Since the birth of LIA in 1995, beginning our work among the Maasai in Kenya, establishing LIA-Ethiopia in 2000 and dedicating the LIA Training Center Kenya in 2015, our mission remains unchanged as we continue to serve the poor and the vulnerable. In faith, we travel this journey to fulfill this mission, and continue to partner with the Lord as He establishes His kingdom on earth.
The Lord has granted Life in Abundance a clear vision for 2016, which can be summed up into three assignments:
Deepening Our Impact
The Lord has been gracious to us and has allowed LIA to expand into ten countries across Africa and the Caribbean. This year our assignment is to grow in depth and fruitfulness as we deepen our impact in the current countries we serve.
In addition, we will focus our efforts on strengthening our training centers in Kenya and Jamaica.
We know first-hand that training is the key factor to empowering people to participate in and own the transformation of their community. This is why developing our training centers is central to the mission of LIA. It is our goal that through our training centers, ministries in various communities, countries and continents can be equipped to serve the poor and the vulnerable for the long term.
Growing our Partnerships
As we stand in awe of what God has accomplished through the work of LIA in 2015, we also give the Lord praise for connecting us with partners who share in our vision and work. With the Lord’s favor, we will focus on strengthening and growing our partnerships in the United States and Europe.
This spring and fall marks two seasons when we will visit and further cultivate relationships with our partners. This will be a time of intense travel for our leadership and the US team. Please pray for guidance and favor as we set schedules around these seasons, asking that God will open doors and lead us, for His glory.
Additionally, in September 2016, LIA will be hosting an event for all of our church partners. This will be a time of envisioning, networking, mutual encouragement and fellowship as we all gather around a single table. This will be a significant two-day event with great opportunity. Join us as we dedicate this event for kingdom purpose.
As the story of God’s work through Life in Abundance unfolds, our prayer for 2016 is that our partners will bare witness to lives sustainably transformed as we serve the poor and the vulnerable for His glory.
Completing the Strategy
In 2014, our Senior Leadership Team in partnership with our International Board formalized a three-year strategic plan. We have seen great accomplishments over the last two years, and our desire is to finish strong.
The major elements of the strategic plan yet to be accomplished are:
Completing Phase 3 of LIA Training Center, Kenya
Establishing Blue Wings Aviation
Implementing LIA’s model of transformative development in Uganda and Burundi
While there is much to be accomplished, we serve a God that is mighty and able, and we are ready to see the wonders God has in store for us.
As we look to 2016, our mission remains steadfast while we serve along side the poor and the vulnerable in the dominion the Lord has given us. We shall declare His glory and facilitate his marvelous deeds among his people. We shall see life come in fullness in our acreage. The Lord will establish His kingdom as we put our hands to our plow in 2016. Amen.
Dr. Florence Muindi
Life in Abundance International
Jordan McGuire joins LIA as our new Teams Coordinator and we asked her a few questions so that you may get to know a little more about what drew her to serve with LIA.
Jordan with her husband Matt
Tell us about your calling and conviction to serve the Kingdom. What were you doing before LIA?
I grew up in the church and when I was in high school, I knew God was calling me to partner with Him in ministry. When I got married, ministry meant investing in the lives of middle schoolers alongside my husband as he was a Middle School pastor. It was during this time, that I went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic and I realized that God was calling me beyond the church walls and to be on mission with Him in reaching those who do not know Him. Because of that trip, I began working with the more vulnerable people in our city. It was through this time that my heart became drawn to helping the poor in a holistic way.
What drew you to LIA?
My husband had been on a few trips with LIA and he would come home and tell me about how much he had enjoyed them. It was when he returned from his training in Jamaica that I really came to love this ministry. I loved hearing about what he had learned because it had confirmed in my heart what the Lord was teaching me about community transformation and empowerment. This past February, we had the opportunity to lead a short-term trip to Kenya where we spent time in the Mathare slum. It was amazing to see the model of LIA implemented in such a poor area and how it was working to empower that community. I think one thing I love the most about Life in Abundance is that their model can be applied all over the world and I can even use it in my every day life as I engage with people in my own city.
