Thanks for praying!
Every time we get together as the Board of Directors to discuss the work of African Leadership Partners, we have a great time. Mark & Terri Judy (center) were able to join us, all the way from Kenya, East Africa, where they serve in field leadership with Africa Inland Mission. Our discussions were greatly encouraging to Mary Jean and me. We worked through a number of sensitive issues with a wonderful spirit of unity. We continue to thank God for each one on this board, most of whom have been close friends for almost 40 years.
As usual, a certain amount of time was given to looking at the financial position of the mission, now composed of three missionary units, plus a fourth family seconded from The Antioch Partners. With the recent global economic crisis putting strains on many churches and mission groups, we have not escaped the pressures. We’ve seen our reserves draining down as donor’s ability to give was being reduced. More than 20 donors have fallen away in the last two years alone. During the past five years of global downturn, Mary Jean and I have chosen to not seek to raise additional income to replace those supporting partners who could not continue. Over this season we’ve seen God supply!! Sometimes it has been “unexpected” gifts and sometimes through our decisions to slow the pace, or by pulling back completely. However, now our Board has encouraged us to step up efforts to share our financial situation.
You will know that we receive donations via three channels. Two of these are focused fully on the New Life Children’s Homes project, in the form of “Child Sponsorships” and the more general “Orphan Project Support.” The latter account allows us funds to extend the various developmental aspects of this challenging undertaking. Both of these funds go 100% to the orphan project. The third channel is support to Mary Jean and me, providing the usual salary, housing, and health insurance. In addition, these funds provide all the overhead associated with our work which also includes leadership training services to a variety of churches in Swaziland as well as in several nations in the region. On top of the usual banking fees, communications, and office expenses, the higher priced line items are transportation, and supplementing the costs of leadership training. You can imagine with fuel at more than $5/gallon in our area, and more than $8/gallon in Zambia, plus the extensive distances involved, that transportation costs are our biggest single line item. Remember, Zambia is twice the geographic size of California!! Twenty two years ago, when we first arrived to serve in Africa this item was set at $500/month. This has now risen to $1,100/mo.
Needless to say, as we have aged (“seasoned” is the PC term I’ve learned recently), so has our circle of supporters. Some have passed on to glory; others have retired, while many have been severely pinched by the macro economic factors. As an example, we were startled to note recently that 5 of our current donors are each over 90 years of age, having given faithfully for most all the years we’ve been in missions, and are sharing more than $600/mo of support to our ministry.
In short we set a goal to restore $2000/mo in our support contingent. We’ve already seen some of this coming together. At this point we still need a little more than $1000 per month.
In addition the time has come to replace our delivery vehicle for New Life Homes. It is a compact Toyota pick-up that is now 14 years old, with around 400,000kms on the clock (240,000miles equivalent), with much of that on rough gravel roads. Maintenance costs are now chronic. We estimate that we need about $25,000, and currently have $15,000 in hand (including the value of the old unit) to purchase a 3 to 5 year old replacement.
You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway. Both of us are 62 years old this year, enjoying excellent health, and hoping to continue effectively serving His Kingdom for many years to come, — Lord willing.
We are asking you to pray with us for God’s provision of finances to enable us to continue strongly in the work we’ve been called to. And please do consider if you are able to give some portion of your material resources to help us and those we seek to serve.
Thanks for praying!
PS: I’m making progress on the writing of “Money Matters: God’s Answers to Poverty” with still much to go before I can get it to some readers and then to editors.