Category Archives: Matanya’s Hope

Sean Martin is overjoyed to receive clothing and school supplies during mission.

Look Who Just Got Sponsored!

You may already be a part of miraculous stories in your life, or maybe you are eager to be a part of the miracles unfolding right here at Matanya’s Hope. To every sponsor, prayer warrior and donor, thank you for helping us give love and hope to thousands of children in need. This story is about Sean Martin, a boy who touched founder Michelle Stark’s heart the moment she met him.

Stark tells us, “My entire being ached when I heard Sean’s story from the Director of his school.” Desperate to get her grandchildren educated, Sean’s jobless grandmother walked barefooted and hungry to a “local” primary school. The trek was monumental, demanding this elderly woman to sustain a long climb up the steep, rocky mountain roads until she reached the school gates. There, she told the director that she had no money but would bring some soon. She explained, “Sean has just been orphaned and his cousin Valerie is orphaned as well”. The director took the two children in, but months passed and the promissory fees were not paid. The children’s grandmother was unable to manage the bill. Sean and Valerie were to be sent home… Their hope for education faded. That is when I met them.

Sean smiled but I could see the pain beneath his sweet face. He needed the absolute basic necessities in life: food,shelter and love. When his mother never returned from a recent outing, Sean’s only hope was his jobless grandmother who took him into her 11 X 11 rented room. She did all she could already to support 7 orphaned grandchildren. Sean Martin now made 8.

Sean Martin, pictured after spending a day with Matanya's Hope Mission Team

Sean Martin, pictured after spending a day with Matanya’s Hope Mission Team

Stark recalls, “When I was a child, I rode my bicycle all day and played with my friends.” Sean Martin prays for a meal to eat and an education to carry him throughout his lifetime. He promised his grandmother, “One day, Grandmother, I will be educated and I will get a good job and build you a house.” He held the crayons we gave him and drew a picture of this house of his dreams.

So what does it take to help a child like Sean? It takes action and understanding that not every child has been given a chance to experience life like our children. When bad things happen to these kids, there is no way out… unless we help them. Stark says, “When I see a child finally get sponsored, when they begin to understand that their life matters and that other people care about them – when I see that, it is like experiencing a sunrise in my soul!”

This is Sean with other Matanya's Hope students at school.  Founder, Michelle Stark is pictured in the back row.

This is Sean with other Matanya’s Hope students at school. Founder, Michelle Stark is pictured in the back row.

To Sean’s sponsor. Thank you! You have changed the world for this beautiful boy!

To sponsor a child in need, please contact Matanya’s Hope: 708-822-HOPE (4673) or email us at: [email protected]

Donations are needed to help us continue the programs which reach children like Sean.

WAYS TO DONATE NOW:
Matanya’s Hope
PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430

Donate on this blog.

DONATE THROUGH VENMO (search for Matanya’s Hope)

BENO wafula Poster

Hope Has a Name – Beno

BENO

One of the great joys in this life is the joy of helping a person in need.
The story of Beno begs us to come close, to open our hearts and to act.

That summer heat was blistering. Nevertheless, Beno Wafula kicked his infant legs and giggled for all the world to hear. Mom, who had just arrived in from the unforgiving sun, really laughed. But that is MY mom. Beno’s mom was just a child herself.

She was a few years older than me. We lived under the same roof; my mom had raised her because without mom’s love and care, she had nowhere else to go.

Beno’s first 3 years were a pure joy. Then, his young mother met a man and everything changed. Beno was abused, neglected and often left hungry. His innocent laughter faded into the pages of history and despair took its place. They moved away and I did not see them for many years.

Little more than a year ago, I met Beno again. He really developed into a beautiful boy! But it did not take me long to take notice of his unspoken misery. Beno had started becoming a nameless statistic and I had to change that!

Pictured here, Beno just learned he would be going to school through the generousity of Matanya's Hope.

Pictured here, Beno just learned he would be going to school through the generousity of Matanya’s Hope.

