Arrangements for David Bryson

It is with heavy hearts that we share the loss of one of our close SIFAT family members with you. David Bryson, husband of international training director Kathy Corson Bryson, died this past Friday. A second memorial service is being held Sunday, March 19, at 2 p.m. at Auburn UMC Founders Chapel. Visitation time will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to SIFAT may be made in David’s memory.

Please join us in remembering David’s work with SIFAT through the years and in praying for Kathy and their four daughters: Brianna, Jennessa, Luci and Evie.

To read David’s obituary: http://www.sprywilliams.com/…/OurObituaries/tabid/80/id/173

Ecuador: Safe in Quito after Saturday’s Earthquake

As you have probably heard, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the northern coast of Ecuador Saturday afternoon. The epicenter was more than 100 miles from Quito. Thankfully, we have talked to Dr. Roberto, our director in Ecuador, and he assures us that our project sites in Quito are safe. They felt the earthquake, but because tremors are not uncommon, they did not realize the severity of this earthquake until much later.He said there was some minor damage in the southern part of Quito, but nothing as devastating as we have seen in the news from the areas on the coast. We are still planning to take all of our medical and construction teams this summer, but we are asking them to be flexible, in case there are opportunities to serve in areas affected by the earthquake.

Thank you for all of the emails, calls and prayers for our staff and project sites in Quito. We will continue to update you as we learn of specific ways we can help and as we receive news from our graduates that live closer to the devastated areas. Continue to pray for Ecuador and those who lost homes, friends and family in this disaster!

Spring 2015 Journal

Our Spring 2015 Journals have been mailed. We also post each issue on the News page of our website. To read the latest issue, click here.

Learn & Serve: Meet the Spring Interns

This spring, we are privileged to have three Learn & Serve interns volunteering at SIFAT. They help plan and implement our programming with the many school, church, university and civic groups that visit SIFAT. Always willing to serve, our interns – Laurel, Lee and Mac – have become part of our SIFAT family. They will be sharing more in the next few weeks about some of their experiences while here, but first, we wanted to introduce them to you, and in their own words, explain how they came to participate in the L&S internship program. We are taking applications until May 1 for next year’s interns! If you’re interested, learn more on our website.

Meet Laurel

Laurel, a student at Mississippi State University, is taking a semester off before returning for her senior year. She attended Learn & Serve Summer Experience as a teenager and volunteered after graduating from high school.


My youth group came to SIFAT while I was in the 11th grade, and I worked on Flex Staff the summer I graduated high school. During my time on campus, I came to see how SIFAT operates and how it came to be this way. To me, it is such a beautiful concept. It is not necessarily a foreign concept, but the simplified vision of SIFAT (to share God’s love in practical ways) put words and a central idea to how I wanted to live. I want to not just say that I love my neighbor, but I actually want to act out my love. I legitimately want to show my neighbor, my brother, my sister, anyone I come in contact with that God loves them through my actions and lifestyle.


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Hope In Christmas

Thank you for your support this year! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday surrounded by friends and family. Our office will be closed Dec. 24 – 25, and Jan. 1. We will have limited staff available Dec. 22 – Jan. 2. Remember, end-of-year donations must be postmarked by Dec. 31 to receive tax credit for 2014. Our co-founder Sarah Corson shares the following letter to help us all remember those who may be hurting this Christmas and the hope that we have because of Christ’s birth!

Dear Friends,

I will never forget Christmas of 1958. Ken and I were newlyweds and were working in Cuba. We had decided to adopt Isabel, a little girl who needed a home. She had begged us to kill and roast Rosita, our little pet pig, because that was the Christmas custom of Cuban families who could afford it. She was thrilled when we agreed, because she had never had a roast pig at Christmas. I washed and set her hair that afternoon, and she helped me bake Christmas cookies for the traditional Cuban Christmas Eve meal at midnight…the hour they accepted as the birth of Christ.

Sarah with Isabel in Cuba on Christmas Eve of 1958

Then in late afternoon, our world was shattered. Relatives came and took Isabel away, carrying her from our home kicking and screaming. That was the last time we saw her for 32 years. We lost our precious little daughter. Soon afterward, the local baker knocked at the door with helpers bringing back our whole roasted pig. I burst into tears anew. “Keno,” I wailed. “I cannot eat a bite of this lechon! This was for Isabel. I don’t want to even see it! Take it away!”

Ken told the baker to set it down on the table, where the platter filled the biggest part of the table. “Wait, Sarah,” he told me and dashed out the door. Half an hour later, he returned with our car packed with people. He had brought a family with three children, whose father had left them sad and alone this Christmas. Ken went in the local bar and found a lone man trying to drink away his loneliness because his wife had left him. Ken looked for all the hurting people in our little village. As our home filled with hurting people, I had to dry my tears and try to help them have a good Christmas Eve supper. It became one of the happiest evenings we can remember…because all the hurting people tried to help the others who were hurting have a good Christmas. We sang Christmas carols. Ken read the Christmas story from the Bible. We shared and prayed together, and then at midnight, we all ate roast pig. All of us had a very special Christmas Eve, helping each other to overcome the tragedies in our lives.

God has made us so that we can help each other by sharing our pain. Somehow it does not hurt so much if we share it with someone who understands. It is a little of God’s love channeled through one in pain to another.


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