Saturday, March 30

Kenya has a President

Even though the election for the President of Kenya was a couple week ago, the final decision was just announced as there was a dispute because the election was very close. But, unlike five years ago when there was violence the dispute was taken to the courts. They just announced their decision.

Raila (the candidate who lost) was denied his appeal by the supreme court - Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of the Republic of Kenya. There is a lot of celebration and only small, isolated protests. Kenya has peacefully elected their President.

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Thursday, March 28

Sharon's reflections on her trip to Kenya

Hi everyone!

I'm back in Alpharetta safe and sound after a 21-hour trip home from Kenya!  It feels great to be home, though it seems like I've been gone much longer than just a week!  I guess that's what happens when God packs so many experiences into such a short timespan.

As you know from my previous updates, I had the opportunity to experience every Partners for Care program in Kenya except our ministry in Marsabit.

Everywhere I went, I saw people who by our standards are extremely "materially poor."  And I wondered....... Why am I so blessed Lord to have a home, more than enough food to eat, clothing, electricity, clean running water, an automobile.....?  Why me Lord?  Why do some people have so little and I have so much?

The only answer that makes any sense is that God wants me to use my blessings to help others. Our Partners for Care team does just that. And so do you! Every time you pray for this ministry and donate financially, you make it possible for our guys on the ground to bless the people, and especially the children, of Kenya!

Lunch at Gembuga in Maai Maihui

When we visited Kathi's House in Maai Maihui (a PFC program for widows and orphans), I walked into a tiny little concrete house with no electricity and no running water.

Pastor John and his wife Mary, currently care for 4 children of their own plus two little girls they recently rescued from desperate circumstances, Mineh and Jaridad.  In the coming weeks, they will begin caring for 8 more children who will be moving there from the children's home called Tree House. These are some of Nick and Charles' children who were living in Mathare Slum. There will be 10 children in a house the size of a college dorm room.  Can you imagine if your spouse came home one day and said, "by the way honey, we'll be adding 8 more children to our family, are you okay with that?"

Kathi's house has no washer and dryer for laundry and Mary cooks all the family's meals on a tiny little cooktop over an open flame. The children sleep 2-3 to a bed in a small dormitory next to the main house.  But here the children will be well cared for and loved.  They'll help cultivate the crops from the Hope Farm which is used to grow food like corn (maize) and beans and feed the family.  They'll be free of the dangers and darkness of life in a slum and instead, will experience the beauty of life in the Rift Valley, one of the most beautiful areas of the country.

Obviously, we will need to raise additional funds to help Pastor John and Mary feed and clothe the children and for fees and uniforms to attend school.

My experiences in Kenya have taught me a great deal.  I'm very humbled. Most of the world does not live the way I do.  I am blessed to be a blessing.

I can't thank everyone enough who contributed prayer and financial support to send me to Kenya.  You helped me to trust God in an area of my life I had never totally surrendered and I'm grateful for all that He taught me from the experience.  The work I do for PFC already had significance, but now it means so much more. Now it's personal.

Thank you Connie for allowing me the opportunity to meet and personally witness the incredible, life-saving work of our Partners for Care team on the ground.  These brave guys and young women give new meaning to the term "servant-hearted."

If any of you are interested in going to Kenya with PFC and seeing for yourself how PFC is changing lives, let me know -- it may be also be the answer for you to the question of "Why me Lord?"
Be sure to check our blog in the next day or so for photos of my trip:

Sharon Dicks
Partners for Care
Director of Development
(770) 294-3586

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Tuesday, March 26

She came, she saw and she has returned to the US

Sharon as most of you know is the Director of Development for Partners for Care. Sharon has made a BIG difference in what we have been able to raise for PFC. She helped PFC have a successful year end campaign! She has organized 10 student interns/volunteers to help PFC. And, so much more.

I was amazed how she studied and learned about the PFC Kenyan staff, the different programs and ministries. I would sometimes overhear her telling a potential donor about the work of PFC and about the need and I was always impressed with how much she knew about the organization. And, she would tell people passionately about the work of PFC...and she had never been to Kenya.

So last week she came to see for herself. She knew the PFC staff by name as she had seen them in the thousands of PFC pictures she had sorted through. She recognized Sammy, David, Justus, Moses, etc. She knew their work as she had created the PFC calendar that featured each of the ministries.

Now she was meeting the staff and hearing from them first-hand about their work. She also came to meet the people in Kenya the PFC team serve.

Sharon did great! It isn't an easy trip physically or emotionally. She went to Mathare slum and met Christine and other women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She heard their stories and listened to their struggles. She went to Kathi's house and met the two girls Pastor John has rescued.  She met one of Pastor John's football teams and saw them in the uniforms and football shoes that she had received from PeacePassers - one of our partners.

