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Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Grand Opening, and Many New Faces!!!


This picture was taken this month, but we have already added 3 more little ones since it was taken.
Our last newsletter is dated May 7. Sorry for the long pause! A lot has transpired since then. We had 16 children in our care on May 7 but today, we have 23! In fact just yesterday we took in a little girl, 2 weeks of age whom we named Karyn, and a little boy aged 2, whom we named Timothy. The Mission:180 family is growing! We have waiting for the details to be settled before they can come join the family as well. Before we know it 2 our 4 homes will be full to capacity!



Recent Guests:
In other news, we had a great team of young people from Mountain Christian School in Dawson Creek BC here in May. They proved to be a great group of young people. Hard workers, great attitude, and a lot of fun. Joshua loved having them around. They were led by their awesome principle,  and my very own Mother and Father. What a treat to have them here. They returned to Canada and promptly raised the funds for a new play structure. In the next 7-10 days we will have an awesome playground with swings, and 6 different slides. Stay tuned for pictures coming soon!








Douglas, Samuel, Maggie and Margaret
 all got"big kid" beds! They are very 
excited and they love their new
rooms!



 House 3 Grand Opening!!!

Maggie, Margaret and Augustine's  room!









With our growth comes stretching! We have moved 5 of our oldest children into house three. They are very excited, as this also included new "big kid" beds.
They feel very important and grown up! Last week we marked this big event with a two night trip to Uncle Jason, Auntie
Jennifer and Uncle Josh's house in Nairobi. Special food, an outing to the animal orphanage, and a play-date at Rosslyn Academy to make use of the swings and play structures made it a very fun event indeed!  However, bringing 5 little people home for 2 nights was a lot of work but it was worth it! Every smile, every giggle, it just makes all the work worth while!


We have recently moved these 5 into house 3.
From left to right,Samuel, Maggie, Margaret,
Augustine and Douglas. Growth is good!










Some of The Newest 
Family Members:

Now for some pictures of our newest family members! Please know we are so grateful for your support. Please take ownership of this success. We can't do what we do, unless you do what you do. And again, please consider coming for a visit! We would love for you to see first hand what your generosity is achieving!!

These precious babies all come to us with their own heartbreaking stories. Their circumstances are difficult to hear. We are just so happy that we have been chosen to help them make it in this life. What a blessing it is to serve these precious little people. This is true religion. To care of them in their distress, to lift them out of those extreme circumstances and give them all the love we can, with the help of our very talented and loving staff, this is what Jesus meant when he said, "when you do it for one of the least of these, you are doing it to me". These babies are now receiving a high level of care and love thanks to your generosity, your love.  




Meet Milcah. She came to us July 16. She is one of the newest members of our growing family! She is 6 months old. The markings on her face are traditional Masai markings, they are considered very beautiful and symbolize strength in the Masai culture. Don't those eyes just steal your heart!









Bahatti, (that's Swahili for Lucky)

Daniella

Joseph. 

Frank. 
Abigail.




Karyn

Timothy















Baby Sponsors Needed:
This brings me to my next item: HELP!!! We have 36 sponsorship slots available. Each child has 4 sponsorship slots of $40.00. To fully sponsor a child is $160.00 per month.
We have had to hire house aunties to keep up with the influx of children. So basically we have more expense each month than we do pledged giving. We would really like to see this even out. We need people to sponsor a baby, a crib, an auntie, or just sign up to give monthly to our general budget. We need help. If you are not already a part of Mission:180's monthly financial partners, please consider signing up. Every dollar counts!

Can You Make a Special Donation?
If you are able to make a one time contribution, please consider doing so. The general budget fund is getting uncomfortably low. We need to see some significant income to keep us moving and able to keep helping these little people.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mission:180 Spring Update

Mission:180 has been enjoying a season of growth for some time now. In this post we want to highlight some of that. Spring seems like the right time to deliver exciting news about how God is growing this ministry here in Kenya. We are growing not only in the number of children we have in our care, and subsequently also in our number of Kenyan staff, but we are growing in resources and infrastructure as well. Below you will read about and see some photos of how we are growing!

                                Meet Margaret
Margaret has a bright smile and a very happy attitude.

