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War, poverty, and thriving.

War and poverty have written much of Congo’s story.

But there’s a church in the countryside taking back the narrative. Thanks to you and Pastor Jean, they are rewriting their story as that of a thriving community.

Your support of African Leadership allows local leaders to receive trauma-healing training.

Before his training, Pastor Jean explains, “I saw in the streets many kids. Children filled our church every morning. Some wept. They’d never smile and would get aggressive. Joy was missing and it was difficult for me to see. In my heart I tried to help them, bring joy to them with songs and dances, but it was not enough.”

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Because of you, Pastor Jean learned how to address child trauma.

“It was a blessing. It opened my mind and made me strong in this ministry, which is not only a pillar to my church but that will help many children in this place. We’ve become friends with these kids and have helped them commit their lives and pains to Jesus who can take care of us. Now I know the trauma these children live with and how to lead them. Now they can get healing in my church, in my family, and in our environment.”

In a place where thriving seems impossible, Pastor Jean is changing the storyline. His church has become an agent of change for traumatized children, a place where the next generation can heal and grow and thrive together.

Pastor Jean has been the difference to this community, and you have been the difference to Pastor Jean.

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June 2018 Prayer Calendar

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”  Romans 15:30 NIV

Fri 1- Pray for the alumni of our education programs (theological, community development, trauma-healing) to continue to be agents of change and transformation in their communities.

Sat 2- Pray for Our Country Director in Uganda Geoffrey Ocan, as he and his family mourn the loss of his sister.  Pray also for Geoffrey as he recovers from a broken leg and is experiencing a great deal of pain.  

Sun 3- Pray for Mezack Nkundabantu, Country Director for Rwanda and Burundi. As the government continues to close churches that don’t meet strict codes, Mezack and his church are working diligently to try to finish their new building so they don’t have to stop meeting! Pray for favor with the government and resources and weather to push them along.

 Mon 4- Pray for Country Director Asrat as he balances a rapidly growing program in Ethiopia. Pray for his local board, that they would be the support he needs in this busy time. 

Tue 5- Pray for Sudan/South Sudan Country Director Tito and his family as they prepare to move into a new home. Pray God brings the perfect house and that it can settle this family into a searson of planting roots which they haven't had as a family in the last 10 years. Pray for Tito who is having health concerns and for doctors as they look into what might be the cause. 

Wed 6- Pray for Sierra Leone Country Director Jonathan as he begins the process of building a local board of directors. Pray for TK, our board development specialist, who will assist him with the process of choosing potential board members, vetting them, and training them during an orientation this month. Pray for those who will make up the AL Sierra Leone board, that they would be committed, Godly leaders that help Jonathan grow his ministry and support him in his work.

Thu 7- A drought in the Western Cape province of South Africa began in 2015 and is resulting in a severe water shortage in the region, most notably affecting the city of Cape Town. Please pray for sustained rains in this region! Pray also for the country as it remains in political turmoil and there are daily riots and protests. 

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

Fri 8- Pray for the local Board of Directors in Rwanda as they finalize their registration with the Rwandan government. Requirements for non profit organizations to register are more here than in other countries. Pray as this board prepares their documents and showcases their vision that the government will be favorable.

 Sat 9- Pray for Allan Knowles, Country Director for South Africa, as he continues to disciple his students through our two-year theological education program. Please be in prayer for Allan as he preaches tomorrow at a church that is in serious decline.  Pray for the Lord to intervene and breathe fresh devotion and encouragement into this church. 

Sun 10- Pray for the staff and students at the New Dawn Educational Centre in the Huruma slum outside of Nairobi, Kenya.  Pray for the team as they plan the 2nd Annual Run for Hope scheduled for August 11. 

 Mon 11- Pray for the trauma-healing training workshop taking place in Rwanda beginning today. Pray for all those involved. 

Tue 12 - Praise God for our Board of Directors who generously invest in this ministry with their time, talent and treasures!

Wed 13- Pray for the local Board of Directors in DRC.  This board is working to register their organization nationally. Pray for wisdom and discernment as they work to finalize their governing policies and register with the national authorities. Pray for God’s mercies on their work. 

“Whatever you do, work at with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

Thu 14- Praise God for our impact partner The Mocha Club and the artists who share our work in Africa with their audiences.  Please pray for God to increase our Mocha Club membership so that we can continue to support our partners throughout Africa. 

Fri 15- Pray for those who will take part in the upcoming Journey to Kenya.  Pray for God to lead others He would have join this group as they go to visit and encourage Peter Ochiel at Action Ministries and Irene Tongoi at New Dawn Educational Centre

Sat 16- Pray for Jonathan Titus-Williams, Country Director in Sierra Leone, as he serves the teachers and students of our program there. Pray for him and his wife Marian to receive their travel visas so they are able to come to the US to visit their children who are in school here.  

Sun 17- "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ..." (1 Peter 1:3 NIV)  Happy Father's Day! 

Mon 18- Praise God for the Spread The Word program which raises support to equip leaders in Africa with local language Study Bibles. Please pray for those who are busy planning this year's fundraising event, the 6th annual golf tournament on September 18. 

Tue 19- Pray for the students of our theological education program to be bold as they learn to share the Gospel!

Wed 20Please pray for the staff at the Flame of Love orphanage in Goma, Congo as they love and care for the children. Pray for healing for Sister Alvera, director of the orphanage, as she is treated for cancer far from home in Italy.  

“Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of God.  Think of all the good that has come from their lives and follow the example of their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 NLT

Thu 21- Pray for Action Ministries and all the ways Peter Ochiel, along with his staff and volunteers, minister in their community. Pray for the funding of he new school building project. 

Fri 22- Pray for Pastor Mezack as he works to find additional staff in Rwanda. He desperately needs help and is seeking God’s wisdom to find the right person. 

