March 2021: Easter in the Andes
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. We have shared this story in the past, and it is a good reminder that we can have an Easter celebration no matter where we are.
Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder
The truck climbed slowly up the narrow ledge of the Andean road, cutting sharply to make the hairpin curves in Bolivia. At least two dozen hitchhikers joined us in the back, crowded with the produce, furniture, chickens and other cargo. It was the Saturday before Easter in 1985. We were hoping to get to the capital in time to go to the Easter service the following morning.
This had been the longest, hardest trip ever coming up the Andes Mountains. It took us 46 hours to drive 200 miles. Every time we got stuck, everyone helped dig the truck out, although we only had one shovel. The rest of us used our hands to dig out the mud in the tracks. Five times, a tire blew out along the way. It rained, and our sleeping bags and clothes were wet. Finally, at 3 a.m., we reached a pass in the Andes some 16,000 feet high. The cold was bone-chilling. Suddenly, the truck stopped. A wheel had lost some bolts and was about to fall off. We could go no farther. One of the church leaders walked down the road in the snowstorm and found a small hut where a sheep herder lived. The man got out of bed and welcomed us. We crowded in and, grateful for a roof, lay down on the dirt floor littered with sheep dung. As usual in the area, the sheep herder had no heat for his house. In the freezing cold, we huddled together on the floor. The sheep herder’s daughter slept with a lamb, and when he jumped up and walked among us with his warm coat of wool, he was welcomed. For a few minutes. he lay at my head, and I buried my face in his wool, thankful for the warmth.
February 2021: SIFAT Doctor in your House 2020 Report
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’s article is the report submitted by Dr. Roberto and Monica Contreras about our programs in Quito, Ecuador, in 2020. To see all of the updates from SIFAT Doctor in your House/The Golden Bread, click here.
Written by Dr. Roberto and Monica Contreras, SIFAT Ecuador Directors
Isaiah was born on May 5, 2020, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. He was completely malnourished at birth because his mother did not have the resources for a good diet during her pregnancy. His first cry would not be his only cry. He continually was crying from his birth until August, because he was hungry.
In Ecuador, 1 of 4 children less than 5 years old is chronically malnourished. Isaiah was that child. Malnutrition limits a child’s full development and leaves traces for a lifetime. Children with malnutrition are more likely to become adults with low stature, fewer educational achievements and lower financial incomes during adulthood. This not only impacts the individual, but also affects the social and economic development of communities and our country.
Because of donations given for SIFAT Doctor in your House, we have been able to provide nutritional reinforcement since August when Dr. Roberto learned about Isaiah’s situation. He will not become a sad statistic.
Looking Back at 2020: A Year in Review
Each January, we mail contribution statements to all of our donors from the previous year. With this statement, we include a page of highlights from the year – successes that could not have happened without the support from churches and individuals that choose to partner with SIFAT in ministry. If you would like to download a copy to share with others, click here. Thank you for being part of SIFAT in 2020 through your prayers and financial support!
What a year! We began 2020 excited and full of hope about the coming opportunities to keep Sharing God’s Love in Practical Ways. We never could have imagined how quickly our world would change or how the uncertainty and challenges could end up being positive for SIFAT. When we asked for prayers, help with new projects and continued financial support, you answered our pleas! Although 2020 was difficult and required constant adaptations, SIFAT persevered and succeeded, while other nonprofits and businesses struggled or were forced to close. Thank you for being part of our SIFAT family and getting us through one of the toughest years in our history. As we look forward to 2021, we are again full of hope. Although we may be doing things differently, we are still meeting basic human needs and shining the light of Jesus’ message of love into some of the hardest places in our world.
Merry Christmas 2020!
Dear friends of SIFAT,
When we sat down to write a Christmas letter last year, we were filled with excitement to start our 41st year of ministry. Plans were coming together for our international training events, teams were preparing for trips to Bolivia and Ecuador and our campus staff was scheduling groups throughout the year. Who would have imagined what transpired just a few months later! Our world completely changed in a few weeks.
But, we’ve seen good things come from these trying times. In our local communities, we see neighbors helping neighbors through food drives and shopping local. We have seen a push for “good news” stories that highlight caring for one another. You may have even started following new social media outlets that share these stories or forwarded an email to send someone a smile.
#GivingTuesday2020 is Dec. 1!
#GivingTuesday is Dec. 1! Make plans now to participate in this global holiday that embraces generosity and kindness. #GivingTuesday starts the giving season, reminding us what this time of year is truly meant to celebrate! While we are experiencing the effects of a worldwide pandemic, generosity can bring everyone together. In this time of uncertainty, there’s a fundamental truth that gives us hope — that together we can do extraordinary things. #GivingTuesday emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and charities in safe ways that allow for social connection, while practicing physical distancing. We all have gifts to give, and we hope you choose to help our ministry at SIFAT. Together, we can unite as one, so SIFAT will continue Sharing God’s Love in Practical Ways in 2021 and beyond.
#GivingTuesday is a wonderful time to embrace the spirit of giving! This year, our matching fund is $60,000 – double your donation! When you make a donation at any time on December 1, your contribution will double because of the matching fund set up by a generous group of SIFAT donors—up to the first $60,000 that we raise!
Last year, SIFAT supporters raised a record-breaking $186,200 on #GivingTuesday. Earlier this year, our donors raised $90,670 for #GivingTuesdayNow, an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us reach our goal of $125,000 for #GivingTuesday 2020!
Questions? If you have questions about #GivingTuesday or would like a reminder sent to you, please contact Marie Lanier, firstname.lastname@example.org.