We were called by another Child Care Agency in Kenya recently and asked to take a little girl into care. Her name is Margaret, and she is 4 years old. Her story is heartbreaking. We are unable to go into the details of Margaret's story but we can tell you that she has had a very difficult start to her precious little life. Her mom has passed away, and her father has abandoned her. He is nowhere to be found. She has been a resident in this other children's home since she was two years old, however because that home specializes in short term care they asked us to take in Margaret. We are thrilled to be able to give her a loving home.  Margaret will be in long term care, and she is settling in very well at Mission:180. She is a very happy and cheerful little girl. 




Staff Increase
We have a total of 21 staff now, most of whom are directly involved in childcare. We also have an excellent team working in the water project, managing the farm and assisting in the Hamper of Hope project. As we grow the ministry and we take in more children the number of
The team is growing! We are very proud of them.
Norah in her element!
childcare providers needed also grows. We are very proud of the level of excellent care our babies are receiving. It is so obvious to us and our guests that our Aunties and managers truly love the little ones they are charged with caring for. With growth comes adjustment as well. We have transitioned Norah, one of our long term employees into the role of cook. All the meals are now prepared by her in one of the homes and then taken to the waiting recipients. She is doing an excellent job and she really enjoys her new role. Everyone else is enjoying the fruit of her labor!

Meet Pendo
Pendo our dependable security guard!  
Recently we were given a pure bred German Shepherd by a family that was heading back to the United States.
We had been thinking about getting a dog for security out at the Children's Homes. Pendo is a perfect fit. She does a good job as a security guard, and she is great with the kids.


The Farm is Growing
The garden is doing really well. We grow a variety of vegetables that are used in the  every day meal planning for the children.
Hope the calf!
Humphrey our farmer,
 and the chicken coop.

Squash


Papaya

There are always lots of eggs.

Humphrey knows his business!
We have planted banana trees and we eagerly await our first crop of bananas. We have plowed another acre on the property to grow food for the cows and also to plant potatoes and sweet potatoes.






The Bunny "Hilton"
Bunny News
Transporting the rabbits. The truck gets lots of use!

We have been considering growing rabbits for their meat. Recently we were given 12 rabbits. We have settled them out at the Children's homes and we are hoping for a Thumper crop soon!! What a blessing to have these bunnies donated. Its a great start to what we are hoping will be a big part of the food supply for Mission:180's Children's Homes.








The Bore Hole (AKA TheWell) 
We have a borehole on the property that is 270 meters deep. It provides the Children's homes with fresh clean water, and we serve our community by providing water to a number of households in the surrounding area when people bring their jerrycans and we also pipe directly into a few homes in our immediate neighborhood .
Working on the valves at the top of the well.

The well is back up and running.
Many people bring their animals from miles around to make use of the water troughs.  It was time for a major servicing of the pump at the bottom of the well and we had to change a few valves. It was a very involved process but it had to get done.

Farewell Luke

A couple of weeks ago our little guy Luke was returned to his mother. She came back to the authorities looking for him, and after some investigation  she was deemed fit to care for him. We were instructed to return him to his mother.Our hope and our prayers for Luke are that he is happy and healthy in his mother's care.






The Sheppard's at Joshua's annual Middle School
Formal Banquet.
We have a lot going on here at Mission:180. Life is busy and often complicated, but it is worth every bit of work when we get to hold those little ones and remember that they are they reason we are called here to Kenya.

With all growth comes expense. If you are not already a part of the monthly support base of Mission:180, would you consider getting involved by making a monthly support pledge? We operate on faith, knowing that the same God who called us here will also supply what is needed for the work.   If a monthly commitment doesn't suit you, we certainly appreciate and very much need those occasional donations as well. They always seem to come in at just the right time. Funny how that works.
To get more involved in supporting the work we do in Kenya, you can follow the directions for PayPal on the top right hand side of this page, or send Jennifer an email (jennifer@mission180.ca) to find out how to give directly from your bank to Mission:180's bank.

To all of you who already support this work faithfully with your finances, we can't thank you enough! Your generosity keeps us going. Your prayers, your kind and encouraging words in emails and on Facebook, they mean so much to us. THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The family is growing! News from Mission:180's Children's Homes!

Some of the children enjoying the new playroom!


 Breaking News About Connor and Ashley:

Back at the end of January we were notified by the Government of Kenya that Ashley and her twin brother Connor were to be released back into the care of their mother.  We always knew in the back of our minds that this could be a possibility since their mother was still alive but just too sick to care for them since birth.  Over the course of the 13 months Ashley and Connor lived at Mission:180 Children's Homes their mother had been to visit on a few occasions.  She had been seeing a doctor regularly for the last few months and received a letter of recommendation from Doctors Without Borders advising the government that they felt she was finally well enough to care for her children.  Their mother brought this letter to the government social worker who then did a home visit to see if things checked out on that side as well.  With both the government social worker and Doctors Without Borders feeling comfortable with the state of her health and living conditions we were instructed to release the children into the care of their mother.

