31 December 2014

Remember the Otienos!

We're quickly drawing to the end of the year, and many of you will be thinking about your year-end giving.  No doubt you're getting emails and Facebook and snail mail reminders from every cause you've ever supported asking for your check or online donation as 2014 closes.  Well, here's my pitch for why your year-end giving should support the Otienos:

1.  We're involved with really important work which is impacting lives.

We work with Lahash International, facilitating holistic care for vulnerable children.  We work with the Tanzania Mennonite Church, doing all kinds of things like building housing for widows, installing rainwater cisterns for palliative care clients and supporting illiterate pastors in caring for their congregations.  We work on Mama Maisha, a project we started earlier this year with our good friends, the Grahams.  This is a project which is literally saving lives.  Here is the photo of baby Grace, who was born just last week in Shirati Hospital after her mother had complications in delivery.  Six months ago, before Mama Maisha's Maternal Health Advocates started their educational outreach, the mother and baby probably would have died like so many others before them.

2.  We're dependent on your support.

All of the projects we work on, from Mama Maisha to Lahash International to gender-based violence are dependent upon the generosity of donors like you.  100% of our financial support comes from donations, either directly to our personal support fund through Lahash International or through donations to the projects we work on.  God has called us to a ministry and a life which requires us to raise money almost constantly.  Many times this feels burdensome and unpleasant (asking friends and family for money is often uncomfortable and nearly always awkward!), but in order to do the work that we are called to, we need your support in prayer, fellowship and funding.

3.  We love you and want you to be part of our work.

We love what we do and we want to share the satisfaction and joy that we receive from showing God's love and care for people in vulnerable situations.  We want you to share that satisfaction, to feel ownership for work which is dramatically impacting the lives of the poor and suffering in rural Tanzania.

How can you be part of our ministry?

Give to support our family's personal and travel expenses.

 Give for the Otieno Family

Give to support the organizations we work with.
(Click the photo to give to that project.  Mama Maisha funds are raised through Village Life Outreach Project, a non-profit that we have a great relationship with.  Just be sure to mention Mama Maisha when you give or send me an email to let me know about your gift so that we can make sure it's credited to Mama Maisha's account.)

 Sponsor a Child through Lahash International

Attend our presentation on January 9th to find out more and ask questions.

Otieno Family Presentation - Come hear about our ministry in rural Tanzania!9 January 2014, 6:30-8pm814 E 1st St, Newberg, OR(Ben Jaquith American Family Insurance office)

Thank you for your love and care.  Happy New Year!

19 December 2014

Some Amazing Ladies...Brief and Exciting News from Mama Maisha

These ladies are all members of the brand new Mama Maisha village groups!  I cannot tell you how excited all the Mama Maisha staff and founders are to see more than 100 women getting involved within the first month of the Maternal Health Advocates starting up.  These groups are a place for women to be educated and discuss matters about healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and family planning.  My favorite thing is how many pregnant bellies and tiny babies are in these photos.  As nice as it is to be in the States right now, I'm itching to get back to Tanzania and meet them in person!

11 December 2014

The Amazing America

We're having a great time in America, but, sadly, the crazy pace of standard American life has caused me to neglect the blog.  Here's a brief update:

Fred's work - Mostly on hold until we get back.  The end of the year is usually the end of the budget cycle for his projects, and December is often a month when everyone takes leave.  Sadly, we've heard that some of the people Fred has been working with are being laid off because their projects aren't re-funding.  Please pray especially for Stephen, who I mentioned in our last email, because he doesn't have the formal education to get a similar job at another organization, so he'll being going back to volunteering and farming.

Leisha's work - Mama Maisha has had a little pause while both our coordinator and I have been traveling and while our quarterly funds have been pretty tight because of the expensive training in October.  Grace, our coordinator, is back in Shirati and getting things back on track.  We just got word that we didn't get a grant we were hoping for that would have provided safe delivery kits for moms and traditional birth attendants, but we're talking to a lot of people about Mama Maisha and hope to get some sustainable, grassroots funding in place.

The kiddos - The kids are loving America, especially the family and many, many friends we've met.  The last ten days we've been driving through California and southern Oregon, meeting up with so many friends, nearly all of whom have kids the same age range as our kids.  Inno's writing journal is full of city names followed by the names of the new friends he's met and cool things he's done. It basically looks like this, but in barely legible grade schooler handwriting.
              Brookings, OR - Blake, lighthouses
              Santa Rosa, CA - Nick and Jaclyn, redwoods, drove through tree
              San Francisco, CA - Scott, playground
              Pasadena, CA - Baby Gideon and Sofia
              San Diego, CA - Jasmine and Hannah, beach, church play
              Modesto, CA - Bear
              Medford, OR - Grant, ice skating, church
              Albany, OR - Reagan

We're home again now, transitioning into Christmas celebrations and a series of dinners with friends.  Hopefully our kids will keep up their excellent behavior and pretty good health and patient acceptance of so many new things.  Thanks to all of you for reading, for praying, and for inviting us into your homes and churches.  We're really enjoying this time of fellowship and fun as a family and the opportunity to share our work with all of you!