Sat 23- Pray for the men and women who are part of our two-year theological education program. Pray for endurance to finish well and for God to use them mightily in their communities. 

Sun 24- Pray for peace in South Sudan! Pray for classes which continue in areas of great instability inside South Sudan. Pray for our teachers and students as they gather to meet and learn the Word of God. 

Mon 25- Pray for the Women at Risk program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pray that the women who are part of this vital program will know the restoration that comes through a relationship with Jesus.  

Tue 26- Pray for Leonard Chipangano, Country Director in Malawi. Please pray for a vehicle for him as his was totaled in an accident last year.  Pray also for God's guidance in his search for a stable office location. 

Wed 27- Pray for Peter Ochiel and his wife Nancy as they make plans to travel to the US in August.  Pray for them and their children while they are apart for this extended time.  

Thu 28- Pray for the women and children who are taking part in the trauma-healing programs. Pray for those who have been through the program, that they would continue down the path of healing. 

Fri 29- Please pray favor for David, the new principal at New Dawn Educational Centre.  Pray he leads with Godly wisdom and discernment. 

Sat 30- Praise the Lord with us for everyone who invests in this ministry with prayer, finances and/or volunteering! 

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes establish the work of our hands.”  Psalm 90:17 NIV

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Letter from the President:

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I’ve been to Congo several times, yet it teaches me something new each time. This trip has been no different.

It’s hard to celebrate little victories when you are staring at the giant deficit in any place — Goma is no exception.

But there is an undeniable impact that you, as a supporter of African Leadership, have made here.

Staring at life day in and day out, it’s hard to see change. When you ask a Congolese what changed in the last year, they often say, “nothing.” But where there are hardly noticeable changes to those in Goma, I see real progress from the last time I was here.

One example may surprise you — the prevalence of empathy. In a place where all of life is hard, and everyone has a traumatic story, encountering empathy is rare. So this time — when I saw children sit and listen to their peers, when I saw them cheer for one another, when those who didn’t used to look me in the eye smiled at me and said “hello” — I saw tangible impact.

That’s because these children have been meeting in weekly Healing Hearts clubs.

These are groups led by students in our program that have gone through trauma-healing training. These groups bring together children who have experienced great trauma, creating a safe place for them to mourn, understand their pain, and begin healing from it, together.

Most of them live at an orphanage under the care of a widow whose family was shattered by war. Of nine children, only five are still alive. She spends her days with the youngest babies at the orphanage on her back while she plays with and loves on the others. Why? “I had to quit holding some of my babies because of the war so now I hold these ones.

Empathetic children become empathetic adults.

I’m confident that these children, growing up in Healing Hearts clubs, surrounded by those who show the love of Christ to them, will one day turn into people like this woman who care so well for others.

These children, who wouldn’t make eye contact with me three years ago, now share their pain and display empathy. They articulate the poverty of the world they live in, but also shout hope to one another.

They are building not just a whole heart, but a stable community.

As I watched children throw back their heads and laugh, in a field where days ago rebels clashed with the military and sent these kids running, I knew the Lord had revealed to me once again that Congo has much to teach us.

-Emily Blackledge

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How 30 Families are Changed Forever

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“I don’t have the time, the money, or the giftings to make a difference.”

You’ve likely caught yourself thinking or speaking a sentence like the one above. Peter Ochiel was once in your shoes. Now he runs a school, a church, and a clinic in one of the world’s last leper colonies.

How’d he do it?

He focused on the assets around him and took it one step at a time.

He embodies the asset-based development strategy African Leadership teaches.

Peter was working in a restaurant in Kenya when one day, he met a man on the streets begging for school fees for his children. When Peter asked to meet his children, the man took him to Tumbe Village, which literally means “a place for rejected people.” It’s a leper colony that’s home to about 30 families who have been rejected by society.

Peter felt compelled to act. So he started small. He began going to visit every Sunday to worship and pray with these families and renamed the village Blessed Camp.

People began to take notice of what he was doing and they joined him.

Peter’s heart for this village was contagious. The group started pulling together their assets and gifts to open a church in Blessed Camp, as well as a school for the children. Then they opened a medical clinic to help the lepers and, soon after, a feeding program. He built his ministry step by step, utilizing the assets and talents of people around him in Mombasa.

Today, Peter’s organization, Action Ministry, is an African Leadership partner. So his network of assets now includes you, and your assets now help him do his work.

Already, you’re providing hope for a new generation in Kenya.

It’s easy to think you’re helpless. But like Peter, you’re not. Start small, focus on what you have, and know that you’re already making a difference to people like Peter through your support of African Leadership.

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Meet a student - Daniel

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Hi, I am Pastor Gosten Daniel Banda of Thawale Baptist Church in Nkhotakota district in central Malawi.

I became a Christian in 1987 and started serving God in various capacities in my local church. While serving, God called me into pastoral ministry. But my challenge was that I had no training to enable me to know what to do as a pastor. I looked for the opportunity to enter a training program, and it took a long time before it availed itself to me.

By the grace of God, this opportunity came to me in 2013 when African Leadership opened its training center in a nearby community.

I joined the class immediately, and it was a very exciting experience. I graduated in 2015 — after spending two years of studying the Word of God in depth.

After my graduation, I was called to pastor a church in a rural area called Thawale. It was a small church with about 70 members. By the grace of God, this church has grown from 70 members to about 230 members. The church is growing both numerically and spiritually simply because God has really given me the grace to be able to effectively apply the knowledge gained in class at African Leadership.

We have introduced a number of ministries like youth ministry, women’s ministry, intercession, and home study groups where the Word of God is shared during the week. All these ministries have contributed to the growth of the church.

I would therefore like to thank God for sending African Leadership to my nearby community. The presence of African Leadership provided me with the training opportunity that was only a far-fetched dream before. I am so grateful to God for transforming my life through this opportunity. I am also grateful to African Leadership for being committed to provide us with this rare opportunity.

