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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Cornerstones for the future

By Carol Erickson, Executive Director
Imara International

The Imara International Gala is under a week away, and I can’t wait for the big event! For the first time, I have gotten to be part of all that goes into getting this event planned (usually I am in Kenya). I am continually blessed by the smart and dedicated people who have put heart and soul into making sure the Gala will be a success. I hope you will be joining us November 6th as we celebrate all that God is doing in and through Imara International.

What is success? Most people measure success in dollar signs, but for Imara, it is so much more. Cornerstones. Cornerstones provide an anchor. Pillars that hold a foundations in place. That is what success is for Imara International. Providing what the young women and their children need to be firmly anchored on a foundation that lasts. A foundation of Faith, Education, Skills and Parenting. Of course we need those dollars to get it done, lots of dollars, and thanks to all of you being willing to be part of events like this we will get the money part done. But it is the lasting effects that I would like to highlight.

Education empowers. It gives the girls at Imara a chance to dream of what their futures might be. For each girl it looks a little different, but no matter what level they attain, it matters. Not only does education matter for the moms, it matters for their children. Research has proven over and over the importance of early childhood education and how it impact all future learning. Their little cornerstones are being anchored and their foundations established.

Skills. Life skill and job skills give confidence. Knowing that you are good at something and that those skills are marketable and needed in the community. Whether baking, sewing or cosmetology, the girls are learning practical, hands-on techniques that will prepare them for the workforce or to go on to future schooling. For our girls headed to trade school, we aim to send them in armed with the knowledge and skills to be top of their class!
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Redefining mzungu: Sandy’s story

Sandy Skorczewski - Imara International

By Joe Abe

Kenyans call Sandy Skorczewski “mzungu,” which simply means “white person” in Swahili. After learning more about Sandy, when I hear mzungu, I think about “perseverance.” In the third issue of Mjumbe Imara, I began to tell Sandy Skoczewski’s story. After interviewing her, she told me stories about her calling to Africa, life lessons, and adventures outside of Imara. It’s difficult to fit such an extraordinary experience into a short article in Mjumbe Imara, so allow me to elaborate.

The summer of 2009, Boy Scout Troop 570 caravanned out to the Beartooth Mountains of Montana. Why is this significant? It was on this trip that I spent a whole week hiking through the Montana wilderness at 9,000 feet elevation and 40 pounds on my back with Sandy and her son, Dylan. Up in the mountains, we carried everything with us: food, pots and pans, stoves, tents, sleeping bags, rain gear, and clean underwear. I remember hitting the first camp for the day and feeling exhausted, throwing my tent up, and passing out on my sleeping bag.

Sandy was in my hiking group and carried on with a quiet but unwavering perseverance. That was what I remembered most about her. Despite long days traversing rocky terrain, braving wind and rain and whiny Boy Scouts, Sandy did what she does best: persevere.

Perseverance is an integral part of Sandy’s identity. For over 15 years, she raised her two children, Dylan and Jake, as a single mom. On top of that, she was a big supporter of Dylan’s participation in Troop 570, driving him an hour every Monday night to meetings and getting involved in the Troop’s activities. Being an active scout parent is no easy feat. After Boy Scouts, another challenge knocked on her door. Read More