Imara Village nears groundbreaking, kids go on safari

Safari with Hippo

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International

Friday

The Kenya Imara International Board of Directors met on Friday afternoon at Cape Chestnut to discuss the Imara Village startup and groundbreaking ceremony. The final contractor bids are due today and the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) will review and make recommendations for awarding the winning bid within the coming week.

We owe the BATUK a great nod for their extreme service and assistance. Their expertise is so important in guiding a startup organization like Imara International as we undertake the development of Imara Village. While we have skilled and dedicated people throughout the Imara network, we don’t know what we don’t know!! BATUK knows construction, contracting, regulations, weather, black-cotton soil, Kenyan culture, and the plethora of important details that are so fundamentally critical to the outcome of our building project.

We thank the Good Lord for guiding us to this terrific partnership, and we give the British Military our warmest salute for their incredible community-minded spirit.

Our Kenyan Board now numbers seven members, five of whom are Kenyan, and we are so grateful for their wisdom and dedication to greater good of the Imara mission. They have already helped build bridges with key partners, giving us good advice and counsel on finding our way, and in general keeping us safe and sound. When we discussed community relations, the Board unanimously assured us that “community building is in their blood.”

One example of how God is working the Imara journey occurred when Board member Pastor Robinson raised the question of electricity at the new site. We all affirmed that there is no service within several kilometers, and we know on no plans to bring power to our land. Our project includes a diesel generator, and we want to explore solar power within our planned village. Chairman Brian has recently become aware of government funding for solar power. Operations Director and Board member Sandy has recently become acquainted with a grant-writer here in the community. Pastor Robinson, a professional electrician (in his spare time!) offered to help us pursue the solar option. If anyone had a doubt about God’s hands within Imara, one might conclude this is all coincidence. We have no such doubts! Read More

An active day

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International

Thursday

The finish of our work day at the Imara Home this afternoon was totally centered on having fun with the children. While Kristine was providing a presentation on cerebral palsy to the moms and the staff, the rest of the mission team and the kids did wild and crazy things with swings, tricycles, running games, catch-me-if-you-can, complete with laughing and screaming and full-scale family-style fun and games. Totally unplanned as it was, and probably frustrating to Sharon who had carefully planned a bubble-wrap art project, the Good Lord arranged a total Plan-B for all of us, creating some memories that will have legs.

About our planned activities today: the first science project started, computer training occurred, the inventory system is growing in quantity and quality, the water tower platform was completed, and Sharon offered an amazing devotion about God’s answers and scriptural references to thirteen of our common-everyday responses to life’s challenges. For example, when we say “I am not smart enough to deal with this,” God says, “I will give you wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 reveals, “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Sharon has twelve more examples of daily doubt and frustrations which I expect she will gladly share.

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Let the light shine

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International

Wednesday

What a great warm welcome we received today at the Imara Home! While we all have expectations about a mission trip experience, so often we are surprised and pleased with the unexpected. Today, the Imara family presented a musical welcome to us which included a lighting of candles not unlike the passing of the light that occurs at Christmas Eve services in many Christian churches throughout the world. The “passing of the light” is a very special and inspirational experience for many including yours truly, and the light really came through today.

The Mission Trip Devotional Journal that we are using this trip is Why Not? Let Your Light Shine, by Rev. Dr. Frank Nelson of Woodbury, Minnesota, and published by TalkPoints. The study is based upon Matthew 5:16, where Jesus extends an invitation to us in his Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Last night, Peggy Hermann led our group discussion, “Why Not Be A Light?”, using Ephesians 5:8,9, which reads: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” We had a rich discussion about living in the light and being the light last evening, and this morning we are welcomed with this special candlelight moment. Some might say “coincidence,” I say, “a God moment!” Thank you dear Imara moms and staff for lighting our lives is such an amazing way today. Read More

Winter mission team arrives

Winter 2017 Mission Team

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International

Saturday – Sunday

Our Saturday flight from Minneapolis was delayed causing a missed connection in Amsterdam. So we are rebooked through London arriving in Nairobi at 5 a.m. on Monday. Our 15 pieces of luggage and supplies did not arrive in Nairobi with us, so we are working with Kenya Airlines, (and vicariously with KLM and Delta) to help our luggage to find its way to Nanyuki, maybe by Wednesday. On a very positive note the new e-VISA procedure worked flawlessly, enabling us to pass thru Customs in less than one hour.

Our team of six includes:

  • Carmella Anderson, experienced travel agent, specializing in cruises, mother of three and grandmother of two is making her first visit to Imara and Kenya.
  • Neal Dalton, exalted computer guy and father of four boys, first visited Imara home in March 2014.
  • Peggy Herrmann, retired Donaldson Company executive and mother of two, grandmother of two is returning for her second visit.
  • Kristine Michael, Physician Assistant, and mother of three, is on her third Imara team.
  • Sharon and Fred Hegele round out the group.

We have been preparing since October 2016 and we are feeling ready to go. The Kenyan Immigration procedures are quite different this year with the new electronic visa application and additional Special Permit requirements that have tested our computer skill and our patience. We are well “papered” with applications and receipts heading for the Nairobi Immigration Office on Monday to pick up the treasured permits to allow us to do our mission work at Imara Home in Nanyuki. We believe these new procedures are to protect local jobs. Read More

Holiday greetings with love from Sandy

Sandy Skorczewski

By Sandy Skorczewski
Director of Operations – Kenya
Imara International
NOTE: Click here for information about how to make a financial donation to Imara International.

Season’s greetings from Nanyuki, Kenya! I send you blessings and an update on my mission with the moms and their children here at Imara International. With your faithful support, we are truly making a difference. Here are two success stories:

A beautiful and talented young lady with a great desire to succeed says “thank you” for all the support I give to her. Today she thanked me for being more than a mom to her, and more than her mom could ever be for her, because I set the bar high, while being an example, teaching her to press on to a higher mark. She said all this with eye contact (not common here) and tears of gratitude rolling down her face.

A mother of one of our young moms doesn’t speak English, yet we communicate. During Family Day this year, she took me aside and had one of our matrons translate for her. She shared her gratitude with me for who we are and what we do.
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