She went to see Nick and Charles' children.

She spent an afternoon with the PFC volleyball girls where she met Jane.

Jane is one of the volleyball girls who can't go to high school because she doesn't have the school fees. She has met all the staff except those in Marsabit.

After a very busy week she has returned home...but she won't forget who she met and they won't forget her.

I am very grateful that Sharon would travel on four planes for a total of 32 hours - not her favorite thing! That she would leave her family including Moses her dog for so long. And, that she would allow God to use her to help Partners for Care help the team in Kenya serve. Thanks Sharon and thanks to all those who supported her with prayers and financial support!

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Saturday, March 23

Greetings from Kenya!

Yesterday, we spent several hours visiting people in Mathare Slum, 2nd largest slum in Kenya with over a million people. No words to describe what that was like, you have to see this kind of poverty to believe it. As far as I could see, the slum stretched on. The two women we visited are both single mothers infected with HIV/AIDS and trying to feed themselves and their children. They live in a metal and dirt shack, maybe 9 x 9 feet usually with several other family members. The living conditions defy description. Even in prison, an inmate's basic needs for shelter, food, and water are met. Not so for the people of Mathare Slum. 

Partners for Care works with a small community-based organization located in the slum called Community Transformers (all kenyan volunteers) to help families like these with medical care, food, counseling and Christian support groups. There is an air of desperation in this enormous slum as the struggle to survive plays out.  But the little  children in their tattered, dirty clothes, were singing and holding my hand as they follow me through the slum. And both of the brave women we visited  were grateful for the blessings from God  of Partners for Care and Community Transformers.  it's hard to believe people can survive, let alone hold onto hope, in those kind of conditions.

I have such respect for our PFC team and all they are doing here to help these people.

Saturday morning we went into downtown Nairobi to purchase the beautiful handmade  African products that we'll sell back home to raise funds for PFC. What an experience that was! Hundreds of vendors with their wares all laid out in an open air market all waving and yelling at the same time to get you to buy their goods! Total exhausting chaos, but we made some excellent purchases so it was worth it.

As I write this, there are 20 young Kenyan children here in the house watching a movie, They are all members of our PFC girls volleyball team.

The girls all live in the slum but play volleyball together on a PFC team to encourage kids to stay in school and make good choices with their lives. These kids have relatively nothing materially but want to lead by example to help change the lives of other kids! Pretty amazing stuff,

I am enjoying my time here in Kenya but miss all of you back home. Its a wonderful thing to visit another nation and experience their culture, and I'm immensely grateful to all of you for this opportunity.

Tomorrow we travel to another PFC program, Kathi's House in Maai Mahui near the Rift Valley. Kathi's House is a ministry to widows and orphans.

Ill write again soon. Miss and love you all!


Thursday, March 21

Packs, packs and more packs

Thanks to work of the Partners for Care team we have been blessed with more packs! The PFC staff did an excellent job of distributing the 1,100 water back packs we received from Greif and PackH20. Staff trained people who received the packs on how to use them and followed up weekly to ensure proper use of the packs.

PFC staff understood the water back packs were more than just an easier way to transport water...they knew the water back packs could prevent water borne illnesses helping to save the lives of many people.

So more packs are coming so PFC staff can help more people...7,700 more packs! There are 700 packs that were flown to Nairobi and will be delivered to the PFC house tomorrow and there are 7,000 packs coming by ship - they are already enroute.

PFC will be conducting the first demonstration project studying how the proper use of the water pack back can reduce water borne illnesses. We are partnering with the University of Utah to help us with the study. They are sending two people next week to join me here in Kenya to write the protocols for the study.

Whoever thought a meeting on a plane would lead to so many people being helped. Remember I was introduced to the packs by Liz Blake, Vice President of Habitat when I sat next to her on a plane. God has a great way of connecting people.

From Kenya,

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Hello from Kenya!

As I told you in an earlier update Sharon is traveling with me. She has begun her journey of meeting the PFC staff and seeing the programs. I am so grateful she is here!

Hi everyone!

I arrived safely in Kenya late Weds evening and wanted to thank all of you for your prayers, encouragement, and support to get me here. It was a 20-hour long trip to get here but a great experience too. One of Connie's clients, a woman named Jill, is also here with us, two Partners for Care staff - Sammy and Franco - picked us up at the Nairobi airport and took us to the PFC house about 45 minutes away. That night was my first experience sleeping under a bed net. I now see how a simple mesh net saves lives by preventing malaria, especially in babies.