I thank God for Matanya’s Hope. The founder, Michelle Stark met Beno when he was 13 years old. She could quickly see that the unfolding details of his life revealed a broken-hearted child who wanted nothing more than to be loved and to go to school. Beno slowly revealed how he suffered in the hopeless cycle of despair. Even on the days he went to school, he revealed that he went hungry and did not have a pencil to call his own. Most of all, Beno slowly shared that he was beaten and told that he would never amount to anything; he was called “trash” by the people he should have been able to trust most: his parents.

With your support, the cycle of misery can be broken for Beno.

Today, Beno is back with my mother. Matanya’s Hope sends him to school where he is receiving education, love, nutritious food and counseling. Beno’s self-esteem has improved dramatically. This is such an easy gift! The impact of our love is restoring hope in Beno’s world.

Do you want to do more than just talk about helping a needy child?

Beno's school supplies.  This is the first time he has ever had all he requires for school.

Beno’s school supplies. This is the first time he has ever had all he requires for school.

DO SOMETHING.
SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY.

Every time you give, you make it possible for something amazing to happen for a child in need.

It is my joy to help protect people from disease.  Here I am giving free vaccines.

A Message of Thanks from Lydia Muthoni

I will never forget where I came from and that is why God will always bless you for taking care of His children. Very few people can do your work.

First I was a house girl and then I became a dressmaker, but what I wanted more than anything was to go to school.

First I was a house girl and then I became a dressmaker, but what I wanted more than anything was to go to school.

I still remember the first day we met. You were constructing a house for another needy child. I watched you with awe; your goodness was a true lesson in love.

I am Lydia Muthoni and I am one child in a family of 7 siblings. If it were not for Matanya’s Hope, I would have succumbed to a life of abject poverty and despair.

After primary school, I had no choice but to work as a house girl. My parents could not afford to send me to school. I tried to save whatever small coins I could and I held on tight to my dream to go back to school. After a few years, I felt I could not make it so I took my coins and I learned how to tailor clothes. I gained a skill, but I could not find satisfaction. My heart longed to be in the classroom.

Thanks to Matanya’s Hope and my precious sponsors for hearing my story. You came and rescued me when I had no other hope. I am the only one in my family who attended high school and university.

Through your love and dedication, I made it! I am a nurse. This once hopeless life can now attest that there is hope for the least of us. I can now help provide for my family and I will sponsor another child, needy as I once was.

Never give up. Always hope. Always believe.

This is me, Lydia, acting as a surgical nurse in the operating room.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for believing in me.

This is me, Lydia, acting as a surgical nurse in the operating room. Thank you Matanya’s Hope for believing in me.

Ambrose 2007 Nanyuki Kenya
"Where you are today is a monumental part of your story...and in some years to come...it will all make sense."

A Message from Ambrose

The Power of Hope Through Education – Ambrose’s Story

Ambrose Lanuko portrait in Nanyuki

I vividly remember the 2007 July day – hot and dry, without much breeze, but with a communal buzz of passersby and a heavy scent of lingering exhaust fumes. The people of this small Kenyan town did not have much access to modern transportation – especially that with clean emissions. Most of them were farmers and either walked or paid public vehicles to carry them. Anything motorized usually sputtered smoke and tossed fumes as an unavoidable torture to the human senses.

During this time of year, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa were experiencing drought. Community members were gathered in town for small business, waiting for the rains to come and the time to re-launch their new farming season.

I waited outside of the market. I don’t know why, but on this day, I did not want to go in. I stood on the makeshift sidewalk, observing… waiting… lost in my own world. A young boy of approximately 9 years old approached me. Though he stood on the opposite edge of the street, his eyes gently locked with mine and his unspoken story whispered straight to my heart.

Ambrose was steadfast. He engaged with my camera lens, in a friendly showcase of playful martial arts moves. His attention shifted from the lens to my eyes and back to the lens again. Dialect was not needed to speak the language between us.

Ambrose on the streets of Nanyuki during our first meeting.

Ambrose on the streets of Nanyuki during our first meeting.

