Dear Fellow Kingdom Builders,
In my travels, I am constantly coming upon evidence of how our EAPE ministries are impacting the world.
Recently, I spoke at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where I found that our Mission Year program has been replicated for college students. After consulting with Mission Year directors, Belmont set up its own community-based outreach program and now has scores of students living in rented houses in derelict neighborhoods of Nashville, developing relationships with and offering assistance to people in need.
Even more recently I was in New York City to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). At a session dealing with the problems of Haiti , I heard an investigative report that both discouraged and encouraged me at the same time. I was discouraged to learn that there are more than 9,000 faith-based agencies seeking to help the Haitian people out of their oppressive poverty, most of which accomplish little or nothing. I was encouraged to find our EAPE affiliates, Beyond Borders and Haiti Partners, highlighted among the few recognized for doing truly helpful work. According to the CGI presenters, the genuine humility of our people has enabled them to avoid the paternalism that seeks to do for Haitians what they can and must do for themselves.
As a case in point, the Living Words adult literacy program, initiated by Kent Annan and involving thousands of Haitians in the reading and discussion of Scripture, is under the direction of Haitian leaders. Likewise, the Circles of Change program, organized by John Engle, has Haitians helping other Haitians learn the skills of leadership. As a matter of fact, virtually everything that our affiliates do in Haiti is carried out through a Haitian sister organization they helped to start, called Limyè Lavi. This organization has consistently demonstrated excellent administrative skills and fiscal responsibility while pursuing a non-hierarchical process in the midst of a highly hierarchical society.
It is no wonder that WorldBlu, for the third consecutive year, has listed Beyond Borders as one of the world’s most democratically managed agencies.
Then, just the other day, I got another update on a small project that began in the Sudan almost thirty years ago, when we sent an Eastern University student to that extremely troubled nation to set up a food cannery in cooperation with the Ball Corporation of Muncie, Indiana. This very simply designed cannery, located away from the metropolitan areas of the country, enables farmers to process and can food (actually the food is put in glass jars) which is then taken to market without spoiling. Earlier, these farmers lost one-third of what they produced in transport and storage before it was sold. Run in conjunction with local ministries, this economic development program has been a means of support not only for the farmers in the area, but also for the work of the church.
Your gifts have really made a difference! Now we are depending on you, not only to support what has already been done, but to help us with new initiatives. Please, keep giving!
ABOUT TONY + OCTOBER 2009