So with very heavy hearts we released Ashley and Connor into the care of their mother on February 3rd.  We made sure that their mother had our contact numbers, our children's home managers contact numbers and our full time social worker's number just in case she felt that she maybe wasn't as ready to have both children in her care as she thought she might be.  We explained to her that there is no shame if she felt overwhelmed and that if she called us to take back the twins that we would be there within hours and gladly bring them back home with us.  We had been holding off on sharing this news for a few weeks in hopes that she might call us to take them back but so far we have not heard from her.

 Rapid Growth! So many children need the help of Mission:180!  Sponsors Needed!

Over the course of the last couple of weeks Mission:180 has taken in 5 new children plus we still have a few sponsorship spots available from children we rescued back in December so we have plenty of sponsorship spots available that need to be filled.

Below is a brief summary of each available child and how they came to live at Mission:180 as well as a picture of each of them.




Angel
 - Angel has been with Mission:180 Children's Homes since December 9th.  We advertised that we needed 4 sponsors for her back in December however we only had 3 people sign up out of the 4 available slots so we are in need of 1 more sponsor for Angel at $40 per month.  Angel (about 1 year) and her brother Samuel (4 years old) were signed over to Mission:180 by their mother (only 18 years old).  She decided that she wanted nothing to do with her kids any longer and actually tried to kill them twice; once by strangulation and the second time by trying to poison them.  Angel and her older brother Samuel (fully sponsored) have lived a very rough life in the few short years since they were born.








Bramwell
Samson
Bramwell & Samson- Bramwell (2 1/2) and his younger brother Samson (17 months) came to live at Mission:180 Children's Homes on Dec. 5th. The boys ended up being hospitalized for 2 months due to severe neglect and malnourishment when they were first apprehended from their parents home.   After their stay at the hospital they were released to a children's home that agreed to take them in for a short term until their parents were able to have them back.  When the parents failed to show up to pick up the boys on the day they were to be released back to them the government transferred them to Mission:180 as we prefer long term children rather than short term children if possible.  When they first arrived they were very scared and could not handle to be in a room with anyone who might sound angry or have a raised voice.  They both also arrived very weak and were unable to stand or walk even though they should have been able to do that a long time ago.  We received a phone call from the Government once again just 2 days before Christmas to let us know that the children were now to be released back to their parents.  In situations like this we (Jason and Jen) have no power or ability to fight to keep the children in our care so we had to release them.  While they were back home with their parents their father got very angry at their mother and kicked the boys out of the house to sleep outside to punish their mother.  After being forced to sleep outside a second night their mother called us to ask if we could take them back home with us.  Of course were were thrilled to say YES!  The boys are now back in our care and are thriving!  When Bramwell first arrived he was terrified of everything and everyone and just had a blank look on his face at all times.  Since arriving back at M:180 the light has come back into his life and he is progressing by the day.  Both boys are now able to stand and walk while being assisted.  They have come a long way!  Both Bramwell & Samson need 4 sponsors each at $40 per month.


Augustine - We do not have a lot of information regarding Augustine but she was found abandoned on the side of the road at 2am back at the end of 2014.  She was taken to another children's home where she spent approximately 2 months before coming to live at Mission:180.  Most children's homes in Kenya do not want children that will likely be long term residents so they look to M:180 to take over the care when they realize that the child will need a long term placement.  We are guessing that Augustine is about 1 1/2 years old but we will know for sure once we take her to a dentist to have her teeth measured as this will give us a more accurate approximation of her age.  Once we have a better idea of her age we will give her a birth date and have a birth certificate issued.  Augustine has some serious medical issues which we can't go into at this time but it is likely the reason she was abandoned.  We need 4 sponsors at $40 per month for Augustine.




Mark 
- Precious little Mark came to Mission:180 several weeks ago.  He was found by a Good Samaritan down inside of a pit latrine (a Kenyan outhouse) when they went to use the wash room.  He was pulled up from all of the filth and rushed to a local hospital.  Once at the hospital the police were notified and they called Mission:180 to see if we were able to take Mark in.  Once Mark was released from the hospital he came directly to M:180.  Since Mark is about 1 year old he did not know what his name was so he was given the name Mark by our son Joshua.  Mark has been on medication due to the filth that he ingested while in the pit latrine but he is doing well.  Mark will also have to have his teeth measured to determine how old he is and then will be given a birth date based off of that.  We need 4 sponsors at $40 per month for Mark.