Jordan at LIA’s Mathare Project in Nairobi, Kenya
What are you most looking forward to in your role with LIA?
I am looking forward to partnering with churches as they get to experience our model and vision implemented on the field. It is my prayer that these trips are more than just a visit, but that it will impact how they live their every day lives as they engage their own context. I am excited to see teams return home and process through their trips, allowing the Spirit to transform their approaches to missions and to reaching the poor and vulnerable.
What do you do other than lead operations for LIA?
My husband, Matt, and I are in Louisville, KY where we attend Southeast Christian Church. We are very involved in our community and have a heart for our city. We love getting to spend time with refugees and helping them assimilate into a new culture. We also spend time investing in the lives of students and adults at our church as we move forward on mission to love our neighbors and communities in the name of Jesus.
“Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge – a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information.”
It’s about a six-hour drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to Cyangugu where LIA will be holding their first ever envisioning seminar in this region. Cyangugu town sits on the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hugging the banks of the beautiful lake Kivu. As we drive into town the sun is setting over the horizon you can see the fishermen setting out for the night. They’ll be back in the morning singing loud and rowing strong as they’re bringing in the night’s catch. The next morning however there would also be another chorus of singing coming from a different part of town.
As church leaders from Cyangugu and across the border in DRC gathered together the next day, it was clear from the strong handshakes and enthusiastic hugs going around that it had been quite some time since they last gathered together. The agenda for this gathering was to learn about transformational development. Over forty churches were represented and as the session started Dr. Muindi took to the front of the room to answer the question; what is LIA’s call in Rwanda?
“When I first came to Rwanda a year ago I visited Cyangugu. That visit clarified our call to this region. Every Monday, LIA as an organization takes time to pray for the nations and for some time now we have felt God calling us to the Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda) and we did not know how or when but we knew He would open a way and make things clear, so we just kept that in prayer.”
Dr. Muindi pauses to let Obadias, the LIA Regional Coordinator, translate. The room is silent with everyone’s eyes jumping back and forth between Obadias and Dr. Muindi.
“There was another training taking place here in Cyangugu and I attended with my husband, not to serve but just to be an observer. So one morning as I sat down with my husband and another friend for breakfast a beautiful Rwandese woman decided to join us at our table. She was a student at the ongoing training.
She couldn’t speak English or Swahili so we didn’t have much of a conversation beyond good morning.
As one of the servers was coming around to our table, they accidentally tripped and dropped their serving tray on the floor. It slapped the floor with a loud bang, almost like someone had dropped a hard object. Immediately the lady sitting at our table shot up from her seat and started having a panic attack. Though we couldn’t really talk to her we did our best to try and calm her down .
When she eventually controlled the shaking and tears; we were able to understand by way of a translator what was wrong. Her name was Sarah and she, like so many other Rwandese, lived through the horrors of the 1994 genocide. As the tray slapped the floor it brought back painful memories of the day she lost her husband and her children; taken by machete welding neighbors.
That incident with Sarah weighed on me heavily. As I sought some more understanding from the pastors attending the training, I realized what I saw was extremely common. I realized a felt but unmet need. As ‘coincidence’ would have it that same day, I got word from one of LIA’s partners, all the way in America whose inquiry could not come at a better moment. He asked me, “Florence when are you going to start doing work in Rwanda?” He had no idea I was in Rwanda and had just witnessed a great need.
A few days later as I took my seat on the plane headed back home to Kenya I sat next to a woman who was a missionary in the neighboring country of Burundi. In our conversation, she told me of a curriculum her team had just finalized, prepared to facilitate inner healing to victims of trauma through the local church. Yet another ‘coincidence’.
As we parted ways, I shared my email contact and requested her to share the curriculum with me. By the time I arrived home from the airport, the curriculum was in my inbox. I was in awe of God’s leading. It could not have been clearer. He indeed wants to facilitate healing through the church in this region. That is why we are here.”
Back to Philip Gourevitch; “I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, the horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.”
Maybe the legacy of such darkness is the light of God and the church healing a nation that the devil meant to steal kill and destroy.
Rev Mutinda Musyimi joins the LIA team as the Director of Training at the LIA Center, Kenya.
