Monday, February 7, 2022

January 2022

Happy New Year, Cherish Sponsors and Supporters! 

January is a great time to pause and picture our young Kenyan friends walking with anticipation through the villages of Meru to start a new year of school. Because of Cherish and HOPE, over 200 students are experiencing school security; they don’t have to wonder if their family’s money will run out before the next term’s school fees are due, abruptly ending their formal education. Not only do they enjoy educational security, but they also know they have a stable and loving neighbor – their HOPE guardian – checking in on them periodically to make sure they have the clothing, food, and even medicine they need to flourish. I feel so blessed to be a part of this good work, and I hope you do too.

I traveled to Kenya with Cherish three years ago. Visiting the homes and schools of our sponsored children showed me that our Cherish students are learning so much! At home they learn practical skills such as farming, gardening, budgeting, water purification, and management. Their school learning – such as language acquisition and problem solving – augments their real-world learning to open their mind to think big and find innovative ways to support their family in the future. I will say this – these Meru students work hard at both home and school! They are going to be well equipped for a productive adult life.

To make up for educational losses during the school closures in 2020, students in Kenya will be attending a 4th term of school in 2022. This Is the equivalent of schools in Washington deciding to continue school through summer break. While Cherish sponsors will not be expected to make a 4th contribution this year, we do want to invite you to consider make an extra gift to help cover these additional school fees for our Cherish students. Simply label your donation, “Extra family gift.” For reference, the cost per term for a primary student is $118 and for a secondary student is $195. 

Cherish maintains the best aspects of being small, grass roots, and personal (despite tremendous growth) through relational letter-writing and prayer. We do want to let sponsors know that extra gifts beyond sponsorship dues can no longer be ear-marked to go to a specific child or family. It is healthier from a non-profit standpoint for donors to designate their above-and-beyond donation, “Extra family gift,” and allow the HOPE guardians to discern where the money needs to be directed. This money will be used for unforeseen needs such as food, clothing, and medicine for the children, or spikes in school fees.

Other bits of news – 
  • Cherish has a new, useful, and easy-to-remember email address: cherish@uppc.org. Multiple Kenya Team members will have access to this mailbox so inquiries can quickly be directed to the right person. 
  • There are several students waiting for sponsors; see the list at cherishmeru.org.
  • Sponsorship donations are due March 5, June 5, and October 5.
  • View your Cherish giving – past, present, and future – online! See link for details.
Thank you for your faithful partnership with Cherish Meru. Sponsors are making such a difference. Speaking for my family, I know the money that we pre-designate for Kingdom purposes is the easiest yet most gratifying part of our budget. It is a practical way to express our trust of a good God who cares for our needs as well as the needs of the children in Meru – He really is good “all the time!”

Sincerely,

Pam Wenz,
Cherish Team Member and Cherish Sponsor


Emily Bosh 
UPPC Elder of Outreach and Mission
emilybosh@yahoo.com | (253) 459-4049


Lisa Woicik
UPPC Minister of Outreach 
lwoicik@uppc.org | (253) 292-2848

P.S. Be sure to check the updated Donation Instructions to help ensure your donations are received correctly.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September 2021 - CHERISH UPDATE

 Greetings Sponsors and Supporter of CHERISH,


This is a reminder that of today, September 1, the sponsorship rates have changed.  Please also remember that there has been a change in the school year and your donation due by October 5 will cover the final term of their school year.   I will contact sponsors whose rate will change with their March donation.


Beginning September 2021

· Elementary = $354/year; $118/trimester; $29.50/month

· High School = $585/year; $195/trimester; $48.75/month


Please also be aware that the tracking of donations is undergoing some changes also.  Please make certain that your donations are designated for SPONSORSHIP (above amounts) and any extra you would like sent to your student for family needs is designated EXTRA GIFT TO STUDENT AND FAMILIES and donations for general needs of the ministry go to CHERISH WHERE NEEDED.   UPPC is tracking the amounts donated during the fiscal year.  


We appreciate your patience and continued support during this time of change and COVID disruptions both here and in Meru. Please share our website with others who might be willing to sponsor one of our WAITING students.   We are thankful to be able to continue to walk along side our brothers and sisters in Meru.


