Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It is the best of times because our ministries are flourishing. As I reflect on the last 12 months of ministry, it’s a joy for me to highlight some of the work we accomplished together:
- Preaching opportunities enabled us to reach larger numbers of people than ever before. We preached EAPE’s holistic message that affirms social justice while maintaining an uncompromised evangelical witness.
- The Red Letter Christians movement, which EAPE initiated three years ago, is growing and had more than a million unique hits on our website (redletterchristians.org) this year.
- The more than 40 young men and women preachers and writers who make up the team of communicators that EAPE is nurturing are becoming internationally known and powerfully impacting people far and wide with the Gospel.
- Great progress was made by our workers in Haiti as they rebuilt schools destroyed by the earthquake. They also broke ground for a new teacher’s training academy.
- Scores of the graduates from the program in micro-job creation we helped create three decades ago generated at least 250,000 jobs for poor people in developing countries.
- The ministry in South Africa created by our own former board member, Wendy Ryan, graduated its largest class of women seamstress workers this year.
- New outreach ministries in Oakland, CA, Miami, FL and Trenton, NJ connected with hundreds of additional children and adults who previously had little contact with any consistent discipleship program.
While we give thanks for God’s faithfulness, and celebrate a year of faithful Christian service and sacrificial giving, we do so knowing that the work God has given us is not finished.
As we begin another year of ministry we renew our commitment to inspire and enable followers of Jesus to live out God’s love for the poor and oppressed.
I want to tell you about a new initiative that we will support this year. Colin McCartney, the founder and longtime executive director of Urban Promise Toronto, has started a new ministry called Connect Leadership International. He is recruiting interns who he will train to minister to inner city youth. The interns will be assigned to struggling inner city churches where they will establish youth programs and do door to door evangelism in the neighborhoods surrounding those churches. The goal is to revitalize churches in “at risk” neighborhoods. EAPE will provide “start up” funding and I will be doing promotional speaking for this new ministry.
Incredibly, Camille LeClaire, one of our most amazing volunteers, has arranged to start a new ministry in Santiago, Cuba! It will be a program at a home for deaf children, and will teach them to work in a catering business that she will help them develop.
This is only a short list of what our committed mission workers are accomplishing, so you can understand why I say “It is the best of times.”
In other ways, however, these are hard times. Aquila Way, our home for battered women and pregnant single women in the United Kingdom has been primarily supported by funding from the British Parliament. The Parliament is cutting back funding and that means we’ve got to move to keep this important ministry alive.
We need your help to meet our budgeted expectations this coming year. We’re counting on you to do all you can to help keep EAPE strong and effective – so be as generous as you can!