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Construction Boom

During the past few weeks, two New Hope Initiative projects in East Africa saw construction of vital facilities accelerate at an incredible pace. We are currently about 60% complete on a large new wing for our medical center in Arusha, Tanzania. This new wing will house the very first charitable x-ray service in all of northern Tanzania. In addition to the x-ray facilities, the second level of our new building will also house an expanded lab and diagnostic section. This allows us to offer a greater range of services at much faster speeds. When we move the lab from its current position in the main wing, we will have the space to add a third doctor, increasing our capacity to see more patients on a daily basis. This is an exciting new development for our medical center and will double our usable square footage. We would ask you to pray for this project, as we are currently about $25,000 dollars short of the needed funds to bring the project to a timely completion.

Our second major project this summer is the completion of our new church construction in Kibera. The facility was under roof and usable last fall, however code restrictions in Nairobi have prevented the Kibera congregation from fully utilizing the building. This summer we added flooring, finished carpentry, painted, installed a septic system, and finished the Pastor's housing in the basement. The facility is now 90% complete and we are excited to report that the Kibera church is now using the facility on a weekly basis. We are thankful for the help that several of our summer teams brought to this project. It is exciting to see the ministries in both Arusha and Kibera going forward in these tangible and visible ways.

By Sandy Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative

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Meet Samson

From trouble with algebra and the typical pressures of high school, to financial and family issues, there aren’t many struggles that face the students of the Kibera Penda Project that Samson Mugendi, the 28-year-old Director of the Penda Project, can’t relate to. The oldest of five children, Samson, was born, raised, educated and still lives in Kibera so he knows all too well what challenges these students face on a day-to-day basis. I recently had a chance to sit down with Samson in Kibera and talk more about his life and his role with the Penda Project. TJ: What is your role as the Penda Project Director?

Samson: One of my main roles is to check on the 77 students that are currently sponsored. What I mean by that is I make sure they attend all of their classes and beyond always attending I make sure they are doing well within those classes both academically and in terms of discipline. Secondly, when they are done with exams at the end of each term, I collect all of their grades and send updates back to Kyle & Kelsey Baird and the sponsors in the United States. My other main job is to serve as the Student Pastor and teach them the word of God.This mainly takes place on Sundays when they attend the youth service at Kibera Bible Baptist Church.

TJ: One of the core aspects to the Penda Project is accountability, how do you try to provide this for the students?

Samson: As I said before this is one of the main responsibilities I have and the students need someone to consistently check on them. This is one of the reasons I am employed full time so that I can be there at any point the students may need me. In addition to attending class, all Penda students must attend study hall after school and this one of the times that I can check in and make sure all is going well with them.

TJ: What are some of the biggest challenges the Penda students are facing?

Samson: One of the biggest challenges is the environment they come from and are currently still living in. In Kibera, a lot of students drop out because they can’t pay school fees after primary school or they don’t qualify to attend. The Penda students are blessed to have their school fees covered but not all of them have qualified to attend boarding school which means they travel to and from Kibera each day to attend classes. When they go home, many people their age have already dropped out and the opportunity to get involved in bad activities like drugs are prevalent. Our boarding students are away for most of the year but still come home between breaks in terms and face these same situations. Also pregnancy is another huge challenge they face - especially the girls who are in day school and in some cases the pregnancy is against their will.

But no matter what challenges they have we always tell them that we want to have students who are committed to working hard and overcoming any hardships.

TJ: What has being the Penda Project Director meant to you?

Samson: It has changed my life. I never imagined I would be where I am now and I believe that God is using me to do great things in Kibera. The Samson I used to know four years ago is so different now because God is working in my life. My prayer is that God will continue to use me to reach many people in Kibera — from the Penda students to my neighbors and my fellow youths.

TJ: What are your goals for the future?

Samson: Right now I am working on my theological degree at Tena Bible Baptist School. I have finished my first year and I have two years left. Once I am finished I want to continue to serve the Lord in Kibera working with New Hope Initiative and using all that God has given me through my time as the Penda Project Director to continue to serve the youth of Kibera. I want to do all I can to make sure they achieve something with their education and most importantly serve God in whatever job they have.

By T.J. Walter - New Hope Initiative Board Member

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New Hope Church Update

The year 2012 has ushered in a wonderful new era for our partners at the New Hope Center in the Nairobi area slum called Kibera. After 30 years of meeting in a ramshackle and old facility, the congregation moved to a beautiful new building where they enjoy a space that will not only accommodate the growing crowds, but will also allow for further development in the future. On the first Sunday of March, Pastor Simon and his congregation were privileged to report one of the largest attendances in the history of the church with almost 1,000 people. It is a blessing to see the growth of this church, as only three short years ago the congregation averaged 50 people per week! We ask you to pray for the church, that they will effectively use their new facility to reach many people with the message of Jesus Christ. Also, please pray for the funds necessary to complete the facility with flooring, paint, and other improvements. The total cost for completion is approximately $25,000.

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