Lessons for Missions from Slumdog Saints

For years, Kent Annan, co-director of our Core Ministry, Haiti Partners, has been following Jesus in Haiti – the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.   I’ve had the privilege to visit Haiti and witness the inspiring and effective work of Kent and his Haitian and American co-laborers.    Earlier this year Kent journeyed to the slums of Bangkok and wrote a moving, honest, insightful and hopeful essay for Christianity Today about cross-culture missions.   

He recently shared these reflections about why he went to Thailand and wrote this story, and what he, our colleagues in Haiti, and all of us can learn from the New Friars and Slumdog Saints:

HP CoverSeptember 19, 2023
Kent Annan

I travelled to Bangkok six months ago.  First time in ten years I’d travelled to a country other than Haiti.  It was for an assignment to write about people who live and work in slums there and around the world.  They’re inspiring in how they follow Jesus and dedicate their lives to justice.

I wanted to help tell their story, because their lives are worth listening to and say something important to all of us, whatever our faith.  You can learn more about them in the cover story I wrote for September’s issue of Christianity Today.

This was also a chance to think about how similar approaches have been important to our work.  We have just four full-time American staff.  John has lived in Haiti for most of the past 22 years.  Living there has deeply shaped his approach.  Erik’s capacity to strengthen our partner schools, among other things, was developed while living in Haiti for two years and then returning regularly since 2001.  A couple years later, my wife, Shelly, and I moved to Haiti, as I wrote in my first book.  All three of us spent years living in small, simple homes immersed in the life of ordinary Haitians, eating with them, laughing with them, and building long-lasting relationships.  Jonathan hasn’t lived in Haiti, but spends a good part of each year there and has made great progress learning Creole and culture as he works and shares life with our colleagues. 

Our Haitian leadership team also comes to the U.S. twice a year. Haiti Partners’ board of directors has committed to meeting in Haiti every two years, and many of them also make additional trips in between.  All of these ways of “being with” each other is critical to shaping how we do our work.  Through partnership.  With deep respect. From a posture of shared listening and learning.  And with trust that can only be cultivated through years of relationship.

None of this would be possible without you who provide generous support, prayer, and friendship as we continue to move forward.  May we keep listening and working together for love and for justice. 

With much gratitude that we get to listen with you for hope,

Kent, co-director of Haiti Partners

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, and help make it possible for missionaries like Kent Annan to impact lives and communities in Jesus’ name.  If you have questions about Haiti Partners, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.

God’s Design: A Lifetime of Hope and Purpose

REACH is a unique service provider located in the Pacific Northwest for an isolated and ethnically diverse population of children and families, addressing a distinct unmet need where traditionally the community and faith-based ministries have not ventured. The mission of REACH Ministries is to build relationships with youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS to equip them to experience God’s design, which is a lifetime of hope and purpose. Since its beginning, REACH has advocated for the children and families whose needs were neglected, serving the hidden population in our communities living with HIV/AIDS.

reach-2Through weekend camps, special events and its year-long mentoring program REACH staff and volunteers provide safe, fun environments and supportive relationships for the more than 300 family members they serve annually. Since 1996, every Labor Day, families come from across the United States to REACH Camp. Camp offers a safe haven, a place to openly grieve the loss of loved ones, and a place to develop community with people in similar situations. Camp is where trust is built. It is an escape into a carefree world that families don’t experience for most of their daily lives.

Medical innovations have impacted the REACH population and over the years have given the gift of a potentially full life to those born with HIV. Children who were born with HIV fifteen to twenty years ago were not expected to live past eight or ten years. Those same kids, now young adults, have a life expectancy that approximates that of a healthy adult. In addition, perinatal medications can now prevent HIV transmission from mother to infant, which nearly eradicates the spread of the disease from birth (in the United States). Most new families to REACH are those who are adopting kids from other parts of the world who didn’t have access to medical care, perinatal medications or formula options. REACH receives referrals from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Oregon Health and Science University, Madigan Army Medical Center, MultiCare Health System and various other health and community organizations.

Despite all the changes for the positive in the medical aspect of living a life with HIV, what has not changed is the isolation, fear and trauma associated with living HIV positive. REACH Camp, retreats, activities, and mentoring continue to provide a judgment-free environment for the kids and families. With your generous support we will help sustain REACH’s expanded ministry to love, serve and support even more families in the Pacific Northwest, and across the country.

Celebrating Cornerstone Christian Academy’s 25th Anniversary

Amid excitement and anticipation, Cornerstone launched its 25th academic year on September 4, 2023.  Students were excited to return to a place many call their second home where friends, caring adults, and the challenge to meet their goals awaited them.  CCA faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees anticipate that this will be the year that the school is accredited and recognized as a leading academic institution in the city.

