A Mid-Year Update on the Ministry of The Outreach Foundation
by Rob Weingartner
As last year ended, we gave thanks for another year of increasing contributions in support of our work. Now, as we head into the second half of 2017, is a good time to say Thank You for your gifts and prayers that make our work possible. We work to steward your gifts carefully. In 2016 only 10.2% of our expenditures were for fundraising and administration.
Our mission is connecting Presbyterians to build the church's capacity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are some exceptions, but mostly we connect Presbyterians here in the U.S. with global partners in ways that strengthen the church for God’s mission.
Let me share a few glimpses of what you’ve helped to make possible in 2017.
In the village of Tchessa, near Zobue, Outreach joined a few weeks ago with partners in the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique to dedicate a new Leadership Training Center. Choirs from all over Tete Province started arriving about 5 p.m. on Saturday. They had come early to sing and praise God for the dedication of the LTC. They filled the church on the LTC grounds and sang from 7 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
When worship began the Outreach team processed with hundreds of our African brothers and sisters from the many congregations to unveil the road marker, cut some ribbons and unveil the plaques marking the day. There were prayers of dedication, a history of the project, and a sermon. 900 people filled the grounds, including officials from the church and the government. Each congregation was recognized and they danced their way forward to present their offerings. Each of the many choirs present also danced forward singing with unbridled enthusiasm. Our team was blown away by the outpouring of energy, love, and praise in this five-hour service. The training center will be a place for Christians from across the region to gather to be equipped for service in their congregations and in mission.
We continue to work with several of our mission partners in Africa to help them strengthen their ministries with vulnerable children and families. In some cases they are shifting to new ministry models that reflect best-practices today. In other cases our partners are exploring strategies to increase local support for these ministries. We try to reflect in our work Jesus’ special concern for the last, the least and the lost. I am very thankful for Ebralie Mwizerwa, our projects coordinator, and Frank Dimmock, our Africa mission specialist, who are helping us think about how we join with partners to serve children in need.
One partner of long-standing is the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, with whom we continue to construct church buildings and schools. We recently joined in dedicating the Nyakio Church. The congregation made a significant commitment themselves to the project, and they were grateful to move out of their old leaky, too small building.
The Secretary General of the PCEA gave the sermon and he told the congregation to go out into their community and fish for new members. Our global partners have an outward focus! All the more remarkable given that the minister in this parish is responsible for sixteen churches. He has to focus on equipping others for ministry!
We sent a small team to Pakistan in May, and we were inspired by the faithful witness of the church there and our ministry partners. It was encouraging to visit friends and partners at Forman Christian College, Gujranwala Theological Seminary, the Presbyterian Education Board, Pakistan Christian Recording Ministries and the Pakistan Bible Correspondence Institute. In this challenging and complex context faithful followers of Christ are sharing and showing his love.
We believe that nothing takes the place of “showing up” in the places where we have partners. It strengthens accountability, allows us to be an encouragement, and always encourages us in our faith and work. Perhaps you’d like to travel with us to see how God it at work! You can find a current list of Outreach trips on our website.
Syria and Iraq hold a special place in our hearts, as does South Sudan. We sent a team to Lebanon/Syria in January and a team to South Sudan in June. Please continue to hold the church in these embattled places in your prayers. With partners in these countries a major focus continues to be building their capacity to show Christ’s love through schools and the education of children – an amazing commitment in these broken places!
This is just a quick glimpse of a few of the places where we are engaged. News and updates are posted regularly on our Facebook page and website. Thank you for your support of the work of The Outreach Foundation as we connect individuals and congregations in the U.S. with global partners in God’s mission.
Grace and peace,