Monthly Archives: June 2014


For 9 years Matanya’s Hope has ministered to our children – loving them, encouraging them and breathing HOPE into their hearts and souls.

Today, the gift was returned to us tenfold when graduate Charles Maina shared his own heart and experience with Mark Maina as they discussed university curriculums and life paths.

As a small boy, Charles and his brother were left to fend for themselves. Surrounded by drunks and drug lords, Charles always knew that he would make it out of that place and would get educated. He just did not know how.

When Matanya’s Hope presented Charles with a full academic scholarship to a boarding school, he could hardly believe his ears! He welcomed 3 warm meals a day in replacement for the hunger he once knew and learning became exciting for the first time.

After graduating high school, Charles was accepted to a college program whereby he studied procurement and after graduation, he secured employment within the banking industry.
Charles Maina IMG_9569
During our conversations – and With a smile from ear to ear, Charles told me, “I never knew this could happen to me: Charles. But here I am. I have a good job. I am happy. I live well”….”After I help my brother, I will help another child who is like I was. Surely, I must do that.”

Mark Maina soon joined me at the table – eager to share stories after our 9 months apart. This gentle and kind man reminded me of the times he was lost and hopeless. But a newborn gentleness and faith flowed in our conversation. “I am a patient man”, he told me. “I must join university but God knows the right time.” “I want to study well and become a CPA. I know I can do it. I will do something to help this country of mine.”

Mark Maina expresses to mentor, friend and Matanya's Hope colleague that he is determined to become a CPA and to help another needy child.

Mark Maina expresses to mentor, friend and Matanya’s Hope colleague, Charles Maina, that he is determined to become a CPA and to help another needy child.

I knew that Charles and Mark had to talk. It was as if their stories were woven from the same tapestry. Within moments They forged a mentorship that will probably carry them far into the next chapters of their lives. But for now – we at Matanya’s Hope are humbled by the graces that God continues to shower on our students. Hope is something that so many of us take for granted…. but to be born poor – unwanted – hungry and alone is no joke.

Our children in Matanya’s Hope are blessed by your participation in this program. Whatever walk of life they come from, one thing is for sure… they know now that God has a purpose for them – and they know that they are loved.

Much thanks to every sponsor and donor – and to everyone who prays for our mission and our kids! Together, we are changing the world. Just ask Mark and Charles!

From Kenya –

The Rough Road to Kenya

Its been a rough road to get Matanya’s Hope to Kenya this year. Founder Michelle Stark drove from Matanya’s Hope center to Dulles international airport in Washington DC. The trip began loading the last few bags into the car and moved on out of Illinois and through Indiana. While on the Ohio turnpike the trio on their way ran out of gas. Luckily they could pull over to the side but the car only went so far and trucks were whizzing by threatening to throw the car off of the bridge. Despite the unnerving experience, the Ohio police arrived within five minutes of the pull off and called a gas truck. Within one hour the trio was back on their way to DC.


The gas truck on the Turnpike

The next day proved to carry its own trial. While picking up a couple items to take to Kenya at a mall Michelle left a bag in a shop containing her cell phone. This phone contains all of Michelle’s contacts in Kenya. She was a little more than shaken but it was returned and again they went back to the road again.

Once in DC, the group went to rent a U-Haul truck that they’d be allowed to take on airport premises. Tina Plunkett, one of the volunteers who drove out to DC, drove the U-Haul. Tarik, a sponsor of a student and truck driver, drove the truck loaded with all of the bags from Illinois. Tarik and the other volunteers helped to take the bags off of the truck and into the U-Haul. It was a hot day and the refrigerated truck was a blessing to cool down the group.


The set up for the transfer of bags

The set up for the transfer of bags


Teamwork! (the bags each weighed 50 pounds)

Finally the bags were loaded and the truck was headed to Dulles. Two wonderful representatives of Brussels airlines had porters and carts ready and waiting to take the bags into the airport. Each was offloaded and counted to assure that everything was there. They are now in Kenya, East Africa!

These are the bags from last year. Give you an idea of how big and many there are.

These are the bags from last year. Gives you an idea of how big and many there are.

Despite the road bumps, it has been a wonderful journey. Matanya’s Hope and its children have much to be thankful for. Thank you to Tarik for the truck and help with the bags. Thank you to Brussels airlines for the free passage of our seventy bags full of donations. Thank you to the sponsors and people who made it possible to fill our bags. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in our journey to help Africa!

Stay tuned to our blog to find out what all of the donations and volunteering is for. The next three months are about everything that has been done for Matanya’s Hope in the past nine months coming into place and working to save children’s lives.

We are on our way – Bags Ready to GO!

photo 1

Many thanks to my Journey Family and Friends who helped make the transport of almost 70 fifty pound bags from my living room to a truck possible. Hats off to Nicholas, Pastor Dave, Caleb, Joshua, and Aaron for their endurance and incredible strength. Randle and Alex, you guys and Pastor Dave helped us “bring it home!” And continued praises and thanks to my mom and son, Ann, Shana, Tina, Jeannette, Debbie, Ali and Leslie and Howard who helped turn this mission to a reality.

To all of you who stepped forward – thank you for your hearts and vision! Two months ago we were $16,000 shy of making this mission a reality. Today – we seek $225 to seal the deal… We could not have done this alone!

Stay tuned… pics and videos to come from Kenya!
God bless you all!


photo 2

photo 4 (1)