Dear friends, family, and colleagues,
In just 10 months, we hope to be on our way to Kenya where I will be training young, Kenyan family medicine residents to help them become Kenyan doctors who will work in the most remote areas of Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia. They will provide essential medical care in some of the most remote areas of the world – areas I cannot access.
Tenwek Christian Hospital is a 300-bed hospital located four hours west of Nairobi. People get primary care at Ministry of Health dispensaries and health centers but when they need surgical or specialized care, Tenwek is known throughout the whole region (around 1 million people) for its compassionate care. The care is provided at the most reduced cost possible, often supplemented by grants from Christian organizations. Supplies are extremely limited and often consist of donated medical equipment from various companies and organizations. We utilize well whatever is made available to us so that we can deliver the best care for the least expensive cost to the patient, many of whom are quite poor. Kenyans walk two to three days from the surrounding region for the medical care they desperately need. There are about twenty ex-patriot doctors and a small but growing number of experienced Kenyan physicians at any one time training family medicine physicians, general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. I will be one of those twenty.
There is certainly risk involved for our family. Kenya is the site of recent mass shootings and bombings. Christians have fled from the north part of the country where El Shabab, a Muslim extremist group, has been exterminating those who claim to follow Jesus. We will be in a slightly safer region of the country in the Western highlands of Kenya.
Recently, the questions I have received by many have intensified, correlating with the reports of violence in the region.
So why? Why go there?! Work here and serve another population of underserved or stay somewhere in the States. Certainly, there must be need here!
It’s true. There are needs everywhere in the States from Native American reservations to crowded urban areas to small, rural towns. But God hasn’t called us there. He’s called our family to Africa, so that’s where we’ll go. I am called as a physician and Angela is called as a teacher. He’s calling Ella to offer the gifts he is still building within her. Sammy’s ministry within the special needs community has already begun. God has called us as a family, a family that hopes to expand once we arrive in Kenya through adoption – another part of the ministry we feel called to by God.
Why don’t you just make large sums of money and donate it to the hospital. Certainly, a physician’s income would allow you to give a lot of money!
That would be one option. In Kenya I’ll be making 5-7% of what I would earn as a physician in the U.S. But we know without question that our family is supposed to be on the ground in East Africa to share his love in person, train up physicians to continue this ministry and even extend it into areas where Christians (and white people – Wazungu), cannot go without the constant threat of death.
How is fundraising going? You must be fully supported by now, right?
Many of you have also asked about our fundraising. Honestly, it’s been a difficult road. Our family requires recurring funds for transportation, food, shelter, children’s education and yes, even a salary (part of which is saved for missionary retirement). Specifically, our missionary budget has been set at $7875/month. While this number seems high (it certainly gave us sticker shock!), we have a detailed sheet accounting for every penny and are happy to share with anyone who asks.
I am writing this because after contacting everyone we know, speaking at churches, Rotary, Kiwanis, local woman’s groups and many others (and continuing to do so), we have been able to raise just 15% of our required budget. We cannot set a date to move our family to Kenya until we have created a stable base of recurring support that meets or exceeds our expenses.
So, please help us. Provide the recurring support we need to help people across the world who you’ll never meet. People whose basic needs for food, water, shelter, safety and medical care are threatened daily. Needs we intend to meet and exceed.
As of today, 12/29/15, we still need to raise a monthly amount of $6,690. We are asking each of you to pray about an amount you can provide to support our family to carry out the ministry above.
That would be:
1) $100/month from 16 people
2) $50/month from 75 people
3) $25/month from 59 people
One of the beautiful parts of ministry is that God never calls us to do it alone. He calls each of us to pray, to give and to go. You probably don’t feel called to move to Kenya, but you can still join what God is doing there by supporting our family in this work. We need ministry partners who will stand by us and pray for us and provide the financial support needed to make this work. We can’t do it alone and right now we really need your help. Please partner with us to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters living in Kenya.
With gratitude and in the name of Jesus,
I’m ready to support your family. How do I do it?
Start here: wgm.org/olsen. On that page, you can easily create a recurring contribution using a credit card or set up an automatic payment from your bank account.
I want to know exactly where this money is going.
Great! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the exact budget provided by World Gospel Mission. It provides a detailed explanation for every penny spent on the mission field and demonstrates that we will be good stewards of the funds we receive. Every donation goes directly to the Olsen family’s ministry and won’t be spread across multiple accounts.
I need to know more before I can give to your family.
We understand. Reply to this email and we’ll have you over individually for coffee and dessert. We can go into far more detail and provide you with pictures of the work we’ve done and our detailed plans for our future ministry. I will show you the specific areas I will be teaching while Angela can tell you more about homeschooling and opportunities at a local teacher training school.
One additional way you can learn more about our journey to Kenya is by attending The Mango Gala on January 14. It will be a night of live music and dancing, and we’ll be sharing our vision for our move to East Africa. Please join us! You can RSVP by emailing email@example.com.