Concrete Flooring Being Installed

St. Innocent Academy’s plea for help has been answered.  Glory to God!

In the May 9, 2017 article Seven Floors for Seven Classrooms, readers learned of the need for concrete floors to prevent jigger infections in the feet of students and responded to the call.  Enough donations have been received so that concrete has been purchased and two of seven floors have been installed.

The remaining classrooms are in process of receiving concrete floors.  The anticipated completion date is the end of June.

In the mean time, students are meeting outside of the classroom while the floors are being laid.

Thank you to each person who donated to this project.  It is much appreciated!

South Kinangpop, Kenya’s Vulnerable Could Receive their Dream Home

Of the eleven recently baptized Christians in South Kinangpop, Kenya reported by Orthodox Africa and Pravoslavie.Ru, the author’s family is blessed to have sponsored twin boys; Moses and Maurice. Photographs of these young ones in their baptismal robes, standing with Fathers Methodius and Silouan, evoke conflicting emotions of sweet joy, and desperation. For their eyes speak of deep suffering, the kind that causes the soul to retreat; leaving behind a sad, vacant stare.

Moses and Maurice attend St. Barnabas’ Orphanage for day school, where they also receive meals. However, they return home to their mother afterward, who struggles with dependency; and subsequently, neglects her boys. Currently, the orphanage is operating at maximum capacity, and cannot receive new orphans into its home; so, its director has established a relocation fund to provide housing for more orphans, like Maurice and Moses.

St. Barnabas Orphanage and School were founded in 2007 by Father Methodius and his wife, Everlyn, when they were having lunch and noticed three boys watching them with hungry stares. They invited them to eat with them and soon it became a tradition. More orphans found them; and with community support, and the blessing of their ruling bishop, St. Barnabas now serves 175 children. The orphanage, however, is a small “shack” which houses only 12 children. Knowing this, someone has offered to sell them their home on two acres, for almost a quarter of the market price; $25,000. This property, if purchased, would instantly double the number of orphans that would be housed. With two acres of fertile land, they could expand the home, build a chapel, and still have room to grow food. This would strengthen the Orthodox community, and improve the orphans’ lives immensely; hopefully Maurice and Moses’ as well.

The need is tremendous, but as grandma would say: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” One contribution from multiple donors, can provide the necessary funds for St. Barnabas Orphanage and School to purchase their dream property; property that would afford them more self-sufficiency and housing ability.  More information on St. Barnabas can be found at Orthodox Africa here, and donations to this orphanage can be made here.

~Kent & Amber~

Saint Barnabas Orphanage & School: Campaign followup

Saint Barnabas Mission: Service to Man is Service to God

The Saint Barnabas Mission in South Kinangop, Kenya was started in 2007 by Father Methodius and his wife Everlyn. They were eating lunch one day, and noticed three young children picking through scraps. They invited them over then to eat with them, and soon, feeding these children became a regular event for them. From this beginning, they began sharing what they had with other people in the area. They started to provide food and shelter for those who needed it, helping with what they could. To this day, they have helped more than 400 children in all. Currently, they have about 175 children who they help as much as they are able, though constant droughts have brought the region’s prices up. In order to meet the needs of the children, Father Methodius and his wife need to expand the Mission.

They have been leasing a property where they are unable to improve the current structure, making it difficult to make more space for their activities. They wish to have a less restricted place to teach the children, a place to worship, and a place for homeless children to live. The land they wish to get is four times larger than the current property and outside of the slums, making it a more suitable place for them to construct a new school, orphanage, and a proper chapel for the mission. There is even a possibility for them to create a kitchen garden for them to defray costs, a place where they may grow what they need.

By expanding the facilities, they hope to become a self-sustainable mission. The goal of the school is not only to provide a good general education to the children, but also to provide them with trade skills that will be in demand in the region. In this way, the children will have a better chance at becoming employed when they reach school-leaving age. The school hopes to be able to place their older students in jobs, a great help in a region where unemployment is high. The knowledge that they are learning not just academic facts, but facts that will ensure they have the skills to earn money and support themselves makes the Mission seem a haven to the children. The stability and comfort it provides make a great contrast to homes that are poor and have the added instability of addictions resulting from hopelessness.

