September 2022: From Witchcraft to Worker for Christ

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 Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

In 1994, SIFAT began training Christian workers at El Renuevo in Venezuela. Several years later, we had to close it because of terrorists in nearby Colombia, who had begun coming into Venezuela and kidnaping Americans for ransom.

This summer, Yurima Alvarez, one of our El Renuevo graduates, came to SIFAT to teach youth during our Learn & Serve Summer Experience and to learn more technologies to help her people during this difficult time in Venezuela. She brought us news from a number of SIFAT’s graduates from those years we worked in Venezuela. Yurima encouraged us, telling us that the SIFAT training was still going on in different areas of Venezuela, as our graduates with whom we had lost contact were still training others using the skills and knowledge that they learned more than 25 years ago.  One especially caught my attention.

“Remember Oscar?” she asked. We could never forget Oscar! He was from the Yanomami, deep in the jungles bordering the Orinoco River. His tribe still dressed in the ancient loin cloth, but he got clothes like we wear to come to the SIFAT training sessions. They were still hunter-gatherers and did not know how to farm. Their tribe was in danger of dying out because their hunting and fishing territory was becoming smaller and smaller as homesteaders were pushing into the area. The Orinoco River was becoming polluted from the oil drilling companies.

Sarah and Oscar spend time together at El Renuevo in Venezuela many years ago.


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May 2022: SIFAT Graduates Overcome Obstacles

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.

In Nigeria, our SIFAT graduates Pastor Blossom and Aina are building a fence around their mission school, an action required by the government for all schools because of the terrorists who are kidnapping schoolchildren. Through our approved graduates’ projects program, SIFAT sent a grant to help with the fence to enable this Christian school to continue operating. But an anti-Christian group did not want a Christian school in their village. They invented a false story that the land the fence was on was not the school’s property. They sued Pastor Blossom, which stopped the fence building for several weeks until the court ruled it was a falsehood. The attackers got what they wanted—construction was delayed and materials ruined. Without extra funds, Pastor Blossom and Aina could not continue.

We believe in self-sufficiency, in working and making a living by doing so. But, there are so many different problems our graduates face before they can succeed.  We are constantly amazed that these graduates, who have many obstacles to overcome, have so much determination and perseverance. They often say, “With man it is not possible, but with God all things are possible!” Though it may take longer than originally planned, still it happens! Our graduates keep trying, and with God’s help, they overcome!


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July 2021: An Update from Isaiah in the DRC

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 Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

SIFAT’s graduate Isaiah Chot has worked for years rescuing children who were kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Because they have been brainwashed to kill and experienced unimaginable trauma, it is hard to rehabilitate them. Their own families are afraid of them and often do not want them to return. Isaiah started a rehabilitation ministry for these former child soldiers and other abandoned, hopeless children. Dedicated volunteers joined his effort, showing the children God’s love as they taught job training and life skills.

Beginning in 2017, SIFAT helped Isaiah finish his vocational school buildings, so they could accept homeless youth who had no other hope of finding a better life. SIFAT Graduates’ Projects (GPC) also worked with Isaiah to buy a cement block making machine both as  a teaching tool for the students and as a business they could use to help make the school sustainable. Now, they are able to accept 50 students each session. These youth work together learning and practicing farming/gardening, so that there is food for all of them, as well as some to sell for their other needs. Isaiah says they are taught the principles of gardening that he learned from SIFAT’s expert gardener, John Carr. This knowledge is constantly being passed on to others and has brought hope and freedom from hunger to hundreds in Isaiah’s programs. The school is staffed with dedicated professional teachers, as well as community volunteers, who help the students one-on-one. They have added courses in business, construction/masonry, tailoring/sewing, welding, food preservation and other classes teaching skills that their communities need.

Young students visit the garden.


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Uganda: Agape Needs Our Help!

Agape Total Childcare Center, the orphanage and school SIFAT mission teams built in Uganda, has been hit hard in recent weeks by COVID-19. Although Uganda had been spared during much of last year, it has now been declared a Level 4 country by the U.S. State Department and CDC because the disease is spreading rapidly. The Ugandan government has declared a lockdown, and most students in boarding schools have been unable to return home to their families. At Agape, three of our original children (now young adults) are currently in the hospital, and several more have tested positive with COVID. In the close dormitory conditions in which they live, it is very hard to isolate and quarantine those with symptoms. Although WHO safety protocol is being adhered to as much as possible, the virus continues to spread. Funds are desperately needed for food, medicines, hospital care and to replenish sanitizers and masks.

Prior to this outbreak, Agape implemented COVID-19 protocols to keep everyone healthy. Here early in the pandemic, the students in the secondary school have the temperature taken by the school nurse (an Agape graduate) before entering the classrooms.


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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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