When my Kenyan partner came out of the store, I was eager to tell him about my new friend. He urged me rather boldly to “let this go”…”Kenyan street children are liars”, he said with such an absolute unshakable conviction that it felt cold and shook me. “He will deceive you.” With that, his intentions were clearly laid out: I was expected to follow him to the vehicle and go home.
But I couldn’t. I could not get this sweet, little boy adorned in a torn and faded pink jacket out of my mind. I couldn’t let go of the innocent play we shared – and of the overwhelming love I felt filling my heart – I felt as if an angel stood there with me and brought this boy and I together.

“I can’t leave him”, I said.
I could see the irritation in my partner’s eyes. “I have to learn more.”, I persisted.

With a grudge powered resistance, my partner began to converse with Ambrose, “the street boy”. His first question was going to prove me so wrong… maybe the second…

We were soon in the car, myself, my partner AND AMBROSE – traveling into rough territory where we would check out if “this street boy” was telling the truth. (I had no reason to doubt him).

Our vehicle bumped through the town’s rocky terrain and splashed through whatever stagnant puddles remained along the way. The path was so narrow that at many turns, we brushed up against tall, twig like cacti. They scraped the sides of our car featuring unmistakable screeching as the auto paint was unapologetically scratched from the car.

As we rocked down the last leg of the pitted earth road, a cluster of dirt floored shanties revealed themselves. Several people stood outside watching the unusual sight of a car rolling through their alley ways. I was told to be guarded as I exited the car. Women and children stood still, captivated by our appearance. I looked into each person’s empty eyes and a sense of their desperation became mine. My heart broke for these people – even more so, it broke for my new friend.

“Here is where I live” he said. (translated for me). “I live with my crippled grandfather.” I peeked through the large gaps of 11 X 11 room, walled with deteriorating wood planks. The sunlight streamed through, highlighting the glittering flying dust and a dirt floor. Nothing else. This was Ambrose’s home. “My grandfather is crippled…” he paused. “He goes to town to beg. I care for him. I cook and I wash his laundry.”

“What do you want Ambrose? Do you have a dream for yourself?” I asked.
He leaned against the wooden planks and looked up into my eyes. “I want to become a doctor” he answered. I could hardly see. Tears were at their capacity; any more and they would spill down my cheeks!

We returned to town with Ambrose and took him to the store to purchase much needed food. I visited with him daily (for the time that I was in the area). We purchased a bed for himself and his grandfather and soon, we had a sponsor! Ambrose got his wish; he went to school.

Today, this precious child is a young man. He is in his final years of education, studying with every ounce of passion and drive in him to become a teacher. Yes, his career choice changed. Ambrose said it best: “I want to reach the youth who face challenges much like what I faced in my young life. You saved me. I want to save them.”

Ambrose during his internship - student teaching.

Ambrose during his internship – student teaching.

Ambrose’s story beautifully captures the essence of how gaining access to love and education can change a life and a community. The act of love, of listening and caring – and the gift of education empowered him to unlock the treasure trove of hope.

Literacy is more to our children than simply teaching them how to read; it opens up a new way of living. It provides a path to hope and dreams – to God’s plan for them – that otherwise may not ever be realized.

The seeds of HOPE are planted in the fertile soil of education and a loving support system. We use simple, personal ways, like playing with the children, feeding the hungry, putting shoes on the barefooted and clothing those who are dressed in threadbare material to demonstrate love for soul, here and now. Our prayer is that no child shall ever be forgotten.

Healing IS possible. It starts with a vision. It is followed by prayer and action. And… it culminates with renewed life … more than we could ever have imagined.

Your support makes a big difference!

A MESSAGE FROM AMBROSE:
“I know that I am the way I am because of God Matanya’s Hope and my sponsor, Isabel.

I could not imagine that I could reach this far. As a child, I did not know the importance of education and also being closer to God. Right now, I feel blessed and I pray that my story will be used to help the people who have lost their faith an hope in life.”
Ambrose Lanoko 2017

Ambrose 2007 Nanyuki Kenya "Where you are today is a monumental part of your story...and in some years to come...it will all make sense."