Your gift today will help make this a great year for our students, teachers and faculty and prepare Cornerstone for its next 25 years!

Cornerstone West PhiladelphiaLike most years, as of this week, parents are still enrolling students at Cornerstone.  As a result, the student population is in flux, but it appears there will be just over 200 students.  What makes this year different is that 23 public schools closed at the conclusion of last academic year, three in the K-8 range that Cornerstone serves in southwest Philadelphia.  In our sample of students so far this year, 9% have been enrolled from closed public schools, and an incredible 95% of students currently enrolled at Cornerstone live in the boundary area of a state of Pennsylvania “low-performing school.”  This would be the student’s neighborhood school if they did not attend Cornerstone.  The parents of these students were excited to have a safe, challenging alternative for their children.

President Dick Ollinger says, “accreditation is the most important thing that will happen to Cornerstone in its 25 years.”  Prior to accreditation, the school had little to measure its achievements against, other than how students performed once they left the school to enter high school.  While it was important to observe that Cornerstone graduates were well-prepared to excel in high school, what is now critical is that the school can measure itself against accreditation standards.  These standards are challenging the faculty to support each student in reaching academic goals, and the administration to provide the faculty with increased support to succeed in the classroom.

To that end, Cornerstone’s Education Committee has developed an Action Plan for the next two years.  This plan has three goals focused on continuing a culture of academic achievement:

GOAL 1:  The Administrative Leadership Team and Education Committee will develop an on-going professional development plan that supports the educational goals of the school.

GOAL 2:  The Principal, Faculty, and Education Committee will establish and implement instructional strategies that are researched based and reflective of sound educational practices, as well as complete curricula guides in all core subjects.

GOAL 3:  The Principal, Faculty, and Education Committee will utilize academic data to inform instruction, select textbooks, make staffing decisions, and to plan curricula and professional development with precision.

These three goals were well-researched by the Education Committee, and were presented to the accrediting agency, the Association of Christian Schools International, with a detailed timeline, action steps, and list of resources.

An “all hands on deck” approach is being taken to achieving the Action Plan.  The central focus of the plan is student achievement.  Cornerstone has made it an aim for 200 students to achieve academic success and the formation of a Christian character.  All faculty and staff will need to develop new skill sets to achieve the goals, and the school’s national base of partners will be called upon to share their wisdom, wealth, and work.  Together, we will help students achieve at new levels, graduates become leaders in high school and college, and families gain the confidence that with faith, all things are possible.

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, such as Cornerstone Christian Academy, that love and serve at-risk children, youth and their families in Jesus’ name.  If you have questions about Cornerstone, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.

Fruits of the Harvest

Joshua Johnston founded the Harambee Foundation and serves as Director of Field Operations in Babati, Tanzania.  In addition to providing assistance and support to the small, but growing, holistic work of MAHOCE (learn more here), Joshua also oversees a multi-phase agro-forestry project that he initiated and EAPE has been funding.  The goal of this farming project is to establish a sustainable source of food and income for the 48 children and 30 women served by MAHOCE. 

Fruits of the Harvest MAHOCE

Fruits of the Harvest: 100kg bags of maize and sunflower seeds stored in MAHOCE’s store room at the end of August.

After a short summer furlough visiting friends and family in the States, Joshua returned to East Africa in time to see the fruits of the harvest and sent us a thorough report, summarized here:

In July, we celebrated our first successful harvest of corn and sunflower in Babati. This joint farming project was made possible through the continuing support of EAPE, and allows MAHOCE to reduce food costs for the Centre. The recent harvest yielded enough corn for approximately six month’s supply of corn meal, which is used in cooking ugali, one of the staple foods in Tanzania. The sunflower seeds will be dried for several months and then pressed – the oil used for cooking.  MAHOCE will press about 100 liters of oil, enough for a 5 month’s supply at the Centre.

Additional funding from EAPE’s donors will used to expand the agro-forestry project by planting 121 timber trees and clearing and cultivating additional acres of land for planting beans in 2022.  You can read the full report here.

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, and help make it possible for missionaries like Joshua Johnston to impact lives and communities in Jesus’ name.  If you have questions about Harambee, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.

4th Annual 5k Charity RaceP.S. Finally, if you live in the Greater Philadelphia area and like to run 5Ks that support a good cause, don’t miss the Harambee Foundation’s 4th Annual Charity Race on Saturday, September 28.  You can learn more about and register for the event here or by contacting the race organizers at 610-277-8393.   We hope you’ll make it out!

Hope for the Homeless in Northeast England and Other Important Ministry

Those who follow my travels may have noticed I speak in the United Kingdom—and may have wondered why. One answer to that question is that EAPE has strong commitments to ministries we have developed and supported over there. Let me give you some glimpses into what those ministries do.

