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 2010, Samuel graduated from SIFAT. Since then, he has been teaching his people in Haiti the things he learned about growing more food and purifying their water. In 2019, SIFAT funded his first proposal to help 50 women get food security for their families by learning better agricultural techniques and working together to help each other. These women worked hard together, prayed together and believed that God would help them. The project was successful, and the women grew enough vegetables to eat with extra to sell. They could pay school fees for their children and buy things for their families.

Samuel (left) is making a difference in his community by providing agricultural training for women in rural communities.

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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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July 2023: Our SIFAT Family is a Blessing on this World

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 Narváez, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator


I just returned from spending three weeks in Ecuador with two mission teams serving in Machachi, south of Quito. During my trip, I met new friends and reconnected with others I had not seen in months or even years. Though our teams were small in number, they were mighty in love, compassion and energy!

One night during devotions with Carrollton (Ga.) FUMC, team members shared about how they had previously been involved with SIFAT. Britt, the team leader, had led mission teams to Ecuador, but he had also brought youth groups to participate in Learn & Serve retreats on our campus in Alabama. Angie served on campus work teams with her college ministry, and she also traveled to Ecuador as part of a study abroad team in 2019. Cole and Caroline attended Worship on the Water whenever they visited their grandparents at Lake Wedowee. As I listened, it was as though our summers at SIFAT were all in one room – international mission teams, Learn & Serve and WOW!

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In Memory of our Dearly Loved Brother
— Cecil Edwin Contreras —

In late March, we received word that our beloved engineer in Ecuador, Edwin Contreras, passed away.

Written by Tom Corson, SIFAT executive director


SIFAT Ecuador Engineer Edwin Contreras


We can hardly believe that we were just standing beside you as you directed our SIFAT team building the addition at the church in Machachi two weeks ago. Today, you have gone ahead of us into the arms of God. We can only be happy for you, as you have graduated from this earthly life of pain, sickness and struggle. You have heard the Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of thy Lord!” But, we are sad to say goodbye because we will miss you more than words can express. We have depended on you. When we have needed you, you were there for us and for the children in the impoverished barrios of Ecuador!


Edwin and Miguel, our maestro (project foreman) review blueprints. Miguel will be leading teams in Machachi to finish the construction project there.


Most people would have retired. Although you were sick and your body in pain, you continued to work as the hands of Christ. You felt God’s deep call to help the suffering children. You were faithful to that call until the very end of your earthly life.

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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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