As the Director of Training Rev Mutinda will be responsible for establishing a dynamic training function in line with LIA’s vision and mission as well as coordinating all training activities in the various Country Offices.
Rev Mutinda Musyimi is an ordained Church Minister and in addition to pastoring several churches Rev Mutinda has previously been a High School teacher and a University lecturer. He taught communications at Daystar University in Athi River, Kenya where he also served as a University Chaplain for four years. Rev Mutinda is married to Jennifer and they are blessed with three children.
We asked Rev Mutinda to share a little more about himself so you might get to know him a bit more:
What drew you to LIA?
A number of things but the bottom line is that it was an opportunity to serve God. That’s the main one, but specifically it was the kind of holistic approach that is here at LIA. I have seen many churches and organizations whose main focus is only the preaching of the word but as far as I’m concerned the approach that Jesus Christ took was very holistic. He fed the poor, he healed the sick, he was there to give guidance and equip those around him for greater things.
I come from a very humble background and I have gone through several struggles in life. Those struggles have given me a very soft spot for those who are less privileged. It gives me such joy to see someone who is less privileged empowered because though I am not a rich man I am a different person from what I was and it is because I was empowered. So I might even say I have a selfish agenda in being here because it gives me so much joy to see someone empowered in this life!
What are you most looking forward to in your role with LIA?
Seeing people trained, because information is power. I am looking forward to seeing as many people – both rich and poor – trained and empowered to break the shackles of poverty and retrogressive traditions.
I also hope to create a great pool of professionals who will not only come and train people but also be inspired to continue to be agents of change in their spheres of influence.
Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing the new LIA Center in Kenya become a beehive of activity. Not just busy to be busy, but busy with the Kingdom work. I would like to see the LIA Center become a place to retreat for many people. A haven where they can get away to learn, be inspired and draw closer to the lord and the kingdom work.
What do you do other than oversee training and the LIA Center?
As part of the Senior Leadership Team I am responsible for helping lead and guide this organization both here at the HQ and in the country offices. I will also be using my gifts of preaching and teaching. That is what I have done most of my life and that is what I hope to continue doing in varying capacities.
H* is an LIA supporter based in the States who was greatly impacted by Dr. Muindi’s message at Courageous Faith. Below are her thoughts and takeaways from the event:
Several nights ago I had the blessing of attending the “Courageous Faith” event at Southeast Christian Church and hearing Dr. Florence Muindi share her personal testimony. As I listened I was truly struck by the incredible influence God has allowed Dr. Muindi to have on the world around her. I noticed that even those sitting with us at the event expressed respect and interest in the work of Dr. Muindi and LIA, even though some belong to a different faith. I feel sure that they will not easy forget what they heard that night about what Jesus can do in a person’s heart and life.
As I drove home I really thought about the things she shared with us and how much I long to influence my world for Jesus, too. How do we become someone who draws people to Him? How do we become someone that God can work powerfully through? Here are a few things I thought of as I sat down and put thoughts to paper.
Humility. In all manner of speaking and actions, when we listen to Dr. Muindi we see a small woman with a great God. We see Jesus there – not a charismatic personality. We see Jesus because Dr. Muindi does not try and draw attention to her own accomplishments. When there is true humility Jesus has the opportunity to be seen and we are drawn to Him. When we truly see Jesus He is simply irresistible! How beautiful He is when it is He that is glorified!
Single Eye for Jesus. Jesus said we cannot serve two masters. In the West we are trying to serve Mammon and God and the result has been almost total loss of credibility and influence with non-believers. Jesus said “Narrow is the way that leads to life and few are those who find it.” Only by giving up our lives do we find true life in Him. Dr. Muindi exemplifies this beautifully as she tells her story of total surrender to the will of God even when it was different from her own desires
True Compassion. One of my unbelieving friends has expressed to me how many Christians she has encountered that seemed to be very religious. At first she was drawn to them because they knew a lot about the Bible and said their prayers but once she got to know them she was disappointed to discover that they really only cared for themselves and their own families. She wanted to know why Christians were not more missional! This made me realize that the world notices my selfishness and is quite repulsed by it. The world does not really care how much I know my Bible or how perfect my theology is. I am NOT being a light or influencing anyone unless I am truly compassionate and giving myself away to others.
