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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.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Mission:180 Family is growing!

Mission:180's "Family" is growing, and we continue to grow at a steady rate these days.
This picture was taken December 6th. We have added 2 children and 1
more house Auntie since this photo was taken, to ensure we
have sufficient caregivers in place around the clock.
As many of you know, we have had significant growth out at the Children's Homes in terms of our facilities and staff.  We now have 16 full time staff here in Kenya. We are blessed with a great team. We have also grown the facilities thanks to the generous contributions of fellow Canadians who believe in what we are doing and who are behind this important work with their prayers, their encouraging words, and their finances.   We now have 4 homes ready to be lived in, and houses 1 and 2 are occupied and very busy with 12 babies! Yes, you read that correctly, we now have 12 children in our care!  Over the course of just 5 days, between December 5-9, we rescued 4 very needy children! Below you will find the stories of these most recent rescues!

Exciting News About 4 New Children in Our Care!!!

Bramwell and Samson's story:
On December 5th we received a call for help from our District Children's Officer (DCO) about the need to find a place for two little brothers who have been abandoned by their parents.  These parents are unemployed and unable to care for the children. They are very young as well and unmarried. The mother had left the father some time ago and left these two precious little boys with him. He in turn dropped them off with his sister. Not too long after the sister returned them, telling him that, "we all have to carry our own burdens".  One thing is for sure, at Mission:180 not one single child is considered a burden, but rather that each life is a gift of God to be loved and cherished! The DCO had tried in vain to reintegrate the children with their parents, even attempting to give the parents some help to provide for the children. On the day when things were supposed to come together for this reunion, neither Mom or Dad showed up. The boys are officially considered abandoned now. That's when Mission:180 comes in to the picture. Meet Bramwell  and his younger brother Samson.

Samson, age 17 months
Bramwell, age 2 1/2 

They came to us quite afraid and quite unsure of what is happening. Their little lives have been filled with unpleasant changes and uncertainty and shuffling around from one poor caregiver to another. When the DCO first became involved, Bramwell and Samson were so malnourished they had to be hospitalized for 2 months. They are still lacking the strength and development to stand or walk. We are thrilled to have them at Mission:180 where they will be loved and cared for in a healthy, happy home environment. They are already showing marked improvement!

Samuel and Angel's Story:
On December 9th we were called by a Good Samaritan in a local village about 25 kilometers away about a case of a brother and sister, Samuel and Angel, who needed our help. This is a heart breaking and difficult story to tell.
Samuel, age 2 years 10 months
Angel, age 6 months

Their Mom is 18 years old. She was not quite 16 when Samuel was born. Now she also has Angel who is just 6 months old. This young mother has had 2 babies outside of marriage or even a stable relationship, before the age of 18.  She is desperately poor, and is herself an orphan with no one to help her. We don't know if she had prostituted herself or was raped, (both very very common scenarios) or what the circumstances, but she has had 2 babies from different fathers. She is suicidal and has on 4 occasions attempted to take her own life. On 2 occasions she has also attempted to take the lives of her children, once by strangulation and once by poisoning them.
When our team went to do a visit and investigate the situation, they were greeted by this young mother and her aunt. Auntie has had these two left with her for months at a time, but she told our social worker that she has no job and 4 babies of her own to try to feed. She refuses to take in Angel and Samuel.  Their mother told our team, "Take them away, I never want to see them again, and I don't care where you take them. I don't want to know". She also said, "It's better you take them than me killing them". She was very happy to sign them over to our care and we are very happy she did. These precious little lives are not an accident, God loves them, and so do we. Now they are adjusting to life in our care. What a privilege to be able to rescue these little ones and give them safety, security and healthy lives!

What can we say to you, our Canadian friends, family and supporters? The words thank-you ring hollow. When we sit with these little ones, wrap our arms around them and hug and kiss them, our entire reason for being here comes into very clear focus! We LOVE them, and we love our calling to be here for them. We wish you could all be here to experience these moments that are so touching and heart warming. Knowing that we have played a role in changing these little lives and giving them a hope for a future is such an honor and privilege. We cannot be here without your support. 

All four of these little people need sponsorship. Each child has 4 sponsorship slots of $40 each. In other words, its costs about $160.00 per month, per child to have them in full time care. To sponsor one of these little angels, for one or more of these slots, please send Jennifer an email at and let her know how you would like to help!

And please, keep these children and all of our staff and children in care in your prayers. Also, please keep Samuel and Angel's mom in your prayers. We are very concerned for her as she is alone and suicidal!