We are so excited to visit friends and loved ones across the United States in April and May! Check out our schedule below to see which cities we'll be passing through.
April 5-9 • New York City
April 10-13 • Dallas, Texas
April 13-17 • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 17-20 • Denver, Colorado
April 20-27 • Fort Worth, Texas
April 27 - May 1 • Nashville, Tennessee
May 1-4 • Malibu, California
May 4-7 • San Jose, California
Keep track of the nationwide adventures of Brad, Irene, and Monicah as they tour across the United States.
4 Reasons End of Year Giving Matters
I am often asked why there is so much talk about giving at the end of the year, or even why giving at the end of the year matters to ministry organizations like Made In The Streets. In an effort to shed some light on the subject, I thought I would share four quick reasons why End Of Year giving matters.
1) Many charitable organizations like to get their new year started off with a bang - not with fireworks, but with new initiatives and programs in the first quarter of the next year. Having a good amount of donations at the end of one year helps launch a successful start to the next year, and many new, exciting programs are able to launch on time. This is the case with MITS, as we usually bring in new students from the streets to our boarding school program in the first quarter of each year. The first quarter of 2018 will be very exciting as we have the opportunity to welcome up to 21 new students to our school campus in Kamulu at the beginning of 2018. Your end of year gifts to MITS help get these students started off well at their new school and new home.
2) End of year giving also helps to make up any shortfalls or obstacles that may have occurred throughout the year. Like many nonprofit ministries, MITS pays a lot of attention to budgeting and planning, but inevitably things come up throughout the year that can sometimes lead to unexpected expenses. This year in Nairobi food and fuel costs have increased much more than we anticipated due to the political climate surrounding Kenya’s 5-year elections. In addition, one of our well pumps at our school campus in Kamulu went down, which led to some very costly repairs to make sure our students and staff had clean water available. Donations that come in at the end of year truly help to offset these unexpected expenses.
3) The Christmas and New Year seasons are a great time to talk and teach your family about giving. This season has always been more about giving than receiving, yet the culture of commerce and consumerism works against the spirit of generosity - especially during this time of year. This is a great time to teach your children and grandchildren about generosity and the true “reason for the season.” When we give to help those in need, we are acting in the very way of Jesus.
4) The last reason is more of a practical reason that actually helps the giver. End of year giving to a charitable organization can create a great tax deduction that can be claimed on your next tax return. Since Made In The Streets is an approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, contributions made on or before December 31, 2017, can be claimed as a deduction on your 2017 tax return. Be sure and check with your tax professional for any additional questions or advice.
Every year we are so incredibly thankful for all the friends and partners who make contributions to Made In The Streets at the end of the year. You are an end of year blessing to us!
by Brad Voss
MITS Executive Director
This week was an exciting one in Kenya. In only the second presidential election since the new constitution was approved in 2010, millions of Kenyans woke up Tuesday morning to make their voice and their vote count.
As I watched the long queues of people waiting to enter polling locations all across Kenya this week, I thought to myself, “That’s crazy,” and “Why would they wait so long in line?” Seeing the long lines of voters all across the country, despite the presence of rumored government corruption and threats of election-fueled violence, was inspiring and also somewhat confusing. In nearly thirty years of voting in local, state, and national elections in the US, I have rarely stood in line for more than 20 minutes. In fact, in most elections I’ve never stood in line at all. The idea of getting up before dawn, walking miles and miles to a polling location, and then standing in line for hours upon hours to cast a ballot has literally never crossed my mind.
The elections in Kenya this week are causing me to reconsider my own attitude. Have I taken for granted the opportunity I have to help choose my local and national leaders every few years? I think I have.
Do I lose interest fairly early in the 4-year election cycle filled with debates, political ads, ridiculous rhetoric, and fake news? Uh, yep.
Do I too often complain about the lack of good candidates running for office and then quickly become discontent when the winning candidate fails to do exactly what I want? Well, yes, I do that too. I have a serious problem. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
For far too long I have undervalued the importance of free and democratic elections that have occurred in the United States of America for my entire life and for 183 years before that. I think this is what happens when you are freely and easily provided with something for your whole life with very little threat that it will ever be taken away. I think growing up in a white, middle-class, American culture void of real disadvantage or distress planted seeds of contentment that grew into complacency. This gave way to full blown arrogance and encouraged me to seriously become indifferent about things like democratic elections….and quality education….and sanitation….and roads and beds and food and water……and the list could surely go on and on and on. But this week something feels different.
I think it’s because I now have friends who are voting in Kenya. I think it’s because I’ve heard their stories of how hard Kenya has worked to change and grow and develop. I think it’s because I’ve listened to them recount what life was like growing up without fair elections and access to education and clean water and enough food to eat each day. And maybe it’s because now I’m keenly aware of how many kids and teenagers and adults struggle to survive each day around the world.
All of a sudden, this week, the privileges and opportunities I’ve received seem so much more treasured and cherished. I’ll be praying for my friends in Kenya this week as they do the hard work of building a democratic society. I’m praying that election results will be met with peaceful reactions and hearty pledges to keep those in power accountable to govern fairly and graciously. And I’ll be praying that God reminds me daily that I have so much for which to be grateful and thankful. Join me in praying for Kenya this week and join me in supporting those who are working so hard to bring positive change and Jesus values to their homeland.
When you do this for 20 years, you're bound to pick up a few stories and lessons along the way. Thoughts, impressions, news, and highlights from our staff, visitors, donors, students and alumni.