Monday, December 29, 2008

End of Year Giving

I don't often talk about finances. In fact I think this week is the first time I will have ever written anything about money in one of my blog postings. As you know, William and I are here in the USA over the holidays. During our time here we have had a lot of great conversations connecting with a lot of great people. During some of these conversations it's come to my attention that many people don't understand just how our ministry is funded. So I figured what better time than in the last few days of the year to explain?

Since we have been in the states we have been asked the question "What are your needs?" on a regular basis. And it is true that there are some items that we need to purchase while we are here in the states to take back with us to Kenya. But quite honestly our biggest physical need (we have no need as great as the one for prayer!) is financial support.

We work for a Christian non-government-mission organization. Now that's a mouthful! It's rather small with only a handful of Western missionaries on staff. Because it isn't a huge organization the ministry doesn't have a huge budget. Due to this fact William and I are required to raise both our salary and our ministry funds. I'm finding that many people are surprised by this. A lot of you probably knew that we had to raise our own salary but may be surprised to know that we have a financial responsibility in helping our ministry to happen as well.

In truth more than half of our monthly budget is used for ministry purposes that are not related to our daily living expenses. When we work with a family like Chelagat's we don't have an official fund to tap into. We simply take the funds out of our own account. The same goes for many purchases like new equipment, seeds for William's home-based-care patients etc.

Our current monthly giving is about 50% of our projected budget for 2009. So yes, one of our purposes for being here in the States right now is to try to bring that figure up closer to the projected budget. I don't want to make this a sappy message pleading for donations. But I do want to say that we would not be doing what we do in Africa without the support of financial partners around the world. The work we do happens because of people like you who help make it happen. One of our supporters recently said "I know I'm not the one physically delivering those babies, but when you deliver a baby I feel like I've been a part of it." And in a way it is true!

You should know that 100% of donations made to our account go into our account. If you have further questions please feel free to send me an e-mail here. I'd be happy to answer questions or even get together to chat while we are in CA.

So why get this information out today? Well because it seems like the end of the year is a good time to talk about tax-deductible-donations. If you would like to make an end-of-the-year gift it does need to be postmarked or electronically posted by December 31st. Every donation whether small or large helps. Some people choose to make one annual donation; others make monthly contributions. Some sign up for electronic monthly giving and others send donations at sporadic times throughout the year. We have had donations as big as $1,500 and as small as $10. Every little big makes a difference.

So how do you give? You can give electronically be following the links from the ELI Home Page or you can make a check payable to Empowering Lives Int'l. If you choose to write a check our name should not appear on the check. In the memo section you should write "Fund 323" which is our account number at the office. Checks can be mailed to:

Empowering Lives International
P.O. Box 67
Upland, CA 91785

Remember that for donations to count towards this years taxes they need to be postmarked or electronically posted by the 31st. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact William and I!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Since arriving in CA William and I have been on the go. It has been rush here, rush there, meet with someone here, speak there. etc. You get the idea! The problem is that I really love all of it! I want to see as many people as possible and experience as much of America as we can in the time that we are here. But it has been a lot and I've been feeling pretty run down for the last week.

Three days ago my throat started getting sore and I noticed that my tonsils were rather big. Well I have chronic allergies and so I basically attributed the swelling to some post-nasal drip as well as general fatigue. I've felt tired and icky but no other symptoms. Well last night my mom thought I had a fever. When I woke up this AM my throat was burning. So I decided to pull out my good old torch (flashlight) and take a look.

I have never had strep-throat before but I'm a medical professional and I've certainly diagnosed and treated it. One look at my swollen-pus-covered tonsils and I knew I had strep. Unfortunately I don't have health insurance. But I know that strep can be pretty serious. If untreated it can affect the kidneys, heart and even neurological system. So I decided I needed to suck it up and go see someone.

I was contemplating going to a homeless clinic when I remembered that CVS now has Minute Clinics where you pay cash to be treated for basic medical problems. I went to my local clinic and was treated by a really sweet NP. She took one look at my throat and agreed that I had a classic case of strep. She kept telling me "can you feel how swollen your lymph nodes are?? You are really sick girl!". No kidding! That's why I'm here. Sure enough the rapid test came back positive.

So I'm now in isolation for the next 24hrs while I wait for the penicillin to knock the bacteria down to a non-contagious level. Fun stuff! At least I should be feeling good by Christmas day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

William's Observations

Since arriving in the USA the number one question we have been asked is "What does William think of America?" He wants to let everyone know that he thinks America is a wonderful country. One of his surprises has been how kind and welcoming people are. Most of our American visitors to Kenya make comments about how they find Kenyans to be more friendly than Americans. So he was prepared for a colder welcome. He has been amazed at how friendly, open and welcoming people have been to him.

However I do believe that meeting so many new people has been a bit overwhelming. The vast number of choices available are also a bit much to take in. He actually isn't quite sure how to respond to the "what do you think?" question. Some people seem surprised when he says it is a wonderful country. Almost as if they expect him to say that he is disgusted by materialism and picking up on the not-so-nice things about our country.

I know that I have been overwhelmed with realizations over and over again this last year about how wonderful a country America is. Yes, she has her faults. But when you stack her up against what a lot of countries deal with on a day-to-day basis, America is a pretty amazing and wonderful country. A land of opportunity.

So my take on William's impressions is that he has not been shocked. He has been hearing from me and from visiting Americans for years about what America is like. I think there have been adjustments but not major shocks. Not sure if that makes sense?

I hope that answers questions a bit. William told me this week that the biggest highlight of this year has been getting to come and visit America and learn about my world. Thank you to all of those who have given us this wonderful welcome! We just had an amazing getaway to San Diego. It was a gift from a friend I used to work with. Thank you so much Iberay for that wonderful treat!

I'll try to get some more San Diego pictures up later this week. We were blessed with not only the gift of a hotel room with a bay view, but with trips to the Zoo and Sea World!