Ambrose 2007 Nanyuki Kenya
“Where you are today is a monumental part of your story…and in some years to come…it will all make sense.”

The road towards success does not require that I have the best clothes, but asks only that I have a steadfast dedication towards my dreams.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for believing in me.

Matanya’s Hope: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Children become ill after drinking from stagnant pools when that is all the water available.

Children become ill after drinking from stagnant pools when that is all the water available.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
…the difference between starvation and enough to nourish the body
…the difference between an education and being lost in the cycle of poverty
…the difference between a career and considering yourself fortunate to earn .82 cents a day as a common laborer (not even enough for daily food)
…the difference between having a clean water source and water laiden with bacteria and disease
…the difference between sleeping cold and uncovered on a dirt floor and sleeping contented on a bed with a blanket
…the difference between suffering (or even dying) from malaria and having medication and protection from mosquitos
…the difference between being barefooted and having shoes to protect tender feet from the earth’s challenging conditions

This is considered a lucky child with a pair of shoes...

This is considered a lucky child with a pair of shoes…


Your gifts and donations to Matanya’s Hope make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Here, in the western world, our youth have access to free education K – 12. Most are fed at least twice a day and worry more about the BRAND of shoes they have or about acquiring the latest electronic devise.

But, in impoverished areas of Kenya, students walk miles to school and they long for any pair of shoes. An electronic devise is a novelty that few of these children have seen or even heard of.

Here, students know they must attend High School. Most do their homework and await the arrival of their coveted weekends. Many orphaned and impoverished students in Kenya will be unable to pay the fees for high school; for some of these most brilliant minds, schooling stops as early as 9 years old. Weekends are almost ALWAYS reserved for hard labor, with or without food.

In 2005, as I traveled and met the children of rural Kenya, my perception of “the rights of a child” was overwhelmingly challenged. I met 4 students in a dilapidated classroom. Dirt floors… no electricity… no running water… and bare feet surrounded me. These children were orphaned, malnourished and each one believed they would never walk through the doors to study at any high school.

Children waiting outside of a classroom at Matanya Primary School

Children waiting outside of a classroom at Matanya Primary School

Before I left Kenya, each one of these 4 students were sponsored by 4 of the families on tour with us. They became the first four Matanya’s Hope students (before we ever even had a name). Matanya’s Hope grew from this first act of love through the ongoing gift of Hope being planted in each of these four lives. And though I celebrated these students, I could not erase the faces of the 250+ barefooted children I saw who also deserved the same chance.

The four original students who once had no hope for furthering their academic minds, have now grown. Two are working adults and two are finishing degrees; one in education and the other in food science. Imagine the joy in having a teacher who understands the plight of hunger and abject poverty; what an encouragement she will be!

From a start of 4, Matanya’s Hope now sponsors 250 +- students ranging from nursery to university. We have students studying pharmacology, nursing, education, engineering, accounting, law and more……..We have a plethora of graduates who work in the following areas: teaching, tourism, procurement, chefs, banks, aeronautical engineering, accounting and so much more. Together we are making a difference.

IF EVER YOU FELT COMPELLED TO GIVE, NOW IS THE TIME.
CHILDREN ARE IN NEED OF YOUR HELP.

Soon we will travel back to Kenya for Mission 2017 and again we are going to meet the faces of starvation, malnourishment and hopelessness. Funds are needed to place water tanks in drought stricken villages, schools, homes, medical clinics and orphanages. Medical supplies are needed in the remote clinics (where even an aspirin is often hard to come by).

We are going to see heartbreaking hunger and torn and ragged clothing. We are going to see feet without shoes and students without pencils. We are going to find children who sleep on dirt floors without a single blanket.

Funds are needed now for shipping of over 4000 pounds of donations and supplies so generously provided by you, our donors. Thank you! We need funds to continue our porridge program that feeds over 1000 students (in three different schools) a daily cup of freshly prepared hot, nutritious porridge. For many this cup of porridge is all these hungry children receive daily. HOPE is YOU. It is in all of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please listen to the song ‘Do Something’ by Mathew West and be the Hope these students and families need. ….