 

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Using Your Gifts to Make a Difference

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It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to the bigger problems in the world. You may look around and see all that’s wrong, and want to help, but feel unsure of where or how to begin. You may even dream up a solution, and then your brain interrupts…but I don’t have x, y, or z, so I can’t. You may think you lack what you need to make a difference. That’s a normal thought.

But it’s not true. Through asset-based community development, you can make a difference right where you are.

What’s asset-based community development?

Asset-based community development is working with what you have, rather than being hindered by what you lack.

A community in Africa might lack clean water. The multitude of issues that arise from that one problem — water borne diseases, girls missing school to gather water, and more — make it overwhelming to address. Installing a clean water well is expensive and time consuming, creating an overwhelming hurdle for many African communities.

However, asset-based community development allows you to look at these problems in a new way.

In Africa, our students are taught to look for their assets first. They may find they have a community member trained in water engineering, or are able to connect with a local storeowner willing to donate a water tank. Sometimes they find that stones, sand, and construction tools are all readily available locally. There may even be a church congregation nearby who’s willing to volunteer their labor.

Little by little, a practical and doable solution takes shape.

This is how we operate all our programs in Africa. When you partner with African Leadership, you help this important education and work happen. You may see poverty around the world and think, I don’t have the money or the time it takes to make a difference.

But what might be possible when you consider your assets?

Do you have a passion to help others and the determination to follow through? What specific gifts do you have that can be used to tackle poverty? Do you have friends who can combine their efforts with yours?

You are uniquely gifted to make a difference.

So, what would happen in your world if instead of getting stuck in …but I don’t have x, y, or z so I can’t, you reframed your thinking to …I have a, b, and c, so let’s get started?

Consider your assets. What specific gifts do you have that you can use to grow the Kingdom?

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May 2018 Prayer Calendar

 "I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."  Romans 15:30

Tue 1- Please pray for African Leadership's president, Emily Blackledge, as she returns home from Africa today. Pray for her as she is reunited with her family and as she re-acclimates to the local time zone.

Wed 2- A drought in the Western Cape province of South Africa began in 2015 and is resulting in a severe water shortage in the region, most notably affecting the city of Cape Town. Please pray for sustained rains in this region! 

Thu 3- On this National Day of Prayer, please join us in praying for our nation and its leaders.  Ask God to grant them wisdom to act with integrity.

Fri 4- Pray for Country Director Asrat as he balances a rapidly growing program in Ethiopia. Pray for his local board, that they would be the support he needs in a busy time. 

Sat 5- Praise God for our Board of Directors who generously invest in this ministry with their time, talent and treasures!

Sun 6- Pray for Country Director Tito Oturo who is serving his communities in Sudan, South Sudan and in the refugee camps in Northern Uganda. Pray for peace in South Sudan!

Mon 7- Pray for Peter Ochiel as he serves the Lord in Mombasa, Kenya through Action Ministries. Please pray for God to provide the needed funds for the school building project.  

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

Tue 8- Pray for the Women at Risk program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pray that the women who are part of this vital program will know the restoration that comes through a relationship with Jesus.  

Wed 9- Pray for healing for Sister Alvera, director of the Flame of Love orphanage in Goma, Congo as she is treated for cancer far from home in Italy. 

Thu 10- Pray for the staff and students at the New Dawn Educational Centre in the Huruma slum outside of Nairobi, Kenya.  Pray for the team as they plan the 2nd Annual Run for Hope scheduled for August 11. 

Fri 11- Pray for Sierra Leone Country Director Jonathan as he begins the process of building a local board of directors. Pray for TK, our board development specialist, who will assist him with the process of choosing potential board members, vetting them, and training them during an orientation in June. Pray for those who will make up the AL Sierra Leone board, that they would be committed, Godly leaders that help Jonathan grow his ministry and support him in his work.

Sat 12- Pray for the men and women who are part of our two-year theological education program. Pray for endurance to finish well and for God to use them mightily in their communities. 

Sun 13- Pray for our Country Director in Congo, Denis Hangi, as he leads and serves the students in our theological education program and leads trauma-healing programs for kids and orphans. 

Mon 14- Praise God for our impact partner The Mocha Club, and the artists who share our work in Africa with their audiences.  Please pray for God to increase our Mocha Club membership so that we can continue to support our partners throughout Africa. 

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

Tue 15- Pray for those who will take part in the upcoming journey to Kenya.  Pray for God to lead others He would have join this group as they go to visit and encourage Peter Ochiel at Action Ministries and Irene Tongoi at New Dawn Educational Centre. 

Wed 16- Pray for Jonathan Titus-Williams, Country Director in Sierra Leone, as he serves the teachers and students of our program there. Pray for him and his wife Marian to receive their travel visas so they are able to come to the US to visit their children who are in school here. 

Thu 17- Pray for Country Director Geoffrey Ocan as he serves the teachers and students of our program in Uganda. Praise God for the recent land purchase! Pray for the construction of his new office to go smoothly.

Fri 18- Pray for the local Boards of Directors in Africa. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as they serve alongside our Country Directors. 

Sat 19- Praise God for the many students who are graduating from African Leadership's theological education program! Please pray for them as they move forward in ministry with all they have learned. 

Sun 20- Please pray for the staff at the Flame of Love orphanage in Goma, Congo as they love and care for the children. 

Mon 21- Pray for Allan Knowles, Country Director for South Africa, as he continues to disciple his students through our two-year theological education program.

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

Tue 22- Pray for the trauma-healing workshop which will take place in June in Rwanda. Pray for those who are preparing now for that workshop.

Wed 23- Pray for the local leaders in Africa who are learning and working towards strengthening their communities spiritually, emotionally and physically. 

Thu 24- Praise God for the arrival of new curriculum for our program in Rwanda and Congo! The shipment of course manuals that accompanies our core two-year program just arrived in Kigali in April and will be distributed to new students this month.