Luke's head when he arrived at
Mission:180. It is almost completely healed now.



Luke 
- Luke also came to live at Mission:180 several weeks ago.  His mother left him in the care of a neighbour and told them she would return shortly.  After a couple of days with no contact from the mother Luke was taken to the local police station and reported as abandoned.  The police once again called Mission:180 to see if we able to care for Luke while they investigated where his mother disappeared to.  Luke came to Mission:180 with cigarette burns all over his body with a bunch of infected burn marks all over the back of his head.  We immediately had him treated by a doctor and I am happy to report that his sores are completely healed.  Luke is a shy little guy but he is very happy to be living in a safe home at Mission:180.  We need 4 sponsors at $40 per month for Mark.










Maggie and John - Siblings Maggie and John arrived at Mission:180 on February 12th after being abandoned by their mother 3 days earlier.  Their mother had left them in the care of a neighbour and promised to be right back for them.  The neighbour waited for 3 days before taking them to the police.  We received a call from the police on the afternoon of the 12th asking if Mission:180 could care for the siblings while they tried to trace the whereabouts of their mother.  Maggie was able to tell us that she is 4 years old and that her brother John was 1 year old.  They have fit in nicely at M:180 and are happy to be in our care.  Both Maggie and John are super cute and love to snuggle!  Both Maggie and John are in need of 4 sponsors each at $40 per month.




A New Sponsorship Option:
We are excited to offer a new child sponsorship option we are calling simply,  "sponsor a crib".  This is an alternative to sponsoring a specific child.  The laws in Kenya seem to change weekly and when the government rules that we have to turn over a child we have no option but to abide by the law. This means that we could be asked to release any of the children at any time to various situations.  When you sponsor a crib you would be helping with the care of all of the children in the homes and also helping when we are asked to take in a child for a very short period and therefore would not be available for regular sponsorship.  Instead of getting an update on your specific child we would send you an update on all of the children currently living in one of our homes as well as any temporary children that we have had in our care since your last update.  The sponsorship would stay the same at $40.00 per month.

Please consider sponsoring one of these beautiful little ones, or consider becoming a "crib Sponsor". If you want to become a part of Mission:180's child sponsorship team please send Jennifer an email (jennifer@mission180.ca) and she will contact you with the details to get you started. We need these sponsorship's to happen because having children in our care without full sponsorship puts a lot of strain on the general operating budget.


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 In Review. A glance at Mission:180's year!

From a distance, looking good!
Dear friends and supporters of Mission:180! Happy New Year! We wanted to take a moment and reflect back on what accomplishments we have realized in 2014. We want you to know what we have been up to, and we want to thank you for the huge role you play in all that we do!
To say that it's been a busy year would be a serious understatement. To say that its been a successful year would be accurate. Of course, this will depend on your definition of success to some degree. Let's see if we can bring some definition to the word success in the next few paragraphs.

Success Definition #1 Little Lives Saved:
From 1 to 4 homes! God is good!
We entered 2014 with one little angel in care. She was just 2 months old at the time. She had already stolen our hearts, baby Marjorie, but she  has quite literally taken ownership at this point. Early on in the year, in January, we were asked to care for Connor and Ashley. They are adorable twins, and are getting cuter by the day if this is possible. In March Douglas, (Dougie) came to live with us. He was a bit of a surpirse. We were told he was 10 months old. He walked through the doors potty trained and talking up a storm. He is 3 years old.  He has assumed the role of official hospitality manager and greeter. His beautiful smile and sparkling eyes will capture you from the first meeting.   Then in April a very tiny baby Moses came to stay with us! He has turned into a giggling, laughter inducing, smiling little gem full of personality. We returned from Canada and met Robert, whose eyes will melt your heart. He came to live with Mission:180 while we were away. Since our return to Kenya we have had another 6 come through the doors.   Frederick, whom we all refer to as our little old man because he looks like a worried old man when you look at him. Then there is Raymond who is so very tiny, Angel and Samuel whose story is extra heartbreaking, and Bramwell and Samson who have since been reunited with their struggling parents.  If success is measured by little lives saved, we have had a successful year.