HOPE HAS A NAME. It’s YOU! Life is better for so many children and families, because you care!

Please help us continue this noble work.

Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

Matnaya's Hope founder, Michelle Stark with two children from Matanya Primary School.  Photo taken during Mission 2016

Matnaya’s Hope founder, Michelle Stark with two children from Matanya Primary School. Photo taken during Mission 2016

A Tribute of Thanks

5.10.11 Photos from Iphone 126

One year ago, I sat on the plane en route to Kenya and wrote the following:
Tribute to my wonderful Mom.

As you read these words, you are beautiful mom. In you I have a guiding spirit and friend. Your unselfish ways cradled me as I spent otherwise sleepless nights preparing for the mission. You drove, shopped, called and endured the onslaught of demands. You never complained but instead, rose to the occasion by tackling the ever changing list of to do’s.

Storms threw umbrellas to the fields and tore branches from trees, all the while, you told me you were not afraid because you want to live life to the fullest.

I did not know how it would be, mom, having you stay with me while I was in the throws of preparing documents and financial reports for hundreds of children. I was afraid I’d disappoint you. But, these past 7 days have been filled with a gift I shall carry with me always. You are my hero… my friend and my treasure.

Thank you dad for sharing your wife with me – for giving her up to make sure that this mission and I have the support I need to trumpet success. Thank you Dad for believing in me – in my dreams and my calling – and for believing in the lives of each child we are helping through Matanya’s Hope. You are my greatest spokesperson!

I missed having you here this year Mom! I missed you every day! But I am so glad that you and Dad are enjoying Israel!
Mom and Dad Israel 2016

To our sponsors:
I thank each one of you for your continued support. Together, we are making this world a better place and that is the magic. Never Stop Believing. If you ever doubt your effect on the child you sponsor, just ask them what life was like before you entered their world. Through your student’s eyes, you are their angel and with your gift of sponsorship, hopelessness gives way to hope more every day!

Together, we are helping pave the way for a better life for some of the world’s orphans and vulnerable children.

I can't wait to serve these precious children porridge and love!

I can’t wait to serve these precious children porridge and love!

To George, thank you for coming through and organizing us, even when I am in Kenya. Shana, thank you for your time helping me navigate through documents and to do’s…and for the laughter we shared. Jeannette, Ann, Bob, Heidi, Xuan, Susan, Christian… thank you! Matanya’s Hope USA is finally a family! You are each so important and valued in my heart! I could write a book on answered prayers! To Adrienne and Cody, thank you from me and Tiger. Without your welcoming arms, this precious life may not have made it. To Carla, thank you for your countless hours of prayer and friendship. I could not do this without my own faith and dependency on God. And to our neighbors, thank you for your kind help during this time of service.

You are all part of what makes this light of hope shine!

Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

Your donations are still very much needed.
Please donate at the top of this page or send your tax deductible donation to:
Matanya’s Hope
PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430

A Matanya’s Hope Student Shares A Plea For Others

I don't know how my story will end but it will never read....I gave up

Matanya’s Hope has sponsored me since I was young. You have given me the chance to go to school. Now I am in University, studying agribusiness management, a very good field for our farming country. I am not writing to you today about me.

I have had something in my heart, a burden, that is two years old now. I felt I should mention it to you.

I have a classmate who opened up to me about his life. He has faced hard times since he can remember and he is thinking of dropping out of school because he can’t see himself finishing the line with all of the struggles. We are taking the same course. Since my first year, I have been encouraging him.

He would sometimes come to school without a single items of shopping (soap, toothpaste, pens, pencils, notebooks, socks…), no fees to pay the tuition, not even clothes or shoes. He mostly attends classes with slippers. I would assist him with pens and share my copies of handout notes we get from lecturers which I printed with the money you provide.

