Turning Point Prayer Bulletin
4th October 2011
What an exciting start to the work after the August break – there’s so much going on!
Last week up at the farm, the first group of mums spent a morning with the TP lawyer going through their agreements for their single acre plots they are now living on. Over a 15-year period they will assume full rights and complete ownership of this land, and it was exciting to see them signing the agreement that turns each one into a landowner – with all the dignity & status that comes with that in Kenya. Considering where these mums and their kids were a few short years ago, it is such a complete transformation for them.
Pictured is Jackline, having just signed her agreement.
More exciting Farm news – we have appointed a farm manager! Samuel is a graduate of Nairobi University, with a degree in Agribusiness. He is passionate about supporting smallholders to manage their land effectively, and is keen to experiment with new crop varieties and farming techniques, in an effort to improve yield for farmers. He is also a strong Christian, and with his wife and two children is excited at the opportunity he will get with TP to support families from Kibera and assist in the transformation of their lives. Currently, he is overseeing the building of his house on the TP farm, and is enjoying a handover period with Florence, whose help and support of the first group of mums and kids was invaluable.
He will spend some time in Kibera over the next couple of months, as we want to involve him in the selection process for the next group of 10 families to go to the farm. Once selected, we will have several days where we can do some preparation work with them, as well as some simple ‘getting-to know-you’ type activities, in an effort to build friendships amongst both the mums and the kids before they all move up to the farm in December. The selection process is likely to be difficult, as we expect there will be many people who’d like to benefit through this scheme.
A couple of weeks ago we had a planning meeting at the Kianda Centre – our second centre in Kibera. We had asked Ben & Mary, who run this centre, to think and pray about how they felt God wanted the centre to develop. Over the course of the next few weeks we shall be developing a proposal for the development of this centre, to be presented to the board of trustees. It is exciting to see how God is working through Ben and Mary, and the heart he has given them for the children and families in their part of Kibera.
Finally it seems as if there may be an answer to our desire to computeris the record-keeping for our microfinance programme – TPFP. This week, Moses (TPFP Administrator), Emily & I met with Mark Davies, a missionary in Kenya (originally from Wales) who specialises in database design & programming. After a lengthy meeting during which we went through the workings of TPFP, in minute detail, Mark was very positive about the suitability of a database to meeting our needs. He is now doing some preliminary design work, with a view to coming back with some detailed costing and timescales – hopefully not too expensive, and not too long away either.
TPFP itself continues to be a huge success, and we have spent some time evaluating other microfinance institutions to see if there is one we can partner with to pass people on to, once they have reached the maximum in our programme. It has always only ever been our intention to start people off through TPFP, and that we don’t see ourselves as anything more than a bridge for the poorest of the poor to have an accesible route in to microfinance. We think we may have identified the most suitable institution, and are having to amend our programme in a small way to prepare our members, once they reach this stage, for this next step. To think that there are people from Kibera who, a few years ago, were struggling to find anyone to believe in them, and now who can support themselves and their families, and run effective businesses – it’s great! What a privilege to be involved in providing such opportunities.
In a couple of weeks the Chairman of the UK Board of Trustees comes out for a week, together with his wife and younger daughter. They will be visiting the different centres in Kibera, as well as the farm, and meeting all the staff. For some it will be their first opportunity to meet Peter – the ‘big fish’ as he is known here. We will also have time to review our progress in forming a local governance board, and they will probably enjoy a short safari whilst they are here.
Since the middle of last week, Jo’s health has been much better – thanks for your prayers! She is now waking up most mornings free of pain, and is able to be more herself. We are obviously all very pleased at the change, and hope it is long-term. It turns out that her neck had gone into spasm, and several sessions with a physio were required before the improvements were seen. Pippa is getting stuck in to her work with us here, and is slowly getting to grips with how TP works, and the extent of what it does. Today she’s up at the farm with Emily, meeting Samuel, and hopefully seeing some of the mums in their new homes.
We hope that distribution problems with this prayer email are now down to a minimum, and apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused any of you through our testing and attempts to iron out the teething problems. Thanks for standing, or kneeling, with us in prayer – we pray you would experience God’s blessing as you bless the work of TP with your continued prayers.
Jon & Jo