Fri 25- Pray for Mezack Nkundabantu, Country Director for Rwanda and Burundi, as he serves the teachers and students enrolled in our theological program there. Pray for the funding for a new church building that will meet with local codes. 

Sat 26- Pray for Leonard Chipangano, Country Director in Malawi. Please pray for a vehicle for him as his was totaled in an accident last year.  Leonard asked that we also pray with him for the funds to purchase new graduation gowns for his students.

"Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith." Hebrews 13:7 NLT

Sun 27- Pray for African Leadership students in Rwanda as the government cracks down on churches and has started taking strong steps towards closing them should they not be 100% up to strict building codes. Pray against discouragement for those affected.  Pray for solutions so they can continue meeting and worshiping the Lord together.

Mon 28- Pray for the women and children who are taking part in the trauma-healing programs. Pray for those who have been through the program, that they would continue down the path of healing. 

Tue 29- Praise the Lord with us for everyone who invests in this ministry with prayer, finances and/or volunteering! 

Wed 30- Praise God for the Spread The Word program which raises support to equip leaders in Africa with local language Study Bibles. 

Thu 31- Pray for our staff, that we will "Trust in the Lord with all our hearts; and not depend on our own understanding."  Pray we will "seek His will in all we do, so that He will show us which path to take." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

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Meet a student

Sakina Walikunza Lea, Democratic Republic of Congo

I was born in an unsaved family. With my husband, we received Jesus as our personal savior and were baptized. In prayer group in my church, I felt a call to be trained. I knew I could preach and visit with some of our fellow members.

Because of the African Leadership training, I realized there were a lot of mistakes in my early preaching. When in the class, I did repent because the training opened my mind to know Biblical truth. It was my opportunity to ask for explanation about the issues where I was making mistakes. 

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Now I do preach in women’s meetings and in my church and house. I am seeing some family receiving the Lord and getting saved. I am praising the Lord and thanking African Leadership for the ministry to learn the Bible. I’ve decided to work through my church as an evangelist in my country, especially in teaching to women’s conferences. 

Bless African Leadership and all supporters of this ministry.

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Letter from the President:

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Tito Iranga, our Country Director from South Sudan was just here with us. I always love when I get significant time with our African leaders. Every car ride, every meeting with friends, every staff interaction is a place for me to listen and learn. It’s these times when I become more and more aware of the ways God is at work around the continent of Africa. It’s a reminder of all the ways this network of leaders continually leverages their gifts and passions and resources to see their communities thrive. 

But that network doesn’t just exist in Africa. It exists here, too. As a matter of fact, you are a part of it. At African Leadership we are passionate about our use of pronouns. We believe that if my role, my gifts, my resources are more valuable or important than Tito’s, we don’t build anything sustainable. Instead, we are leveraging our collective resources each month so that a local leader in Africa gets the chance to leverage their gifts and passions. Your gift teaches a leader how to discover the resources around them and connect those resources to the things they are passionate about, bringing real and lasting change in their community and truly maximizing the generosity in our community. 

I’m thrilled by the number of men and women like Tito or Sakina we have in our network. Equally, I am thrilled by the number of men and women like you in our network. I am passionate about expanding that network and inviting others to belong to this group. Not just students and communities in Africa, but men and women here who are willing to leverage what they have and who they are to help communities thrive. 

Our goal this year is to invest in 5,500 men and women across the continent of Africa. If you are already a monthly contributor, thank you for the leveraging you do – your part in this story is just as integral as Tito’s or Sakina’s. If you are not, it takes $29 a month – less than a dollar a day – to invest in these leaders who are leveraging all they have and all they are to see their communities thrive. Will you consider leveraging your resources and joining us?

I am grateful for your participation, 

Emily Blackledge
President, African Leadership Inc.

P.S.: Just $29 a month educates a local leader in Africa. Will you help us reach our goal of 5,500 students this year?

JOIN US

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What can you do?

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While our South Sudanese Country Director was visiting, we asked him the best ways you can help him and leaders like him across Africa. Here’s what Tito said:

1. Pray! This is the most important. God moves mountains through prayers. Even if there is money, if prayer is not there, the work won’t have an impact. Prayer gives us wisdom on how to use the resources we have.”

Become a prayer partner! Join our prayer list here.

2. Provide educational resources. The needs of people are hard to tell until those people first learn to identify them. If we walk with others, together we can identify the needs. The tools needed for this are very important – training manuals, study Bibles, and more.”

It costs $348 per year to put a local church leader through our program. For $29/month, YOU can provide the educational resources necessary. That’s less than $1/day. Commit to a leader here.

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Welcome Our New Board Members

African Leadership kicked off 2018 by adding four new board members. Join us in welcoming them to the team! They are:

 

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Stephen Gause, music producer, engineer, mixer, artist and songwriter


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Tim Humerick, President of Humerick Environmental Construction, Inc.


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Cate Loes, Assistant Professor of Management at Belmont University


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Duane Murray, Area Chair for C12 Group

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April 2018 Prayer Calendar

Sun 1- Lord God, You loved this world so much, that you gave your one and only Son, that we might be called your children too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday, everyday. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice. Let us have eyes that look upon Your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world. All for your glory do we pray, Lord, Amen.

Mon 2-  A drought in the Western Cape province of South Africa began in 2015 and is resulting in a severe water shortage in the region, most notably affecting the city of Cape Town. Please pray for sustained rains in this region! 

Tue 3- Praise God for the group of men who visited Pastor Mezack Nkundabantu and his network in Rwanda recently! This journey was a great encouragement to all involved!

Wed 4-  Pray for Asrat Gizaw, Country Directory in Ethiopia, as he serves the Academy teachers and students there. Please pray for his home church as they seek to pay off their land loan.
 