The young man goes without food and when he gets it, it is really a miracle. Since the second year, second semester, he has never gone home during school breaks. He can’t because fees for transport are really a problem for him. I remember him telling me last year, “Lisper, if you see that I am doing this exam, God is great”. He said this because he had a fee balance that the parents could not afford. the father struggled and managed to send half of it. Then he approached the Dean of Students with a written letter to request to do the exams. He promised to pay the balance after the exam.

I asked him if he managed to pay it and he said that his father sold some trees and sent the fees after. Now we are in a new semester. the student got permission (a kibarua) to distribute mandazi (Kenyan donuts) from a small food kiosk which other kiosk owners use for a quick bite. He hoped that he would at least get food for supper. He did this with our without classes and he would rush quickly to class for every lecture.

This  is me, Lisper Muthoni.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for making it possible for me to go to school.  I can not imagine the harshness of life without education.

This is me, Lisper Muthoni. Thank you Matanya’s Hope for making it possible for me to go to school. I can not imagine the harshness of life without education.

The amazing thing is that no one is bright like him in class.

One day, the lecturer wanted to hear everyone shout what he or she would want to be in the future. I heard him saying “a researcher”. the lecturer talked about it. What pained me is that the guy was struggling to get food through getting permission to sell mandazi when I was doing my end of semester exams. I heard others saying that he can’t do the exam. the reason is because of the same fees he owes for this term. The parents have nothing more to sell. They can not manage to get food money for him and at the same time money to pay fees.

Since it has been a routine for him to have almost impossible balances due, the Dean refused to admit him to school this term. He told him “you either drop out of school or pay the fees.” The student was so stressed during exam time and after the exams I called him. I wanted to know what happened but he was in tears. He told me that he has been praying to get the fees but now he sees that he can’t make life through education but only away from education.

I encouraged him. I know you don’t know this person. You have never seen him either.

I wanted to open up this issue to you last year, but it was hard to do it. You know I am a quiet girl. I did not know how you would take it. But let me tell you, I don’t know why I feel bad about this. Every time I pray, I tell God to help that friend. We have given nothing to God yet we are getting our fees paid. It is God who provides.

This student is seeing that his dreams will be shattered by all means. I went home and I left him in school saying he can’t go home because he has no fare. And if he goes home, he will be frustrated to return without money for the old and new fees. He remains in the empty hostels with no shopping and no food. Fare to come back is still a problem. Still, he can study for the semester, but he can not do exams without clearing his fees. I really feel like God is calling me to see and feel deeply for what this guy is passing through.

I humbly approach you for your help. Everything is God who give. We are helping kids. This thing is serious. I have observed it for long. I have taken time to ask questions and want to know more. I at times wish I would have money to lend a hand. He comes from a very poor village called Kuria, bordering Tanzania.

The story of this student touched my heart. His name is Meremo Samwel Nyangi. He is in his 3rd year like me, taking Bsc (agribusiness management). the terms left are only 3 plus the one we finished on Friday though he has not paid for it and he has not done the exams for it.

Since my first year I have been encouraging him.  He would sometimes come to school without shopping, no fees, even clothes and shoes.

Since my first year I have been encouraging him. He would sometimes come to school without shopping, no fees, even clothes and shoes.

His fees for this new term are 14,350 ($145.00).
He also needs food for 5,000 a month times 4 months ($50 x 4 = $200)
and transport: 5,000 ($50)

I am a student who has been helped.
Now I pray you hear my request for this boy Samwel.

Thank you.
Lisper Muthoni

IMG_5984

Mission of Hope 2016

Children wait in line for distribution of porridge, school supplies and shoes.

Children wait in line for distribution of porridge, school supplies and shoes.

Today, children in Nairobi Kenya are facing the aftermath of one of the worst floods in the history of Kenya. Buildings have collapsed and many are injured and dead. Streets have become like rivers. People’s homes and belongings have been washed away.