Aquila Way

Aquila Way provides safe and loving homes for women aged 16-30 and their children. Each resident is paired with a support worker who provides assistance with cooking, money management, job searches and other practical skills necessary to achieve independence.

First, there is Aquila Way, a ministry for the homeless in the northeast of England. Some of the women are battered; others are dealing with addictions; some are poor women with children who have no place to go. This ministry provides room and board, their own dedicated support worker, and job training, and nurtures these homeless women toward independence. For more information go to Aquila Way’s ministry page.

Secondly, there is Going Public, based in Wales. Every year, this ministry reaches thousands of teenagers, steering them away from destructive lifestyles that often involve drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity. With various teams of volunteers, the staff lead assembly programs in middle schools and high schools. These programs include music, videos, skits, and special talks—all of which are relevant to these age groups. Going Public staff is routinely invited into classrooms, where they are able to share their faith. For more information visit our Affiliated Ministries page.


SPEAK is a network of young adults and students who campaign and pray about issues of injustice. Through their activism, they aim to share their faith in our all-loving, all-powerful creator: God.

Thirdly, there is Signpost International, based in Dundee, Scotland. Its ministries reach into the rough neighborhoods of Dundee, touching the lives of young people with the good news of God’s love. Signpost also provides an array of services for adults who have special problems, helping the unemployed to find jobs and providing health services. For more information visit our Affiliated Ministries page.

Fourthly, there is SPEAK, based in London, with faith-based chapters in universities throughout the United Kingdom. SPEAK promotes student movements that advocate for peace and work to eliminate poverty in Third World countries. For more  information go to SPEAK UK’s ministry page.

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative and effective organizations, including these four ministries. When you

consider what we are doing in the UK, alongside what our mission workers are doing in the Third World and in cities across North America, you have to be impressed with what your prayers and financial support are making possible.  Thank you for that!  And please—those who work in these ministries need for you to be generous.


CGLA Turns 40 – It’s Time to Celebrate!

EAPE has been investing in the important, redemptive work of CGLA since 2008, but CGLA has been advocating for justice for those whom Jesus called “the least of these” long before we began to support them.

This year, CGLA turned 40 and it’s time to celebrate! If you read below about their incredible story and evolution over the last 40 years and their work for justice, opportunity and second chances, you’ll appreciate why we invest your gifts in this effective ministry!

And if you’re in the Chicago area we encourage you to attend CGLA’s 40th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, September 26th!  You’ll have a great time meeting great people and supporting a great cause!

CGLA Kicks Off 40th Anniversary: Justice. Opportunity. Second Chances

ICabrini Green Legal Aidn 1973 Chuck Hogren opened Cabrini Green Legal Clinic (CGLC), as it was then known, as a general purpose law firm in the Cabrini Green Housing Projects after Pastor Bill Leslie of LaSalle Street Church received funding from Tyndale House Publishing.

CGLA has grown tremendously since 1973, undergoing a name change and an expansion to serve all of Chicago in 1996, when the Cabrini Green Housing Projects were set to be torn down. CGLA became even more impactful with the addition of the Criminal Records Program and Client Support Services team, and has seen an immense growth in clients served, programs expansion and creation as well as supporters and volunteers. It is with great excitement and honor that CGLA plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

In this important year, as it has in the past 40 years, CGLA has stood up in court for clients and then helped them to stand on their own through quality social services. CGLA is not only celebrating its many years of success , but also people like you, who have made it possible to help individuals deal with their legal problems and ultimately transform their lives.

In its 40th year, CGLA will be embarking on its own path for transformation as it moves to a more holistic model that includes a strategic plan that focuses CGLA’s legal services on criminal justice, which works hand in hand with our Client Support Services team.  Utilizing the Client Support Services team and partnering with other social service organizations, CGLA will focus on helping clients with criminal records, or are at risk of having a criminal record, overcome the barriers to success preventing them from moving beyond their past mistakes.

CGLA will honor its history and accomplishments with its 40th Anniversary Benefit taking place on Thursday, September 26, 2023 at Union Station from 6-10pm; please mark your calendars and consider attending or sponsoring this festive night!

CGLA continues to embrace the vision that Bill Leslie and Chuck Hogren had more than four decades ago, but also looks to the future with the goal of continuing to provide Justice. Opportunity. Second Chances.

For more information on how you can get involved with CGLA, donate to the 40th Anniversary campaign or become a sponsor of the Benefit on September 26th, please contact .

I hope that you will join us in celebrating 40 years of providing zealous legal advocacy and support to those that need it most in our community.