Understanding of God’s work through suffering. I have decided that I will not let believers speak into my life that do not see a role of persecution or suffering as one way that God can work through us greatly. “Indeed, all who wish to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” ~2 Timothy 3:12
As Dr. Muindi candidly spoke about an experience of hers in North Sudan I had to hold my breath. That kind of experience is a great secret fear I have! As I pursue God’s call on my life to reach out in difficult areas of the world I have even asked the Lord to please spare me from that particular kind of suffering, although I have told Him I am willing to die for Him. However, as I heard this part of Dr. Muindi’s testimony I realized deeply that I simply cannot put conditions on Christ. I want Christ and I want Him only. Either He is worth everything or He is not. Either He is the treasure in the field or He is not. If I am to limit what I am willing to do or not do, or to suffer or not to suffer, then I may limit the very thing I long for, which is His power perfected in me!
I end this note with an excerpt from Mother Theresa’s book, which I am currently reading, and ties in so well. Mother Theresa is another person who earned the right to be heard with her service and humility.
“When our sisters were in Ceylon, a minister of state once told me something very surprising. He said, ‘You know, Mother, I love Christ but I hate Christians.’ So I asked him how that could be. He answered, ‘Because Christians do not give us Christ’; they do not live their Christian lives to the fullest.” Ghandi said something very similar; ‘If Christians were to live their Christian lives to the fullest there would not be one Hindu left in India.’ Isn’t it very true? This love of Christ should urge us to spend ourselves without ceasing.” ~ Mother Theresa
*Due to the nature of her work with individuals in sensitive countries, we have decided to withhold this supporter’s name for security reasons.
According the publisher Dave Doty, Exchange: Journal of Mission and Markets “is dedicated to exploring the movement of God in our financial relationships and interactions, the theology that guides our marketplace ethics, and, most especially, advancing the Kingdom of God to His glory through marketplace mechanisms and initiatives.”
Thank you to Exchange: Journal of Mission and Markets for including LIA in the dialogue on Business as Mission movement.
After more than a year in the making, Konjo sandals are here! We’re excited to provide beautiful shoes for you, while restoring hope for the beautiful people of Africa.
Initial quantities are limited, so don’t miss your chance to buy some now. They make great gifts for the holidays – an easy way to pass along the mission of LIA to the people in your life.
If you haven’t heard about LIA’s Konjo Shoe project yet, here’s the story:
Konjo is an Amharic (Ethiopia) word meaning “beauty.”
We believe that the most vulnerable people in the world deserve our best. That’s why Konjo was born.
The Konjo project is one of LIA’s economic development initiatives that, in conjunction with other programs, helps local churches break the cycles of poverty within their own community. The shoes are not the end product. Rather, our vision is that Konjo would serve as a catalyst toward economic independence and life in abundance for its participants.
The people involved in this project were previously unemployed or unskilled, and were identified by the local churches as some of the communities most vulnerable members. The new skills and knowledge they have obtained from their involvement in Konjo is allowing them to break free and provide for their families–giving them not only purpose, but also a better understanding of their own self worth. Learn more about the process here.
The sandals are handmade from recycled tire tread and local leather. They are highlighted by beautiful bead work and are accompanied with a burlap Konjo bag.
Although the shoes may not be perfect, they are beautiful just like the people who made them. With your help, we are redefining beauty through the Konjo project.
We encourage you to read some of the stories of Konjo participants like Jane. Or head on over to the store and buy some today!
With little more than a month’s time remaining, the soon-to-be established nation of Southern Sudan prepares for its first independence day (09 July 2011). As you can imagine this monumental occurrence does not come without its challenges. Reports in the newshave described outbursts of violence in the city of Abyei, located on the line on which Sudan is projected to split.Other news reports are beginning to highlight the tension that we already knew was present between the North and South. (more…)
It is our honor and privilege to invite your participation in our first ever Life in Abundance (LIA) International Good Samaritan Pledge Drive!
During the month of May, every dollar given or pledged to be given on a monthly basis will be doubled as part of this campaign, up to $60,000! This is an extraordinary opportunity for LIA, but we need your help!