Matanya’s Hope needs to raise $30,000 to carry on our much needed mission work. So far, we’ve already raised $14,531.00

This year we have more than 4,500 pounds of donated items to pass out, including: shoes, blankets, clothing, school supplies, medical supplies, hygiene supplies and so much more. We will spend our time loving and inspiring these children, assessing our past years work and delivering to help those in need during this crisis. Each trip costs $30,000. So far, we’ve already raised $14,561.00.

I am very proud of our progress, but I believe we can reach our goal of $30,000 in this next month.

To make that happen, we need your help.

This is a great opportunity for you to make a difference in the lives of these children and the communities in need. Please don’t let another day slip away; share your passion for life.

Your donation today is an easy way to make a difference in a child’s life. That simple.
You donate.
A child receives help, love and hope.
It is an investment in the future.

It’s a total win-win.

We have an amazing opportunity today for you to make a tax deductible donation that will help Matanya’s Hope address the crisis hitting Kenya today. Your donation will help children in need.

If you believe like us:
___every child deserves an education.
___every child deserves a chance to succeed in life.
___every child deserves to feel loved.
___every child deserves to be protected from harms way.

Give the gift of education and you are giving the gift of hope.

Give the gift of education and you are giving the gift of hope.

Matanya’s Hope works with thousands of orphaned and impoverished children in some of the most impoverished, remote regions of Kenya. Without our help, some of these children have gone without:
___food
___shoes
___school supplies
___education
___blankets
___safe drinking water (or any water at all)
___hygiene supplies (soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste)
___hope

Many children go days without food.  The Matanya's Hope porridge program helps to eradicate hunger.

Many children go days without food. The Matanya’s Hope porridge program helps to eradicate hunger.

To great days ahead,

Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

a persons most useful asset is love

Thank You – from Patrick – a Matanya’s Hope Student

Dear sponsors, donors and friends of Matanya`s Hope,

My name is Patrick. I know this might not be the first blog entry some of you are reading from me – I have written several, but this one is distinctive in that it reveals insights I could only gather after spending time serving with Matanya’s Hope. It is SPECIAL to me and I invite you to read and share with a friend. This would mean a lot to me.

Two years ago, Michelle Stark visited me at school – I was still in High school. She asked me to describe MH in three words and I said, `MH is Hope’. Honestly, I meant it…….and I still do! But if someone asked me the question again today, I would have a totally different answer. To me today, MH is ‘DOING LIFE TOGETHER’. It is being a blessing to other peoples` lives – making the world a better place to live in, not just for ourselves, but for others. It is being sensitive enough and courageous enough to raise awareness so that we can become blessings to those same others that so many in this world close their eyes to – turn their backs on – ignore – and let rot in their own hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Matanya’s Hope is different and I am different because of Matanya’s Hope.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago.  I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya's Hope.  Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago. I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya’s Hope. Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

I spent my December holiday (I am now a first year economics student at TUK – Technical University of Nairobi) delivering donations….food stuffs, chickens, blankets, clothes and mattresses to needy families in Kenya. It was tiring. That I won’t lie, but as days went by, I got to like the idea of giving people a reason to smile. It was amazing to see a person’s eyes sparkle for one of the few times in their lives they may have felt relief, loved or valued by others. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to watch the recipients of MH gifts receive something even more than the gift itself; love. Its awesome. I want to do this over and over again – as far as God wants me to.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay's Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya's Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor.  Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay’s Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya’s Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor. Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

There are so many scriptural references to God instructing us to love one another. Isaiah 58:7 is a perfect example. He instructs us to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked…to help those in need. At times, we feel like we don’t have a lot to give out. This is when we think of life in terms of material possessions. But material possessions do not define life. There is more to the human experience than just material possessions………. Someone somewhere is dying for love….all they need is someone who can smile, laugh, hug or even pray with them. Be that person. Be that blessing. Be that miracle. If someone is hungry, share what you have. That’s what I have learned. One day it could be me – or my mother – or my child. I can’t even imagine the hurt I would feel if I watched people turn their backs on my own family. But each time we turn our own backs, we are shunning someone’s child, someone’s parent, someones sister or brother…and in some ways, even ourselves. And each time we help, we are helping to heal the world.