Thu 5- Pray for the leaders who are learning and working towards strengthening their communities spiritually, emotionally and physically. 

Fri 6-  Pray for Country Director Tito Oturo who is serving his communities in Sudan, South Sudan and in the refugee camps in Northern Uganda. Pray for peace in South Sudan!
 

Sat 7- Pray for Peter Ochiel as he serves the Lord in Mombasa, Kenya through Action Ministries. Please pray for God to provide the needed funds for the school building project. Please also pray that Peter will be able to bring his family when he visits the US this summer.  

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.  And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:20-21 NLT

Sun 8- Pray for the Women at Risk program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pray that the women who are part of this vital program will know the restoration that comes through a relationship with Jesus. Pray for the women who are graduating from the program and those who are about to begin. 

Mon 9- Pray for healing for Sister Alvera, director of the Flame of Love orphanage in Goma, Congo as she is treated for cancer. 

Tue 10-  Pray for the staff and students at the New Dawn Educational Centre in the Huruma slum outside of Nairobi, Kenya.  Pray as they plan the 2nd Annual Run for Hope scheduled for August 11. 

Wed 11- Leonard Chipangano, Malawi Country Director, shared this praise:. "My first born daughter, Alinafe, has been selected to pursue her Degree Program at University of Malawi. I am a very happy dad because there is always limited space for 1st year students.  The competition is always very stiff for one to secure a place in these universities." We praise God with Leonard and his family!

Thu 12- Pray for the men and women who are part of our two-year theological training program. Pray for endurance to finish well and for God to use them mightily in their communities. 

Fri 13- Pray for our Country Director in Congo, Denis Hangi, as he leads and serves the students in our theological program there. Please pray for financial support for the men who are now working as volunteers in his office. 

Sat 14- Please pray for our Board of Directors and the meeting taking place today. Pray for God's leading in all we do! 

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:15-17 NIV

Sun 15- Praise God for our impact partner The Mocha Club, and the artists who share our work in Africa with their audiences.  Please pray for God to increase our Mocha Club membership so that we can continue to support our partners throughout Africa. 

Mon 16- Please pray for the group traveling to Africa today as they prepare to spend the next few weeks in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. 

Tue 17- Pray for Jonathan Titus-Williams, Country Director in Sierra Leone, as he serves the teachers and students of our program there. Also, please pray for his children as they are in school in the US.

Wed 18- Please pray for the US group who will travel into the Congo today to visit with Pastor Denis Hangi and his network there. 

Thu 19- Praise God for the many students who are graduating from African Leadership's theological education program! Please pray for them as they move forward in ministry with all they have learned.

Fri 20- Pray for Country Director Geoffrey Ocan as he serves the teachers and students of our program in Uganda. Please pray for his specific financial needs. 

Sat 21- Pray for the local Boards of Directors in Africa. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as they serve alongside our Country Directors. 

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17 NIV

Sun 22- Pray for Allan Knowles, Country Director for South Africa, as he continues to disciple his students through the program. 

Mon 23- Pray for the US group traveling into Uganda today. Please pray for energy and perseverance as they continue their journey. 

Tue 24- Pray for Leonard Chipangano, Country Director in Malawi. Please pray for a vehicle for him as his was totaled in an accident last year.  Leonard asked that we also pray with him for the funds to purchase new graduation gowns for his students.

Wed 25- Pray for Mezack Nkundabantu, Country Director for Rwanda and Burundi, as he serves the teachers and students enrolled in our theological program there. 

Thu 26- Praise God for the Spread The Word program which raises support to equip leaders with local language Study Bibles. 

“Now may the God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood – may he equip you with all you need for doing his will.  May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ every good thing that is pleasing to him.  All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”  Hebrews 13:19-21 NLT

Fri 27- Please pray for the staff at the Flame of Love orphanage in Goma, Congo as they love and care for the children. 

Sat 28- Pray for the women and children who are taking part in the trauma-healing programs. Pray for those who have been through the program, that they would continue down the path of healing. 

Sun 29 -  Praise the Lord with us for everyone who supports this ministry through prayer, finances and/or volunteering! 

Mon 30 - Pray for our staff, that we will seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and trust that all the rest will be given to us as well. Matthew 6:33

 

 

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Building Community One Caring Act At A Time

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A team from Thompson Station Church in Thompson’s Station, TN is on the ground in Rwanda visiting our Country Director, Mezack Nkundabantu, and seeing our work across the country. Duane Murray, Executive & Missions Pastor at Thompson Station Church and an African Leadership Board Member, is leading the team and shares some thoughts below.

We are seeing the evidence of an ongoing investment into leaders that multiplies ministry throughout this country, into neighboring countries, and across oceans.  

Today, we visited a church in the village of Karambe. Started by African Leadership’s Rwanda Country Director, Mezack, and a graduate of African Leadership’s program, Pastor Lameck, this church is having a ripple effect around the world.

In 1998, Mezack was helping an 11-year-old boy get reunited with his parents in the village of Karambe after the Genocide.  When they arrived, many people in the community shared with him the need for a church.  Pastor Lameck then joined Mezack in starting a church together, which became the one we visited.  

20 years later and this church is still thriving and has started two other churches in the area. Each church has an Associate Pastor or someone studying in African Leadership’s seminary-like program preparing to lead the congregation.  Over 200 people are growing together and ministering to their communities through these three bodies of believers.

We had the privilege to distribute Bibles to the church in Karambe. We watched as one of the leaders-in-training became overwhelmed with tears of joy seeing the people she is leading receive Bibles.  It was easy to see the enthusiasm this group of believers have for worshiping the one true God.

Next, we stopped in Matunguru, one of the churches started by the original Karambe church.  Ninety people meet here to worship weekly in a building they purchased last year.  

Guess who bought the building? 