Blessings,

Karen Lau and the CHERISH TEAM


Sunday, February 7, 2021

January 2021 Update

Dear Cherish Sponsors and Supporters,

The upheaval of routines and schedules over the past 10 months has impacted every corner of the globe, United States and Kenya alike. Our partnership with the HOPE team in Meru has never been more vital, nor more inspiring.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, many of our children here in the U.S. are experiencing the loss of social interaction, in-person learning, and ability to spend time with grandparents. Schools in Kenya have been completely closed, and now – tentatively – reopened (more on that below), but children in Kenya have lost 7 months of learning, along with the stability that school provides. Let us pray for each other!

Many families here in the U.S. have lost their livelihoods, or live in fear of making adequate income this year to provide for basic needs. Friends in Kenya are experiencing the same: businesses have slowed, tourist visits have waned to a trickle. Let us pray for each other!

My own family and friend circles here in America have experienced disease and loss, both due to COVID, and to other causes. An auntie lost to cancer, several friends experiencing chronic health issues (likely exacerbated by stress), a long-time acquaintance lost to COVID-19. Our dear friends in Meru have also experienced sickness and loss. Mercy’s grandmother lost to heart attack, Liz’s mother and Abby’s grandmother lost to cancer, and Josephine’s father, Ibrahim, gravely ill for several weeks (now fully recovered, praise Jesus!). Let us pray for each other!

Participating in Cherish Ministry to Meru is more than just providing financial support for the education of children. We share life with one another, share common experiences – especially this year amidst a global pandemic, share faith and hope in a God who cares deeply about us all. We practice frequent and honest communication, and provide each other with grace.

That last point, about practicing communication and grace, is going to be required in higher doses than usual in the coming months. The Kenyan government’s policy on school closure has changed since the pandemic began. Back in March 2020, all schools were closed, and the 2020 school year was declared a lost year; students would simply restart, and repeat their current grade, in January 2021. In recent weeks, however, the government changed course, sending students back to classrooms a bit earlier than expected and opting to condense months of learning into weeks in order to play catch-up. The 2020 school year will therefore end in July 2021 for grades K-7 and 9-11, and will end with national exams for grades 8 and 12 in March 2021. The consequences of school closures and rescheduling directly impact our ministry:

  • Your continued giving in 2020, during school closures, allowed the HOPE team in Meru to provide for emergency needs amongst our sponsored families. THANK YOU!!
  • Kenya’s school calendar has been – and will likely continue to be for 1-2 years – massively adjusted to account for the lost months of 2020.
  • This in turn impacts the logistics of our financial support for students. School fees in Kenya may come due at times that no longer coincide with our usual trimester giving due dates.
  • Students in Standard 8 (8th grade) and Form 4 (12th grade) are especially impacted, as they will be sitting for their national exams in March 2021. They will then move on to high school, or graduate, 8 months earlier than we previously expected.

For now, you can plan to continue with our usual donation schedule: March 5, June 5, and October 5. The Cherish Ministry team is in constant communication with our HOPE team in Meru, and will be doing our best to communicate with each of you as individual students’ circumstances change. We are more grateful than ever for your generosity and grace as we navigate the confusion together.

As a reminder, here is a summary of our recently updated sponsorship rates:

Current (as of September 2020)

·         Elementary = $330/year; $110/trimester; $27.50/month

·         High School = $549/year; $183/trimester; $45.75/month

 

Beginning September 2021

·         Elementary = $354/year; $118/trimester; $29.50/month

·         High School = $585/year; $195/trimester; $48.75/month


We have also updated our donation instructions. Please review and keep for your reference the enclosed instructions, especially if you plan to give above and beyond the designated sponsorship rates.

Thank you again for joining us in this important ministry. Be praying for our brothers and sisters in Meru, and know that they are praying for you.


Emily Bosh, UPPC Elder and CHERISH Team Representative
emilybosh@yahoo.com(253) 459-4049
Cherishmeru.org

Lisa Woicik, UPPC Minister of Outreach
lwoicik@uppc.org(253) 564 2522  Ext. 125
UPPC.org