Gretchen Slusser
Executive Director

Why I’m Doing Mission Year

Every September a new Corp of urban missionaries begin their year-long service with our Core Ministry, Mission Year.  This year we’ll deploy over seventy urban missionaries to live among and serve the poor in low-income neighborhoods in Atlanta, Houston and Philadelphia. We invite you to ‘meet’ some of the team members and learn why they have dedicated this year to follow Jesus’ command to “love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.” We hope their commitment inspires you as much as it inspires us!

DeMyron Haynes DeMyron Haynes

I am a sophomore at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The reason I am doing Mission Year is because I am absolutely passionate about community and what do I have to lose? God has given me the opportunity to go and do something I love. And I trust He will provide afterwards, so that’s why I am going.

Chad Pickett

Chad PickettI am 23 years old, and I grew up in Lenexa, KS before heading off to Winfield, KS to study history at Southwestern College. Since graduating I have moved back to the Kansas City area and am looking forward to heading to Atlanta this fall with Mission Year.

Sometimes in life God sends a bright neon sign to show the way; other times it is more like a dimly flickering candle. Almost a year ago, God placed a neon sign directing me towards Mission Year. I, however, didn’t respond and tried to block out its rays while attempting to follow my own plans.

As my plans began to fall apart in the following months and God’s continued to shine through, I finally submitted to His plan and applied for Mission Year.

Ironically, I have always had a heart for service, especially in urban settings, and have been discovering over the past few years how fulfilling community is so it seems odd that it took me so long to apply. As I look back on the past year though, I know that these months of running from God’s plan for my life have allowed me to discover how to become more reliant upon Him instead trusting in what I can dream or do.

As September draws nearer, I can confidently say that I am not just doing Mission Year because it sounds exciting or interesting, but because I have chosen not to ignore God’s direction for my life and am looking forward to how He will teach me, refine me, and use me during my time with Mission Year.

Denise LeeDenise Lee

I am 24 from Union City, CA. I’m doing Mission Year because I want to encounter God in every person I meet.

Growing up, I’ve always had the heart to love people and especially because I knew how much God loved me, it made me want to love others that much more. My hope was that if I faithfully loved God and others, people would begin to see God’s great love and not my own.

I also love meeting others and learning about life. Everyone has a story to tell that enriches another, and I can’t wait for all the stories I’ll be hearing.

Craig & Erin Umland

Craig & Erin UmlandMy name is Erin Umland. I am 25 years old and my husband Craig is 27. We met at a college age ministry in Madison, WI.

I am originally from a suburb south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and my husband is from a city 2 hours north of Madison. I am a registered nurse at the University hospital here, and my husband is finishing up his undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies this spring. We currently live in Madison where we met and love it here.

The verses Luke 9:23-27 keep sticking out to me as I process why Craig and I chose to do Mission Year. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

My life right now is safe and comfortable. I live on a lake, make a very good salary, have the opportunity to go back to school for free, have awesome health insurance. I’ve also found ways to fit in with the Christian culture of my home church in Madison.

I feel like God is asking me to lose this comfortable and safe life to follow Him. There is so much I love about my life right now. I have a great view, amazing groups of friends, a church that is challenging, but I know something is missing.

I feel like all of these wonderful parts of Madison and my life are actually a wire fence. I can see Jesus as a spectator, but he hasn’t been invited in to my yard. I wouldn’t call my yard super neat— but I haven’t invited this stranger in because…what would he do to it?

Who else have I kept out that he might invite in if I end up inviting him? The passage ends with Luke 9:27, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” I feel like the choice to do Mission Year would be inviting God and His kingdom into my yard.

The Boston Project Recognized for its Ten Year Urban Neighborhood Revitalization Plan

As The Boston Project’s Greenspace Coordinator, Ben Cressy was charged with mobilizing community support for and executing the ministry’s Greenspace Initiative to transform vacant Talbot Norfolk Triangle neighborhood lots in to gardens and parks.  The inaugural year of this effort has been a huge success.

Photo by Kaid Benfield

A street in the TNT neighborhood. Photo by Kaid Benfield.

In Kaid Benfield’s article, “This Is What a Neighborhood Revitalization Actually Looks Like”, the faith-based ministry is noted for its remarkable “ten-year plan for converting small, publicly owned vacant lots scattered around the TNT area into green areas to be enjoyed by the community. These will benefit not only current residents but also the 100 new households the neighborhood is expected to see as a result of the new transit station.”

After spending time visiting these neighborhoods and meeting with ministry staff, Benfield writes “I can’t say enough good things about the Boston Project Ministries, which among many super-impressive initiatives offers a free, pleasant and safe drop-in center where youth can come and go at their leisure to do homework or enjoy fellowship.”  We couldn’t agree more!

To learn how EAPE’s investment of your gifts in this ministry is helping to transform low-income communities in Boston, we encourage you to read Benfield’s encouraging article.

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