September 2023: Raphael Returns to SIFAT

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Tom Corson, executive director

SIFAT Graduate Raphael has returned to SIFAT various times since first participating in our 10-week training practicum. He has taught in our trainings after using what he learned and implementing appropriate technology in his ministry in Nigeria. In his heart and mind, he believes what SIFAT believes is the Heart of the Gospel: sharing God’s love in practical ways—love for God, for everyone, even for our enemies. And wherever Raphael lives, a little part of the Kingdom of God develops around him. He came to SIFAT this September to visit and to serve us by repairing the Nigerian houses he helped Learn & Serve youth build in our Global Village during a previous visits. When he leaves SIFAT, he plans to visit friends and supporters.

Raphael, a SIFAT graduate from Nigeria, spent two weeks with us this September. Our staff loved spending time catching up with news from his ministry and family, as well as having his help on campus.


Years ago when Raphael returned from SIFAT to Nigeria, he was moved to see migrants escaping from the part of the country where terrorists were taking over farms and killing people. These people had lost everything and were fleeing for their lives, hungry and destitute. SIFAT’s Graduates’ Project Committee partnered with him to raise money to buy 24 acres of land, which he divided into mini plots on which 30 migrant families could grow enough food to eat and have extra to sell for profit. In three years, the average migrant family worked these tiny farms, harvested their own food and sold enough to provide for their needs. Additionally, most were able to save enough to buy their own farms, which freed the land Raphael was loaning them for others to begin this process. This plan is still working today! The migrants believe in Raphael’s testimony, because he not only told them about Jesus, he lived out the Gospel with them every day.

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June 2023: May Field Study Returns to SIFAT Campus

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Kathy Bryson, International Training Director, and Kaitlyn Glenn, Learn & Serve Program Assistant

We recently completed our May Field Study, “World Hunger and Malnutrition: Practical Skills to Make a Difference.” This training equips participants to serve in their communities and empower citizens through public health and community development. Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham earned college credit when they joined us for 10 days of training. Prior to the UAB students’ arrival, international community leaders finished a week of training. Many UAB participants commented that the May Field Study was not only a valuable experience, but it was enlightening about the issues that so many people face around the world and the ways we can help.

SIFAT co-founder Ken Corson (center left) and SIFAT trainer Bayron Morales lead a class during our May Field Study, which was comprised of 48 participants representing 14 countries.

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March 2023: SIFAT Intern’s Appropriate Technology Learning Curve

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Madison Gnoose, Learn & Serve Intern

Appropriate technology is the most intimidating part of my internship so far. I did not spend much of my life before SIFAT working with my hands or with tools, because someone else was always around to do those sorts of things. Plus, I have always felt more comfortable in academics. Picture someone who majored in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. Do you see someone in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform tracking bears, running through the forest looking for endangered woodpeckers or wearing waders while wrestling alligators and catching man-eating catfish. Now, erase that image! I was the girl who used artificial intelligence algorithms to better guide coastal conservation and understand waterbird migration and wrote manuals for citizen science water quality monitoring groups. I sat at my computer all day. Halfway through my junior year was the first time I considered learning additional skills and using my ecological knowledge to help real suffering human beings, not only wildlife. It became my dream to help developing communities in agriculture, which meant I needed to learn these skills first.

After graduating college, as I read over SIFAT’s website and prepared to apply for this internship, I remember thinking, “Learning about poverty, global hunger and how I can help? Yes, that’s exactly what I want to do! Leading youth in loving those in need as God loves us all? Amen! Gardening? Amazing! Constructing water filtration systems, fuel efficient wood-burning stoves and other technologies? Well …”

Madison Gnoose is one of our campus interns this year, serving alongside our Learn & Serve staff.

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July 2020: Graduates in Action Around the Globe

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator

SIFAT has been training community leaders in development for 41 years. As community needs change, our graduates’ ministries often shift their focus. A global pandemic? That is definitely a call for adaptation to meet immediate needs. Around the world, governments are enacting strict lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, which has led to economic hardships and job loss, inflation and food shortage. We reached out to a few of our graduates  for updates, so we can better understand the challenges they face, but also to see the ways they are thriving, despite unexpected circumstances.

Awon (center) leads a Bible study with a group of college students quarantining together in India.

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Happy Easter from SIFAT

Download a PDF copy of this Easter 2020 mailing from SIFAT

Written by Kathy Bryson, SIFAT’s training director

I have met many incredible people who have overcome adversity and are determined to make a difference in the lives of others. I want to share Anner Sagustame’s story with you. Anner is from rural Honduras and has been doing an agricultural internship with us in Costa Rica, helping to set up demonstration models for family gardens and conserving soil and water. He will return soon to graduate at his agriculture college in Honduras. He wants to learn more at SIFAT about appropriate technologies in water purification, solar energy, simple water pumps for irrigation, preventing malnutrition in children and community development.

Anner and his grandmother

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