The Scoop

An overview of updates/emails from our Co-Founder Scott.

August Update

Dear Project Lucas Family,
 
2020-2021 has been quite a year and a half. Will it ever end?  We at Project Lucas have one word to describe the past 18 months- OVERWHELMED!  We are simply overwhelmed at what God has done through Project Lucas. But on the human side, we're also a little overwhelmed. Let me explain.
 
Overwhelmed by God
When Covid-19 hit, we were like the rest of the world and not sure how we would continue our work in Kenya. God directed us to mix it up. We did things we've never done before, reaching people we have never reached before, sharing Christ, feeding people, and meeting needs! It was amazing!
 
Kenya schools were closed for 10 long months but are finally open again. The Project Lucas Academy is now at full capacity, and we are having to partition classrooms to meet the need. Over the last 18 months we have added 56 new sponsorship children into our program, started mission trips up again, saw seven high school students and single mothers surrender their lives to Christ, distributed 1,000 backpacks to needy children, and much more!  ONE WORD: OVERWHELMED
 
Humanly Overwhelmed
To be honest, our team in Kenya is a little overwhelmed by the needs the last 18 months has brought us!  Our current offices and systems are not able to handle this volume of children and families. They are concerned about the record upkeep that is required by local and national government agencies, the ability to follow up with and meet needs of our sponsorship children and families, along with many other tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily and weekly basis.  WE NEED YOUR HELP! 

We need to purchase office space, new computers, office furniture, filing cabinets, accounting and database software, plus hire an office accountant.  To meet these needs, we need to raise $25,000 by the end of the year. Will you help us?  Would you consider helping our general fund by making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly partner in order to meet this need so our team in Kenya can continue to serve others and share Christ?
 
Donations can be made at 

Project Lucas 
PO Box 64472 
Virginia Beach, Va 23467

We know God will meet this need because of His proven favor over the last year and a half. Please ask God how He would have you be a part of what He is doing through Project Lucas. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at scott@projectlucas.org
 

In His Grip,


Scott Dishong
Project Lucas
Founder/Executive Director
 
P.S. If you live in or near Virginia Beach say tuned for the Project Lucas Christmas Concert featuring Alisa Dishong and Ryan Flug coming in December.

July Update

An update from Scott...
 
God was so amazingly faithful and good to Project Lucas and the missions team that traveled to Kenya on a recent missions trip from Prestonwood Baptist Church, along with several students from Liberty University! We saw 7 people surrender their lives to Christ this week, plus many others during our backpack ceremonies.
 
I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who donated a backpack through the Project Lucas Fitness Challenge. You made an investment in eternity and helped us demonstrate what HOPE looks like as we presented the gospel to over 1,000 students, parents, and teachers at our Backpack Ceremony. It was an amazing day! Thank you all so much.
 
So much ministry happened during the 10 days the team was in Kenya. They helped paint our center, did home visits, led chapel services at our school, taught exercise classes, hosted a teacher seminar, taught a hygiene class, lead church services for our preschoolers, children, teenagers, and parents, plus much more. People all throughout Ruiru were talking about the team that was at the Project Lucas Center. The gospel was the center of everything we did.
 
We are so thankful for how this team assisted us in advancing our purpose of helping Kenyan children and families feel, see, touch, and hear the gospel. If you would like to read about their experience, you can read their blog here: kenyatrip2021.blogspot.com
 
You can also see more pictures and videos of our 10-day trip, including the backpack ceremonies, on our Facebook and Instagram feeds.
 
To God be the Glory! I just wanted to send an email to the Project Lucas family to update you on everything God did while we were in Kenya.
 
We will begin to schedule trips for later this year in 2021 (December - January 2022) and for the  fall and summer of 2022, if your church, or organization is interested in discussing the possibilty of traveling to Kenya with Project Lucas, please feel free to email me at scott@projectlucas.org 
 
 
Scott Dishong
Co-Founder/Executive Director
 

In His Grip,

Scott Dishong
Co-Founder/Executive Director
Project Lucas



COVID-19 A YEAR LEADER
I want to write an update on what the situation in Kenya  is like a year later since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our world. 

Schools Reopened
The Project Lucas Academy is open again. Life is back at our center in Ruiru Kenya. Our staff is working hard to serve our children, and our community. Although they are  very concerned about the effects of the pandemic. Let me share with you some quotes from news article done on the educational system and Kenya on how Kenya handled the pandemic.

Education experts believe Kenya is the only nation to have gone so far as to declare the entire school year a total washout, and order students to start over.

When the government shut down schools in March, it introduced remote lessons streamed over radio, television and videos posted on YouTube. However, for the vast majority of students, many in poor and rural households, remote learning was not an option. They didn’t have access to television, laptops, or the internet, or even the electricity to power these gadgets.