Success Definition #2 Property and Resource Development:
Our new water solar water heating system.
We entered 2014 with 2 homes, only one furnished and occupied. Now there are 4. 3 of them are furnished and lived in. We have also been able to add Solar Water Heaters on the roof of each home. This is a green solution. Great for the environment and keeps more "green" in Mission:180's account to be used for more important things!


The garden is huge now!

Improvements to the water project.


The cow shed and chicken coop!
The very reliable new mini-van!

The long awaited power!














Another HUGE accomplishment, one that will be lost on most of you in Canada, we have electricity from Kenya Power! This is a difficult task to accomplish here. It is done, and the night staff are especially thrilled! Now we can run our refrigerators and microwaves and lights etc. We have built a small guest cottage that allows us to have guests stay for a few nights at a time while volunteering. We have purchased a Toyota mini-van and a much needed 4X4 pick-up for the various projects. In the garden we have expanded from a little corner of the project to almost 3/4 of an acre of growing veggies! We have planted 320 trees!  Papaya, banana, mango, and Cyprus just to name the species! We have hired a farmer to care for this and the animals! That's right, we have animals. 12 hens laying 9-10 eggs a day, and a dairy cow who will have a calf in January.  At the water project, we have built a fence around the water troughs. This gains us a little more control of the animal traffic.
Cyprus Tree!
Faith the very pregnant dairy cow!
There has been a lot of change out at Mission:180. It has the staff and the community buzzing. They don't seem to be used to this speed of accomplishment. If bettering the property and increasing our capacity to care for up to 40 little people is the measure of success, then it has been a great year!


Success Definition #3 Staff Staff Staff:
Our Awesome team!
We entered 2014 with 5 staff. Now there are 16 full time employees. All this growth and development requires a great team to care for  babies, maintain the property and run the farm. Our on site managers Simon and Agnes help us to keep it all organized and running smoothly.
Such a great bunch of people!

If empowering and employing 16 Kenyans full time, enabling them to care for their immediate and extended families is a measure of success, then I suppose it's been a successful year.


Success Definition #4 Volunteers:
Our guest cottage.
We have had several volunteers come from Canada, a couple of young ladies from South Africa, a number of teachers from Rosslyn Academy where our son Joshua attends school, and even one young adult Kenyan volunteer for various lengths of time. A highlight for us in 2014 was hosting Rosslyn Academy's 9th grade Cultural Field Studies team. They stayed out at the property for several nights and helped with a major tree planting project as well as volunteering in the children's home. It was so great to see these young leaders in action and a real privilege to be a part of their educational development. If giving people from various parts of the world an opportunity to serve is a measure of success, then we are on the right track by that definition as well.

Success Definition #5 Hampers Of Hope:
In 2014 Mission:180 delivered a total of  210 hampers weighing 28,165 lbs or 14 tons of food!  Since 2011 Mission:180 has delivered a total of 85,751 lbs or 43 tons of food through our Hamper of Hope program! These Hampers O Hope not only provide emergency food relief to families in desperate need, they also give us the opportunity to share our faith and pray with thousands of people every year. If alleviating hunger and rekindling hope in the hearts of thousands of needy people is your measure of success, well then we were on the right track in 2014, and we will continue to be into 2015 and beyond!

Success Definition #6 It's you CANADA!!!
If engaging awesome Canadians from a variety of different walks of life in an important work that is literally saving and IMPACTING lives in Kenya is a measure of success, then high five to you Canada! You are successfully making it possible for Mission:180 to exist and grow.  That's right, all the above success, all the above growth, all the above accomplishments are yours as well as ours! When it comes to the success of Mission:180, you take some ownership Canada! We cannot do this without you! This is your work as well as ours! These successes are as much yours as they are ours. Your financial contributions, your words of encouragement that always come at just the right times, and your prayers that literally sustain us on the toughest days, all of those ways you support Mission:180 make the definition of success as much your definition as it is ours. This summer we were in Canada meeting with many of you, reporting on what's been accomplished so far and asking you for help! It was so good to spend time with you. Your hospitality was amazing, and your response to our requests was overwhelming! 


One last time, let me ask you to consider a special year end contribution to Mission:180. We need your help to end 2014 in a good financial position and enter 2015 with confidence in our ability to accomplish our goals and meet our obligations.
You can contribute through PayPal by clicking the donate button located on the right hand side of this blog page, or by mailing a cheque to our office in Canada, located at 160 Delaronde Road, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, S7J 3Y4.
Donations dated and postmarked December 30, or 31st will be reciepted for 2014 income tax purposes.