The small congregation contributed two-thirds of the money. The remaining one-third was sent to the church by Pastor Lameck from Antioch, TN.  What? Yes! Since starting the church in Karambe, Pastor Lameck is now helping launch a Kinyarwanda-speaking church in middle Tennessee, but he took precious resources and sent them back to Rwanda to continue the work he began many years ago.

I’m grateful to have been able to experience this ministry and impact firsthand. African Leadership’s work is clearly making a difference and by investing in leaders, the ripple effect continues.

As our day concluded, Pastor Mezack was moved to tears that we were with him in Karambe…and so were we.

Pastor Duane

Interested in experiencing community up close or taking a team from your church? Contact Tammy at tmurphy@africanleadershipinc.org for more information.

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Why trauma?

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You’ll notice that a few of the things on our list for 2018 involve trauma-healing. And it may give you pause. Isn’t that what professional counselors are for? Why would our Country Directors want their students to learn about trauma? If our goal is to strengthen communities, isn't teaching orphan care, education, healthcare, or a tangible intervention more vital?

All good and valid questions. But here’s why our local leaders choose this as a means of equipping their students to strengthen communities: Trauma-healing is healthcare. It is orphan care. It is education. It is tangible development. 

How is it all those things? Take our Congolese Country Director. In 2017, Denis taught a group of church leaders how to identify and address trauma in children. Then those leaders went back to their communities and implemented what they learned — one is a director at a primary school who began “healing clubs” for the kids in his school, one lives near an IDP camp and created a support group for traumatized children in the camp, one gathered a group of police and soldiers and taught them how to better identify and respond to the children they encounter in their jobs.

The children at that primary school now have access to mental and emotional healthcare that will be vital to their ability to develop and continue their education in a school environment. The children in that IDP camp may be orphans who have witnessed unimaginable violence and now have a “family” to support them. The children who come into contact with these members of the police force will benefit from someone in a position of authority who understands them and can see past their actions. 

All of these are necessary to strengthen a community — to grow a generation of children capable of flourishing despite their trauma and becoming compassionate adults actively rebuilding their communities, economically, spiritually, and emotionally. These church leaders, through their trauma-healing education, are growing a generation of disciples that will speak the Truth of their healing into the very fabric of their communities.

As a part of African Leadership, you are a force behind this process. When you support an African Leadership student, you reach far more than just that student — you reach children, entire communities, all the people that student comes into contact with. You yourself are growing disciples across the world through this process. And for only $29 a month, you can support another student through their training this year. Will you resolve to make that commitment in 2018?

(And don’t worry — part of training these local leaders is helping them recognize the limits of their abilities as lay leaders and know when to turn it over to professionals to avoid doing any harm.)

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What do African Leadership students and graduates do?

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In 2017, African Leadership had over 5,500 active students across the continent, including 1,420 graduates of our core two-year theological education program. Nearly 200 local leaders took our community development course, and nearly 300 leaders were trained in trauma-healing.

But what does that actually look like in the field?

It looks like Bahizi in Congo who used his education to start outreaches for traumatized children in his church and community.

It looks like Henry in South Africa who now goes into the townships to work with and mentor alcoholics.

It looks like Budete in Rwanda who coordinates cooperatives with women living with HIV/AIDS, helping them grow their financial security and independence.

It looks like Mtendere in Malawi who has since trained and mentored over 15 more pastors, taught courses in church planting, and mobilized youth leaders in local churches.

It looks like Hana in Ethiopia who became the women’s ministry coordinator in her local church and is opening an African Leadership center to train 15 more potential local leaders.

It looks like 224 kids in Congo that were able to spend time reconciling the trauma they’ve experienced with a God who cares for them more than they can understand.

It looks like new local boards of directors in Rwanda and Congo that will steer direction and ownership from the U.S. to Africa and grow local support.

In 2018, our goal is to add 2,700 new students to our core program, train 610 more local leaders in trauma-healing, and add 190 more leaders to our community development program. That’s 3,500 more potential Bahizis, Henrys, Budetes, and Mtenderes out making disciples and restoring their communities spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Now’s the time to get involved – your gift before the end of 2017 will be matched, up to $100,000!

 

 

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The Oliji Refugee Settlement changed James’ life.

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The Oliji Refugee Settlement changed James’ life. But probably not how you imagine.

James fled South Sudan in 2015. He fled violence, a job as a banker, and a life he calls “bad and of no help to others.” Arriving to a refugee camp in Uganda made things worse. “I became frustrated and hopeless. Things were hard for me since I was without Christ.”

But James was slowly noticing a change – “something began to shape me, a new hope and destiny.” Shortly after James received Christ, he heard of African Leadership through a local pastor. Pastor Taban, one of our teachers, asked James if he’d like to learn more about God. James said yes.

In September 2016, Pastor Taban started an African Leadership class of 16 people in the camp. James was one of them. As he was taught and discipled by Pastor Taban, James felt his life change even more. “I got transformed spiritually. It has renewed my mind, organized my words, improved my behavior and response to anybody.”

James won’t officially graduate until June 2018. But that hasn’t stopped him from making statements of hope in a place he once considered hopeless. “I realized that only a changed life can change more lives. I developed a sense of humanity and began to help others who are hopeless. My neighbors have wounds created by war in their hearts so I began counseling and teaching the people. I created a Bible study at my home where my neighbors got saved and now follow us to church.”

Now serving as a secretary in his local church, James sees the bigger picture. “God opened for me an opportunity to be with every kind of people, to give them the Word of God. I have helped many in my camp to come to Christ and develop strength and hope, even when they lost dear ones in South Sudan. I thank African Leadership for helping me become instrumental in the community.”

James is just one of many disciples making statements of hope across the continent through African Leadership. Stay tuned for more stories...