I want to thank all of those who donated toward the Matanya’s Hope Christmas outreach. To those who donated to the chicken project, the mattress project, the blanket project and the food project, thank you for standing with us! I can`t mention all of you by name – you are so many………Michelle Stark – MY ANGEL, The entire MH family, The accounting firm: CJBS LLC, Kelly and Dave Golding, Kaitlin and Bill Bell……gosh, I want to mention every one. Thank you so much for being a blessing – a miracle.

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother.  Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya's Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible!  Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother. Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya’s Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible! Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

Thank you for making love happen.

Patrick Muriuki Wambui
Matanya’s Hope

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ANNITAH

Annitah and her Sintoyei, sponsored by the same couple, now call themselves "sisters".

Annitah and her Sintoyei, sponsored by the same couple, now call themselves “sisters”.

I see her hurrying as she walks past me. her head is newly shaven. She wears a clean uniform and has toothbrush in hand.
Her round cheeks let me know she is called Annitah. Even in the darkness of early morning, I know her well.

My heart swells with a love and joy uncountable in this physical life. In my mind, I also see last year’s pictures where Annitah wore rags. I feel the pain again as I recall watching her bend over a basin of river water, scrubbing dishes and washing floors by hand. I smile briefly as I recall her standing closely to her cucu (grandmother) working on the shamba (farm) to help her earn a coin for school – for food – for life.

Annitah during last year's mission.  Today she is sponsored and has the hope of a life blessed by education.

Annitah during last year’s mission. Today she is sponsored and has the hope of a life blessed by education.

I feel overjoyed. Our little girl is sponsored. Today she is in uniform. She is going to school.

The house bustles with energy. More than 20 Matanya’s Hope children scurry about washing, packing and getting ready to go to their perspective boarding schools facilities. The holiday is over. Those with long hair are carefully braided. Many shades of brown skin glow from the newly applied oil. Names are shouted into the morning air. Quincy. Naishorwua. Lanto. Jennifer. Pendo. Christine, Felister. Nasieku. Lilian. Nashula. Naini. Resui. Sintoyei. Wewe (“You”). The names are more than 20 in one house!

Taiyana holding a new set of markers for school.

Taiyana holding a new set of markers for school.

Let me be honest here. How many of us would give up our personal privacy to allow more than 20 children from different families – different cultures – different backgrounds and personalities to stay with us – to promote their education – to help them study and to develop a family? Most of these 20 are teens. If you have even one child of your own, you know, raising another soul is not easy. I don’t know how well I myself could do this. But I see it here. the 20+ students who live here during breaks range in age from 10-22. They come from all directions of Kenya and Tanzania (a neighboring country). I recall the day we traveled 17.5 hours to find Pendo and Witness in 2009 in Arusha Tanzania – and all we knew was their town and Witness’ name. God is SO good!

Moreen holding toothbrush and toothpaste, some of the many items donated to her for school.

Moreen holding toothbrush and toothpaste, some of the many items donated to her for school.

Last night I watched another procedure as Mrs. Mugo divided school supplies among the students. Bars of soap for washing clothes. Bars of soap for bathing. Colgate. Toothbrushes. Shoe polish. Toilette paper. Pens, pencils, erasers…supplies overflowed. You make them possible. Thank you Matanya’s hope for every contribution to these children’s lives. There are no adequate words to say what you are doing for these kids. You are hope to their souls. Let them grow, God, to become Your next servants to lift this nation.

Jeff Wambugu proudly displays his two new uniforms sweaters!  He is ready to go back to school.

Jeff Wambugu proudly displays his two new uniforms sweaters! He is ready to go back to school.

For all that I see, for all the joys, for all the triumphs over the challenges we face in every direction, thank you.

I don’t know how to express to you, our donors and sponsors, the magnitude of your gifts of love, education and even life support that you are giving to these souls.

I pray for strength as we continue together. Let us touch these lives to forever change the world for the better. Amen

Resui holds her new bookbag!.  What a great gift!

Resui holds her new bookbag!. What a great gift!

Michelle