Learn & Serve: Fall 2013 Retreats Wrap-Up!

It’s been a busy fall for Learn & Serve at SIFAT!  We have had so many wonderful groups from across the southeast come to our campus in Lineville, AL for L&S programming.  As we slow down for the winter season, we wanted to share a glimpse of this past season with you!

During Fall 2013, we had 1,903 participants experience a variety of Learn & Serve retreat programs.  This is a 37% increase from participation in Fall 2012 Retreats!  Here are a couple of highlights from our fall retreat groups:


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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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Learn & Serve: Goodbye Summer!

As summer ends and school is starting back, Learn & Serve (L&S) would like to thank all of our participants for making L&S Summer Experience 2013 such an amazing program! During our seven sessions, we had 393 participants from eight states across the southeast and midwest.

During each of the seven week-long sessions of Learn & Serve summer experience, youth and their leaders took over the SIFAT campus. When the final groups left, our staff immediately felt like something was wrong…it was too quiet!


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Learn & Serve: March Madness!

While the world is gearing up for NBA March Madness 2013, the Learn & Serve staff is ready to hit the court for one of our busiest months of the year!

March brings many groups to SIFAT’s campus for a variety of programs. L&S currently has more than 15 events scheduled next month with an estimated 750 participants coming to our campus during Spring 2013!

Groups will be participating in a variety of L&S programs, as well as using our facilities for their own retreats. We also have several groups coming specifically to volunteer their time to help improve our campus through work projects.

Please be in prayer for these participants as they come to SIFAT for their retreats. Pray they will feel the Lord’s presence and learn the lessons he has for them here. Also be in prayer for our staff as they prepare for the busiest weeks of the year. Pray for their energy and hearts as they attempt to share God’s love with all those who come to our campus.

Are you coming to SIFAT for a retreat next month? Let us know! Comment on our blog, tweet at us, or visit our Facebook page and tell us why you are excited to come to SIFAT!
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