It has been a busy period here in Tamale as we finished up the last term of the school year at Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies, held 3 campaigns in the Tamale area, and continued the work at Kingdom of Hope Orphan’s school. This month’s report will focus on some of the work and events at the Kingdom of Hope Orphan’s School located in the Upper East Region village of Kuka.
We have had a number of building projects that we were able to complete so far this year that will help the school in its mission to serve the children in Kuka. The first project was the completion and dedication of our second classroom. The Broadway church of Christ in Paducah, KY and the family of Jack Wilson provided the funds necessary for this classroom, which was dedicated in his name during April. This classroom has been in use since the end of December by the P2 class, which previously meet outside on the veranda. We have also started construction on our third classroom thanks to funds provided by the Greenbrier church of Christ and the Guy church of Christ in Arkansas. Our hope is to have the classroom ready for the P4 class that will begin meeting during the next school year beginning in September. The goal is to eventually have 7 classrooms at the complex.
Classrooms are not the only building projects at Kingdom of Hope. In April the congregation from the Kuka church of Christ completed two additional buildings, a hostel for the older orphans that live at the school to sleep in and a building to house the new grain mill. Both of these buildings were made from mud-brick and will be used until more permanent buildings can be made in the future. The cost of cement and other building materials continues to rise which makes it difficult to build, but the church continues to do what it can to help the school. The hostel has two rooms, one for boys and one for girls, and will help to alleviate the crowded conditions at Nichema Jacobs house where 19 orphans were staying. The church received help from the Mesa church of Christ in Arizona for the materials necessary to concrete the floor and roof the grain mill building, and from the Colony church of Christ in Heber Springs, AR and the White Oak church of Christ, also in Arkansas, for the concrete and roofing tin for the children’s hostel.
The grain mill project that was sponsored by the Mesa church of Christ was completed in March and the mill’s operations have been increasing each week as people learn of its availability. The purpose of this project was to provide another way for the school to become self-supporting. The school operates the mill and profits will be used to pay teacher’s salaries and eventually to feed the students. Side benefits have been the ability to provide a paying job to a member of the church to run the mill and using the mill to teach students a potential trade.
In addition to the mill, an additional unit was purchased by the Mesa church that uses the generator to produce electricity. In April Kingdom of Hope became the first building in Kuka with electric lights! In addition to the school, lights were installed at the Kuka church of Christ, the children’s hostel, and at the mill building. There is still capacity to wire as many as 12 additional buildings, so as new classrooms are added we will be able to include the lighting as part of the construction.
While the buildings are the most visible signs of growth at Kingdom of Hope, I am also very encouraged by the growth I am seeing in both the students and the local church that supports the school. I recently sat in on classes for the P2 and P3 students and was impressed by the level of understanding in math and science classes. I don’t remember doing addition of complex fractions at that age! The church continues in supporting the school in a variety of ways, including the feeding of a meal to every child each day. While the school has taken the responsibility to make sure the children who live at the school are fed, there is no way we could afford to feed all 143 children without the church’s help. Not only do they provide the necessary food, but a group of women come every day to cook and serve. The church has also been instrumental in helping us locate and place a number of the children who were living at the school with extended family members. We have had as many as 40 children living at the school, but thanks to the efforts of the church 21 of them are now back living with grandparents or other extended family.
We have lots more work to do, but thanks to your support and the willingness of the church in Kuka to work we continue to make progress. Lord willing we will complete the next classroom and begin on another one before the end of the year. I am also working on plans to put toilet facilities at the school this year, adding another 100 trees to the mango farm, and adding a chicken farming facility to provide eggs for the children and another potential source of income for the school to support itself. The rest of the year should be busy at Kingdom of Hope!
I have posted a number of pictures to go along with this report on the Kingdom of Hope blog page at http://kingdomofhopeorphansschool.wordpress.com/ and on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KingdomOfHopeSchool.
For more information and news about the work at the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies please visit the School’s blog page at http://tamalechristians.wordpress.com/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TamaleChristians.
Thank you again for your support and prayers. I will be traveling back to the U.S. in June and am looking forward to visiting as many of you possible Until then, “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).
In His service,
Tony ‘Wintima’ Johnson
To see Tony’s report with a picture of the kids, please click here.