been struggling with sores all over his body for 4 months. He was being treated with Detol – a very strong disinfectant used for house cleaning – and Vaseline. The sores only got worse with this treatment. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at but I knew these things would not help. I suggested they stop the present treatment, bathe with Epsom salt water, and apply aloe vera. In less than a week’s time there was a notable difference and now the skin is clear of sores.
We have friends here who are working to keep Kenya “green”. They have a large tract of land and grow trees and plants to distribute all over Kenya in an effort towards reforestation. I’m learning about the bark of trees that are used therapeutically to build the immune system, lower high blood pressure, fight infection etc. I take every opportunity to educate people towards a naturaly healthy life style. They are very open and willing to learn and try new things.
Today, Monday, we planned to go to town to run a few errands. Well, things NEVER go as planned.
First we went to the bank to find out if a check from the US had cleared. Not only had it not cleared but we found out that half the amount was eaten up in bank fees and that it would take 21 working days because they had to ‘snail mail’ the check to the bank it was written on. When we made the deposit we were not told about this. The lady helping us smiled and said, “Don’t ever accept a foreign check for an offering”. Well I wish we would have know that but in Kenya experience is the ONLY teacher. People are not very good at helping us understand procedures. I think mainly because they don’t know either. Technology is coming faster than they can keep up with. So it’s trial and error with a lot of error.
From there we went to the curios shop to see if any of the ladies crafts had sold and to add to the inventory. We sold 6 shamparas. Shamparas are bracelets made with special beads and cording. They are very popular here and sell for 50 kenya shillings, which is about 60 cents.
It was a short walk to the Butcher shop so we picked up some meat for the freezer. You never know how long you will be gone from home so I have a cooler and ice packs to keep things fresh until we get home. We are frequent customers so we know the staff and have fun joking with them as we order. They always ask me, “Where are my body guards?” That would be Nikki and Suzie who were here with us last year. I always check the shelf for Hellman’s mayonnaise. Sometimes they have it and we enjoy a taste from home. Sorry, not this week.
So then we went to pick up Rose, who is the leader of the youth. She needed to talk. The young people get together after every Sunday gathering and are full of ideas. In all their planning there were communication problems to work out, between the young people and adults.
So we, Rose and I, met to try to bridge the gap and stop any division from coming in. We had a really good talk and I’m sure she will be able to help with communication problems.
While we were talking, David and James got together to discuss matters in the church. Things are growing a fast rate so they stay in close contact. James has contracted a job to build a roof for one of the local churches. People are really impressed with how good our building is looking. Down the road from our church building location, someone even copied our style. We hope this will become a good business for men in the church to be employed.
Then we headed home with a quick stop at Naivas, our local Walmart type supermarket, to get some milk; Home at last and writing this update; Kids are playing in the yard;
Patrick is working on my herb garden located in the patio area outside my kitchen. I have parsley, basil, cilantro, lovage, and oregano so far. Tomatoes will be ready to harvest end of June; Spinach is growing well; Fresh eggs for breakfast, what more can you ask for?
What more can we ask for? We want YOU!!! ….. we miss you all so much and think of you every day. Pray for us as we pray for you.
Much love and grace to you all!
Much love your friendly Kenyan missonaries. David and Cynthia