Reconciled World is officially one year old. Happy birthday to us! It’s been a fantastic year. A year that we have known and experienced so much of God’s favour. We expanded programs, identified new partners, started new programs and have seen many lives changed. God has been faithful to us in so many ways – from providing the funding we need to allowing us to get registration in a miraculously short amount of time. Again and again we’ve been reminded – God is faithful and loving and kind.
Over the rest of the month we are sharing what has been happening in each of our programs. You’ll hear stories of what God is doing and what we are learning. So for today as we start to celebrate our birthday month, I want to let you know what excites me about the next year.
- Local fund raising – We’ve been increasingly convicted in the last few months about not showing favouritism in our fundraising efforts. Up until now, whenever we receive gifts in the US they go through our books and get recorded. However, the gifts we receive from the communities where we work are not recorded and not appreciated in the same way. This year we are going to try to change all of that. We are going to celebrate every gift from the largest to the smallest.
Amongst the poorest these gifts are often not cash, but they are gifts none the less. Some examples that we have seen in the last few months include TCT churches providing their own food during trainings so that they can help the program expand to new areas. Pastors in Nepal have been volunteering and covering their own travel costs rather than being paid a stipend to do a training. The value of the gifts that we can easily calculate is over $30,000 USD. And we didn’t send a thank you card or give a receipt to any of them! As we enter our second year we want to change that. We’re brainstorming ways not only to thank those who give from the poorest areas but inspire even more giving. We want to give churches in the poorest areas of Asia the opportunity to sponsor churches in other areas. We are excited to challenge them to store up treasure in heaven and want to give them the opportunity to make a difference around the world.
- Supporting work in Africa – Our TCT program has expanded much faster than we ever imagined. Other organisations have visited the website , translating the materials and applying it in their context. We have provided some consultative help – but we’ve been so distracted getting RW started that we haven’t done much more than that. This year we want to make a conscious effort to come alongside to strengthen and support what God has already started. We’ve promoted one of our program leaders to help give more international support. In January we’ll be adding a new section to our website for current practitioners. In February we’ll be visiting some of the work to understand their different challenges better and think more about how to support. In March and April we will be presenting at conferences – sharing the model to even more people. We’re excited to see where God takes this.
- A new partnership – Our dream is to see programs developed that address all forms of brokenness. We already have programs that address those who are differently abled, violence against women, rural poverty, and unskilled youth. Long term we want to address even more areas of brokenness. We are currently in the early stages of working with a great organisation to put together a program that addresses urban poverty. It’s a smidge too early to give you all the details but we are thankful to God for this new opportunity and looking forward to seeing where it goes and how lives are changed.
- Completed evaluations – Two of our programs will complete full evaluations this year. We’re excited to see the results. It’s always encouraging to hear the testimonies of what God is doing and how lives are being changed.
- Growing and learning – As we start this new year each program has identified areas that they want to grow in. For some it’s learning to depend on God more, or finding new ways to partner with the church. For others it’s examining again what it looks like to do things God’s way rather than just quickly adopting the world’s ways. There’s going to be many lessons to learn as we head down this path. I am excited to see how God grows and stretches us as an organisation as we focus more on some of these things.
Thank you so much for being part of our first year. Your support, prayers and giving have been incredibly valuable to us. We’d love you to continue to join us as we go forth into our second year. If you are not yet receiving our monthly updates you can sign up and stay in touch with how God leads us in the new year.Image courtesy of starfire / Flickr.com