 Here is a quote from Mutheu Kasanga, the chairwoman of the Kenya Private Schools Association

“As a country, we needed to rally around our poor people and ensure that every household is able to cater to the education of their children,” she said. By not doing that, she said, “We have failed as a country.”

But the move, she said, is “likely to be devastating for children” because the poor will be at a disadvantage and some will not come back when schools reopen. In addition, she predicted there would be more teenage pregnancies and, without school food programs, more hunger.

 Kenya’s government acknowledge the challenges inherent in closing schools, including unequal access to learning platforms, a possible increase in domestic violence against children and the likelihood that dropout rates will rise.

These excerpts were taken from an article in the New York Times in August 5, 2020.  Our staff in Kenya have unfortunately shared with me over the last few months that they have seen a rise in teenage pregnancy, domestic violence against woman and children and several emotional, social problems and lack of education on our children. The Kenyan government has truly failed their children and teenagers.  Project Lucas is responding to this crisis.

Project Lucas’s Response
We believe now more than ever we must reach out our community in Kenya and help children and families effected by extreme poverty.  We hope to incorpate several new programs to help come along side our community to help

We are planning this year to start the following programs to help families

  1. A program for high school graduates to find direction and purpose and give resources for them to continue their education or start small businesses.
  2. A clothing “thrift store” where families and children earn credit for clothes from good grades and community involvement.
  3. Job Training Semiars for our Sponsorship Family (COVID prevented our 2020 launch)
  4. Expand our Table Banking program (a program where sponsorship parents, load each other funds to start business, and pay school fees)
  5. Expanded our feeding programs for grandmothers who cannot find work and that are raising their grandchildren.
  6. Saturday Morning Discipleship classes for our sponsorship children.
  7. Reaching out to teenagers girls that have been affected by rape and enrolling them in our sponsorship program.
  8. Hire more teachers/counselors at the Project Lucas Academy

(Our school has fortunally expanded from 65 students to 115 since school has reopened. Parents are flocking to our school because so many schools have closed or public schools are so over crowded.)

All of this could not happen without our precious church partners! Thank you for your encouragment, prayers, and support!  We are all in this together!  Matthew 28:19-20

In His Grip,

Project Lucas Executive Director
Co-Founder

Important Info -- December 8, 2020

Dear Project Lucas Family,

The business of the holiday season has fallen upon us. I hope you all are doing well and staying safe! Eight days ago, the company we use for processing donations on our website updated their giving platform and failed to let us know, causing an unexpected shutdown of our donation processing server. Unfortunately, this means that we have been unable to receive donations for those eight days. On Monday night we were able to get the system updated and receive donations safely and securely. If you attempted to give a donation for Giving Tuesday or any time in the last eight days, we are truly sorry.

If you are a child sponsor, a monthly partner, or a member of Project Kumi, your monthly gifts are being processed a few days late. Once again, we are so sorry. Next month they will be deducted normally as scheduled.

You may receive emails from a company called Kindrid regarding setting up a user profile, a donation receipt for this month, and/or a recurring donation schedule for next month. I hope it doesn't feel too overwhelming. Our goal is to keep our giving family updated and involved. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Now that our website is back up and running, we ask you to pray for us as our year-end campaign continues. Please feel free to make a year-end donation to help us continue to change the world one child at a time in Kenya. Also, please share our posts and upcoming videos on your social media sites.

Here is a great story of a life changed: Click here

In His Grip,

Scott Dishong
Co-Founder/Executive Director
Project Lucas

September 2020 Update

Dear Friends of Project Lucas

We are so thankful to each of you that encourage us, pray for us, sponsor a child, partner with us monthly, share or like our posts on social media ,and give financially to Project Lucas. We are overwhelmed at what God has done the last several months during this global pandemic. We have reached more in our community in ways that we were never able to do before. We are feeding hundreds in the community of Ruiru through our monthly food distribution programs. We have been able to share the gospel with hundreds of people. Last month we were able to supply new beds and bedding to families affected by a fire in a slum near our center.

Earlier this month I was talking online with one of the high school students in our sponsorship program. He shared his thankfulness for the food we provide for his family. I asked him if the food was enough for an entire month. He said, "Yes, but it never lasts because my mother (who is a single mother raising seven children) always gives away food to others in our village who don’t have any food or support like we do."  I was humbled to hear this story about how our families, who have so little, are caring for others who have even less than they do.

Words can't express how thankful we are for our partners and sponsors. Your giving is helping more people than we may ever know. Thank you so much.  We are hoping that the Kenyan government will open schools very soon. This will help families greatly since children will have access to food and parents be able to look for jobs. We will keep you updated. Thanks again to all who give, pray, and encourage us!