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Sheba Summit Update

In early August, 24 Ethiopian women gathered in Addis Ababa to participate in the Sheba Summit, a “storying” workshop for local women faith leaders. They were leaders in their churches and communities – some lead women’s ministries, some are counselors from a local program that rehabilitates sex workers, some lead Bible studies, youth groups, or other outreaches in their communities. They were all there to learn the technique of “storying” – a way to engage with other women who might be outside the reach of the typical church, through telling Bible stories in a relatable but accurate way.

A joint effort between the International Mission Board, Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, African Leadership U.S., and African Leadership Ethiopia, the Sheba Summit was incredibly impactful for those in attendance…and is already starting to make an impact as those women journey back to their homes and share what they learned with those around them.

Hear from some of the women involved:

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Tammy Murphy
Director of Donor Engagement | African Leadership U.S.

 How many Bible stories do you know? I mean, really KNOW?! If you’ve been in church for any amount of time you’ve no doubt heard a teacher speak about popular figures in the Bible.  But can you share a Bible story in an accurate, simple and interesting way? 

What I recently learned alongside a group of 24 Ethiopian women from areas all around the country is that sharing a Bible story can be a beautiful way to love others and bring them to Jesus. How? By engaging their hearts with questions like, “what did you like about this story?” or “what does this story teach you about God?”

The ladies who were part of the Sheba Summit, a trauma-healing workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, learned to listen well to others and how to share a Bible story that meets others in their places of hurt, loss, sin, shame, suffering, and trauma.

I listened in as the ladies shared what they learned about God from these stories. They have been reminded of God’s love for them! From the story of Joseph they saw that God is present with them in all situations. Through the Creation story they learned that God is a God of order and creativity, and from the story of the Fall they learned that God doesn’t give up on us even when we fail. The story of the bleeding woman had great impact in this group as they learned of God’s great compassion. And from the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, they learned that God keeps his promises and that He loves us enough to send His Son to die for us.

The women who attended the workshop are servant-leaders in their churches. They are teachers, preachers, evangelists, women’s ministry coordinators and Bible study leaders.  Many of the people of their villages cannot read or write so they see this approach as a way to affect positive change in their communities. During the workshop, they shared each of the 7 stories they learned with others simply by making phone calls at the end of each day. We heard testimonies of siblings who had fallen away from the Lord willing to return to church as a result of what they heard and learned.  Of the Muslim neighbor who is eager to hear more stories of Jesus. Of families gathering together waiting hours for the call to come in so they could hear the story of the day!

As African Leadership continues to invests in Africa’s servant leaders so that every African can discover common ground with the Gospel, trauma-healing has become part of our program. My passion and hope is to learn this method for myself… and to share it with others! Even as the 24 Ethiopian ladies are putting together small groups to train, I’d like to do the same right here at home. And I believe God will use this knowledge to further His Kingdom both here, in Africa, and around the world!


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“My expectation was to do some translation and to help people to understand some of the things the trainer would teach them. But I found it to be very interactive. I didn’t expect that I would receive a lot from this workshop for myself. But I am learning about trauma-healing, about story-telling, how I can make Bible stories short and simple so that I can go and share it with others.

I am relearning again and again some lessons about God. This week I learned again that I am loved.”

Abigeya Wolde
Ethiopian Translator for the Workshop


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“What I like most is that we learned to tell stories in a very simplified but accurate and interesting manner.

Because our way of living is communal, I believe this can have a positive impact in the community.”

Mihret Gebrehawriat
Women’s Ministry Coordinator for Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church


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“When I counsel the women in the program, I often open the Bible and read stories. But sometimes this offends the women because they believe they will be preached at about religion. Now I am able to share Bible stories without ever opening the Bible. I believe this will help me serve the women more with love and care.”

Netsanet
Counselor at Ellilta Women at Risk ministry

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Ellie's Run in Africa

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Several years ago, Irene Tongoi was inspired to start a school in one of Nairobi’s poorest slums. She saw the number of children missing out on an education because of finances – a missed opportunity that would impact them for the rest of their lives. She decided to act. She founded the New Dawn Educational Centre and has since seen hundreds of children graduate from secondary school in Kenya.

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Also several years ago, a ten-year-old in Tennessee was inspired to start a 5k race at home. She heard about the number of children – people just like her and her friends -- who were missing out on the chance to receive an education in Africa. She decided to act. She dreamt up Ellie’s Run for Africa and has since raised over $500,000 to support New Dawn.

Over the years, Ellie went to New Dawn. Irene came to Ellie’s Run. And as Ellie’s Run wrapped up after its 11th annual race, Irene was inspired once again. She got to thinking -- there’s a park in Nairobi; there’s a community of people who love New Dawn in Nairobi; and there are runners in Nairobi. Maybe this was an idea that could work across the ocean and raise local funds for the school, helping it become more self-sustainable. So this October, the very first Ellie’s Run in Africa will take place.

New Dawn’s inaugural “Run for Hope” is scheduled for October 28th. Irene and the New Dawn board are currently busy seeking sponsorships from local businesses and churches, booking Nairobi’s Karura Forest for the event, and getting all the little details of hosting a race nailed down. Kenyan Olympic runner Paul Tergat is even championing the race!

As Irene and New Dawn work to grow local income and ownership of the school, will you pray for the success of this event with us?

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Letter from the President

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Why It Works

 You’ve probably heard us talk about several different aspects of our program – accessible theological education, community development, trauma-healing. You’ve seen updates about providing zinc roofs for South Sudanese refugees and student ministries in Uganda.

You’ve probably also wondered how in the world all these things fit together. Isn’t African Leadership a pastor training organization? If I’m giving to the development of church leaders then why am I seeing stories about water wells, primary schools, zinc roofs?

It’s because African Leadership’s strategy is different. And it works. Here’s how:

Biblical Foundation: Our belief in God is the foundation of all that we do.

