The International Conference on Missions (ICOM) is an annual conference in Kansas City that LIA has been honored to participate in for many years. Sarah May Wilson, our Teams Coordinator, shared a bit about what made this conference special for her:
This past week, Life In Abundance had the opportunity to exhibit, as well as present and participate in a couple of workshops at ICOM. It was a great few days of connecting with old and new friends, sharing what LIA is doing through the local churches in East Africa and the Caribbean, and learning how God is using others around the world.
This year’s theme was “Glorifying God Globally”, focusing on Psalm 67.
1May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
“May the nations be glad and sing for joy…May the peoples praise you, God; may ALL the peoples praise you” Such verses come alive when you’re worshiping in a room full of people from all over the world.
One of my favorite things about ICOM is that it is truly a gathering of people in which all nations, languages and stories are represented. While working at the LIA booth, I had several opportunities to meet and speak with people who work in all corners of the Earth working to share the good news of Christ so that one day all nations will be glad, sing for joy and praise the one in which all creation came.
This weekend was a special glimpse into the beautiful picture the Psalmist is painting in this particular passage. It was a perfect reminder of what an honor it is for LIA to be invited to work in places like South Sudan, Ethiopia and Haiti and to work with the most marginalized, the hopeless, and the tired so that they may turn and praise the one who created them. How sweet it is to be part of this Kingdom work.
As we continue to seek God’s direction for where we shall go next and how we’re to be used so that “the nations [may] be glad and sing for joy,” I ask that you partner with us in prayer.
As the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) wrapped up this past weekend, we asked LIA’s Manager of Engagement, Tina Bruner to write about her experience:
This past weekend was a time of tremendous learning and fellowship for the Life In Abundance family, and we had the opportunity to meet with many old and new friends. Some of our African team – Dr. Florence Muindi, James Gatere, Dr. Steve Muhudhia and Victor Mikebanyi – traveled from Kenya to Kentucky to be with our LIA US team and participate in the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, KY.
As Dr. Muindi and our African brothers were in and out of speaking engagements and meetings, I had the privilege of working with Sarah, our teams coordinator, at the LIA exhibitors booth. It is always a joy and honor to meet people at our booth who are working tirelessly on behalf of the poor and vulnerable around the world. I was sharing with one woman about the work we do in Kenya and as I said the name of the community she squealed, “That’s where I live!” This moment was a wonderful reminder that there are opportunities for us to encourage one another in the work God has called us to around the world, even in the same town in Kenya.
A focus for LIA this year was to share with attendees and exhibitors about the extension of the GMHC to Nairobi, Kenya next September. Every year we meet people in Kentucky who work throughout Africa and know those who cannot make the trek to the states for this event. LIA hosted the inaugural GMHC: Africa this past August and, with a joyful heart, we will host the second annual conference in Kenya. God’s provision is being seen in the drawing together of plenary and workshop speakers. Many are eager to delve deeper in equipping Africans for Africa and have expressed wonderful ideas of how we can spend our time together during the event and in the field.
Please join us in prayer for the conversations, networking and learning that was started in Kentucky and will continue in Kenya in 2014. We are excited for this opportunity!
Last April, we hosted our annual Spring Pledge Drive, where we asked the LIA family to commit to coming alongside LIA with a monthly gift that supported one year of an orphan and vulnerable children program in Kenya.
We wanted to take a moment and fill you in on some of the progress that has been experienced during the last six months. Read about two OVC programs in particular – Thika and Kisumu:
In one area of Thika, 75 orphans and vulnerable children and their families have been enrolled in the LIA church partner program. They are currently receiving support in the form of tutoring, educational supplies, food and much more. The program will continue to develop to help these families provide for themselves for the long-term.
Not far away, LIA is seeing the sustainable change in 75 families further in the transformation process. These guardians have been trained on income generating activities and have established savings and loan groups with revolving funds so that members have access to micro-loans to initiate their own businesses.
A truly beautiful picture of the stages of transformation and the renewal that comes from the church being empowered to serve it’s most vulnerable!
Similarly in Kisumu, a group of 104 guardians have been trained in income generating activities and are looking to start their own businesses. They too have formed savings and loan groups to support one another and provide micro-loans to guardians who are ready to start their own business. Five women in the area have already begun!
Take for example, Lorna. After receiving training and a micro-loan through LIA church partners, she started a hair salon and is not only providing for her two children, but she has even created jobs for two other women in her community!
In addition to those 104 guardians benefiting, there are 507 youth that are receiving food, medical support, tutoring, education materials and more. The foundation for long-term change has been laid and we are excited to see what God has in store for this program during the next few years!