If you haven't been to our website in a while, check it out at projectlucas.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook (Project Lucas Inc) or Instagram (@projectlucaskenya). If you have any questions about our work in Kenya, feel free to email me at scott@projectlucas.org.

In His Grip,

Scott Dishong
Project Lucas Founder/Executive Director

 

COVID-19 July 2020

Even when I don't see it, You're working. Even when I don't feel it, You're working. You never stop, You never stop working.  Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, Light in the darkness, My God, that is who You are.” 
-From the song "Waymaker" by Leeland

Dear Friends and Partners:

As I sit in my office, the song the “Way Maker” is playing on Spotify. The words of this song are so true as I think over the last few months of what God has provided through our partners.
 
When we started Project Lucas, our goal was always quality over quantity. We have always desired to do the best we can for every family that we serve. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kenya, we began to pray and seek God for wisdom on what would be the best ministry we can do to serve families in Ruiru, Kenya.
 
I, along with our Kenyan leadership team, believed that our first priority should be caring for our sponsorship children and their families. We decided the basic need of food for each family would be the best thing we could provide. 

During this pandemic parents have not been able to work, children are still not able to go to school (the Kenyan school calendar is year-round), and the majority of stores and markets are closed. This makes food and supplies challenging to get, and prices are rising weekly. Most Kenyan children get their main meal at school. With schools being closed, food and nutrition has become a major problem for most families. I was not sure what we could do and how long we could help. But because of the response of so many, we were able to provide more than I thought we ever could.

 Since April 2020:
 
8 food distributions for our sponsorship families 4 food distributions for the community of Ruiru, Kenya
 
175 families have received food and heard a gospel presentation during the food distribution there making approximately  equally 775 people

1,550 meals served
 
50,834 pounds of food distributed
 
8 children have entered our sponsorship program
 
13 families have received rent assistance from Project Lucas. (Landlords are not showing mercy to tenants during COVID-19. Several landlords are taking the doors and roofs off of tenants’ homes who are unable to pay rent to make life uncomfortable and remind them they have not paid their rent.)
 
1,750 homework assignments have been photocopied and delivered to our sponsorship children that do not have cell phones/internet access to receive school assignments (copies/transportation costs add up!)
 
We have been able to pay the salaries for our schoolteachers at the Project Lucas Academy. (Over 300,000 private school teachers have not gotten paid since March 2020. The government will stop paying public school teachers in the upcoming months)

We are overwhelmed by the response from so many of our partners. We will continue to love our sponsorship families and the community of Ruiru by sharing the gospel because of your giving and support. Thank you so much! We are eternally grateful!  

Scott Dishong
Founder/Executive Director

Covid-19 Update (April 2020)

 
 
 
What is happening in Kenya during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
(long answer ahead)
 
Dear Friends of Project Lucas:
 
Many of you have asked me that question the last few weeks. Well, the reports I receive from our team in Ruiru say that all three major factories are closed, all employees are unable to work, and most businesses are closed, including the open market where 90% of Ruiru families get their fruits, grains, and vegetables.  A curfew has been put in place. People are not allowed out from 7pm-5am.  Schools are closed. Families are struggling. Most live in small metal or concrete shacks with no electricity and very little or no running water.  Children and teenagers have been sent home. Parents are struggling to feed their children as most are fed at their schools.  Project Lucas attempted to offer lunches for our school children, but that program was closed down a few weeks ago by the local government.
 
Here is a small part of an article I found online concerning how the police are handling the curfew:
 
The Kenyan police have killed 12 people in an attempt to enforce a dawn to dusk curfew in the wake of coronavirus. This figure is greater than the death toll from the pandemic in the country, which stands at 11.

Wilfred Olal, a rights activist, confirmed the deaths to Anadolu News Agency.
“The deaths have been there; it is around 15 but we are still verifying.  That is why we are going with 12 confirmed cases. The aspects of police brutality and beatings... it is in huge numbers that we cannot document.

"The people fear the police more than COVID-19.  People are putting on masks, not because they fear COVID-19; they fear that they would be arrested and extorted," Olal said. He added that the directive to suspend courts in the wake of the outbreak has turned into a moneymaking scheme. Police arrest people and charge them with hefty fines as they cannot be challenged in the court.

My first thought after I read all of this was Matthew 25:35-40:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Project Lucas has already done two food rations distributions and completed our third one on April 24th. We provided food for several weeks for all of our sponsorship families. We were able to do this because of some extra gifts provided by generous sponsors that have stepped up to help Project Lucas feed “the least of these.”

