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 …”
August 2022: Lifelong Lessons from Summers at Learn & Serve
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. This month, we are sharing two articles written by youth leaders that brought their groups to SIFAT this summer. One has attended Learn & Serve for years, while the other had her first experience alongside her students. Both believe in this program and its valuable lessons for youth and adults. Thank you for supporting SIFAT and our programs both here in Alabama and internationally! Click here to download a PDF version.
Written by Clinton Wheeler, Youth Minister, Cookeville FUMC (Tenn.)
SIFAT has been a part of my life for a long time. I came to my first Learn & Serve Summer Experience when I was in middle school. I remember walking across the bridge one morning and saying to myself, “I don’t ever want this feeling to end.” For the first time, I heard God’s voice telling me that I was called to youth ministry and that this is what he has in store for me. The next night, I accepted Christ as my savior and have been involved with youth and SIFAT ever since.
June 2021: Summer at 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. This month, we share about summer at SIFAT in Alabama this year – Worship on the Water and Learn & Serve Retreats!
Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator
Worship on the Water 2021
The summer season has kicked off in Alabama! From Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, SIFAT sponsors Worship on the Water (WOW) for our local community and visitors to Lake Wedowee. A guest speaker and musician/musical group lead the service, which starts at 9 a.m. and lasts about an hour. We meet under the pine trees on the shore of the lake at Lakeside Marina, just north of downtown Wedowee on US Highway 431. After postponing and eventually making the difficult decision to cancel last summer, it has been a breath of normalcy to return to our Sunday morning tradition.
Learn & Serve: 48: A Slum Experience Recap
This January, we once again held an intense slum experience that lasted 48 hours. In this blog post, Learn & Serve Interim Director Becca Griffin shares not only about this event, but also some background and statistics about urban slums to help us better understand how about one billion people in the world live.
Ecuador : Understanding Our Place in the World on MLK Weekend 2015
SIFAT’s eighth annual 48: A Slum Experience was held on January 17-19, 2015. We attempted to befriend around one billion of our brothers and sisters around the world who live in urban slums today. We tried to walk in the shoes of people whose lives are worlds away from our own.
What is an urban slum? It is characterized by three things: overcrowding, improper housing and poor sanitation. These characteristics — when paired with challenges like dirty water, smoke inhalation, malnutrition from both hunger and hidden hunger, and a great swarm of violence for the vulnerable — create a web of perpetuated poverty. Slums are not specific to one part of the world, but for those living in the developing world, one in three will live in this context.
Learn & Serve: Summer Experience 2014 Wrap-Up
This summer, 605 students and individuals — from 31 different churches throughout 9 states — attended our week-long Learn & Serve Summer Experience. They began each week living in our Global Village, picking food from the village garden and cooking foods more common to the 10 countries represented (Liberia, Uganda, Nigeria, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cote d’Ivoire/The Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Bolivia and Guatemala).