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. 

Although our trainings were canceled, we were able to distribute seedlings to neighbors and friends who are now harvesting their own produce to feed their families.


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October: A New Purpose for Don Jose’s Land in Costa Rica

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

Note: Three SIFAT donors purchased land in Costa Rica this year for our SIFAT Central American Training Center’s permanent home. We are excited to share more news in the next issue of the SIFAT Journal.

In this article, the title of Don is given to a gentleman to show respect and honor.

Don Jose grew up in rural Costa Rica with six siblings. They were poor, but proud, and worked hard to survive on their small farm. When Don Jose was 10, his father gave him a small plot of land to work. He said, “Son, it is your job to make it produce.”  He showed Don Jose how to prepare the land and gave him seeds to grow cilantro. “You are in charge. We are counting on you to help us survive.”

Don Jose finished primary school. no one went to high school; there was not one nearby. The next step was to work to make a living, supporting the family.

This year, SIFAT bought property in Costa Rica for a permanent Central American Training Center. Don Jose (above) sold us the land and is excited to be part of SIFAT’s new center. He shares his testimony in this article.


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September: SIFAT Doctor in your House Helps in Ecuador

Click here to learn more about SIFAT Doctor in your House program.

June update                July update

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 Peggy Walker, International Team Coordinator

There are times when our SIFAT mission teams must switch from development to relief. The current pandemic, more than ever before, is that time. International travel was halted; teams were forced to postpone trips. We were all told we would be safer at home. The reality of this condition made us all feel more vulnerable than ever before. Along with this reality, the need to serve was ever present, but the question was how? SIFAT found a way in Ecuador with our SIFAT Doctor in your House program.

Because of the support of our SIFAT Doctor in your House program, a youth in the Aida Leon church receives rice for his family from Pastor Wilson in Quito, Ecuador.


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August: Learn & Serve Impacts Lives

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

This year has been unlike anything we   expected at SIFAT. When 2020 began, our Learn & Serve staff members were talking to schools, universities and churches to schedule spring retreats and summer experiences.

Learn & Serve provides opportunities to people living in the United States to gain a holistic view of the developing world through simulated experiences. Visiting the SIFAT Global Village may be someone’s first time seeing how the majority of the world lives and understanding some of the daily struggles. Our programming highlights the appropriate technologies that community leaders in SIFAT training study. Participants in Learn & Serve events see how these technologies can truly make a difference in the lives of the poor and learn how our training alumni are implementing these things in their ministries throughout the world.

Worship in the outdoor chapel last summer


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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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