The Saint Barnabas Mission gives comfort to those in need today as it has for others in the past: it will instill in the students a sense of hope for the future, beginning today. These goals can be accomplished with your help, and you can bring them to that brighter future. Service to man is service to God, and what we do for the least of these, we do for Christ Himself. Please be as generous as you can, for His Sake.  Donate here and select St. Barnabas Orphanage.

Saint Barnabas Orphanage & School: A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location

Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School give children a healthy start and a reflective journey of life while being nurtured into successful individuals. They are offered an opportunity for education while helping to protect them from unhealthy indulgences and corrosive contamination. By transforming the lives of these children, a stable base upon which they can be lifted to successful heights in life.

Founded in 2007 by Father Methodius and his wife, Everlyn, Saint Barnabas Orphanage started around a lunch table. While eating lunch at their home, Father Methodius observed three orphaned children who were eating scraps of food nearby. Feeling bad for them, they invited them in to have lunch with them. With that lunch, a tradition was born in which these children started to come to their house every day for lunch.

Father Methodius decided to hire a young woman to come and stay with these children in a rented room. There they could spend the day and play outside. Soon afterwards, Father Methodius and Everlyn learned of other needy children and orphans that were living in the area. They began to take in more and more children as they gained support from the Church and other well-wishers.

Today Saint Barnabas’s mission has 13 volunteers that are providing care for 175 children. Currently 12 boys live in a one-room shack. The remainder of children arrive on a daily basis for classes where they learn to read, write and arithmetic.

The Dream
Father Methodius and Everlyn would like to provide a home to 50 orphaned children. The current living situation cannot support that many children.   However, an opportunity has presented itself that can help them move to the first phase of the dream. A local couple can no longer live in the area due to wife’s poor health, which has been negatively affected by the weather conditions. On the recommendation of her doctor, she must move out the area. Knowing Fr. Methodius has been praying and looking for land on which to situate the orphanage and accommodate more children, she offered him the two acre property at far below what it is worth.

The Opportunity
The full market price of two acres of land with a house is $90,000 ($45,000 per acre). The owner is willing to sell the property for a total of:

$25,000

This opportunity is only available for a short time. It would allow them to double the number of children from its current 12 to 24. The home can easily house that many children. Twenty-four children who have no home, can have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and a place to play and learn.

Won’t you please consider donating to Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School to help them achieve Phase One of their dream – A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location?

Watch the video to see the land and the home. Listen to Father Methodius’ speak of the possibilities and join in him furthering the mission of Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School.

To donate to A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location click here.

 

Seven Floors For Seven Classrooms

St. Innocent Academy in Tiriki, Kenya is full of laughter.  146 students between the ages of just two years old to eleven years old fill its seven classrooms, sitting four to a desk.  The temporary school building itself is made of corrugated steel, with dirt floors and no doors, yet for many of the students, this school, one of the poorest in Tiriki, is the closest thing they have to safety and security.  More than 60% of the children are orphans.

These children are among the most at-risk in the area.  They are at risk for disease, hunger, and poverty, and St. Innocent Academy represents their only way out.  Here, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic.  Here, they are also fed two meals a day.  For many, the meals they get at St. Innocent’s are their only meals each day.  Many are so poor, they have no shoes.  This leads to a great problem with a very easy solution.
The problem is a parasitic disease called tungiasis or “jiggers.”  Tungiasis is caused by burrowing parasites called jigger fleas, which live in the dirt floors of the classrooms.  The barefoot students are the ideal hosts for these jigger fleas, which burrow into the children’s feet to lay their eggs.  This causes a painful infection and ulceration of the foot.  The swelling and the pain of the infection makes it difficult for the children to walk.  Attendance drops, and classroom performance falls.  When the children are not in school, they are at greater risk in the slums around them.  Again, there is an easy solution: Concrete floors.

Concrete floors prevent the fleas from burrowing into the children’s feet.  They are easily washed, preventing other diseases as well.  Each of the seven classrooms needs a concrete floor.  The cost of each floor is $143 USD.  That means for a total of $1,000 USD, the classrooms can be made safer for those children who are in such desperate need.

What can you do to help? Work has already begun.  The baby classroom has a new concrete floor, and, with your help, others will follow, hopefully in the next few weeks.  This is the first BIG fundraising goal for St. Innocent’s!  Donations have been received in the amount of $400 USD, which leaves only $600 USD remaining.  With your help, the students will have a safer school, free of burrowing parasites, and be able to get the education they need to rise out of poverty.  The laughter that is the sound of happy, healthy children will continue to be heard in the classrooms and playground of St. Innocent Academy.