However, today we had to turn away a few families that attend our school. We collected their names and are planning on helping them. But as this pandemic continues, we could use your help in reaching and loving the community of Ruiru with the love of Jesus Christ. We believe we need to stick to our mission by helping families see, feel, and touch the gospel during this pandemic.  
 
Will you join us?  Two ways to help:
  1. Please pray for our team in Kenya as they minister and love the people of Ruiru during this pandemic.
     
  2.   Would you consider giving a donation to help us continue to provide food during this time? Go to projectlucas.org/donate to donate today or mail a donation to:    Project Lucas.   PO Box 64472   Virginia Beach, VA 23467 
As I write this I am overwhelmed by God's people!  Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. We are not just reaching our sponsorship families, but also our community in Ruiru Kenya. To God be the Glory! 
 
 
UPDATE: Today (April 28) we did our 4th food distribution during this crisis. We were able to reach out and supply food for hundreds in the community of Ruiru! Days like today help us carry out our mission of helping families and children hear, see & feel the gospel. Thank you so much!
 
Another UPDATE: The week of May 2 - 9, we will be doing two more food distrubitions. One to our sponsorship familes, and the second one to families of our school that are in need. We are also able to continue to pay our teachers from our school that are normally paid by school fees!  We are overwhelmed by the amazing response from our partners! THANK YOU. 

Scott Dishong
Founder of Project Lucas
 
 
P.S. To see some pictures of our food distrubtion and preparation go Facebook
 

 

January 2020 The Scoop

The Project Lucas Center is an exciting place once again
Kenya follows a yearlong school schedule, with 4 months off in April, August, and November-December.  So school is back in, and the Project Lucas Center is an exciting place once again! We have 103 students enrolled this term compared to 75 last term.

The public education system in Kenya is underfunded and, in many communities, struggling to help students obtain a proper education. I read a statistic recently that the average public-school teacher in Kenya has a 47% absentee rate in their classroom.  The Project Lucas Academy (pre-school – 4th grade) is providing a strong education, daily Bible lessons and discipleship, and a meal everyday for every student that attends. Most of these children are oprhans or children effected by extreme poverty. 

We are so thankful for our donors and sponsors that enable these children to attend the academy. It has become a beacon of hope in the community of Ruiru.

Our high school students are also back in school. High school education is not free and is not mandatory for students to attend. The scholarships that are provided by our sponsors make a huge difference in the lives of each student and their families.  Our high school students are involved in tutoring and discipleship programs on Saturdays at the Project Lucas Center led by Benjamin (one of our staff members) and a local IMB missionary.

A last-minute miracle
Mercy is a young lady whose family was struggling to collect school fees for her first year in high school. The Wednesday before school was to start her dad told her she would probably not be able to attend. On Friday, just two days later, someone was led to sponsor her after reading her story on our website. Our staff was able to tell her on the following Monday morning that she received a sponsor who would enable her to attend high school that week. 

Because of her sponsorship, Mercy and her family are witnessing the gospel at work. Mercy now has an opportunity to attend school and be part of the Project Lucas High School Sponsorship program. She will now receive free tutoring plus discipleship and attend summer camp. In the third world, education leads to hope, hope leads to the gospel, and the gospel changes everything.

The Best December Ever
We in the “office” are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many of you. We had the best Giving Tuesday and year-end gifts we have ever received in our 13-year history. Because of the generosity of so many, we will begin the process of developing our job training program for our sponsorship parents very soon.  Praise be to God!  Thank you all so much.

Project Kumi Update
Project Kumi was part of our year-end campaign that encouraged new donors to give $10 a month to help the Project Lucas Center stay open. We made it to 86% of our goal, which is awesome. We are so thankful to everyone that joined!  The T-shirts will be shipped the second week of February! 

Want to go on Mission?
Join Project Lucas July 12 - 25, 2020 as we go to Ruiru Kenya to serve at the Project Lucas Center. This trip will  include distributing backpacks while sharing the gospel to hundreds of families, working at the Project Lucas Community Center assisting our Kenyan staff, loving and caring for our sponsorship children, visiting sponsorship families, light construction, church planting (new to 2020 trips) and many other opportunities to share Christ’s love. It also includes a two-day safari, shopping, and a visit to Kenya’s oldest tea farm. Deadline to sign up and pay the $100 deposit is February 17, 2020. If you have questions click here or email me at scott@projectlucas.org

Please follow us online:

Facebook:   Project Lucas Inc
Instagram:  @projectlucaskenya
Vimeo:        vimeo.com/projectlucas
Email:         info@projectlucas.org
Website:     projectlucas.org

In His Grip,


Scott Dishong
Founder of Project Lucas