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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Graduate Project: Ministering in a Refugee Camp

February 2020, Written by SIFAT Co-founder Sarah Corson

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”          2 Cor. 1:3-5

Bullen, SIFAT’s only graduate from South Sudan, recently sent a letter to SIFAT that began with this Bible verse. He knows from the core of his being what affliction means, and just as real to him is the God of all comfort.

His people have been exploited and enslaved for centuries by the Arab Northern Sudanese fighting for ivory, slaves and later, oil, against the African Southern Sudanese. Finally, South Sudan gained its freedom and joined the United Nations as the world’s 193rd nation in 2011. But in less than a year, terrible atrocities were started again, and the population in this war-torn, impoverished nation is suffering enslavement, savage acts of torture and destruction of life and property.

Bullen, a SIFAT graduate from South Sudan, is ministering in a refugee camp in Uganda. With help from SIFAT supporters, he has built a church that has a garden around it.


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Learn & Serve: Birmingham Youth Support SIFAT Training Graduate in Nigeria!

Pastor Ogbatabo is a pseudonym for one of our SIFAT graduates and trainers in Nigeria. Because of his work in a violent area, we want to protect his identity for his safety. Pastor Ogbatabo submitted a proposal to SIFAT, which was approved as a SIFAT international project. 

SIFAT’s Learn & Serve department pledged to help Pastor Ogbatabo fund his project through educating North American youth on the issue of smoke inhalation around the world and allowing them the chance to partner with SIFAT through financial contributions.  Several L&S staff members and leaders from various participating groups have contributed.  One inspiring story of a group committing to fund Pastor Ogbatabo’s project comes from Canterbury United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama.

When students from Canterbury UMC met Pastor Ogbatabo while at SIFAT during Summer 2013, they decided they wanted to sponsor his project in Nigeria. After telling their friends and parents about Pastor Ogbatabo and his work, they decided to take up an offering once a month at their Sunday night youth program.

Canterbury UMC students keep a tally of the amount raised each month on their prayer (chalkboard) wall in a drawing of the rocket stove.


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International Project Update: Pastor Ogbatabo’s Cookstove Training in Nigeria

Pastor Ogbatabo is a pseudonym for one of our SIFAT graduates and trainers in Nigeria. Because of his work in a violent area, we want to protect his identity for his safety. Pastor Ogbatabo submitted a proposal to SIFAT, which was approved as a SIFAT international project. 

Pastor Ogbatabo and participants from the fuel efficient cookstove training that took place in Nigeria during September 2013.

Pastor Ogbatabo, one of SIFAT’s International Practicum graduates, is currently holding trainings in Nigeria to educate community leaders on the importance of fuel efficient cookstoves and water purification.  Pastor Ogbatabo will be holding six trainings during the next year to train about 360 people in making fuel-efficient cookstoves. These stoves not only help the environment by using less firewood, but also improve air quality in the kitchen and help girls go to school—the girls are usually given the task of gathering firewood, often spending most of the day walking to collect wood and keep the fire going.
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