TO DONATE: Please visit our donation page. Please be as generous as you can!  Remember, the solution is easy when people are generous!

 

-Victoria Marckx

Together in Christ

It’s so cold! You hurry into your home, a plywood, barn-like structure, and sigh with gratitude that the wind is at least cut off even if you still have to wear your hat and coat. At least it is better than sleeping in the cold, garbage‑strewn streets of Kibera slums outside where some of the others have to find what shelter they can, wherever they can so that they do not freeze to death overnight. You might ruefully smile to yourself if you knew that many people do not know that Kenya gets so cold during the winter. Rumbling. Just your stomach.

You are a growing 9‑year‑old boy. There is no money for more food. They feed you what they can. They have so many kids to take care of but you are glad you have more than you used to, at least. And good friends too. They live with you in the plywood room, sleeping in metal‑framed bunk beds. At least you are together.

“Together” is a word we do not take for granted in the Orthodox Church. In our theology, we recognize the concept of the old Russian saying that we are “Saved together, but damned alone.” Even the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—exist in community undivided! This is an icon and pattern for our own existence. We were never created to be alone, cut off from the community of others – none of us. Taking this concept in hand, Orthodox Africa has partnered with several nascent Orthodox missions near and in Nairobi, Kenya, to assist them in spreading the Gospel of Christ. As we are meant to be the hands and feet of Christ on Earth, we take this responsibility of “together” very seriously. Recently, our own Father Silouan (Brown), a monk in the ROCOR, left for the unknown and followed God’s command to spend a month in Kenya seeing how our Kenyan Orthodox brothers and sisters in these missions live day to day, what their greatest needs are, and how we at Orthodox Africa can be of the greatest service in helping them become self-sustaining groups. One of the greatest delights Father Silouan had not long after his arrival was attending the baptism of eleven people into the Orthodox Church! He was asked to be godfather of six of the children, including Panteli, the infant son of one of the Kenyan priests!

They are singing a song as you walk around the baptismal font. You like to sing in church about Jesus. This is a song you did not know before: “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ! Alleluia!” You were told that this song is from the Bible: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29, Berean Study Bible).

No matter how far or near we are in distance physically, spiritually, we are all one in Christ. And we are all humans together. There are myriad opportunities to be a part of community in our parishes, neighborhoods, and families. This is an opportunity to extend the concept of community to those who are geographically removed in utterly destitute circumstances. This can be through prayer,  or financial contributions  when team missions are ready (more about that in the near future), sharing the information on your social media, and telling your friends, family, and parishes about the work Orthodox Africa is doing in support of these missions. Please remember, we are all in it together!
With love and gratitude in Christ’s service,
The Team at Orthodox Africa +

Drought crisis continues – Impact is high

In its 27 February, 2017 Press Release, the Kenya Meteorological Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources indicated that the outlook for the seasonable long rains in March-April-May is not good and depressed rainfall will continue.  This is expected over the most of the country and especially the eastern regions.

The impact on agriculture will continue to be severe.  The press release said, “Food security is expected to deteriorate over most parts of the country and more so the northern areas of Kenya.”  Increased malnutrition, cholera, and malaria are possible.  A fourteen year old girl died and “115 hunger stricken villagers” (Daily Nation) were taken ill after a meal of dead camel meat after not having eaten in several weeks.

How is this impacting our Missions?

“By God’s grace and mercy, our missions are not experiencing starvation,” said Fr. Silouan (Brown), Director and Chairman of the Board of Orthodox Africa.  However, “with inflation hitting an 11-month high at 6.9%” (Daily Nation) the cost of food is astronomical.

How can you help?

First of all, pray.  Prayer is key to all help from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  During this Lenten period, as you fast and give alms, consider donating to Orthodox Africa.  Every dollar helps alleviate the burden of each mission.

-Athanasia Ellmore


Sources: 

Republic of Kenya-Min. of Environment & Natural Resources-State Dept. of Environment-Kenya Meteorological Dept., Reference # KMD/FCST/5-2017/SO/01.  13 February 2017.

Andae, Gerald. Expect Less Rain This Year, Met warns.  Daily Nation, 24, February 2017, p 11.