Our local Country Directors create their own strategic plans each year. The first step of this is to engage with their communities – to hear about people’s concerns, needs, and dreams. Then they filter it all through a Biblical worldview – what does the Bible say about these things? What is my role as a local church leader? How can the church be the salt and the light to these people, these communities, and this country? How can I use this opportunity to show the Gospel to those who might not otherwise experience it, to those who need it most, to grow the Kingdom in my own backyard?

At the core of African Leadership is the development of church leaders. The church in Africa is growing rapidly and the number of trained church leaders can’t keep up. That’s why African Leadership’s program is based on a core, discipleship-driven theological education. And from this Biblical foundation, we have found that building the church involves more than theology. That’s why we don’t stop at offering a theological education. Local church leaders also have options through African Leadership to learn trauma-healing techniques, community development strategies, how to engage with Islam, and more.

We seek to elevate Him in every interaction. And in doing so, we work to prepare Africa’s church leaders for the range of complex issues they’ll face as the African church body – to ensure they process those issues through a Biblical perspective and identify solutions and responses through a Biblical lens.

Meaningful Impact: We focus on quality over quantity in all our processes, relationships, and outcomes.

African Leadership has been around since 2001. We’ve had a presence in over 25 countries. And we’ve graduated over 60,000 students. But those are just numbers – they don’t impress us and they shouldn’t impress you.

What we’re far more proud of is what happens after a student becomes part of that 60,000 number. Because our program is based on a discipleship-driven approach, each course is taught by a local teacher familiar with the community, able to disciple and mentor students in their home churches. And each student, as they make their way through a curriculum designed to equip them to lead spiritually, physically, and emotionally, develops into a disciple-making leader themselves, able to understand the Gospel so they can share it with others and bring it to life for those inside and outside the church.

What does this look like from an impact standpoint? Sometimes it’s a graduate that starts new Bible studies in her church; sometimes it’s a pastor planting a new church himself. Sometimes it looks like a church community building a water well as a way to reach out to a mostly-Muslim community or a pastor starting a nursery school to prepare children for primary school since their parents can’t do so after spending their own youth surrounded by war instead of in school.

If all those graduates do is put their certificate on their wall then go back to normal life, we haven’t done our job. Instead, this is the impact we aim for – local leaders who know how to lead their churches, care for those who have experienced trauma, and dream and build their communities for tomorrow. Not impact for the sake of numbers, but impact with meaning.

Creative Solutions: We value the exploration of ideas, resources, and problems to enact creative solutions in an ever-changing landscape.

I can’t take credit for our strategy being different than most other organizations – it isn’t my strategy to take credit for. African Leadership’s organizational structure isn’t built that way. You won’t find any westerners on our in-country leadership teams. You won’t find any in-country programs, plans, budgets, or timelines stemming from someone other than a local African leader.

In most cases, our work is even overseen on the ground by a local Board of Directors. The Board shepherds the Country Director as he assesses the needs of the church in their specific country each year. They work to establish their own plan of action in response – exploring which of our available programs to employ, identifying where to employ them, and executing when it’s time to employ them. They build in ways to contribute local income and resources to their plan and budget. And they get creative when problems arise or budgets come up short.

This strategy of working through local Boards who can enact specialized solutions for each individual community mirrors our commitment to ensuring the honest stewardship of your gifts, too. When you invest in the process of educating a church leader in a way that has been locally designed, vetted, and proven, you reap unimaginable dividends – not just a church leader who leads his church better on Sunday mornings, but a church leader who leads his community all week long. The result is a church leader who holds Bible studies in local prisons, a church leader who starts trauma-healing groups for children who have been orphaned by war, a church leader who opens a piggery to grow local income – a church leader who grows and strengthens the local church in creative ways unique to their surroundings and circumstances, ensuring long-term viability and ownership rather than short-term results.

We are confident in this strategy and vision, and we are so honored that you have chosen to invest yourself through the resources God has given you – your energy, your prayers, your finances – in this work to which God has called us!

Emily Blackledge
President | African Leadership

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The Heart of the Matter

One of the core tenets of our program is a focus on wholeness — recognizing that things like food, water, and an education are only pieces of a puzzle that must also include a focus on spiritual growth and emotional care.

So far this year, African Leadership has held trauma-healing workshops in the Adjumani and Koboko refugee camps in northern Uganda. In these workshops, local church leaders learn how to identify, respond to, and care for those who have been traumatized by what they’ve experienced in South Sudan — and they often end up being healed themselves in the process. Pastor Salah James, a participant in the Koboko workshop, shared:
 
I thank God for this wonderful training. It has changed my life in that when all my properties were taken by the soldiers, I was left to suffer until I became a beggar, begging people to help me with money for survival. On top of this suffering, my child died suddenly. Because of all these pains, I was traumatized badly and I became angry with the people who caused this war which brought this suffering to me. As an overseer of my church, the trauma has affected the way I preach and teach. Even the way I relate with people had changed negatively. The training became like a mirror to me, realizing all my weaknesses.
 
During the trauma training, I learned the lesson of the three villages. When crisis happened, there is grief and forgiveness. Let God also forgive them. With these great lessons, it has touched me and changed me. I am now free.
 
Thank you so much for rescuing me and others with this great training, especially with such conditions and hard times of civil war in our country. May God bless you.

 
After the training, Tito, our South Sudan Country Director who oversaw the workshops, reflected on the way the time together changed the hearts of those involved, and will therefore change the hearts of all those they minister to:
 
These men and women discovered the importance of trauma training which is redeeming to their lives, families, and ministries. It became a turning point in their lives as they expressed their experiences. Indeed, they were all traumatized as a result of war in South Sudan that forced them to seek refuge in Uganda. I was encouraged when most of them said they were healed and freed from pain. Their ministries will never be the same again as a result of the training.
 
The need is huge. It looks like a drop of ink in the ocean. But the Word of God will never go in vain; it will always achieve the purpose intended for. That is where my encouragement is found.

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