This morning began with the PFC team gathering together at the house for morning devotionals and worship songs. This is a team of mostly young 20-something Kenyan men and women with a passion to better their own lives and those of their fellow Kenyans by helping them to implement sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty, disease, and illiteracy. They lead by example and many of them have themselves grown up in the slums.

After morning devotions and breakfast of "chapatti" and tea, Jill and I walked the 10 minute trip to see the PFC "what if? Life changing center" in Marurui slum.
There's really no way to describe the slum - the sounds , sights, smells. Children in dirty tattered clothes, goats running wild, crowded streets, and people everywhere. And in the middle of it all is an oasis of hope -- the what if? center houses a small medical clinic, a 2nd Chance education center, and a small IT school for people in the community to access low-cost healthcare and education classes. All of PFC's programs are led by Kenyans and all donor monies go to support the like-saving work of this team. It's a novel approach to effective, sustainable change by and for the people of Kenya.....and its working! 

All of you who know me well, know that I never intended th go to Kenya. Its way out of my comfort zone and I'm the world's wimpiest traveler. But I'm grateful for God,s not so gentle nudging and for all that He's showing me through this trip and this team of humble Kenyan servant leaders.

Ill write more later.  Love to all of you, I miss everyone.


Wednesday, March 13

Special Request

Dear Partners for Care supporters,

People so often ask what they can do to help Partners for Care.  People read the updates and they see the photos of lives being changed on the ground in Kenya and they just naturally wonder…."how can I be a part of that?" 

What if you could help us reach hundreds of people (maybe thousands!) with the life-changing work of our Partners for Care team in Kenya!  People who have a heart for Africa and want to do something, individually or as a family, to make a difference in the lives of Kenyan children…..people who could then reach out to others and spread the word.  Imagine the impact that would have on raising awareness and funds for the work of Partners for Care!  

Here's how you can help……

PFC launched a fundraising campaign earlier this week to raise money for our boys' soccer team in Kenya.  PFC uses soccer to help transform the lives of youth, helping kids to abandon idleness and destructive behaviors for life on a soccer team, where they have a sense of purpose and belonging.  

We are testing a site called (crowdsourcing) to see how well it works in raising funds for our various programs in Kenya. The boys' soccer team is our first project using GoFundMe.

We would love for each of you to use your various social media channels to get the word out about this project and help us raise funds.  You can do this very easily by simply posting the link below on your social media accounts -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email, and asking your "friends and followers" to do the same on their social media sites.  The more people we direct to the site, the more likely we are to be successful.  There are literally hundreds of projects on this site raising money every day, so we know it works!

Feel free to go to the site and read about the project needs and let me know if you have any suggestions.

As always, this work would not be possible without your support.  Thank you!

Sharon Dicks
Partners for Care
Director of Development
(770) 294-3586

Monday, March 4

Prayers worked - Kenyans voted in peace

Kenyans voted in peace today. I have spoken to our staff in Kenya, and have been following the news all day. There was violence in Mombasa but it does not appear to be related to the election. It was truly inspiring to see how many Kenyans voted today! Many lined up starting at 3:30 am and waited for nine hours to vote! There were 30,000 poll watchers from many countries to help ensure peaceful voting. Many are committed to see Kenya does not repeat what happened 5 years ago.

Now is the critical time. The fear is there may be violent responses when the winner is announced. For there to be a winner the candidate must have over 50% of the vote. If no candidate receives a majority vote there will be a run-off vote April 11. I understand there could be an announcement in the next few hours.

Praying for peace throughout Kenya as the election results are announced....Connie
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Friday, March 1

Water packs - bringing running water for people living in tents and shanties

I just received these photos today.  These photos make me want to work harder and run faster to get water packs to more people who can benefit like the people in these photos.  It is almost like they have running water!  Connie

We wait and pray

On Monday, Kenyans will vote for their new President. This time five years ago when Kenya had their presidential election was as some call "the darkest hours in Kenya's history". While there are hopeful signs things will be different this time, there are other signs of potential violence. The presidential candidates came together last weekend and prayed in a public forum. They pledged to accept the election outcome.

Mathare slum, home to people that many of you know - Christina, Joyce, CT staff, etc. has experienced violence this last week. Five years ago Mathare slum was one of the worst areas affected by the violence.

Some of the Partners for Care have already traveled home to their villages to be with their families. Monday is a national holiday so PFC staff will wait to see if there is any violence before they travel back to Nairobi. Sammy has offered Nick, Charles and Jenga to stay at the PFC house and advised them to stay out of Mathare slum.

We are watching the news and will put links on our website

Many in the world pray that Kenya peacefully elects its leaders.

Waiting and praying, Connie

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