>Beloved it has been a year of incredible growth. In looking ahead to 09, it is often helpful to remember ALL that God has done. So this post is to brag on Papa God and His goodness. When we recover the eyes of a child, seeing the miraculous happen becomes normal. Here are some highlights:
January: Found our family growing and expanding.
February: A blind woman in Uganda was healed…
March: We measured the land and staked out our first house; our leaders began to see more of the power of God’s love in action. We also continued to reach out to our community with healing prayer meetings.
April: We started construction on the first children’s house on our land. I had a trip to the US to speak.
May: We began our In Community Care Program (ICCP) where we care for children in their extended family structures by providing baby’s formula, small medical expenses and for older children scholarships to attend our school.
June: My first time to minister in Ghana.
July: We found our first bar child on the streets here; we took in two children brought to us from the other side of the country on the Kenyan border and started the relationship that has led to the adoption of our second center, this one in Eastern Equatoria. We were able to put in the borehole for our community as a part of our land usage agreement. I went to Mozambique to meet with Iris family and share in the missions and pastors schools.
August: Iris Harvest School outreaches saw the blind see and the deaf hear around Yei as we were welcomed into many regional villages. Ongoing construction on the land! We received our first long term missionary team member, Jennie-Joy, who is now part of my personal admin team.
September: We began our first discipleship course: The Journey. A five week journey through the Bible and discipleship foundations for new believers that came to us through our outreaches. We took a scouting trip to Juba and ministered on the garbage dump.
October: The whirlwind tour de America began… it took me through roughly 12 stops in 10 states in less than six weeks… it was a wonderful time of reconnecting with family and friends and sharing God’s heart.
November: Our staff did a fabulous job of manning the ship while we were away. I arrived home to progress in action. We officially launched ISRA (Iris Sudan Revival Alliance)- our network for identifying and partnering with life-giving churches in Sudan for leadership development, prayer and the pursuit of God’s dreams.
- My first book is finished and is with Chosen/Baker Books for publication in the fall of 2009
- Our primary school finished with top ranking scores in county exams; one of our older boys scored a #2 overall rank in his grade!
- God brought us a professional web designer to do a redesign and take over maintenance of our site. Yay!
- We found a good contractor-finally! By middle January 6 children’s houses will be almost complete as will my house. Soon to come: temporary primary school structures, house of prayer, 2 more children’s houses and office.
- We have reached 70% of our Bricks of Hope Goal with 140k raised and 60k needed by Dec 31, 2008 to take advantage of matching funds.
- We welcomed 2 more potential long term team members
- We had our first ISRA meeting with 4 churches represented from Yei to plan for a month of prayer in Jan 09.
- We opened our first church in Menyori- it is the first time the fueding clans there have come together and is a miracle of reconciliation in progress.
- We got our official governmental registration certificate from the government of Southern Sudan
- We had a fabulous Christmas celebration!
We now have:
76 children who call YCV home
40 more children in our In Community Care Program
190 students roughly who studied in our Dream School in 2008
10 children in our Kikilai Eastern Center
24 Fulltime Sudanese staff
What does 2009 look like?
In January we will move on to the land and coordinate a month long prayer initiative of daily prayer for the nation through ISRA. February finds me ministering in S Africa and Australia. March will be filled with a tentative road trip to Bahar Gazal and areas to our north as well as attending a two week peace building seminar. April/Oct-Nov I return to minister in the USA (schedule TBA). September my book is scheduled for release.
We will continue church planting, discipleship and expanding our In Community Care Program where children are cared for in their own communities as those communities are empowered to do so mostly through the churches we plant or partner with. We will also begin looking at concerted outreach efforts in the area primary schools with Bible type clubs as well as possible ministries to those affect by HIV-AIDS. And of course we will continue taking in each child that God brings us who has no other options. 2009 will also see the launch of our child sponsorship program in Australia and we pray in the USA as soon as the right team can be identified.
We are considering several village agricultural schemes, microenterprise and a village savings and loan prototype that sows into the economy and dignity of those we love on a very practical and sustainable level. As these programs are implemented and proven we will be prayerfully integrating them with our church planting to show love at every level to the communities we are involved with.
Iris has standing invites and is exploring expansion into Nuba mountains, Torit, Bahar Gazal and several local villages. We also are in the process of securing land for our third center just outside of Juba. We are also beginning to make steps toward some significant pre-election prayer initiatives in Juba in the first half of the year.
So 2009 looks to be an exciting year all around. We cherish your prayers and on going relationship. May Jesus draw you ever deeper into His huge heart of love.
Much love in Him- Michele