Micah Network Update, June 2010

General June 21, 2010

Monthly Update: June 2010

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Contents

CONTACT MICAH NETWORK

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Letter to Members

Dear Friends

June is a time of meeting one another and thinking through our vision and strategy for next 3 years. On the 3rd to the 5th June the Micah Network staff met together in Sunbury, UK to review where we are today and seek God for guidance as we consider the future. During the course of our discussions we tried to articulate what would be a testimony to validate that we are fulfilling the calling of Micah 6:8 and we came up with the following visionary thought:

When people describe what we have done they tell us what we believe.

If we believe that having mission at the very heart of our being, our planning and lives will reflect our desire to see communities transforming through our living out the love of God in their midst, then this would be an great confirmation that we are getting there.

Over the coming weeks I will be travelling to Australia to meet our members and start discussing our developing strategy. I hope to make my way around the membership and explore together how we can consolidate our learning to date on integral mission and how we can move forward together. Please pray for this time as we seek God to guide and inspire us. Rev Dino Touthang shared some thoughts from Exodus 33 with us and two versus jumped out at me:

15Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

That is our prayer.

The end of May marked the end of John Wesley Kabango’s time with Micah Network in the role of Africa Regional Coordinator. I was just looking through his report of all he has achieved during the last few years and realised how many connections and friendships he has managed to build. That is really what it is about – relationships and John has a tremendous gift in this. We want to bless you John and pray for the coming studies you are about to engage in. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to the vision and aims of Micah Network and look forward to continuing our friendship with you over the years to come.

The impact of John Wesley leaving will be felt in Africa I am sure. What does this mean for us all? Well, in the next few months we will be exploring and considering whom God is calling to take on this important role of networking in Africa on behalf of Micah Network. It is a time when I ask our members to take up the challenge of continuing to forward our aims together. Please direct e-mails to me for the time being ([email protected]) and bear in mind that some plans may need to be reconsidered and re scheduled while we pause and reflect on how to proceed. Thanks for your understanding.

Warm Regards

 Sheryl Haw

 International Director

 Micah Network

 Reminder: thanks in advance for sending your membership contributions for 2010.

 

Integral Mission Initiative Update

Micah Network's integral mission website is now packed with case studies, reading lists, training materials and podcasts to support members in their own discipleship and their work to encourage integral mission. More videos and worship materials will be added soon.  You can access the materials in English, Spanish, French, Swahili and Portuguese, and contribute your own stories of transformation.

Each country where we know Micah Network members are working together to promote integral mission has its own page telling you what's happening and how to get in contact. Anyone can upload a story of transformation about what God is doing in the area. We also have stories from some of the other networks we're friends with, who are working to promote integral mission - like Amahoro in Africa and Red del Camino in Latin America.

If your country is missing from the list and you want to join the initiative, send us an email to [email protected].

We hope the website will resource and equip you in the work you're involved with around the world to encourage integral mission. We hope many of you will contribute to the website, and look forward to hearing your stories, and your feedback.

www.integralmission.net

Welcome to New Members May 2010

Welcome to our new associate member on the 26th May 2010: Synergy Farms International’s (SFI)

Background about SFI: Their objective is to reduce poverty and hunger, focusing on countries and regions where this is needed the most. This goal is realized by educating global citizens to create sustainable, green, environments that will feed their families for generations to come. SFI will operate year-round training centres throughout the world. All funding for SFI programming will come from government grants, private donations, and church organizational support. To make that a reality, SFI will develop and operate a “campus” training facility. Their goal is to implement these campus educational centres within their first three years in operation in Tanzania, Nicaragua, and Haiti. SFI will begin by procuring land that has, or is currently being used for farming or commercial applications. SFI will then develop said parcel of no less than 7 acres and implement land usage by:

·   Livestock Management Support

·   Agricultural Training

·   Missionary Accommodation Support

·   Health care Service Support

·   Strategic Partnerships

·   Farm Programme Implementation

A quote from SFI: “We want to partner with NGOs and churches to garner a knowledge base for the communities we serve. Our mission is to bring people into relationship with Christ through action first.”

For information: www.synergyfarmsinternational.org

Consultation on 'Stewardship in Mission'

September 27 – October 1, 2010, Cha’am Thailand.

Aim: Effective Stewardship in Integral Mission in the Asia- Pacific region

Objectives

By the end of the five-day consultation, it is hoped that participants will have:

  • An enhanced biblical understanding of stewardship in Integral Mission
  • Identified key issues influencing stewardship in Integral Mission
  • Shared and acquired knowledge of best practice and skills for stewardship in Integral Mission
  • Been encouraged and strengthened in
    - Worship
    - Prayer
    - Fellowship
    - Interaction

Sessions

The Consultation will follow one theme each day. These are:

  • Stewardship: what are we stewards of?
  • Securing what we are endowed with: our bodies, resources, environment
  • Including the marginalised: women, the poor, the disabled, people living with HIV
  • On accountability to each other: governance related issues
  • Going forth to serve

Pursuing these themes, the Consultation is divided into 13 sessions of about 60 – 90 minutes each. These sessions will be a combination of plenary sessions, group discussions including World Café, and workshops and case studies presented by participants. Participants will have the opportunity to attend an extended workshop on a track of their choice. Some of these tracks are on Governance, Board matters, Child protection policy, Mainstreaming Disability, and others. Times of prayer, worship and reflection on Scriptures will be daily features.

Methods

Bible teachers who have a good understanding of Asia-Pacific region will bring God’s word at devotions each morning. In the plenary sessions, experienced people of God from the region will share their inspiration based on the word of God and the experience of Christians worldwide. Workshop outlines around topics in line with the plenary sessions to be invited from the membership and all MN contacts. A selection panel identified for the purpose will decide on the final list of workshop sessions. Based on the coverage of topics, some agencies/ individuals may be invited to run workshops.

Criteria for workshops

  • Completely filled workshop application form received before the deadline in prescribed format. This is in addition to the booking form for the Consultation.
  •  The Workshop must be applicable to the Asia-Pacific region
  • The topic of the workshop must be in line with the day’s theme
  •  The workshop must provide a combination of knowledge and skills in the specific area
  • For case studies, principles must be drawn out for application

Simultaneous interpretation will be available.

Participants: The Consultation is intended for representatives of agencies and individuals who desire to become better stewards of the Gospel that is entrusted to them.

Dates: Begins September 27th, 2010 (afternoon) and comes to a close on October 1st with lunch.

Venue: Cha’am, Thailand (about 150kms from Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s international airport)

Registration: Early bird advantage will be extended.

More details will be available soon on www.micahnetwork.org

Sundar Daniel, Asia Regional Coordinator

 

News Items from Latin America

Workshop: ECUADOR - Paz y Esperanza Ecuador, along with the Claves Programme of Youth for Christ in Uruguay (supported by Micah Network and International Justice Mission) are planning a training workshop in Guayaquil for the 15-17 of July entitled Through Recreation We Are Strengthened to Face Difficult Situations. The training is for health workers, formal and informal educators, social workers, local church workers and NGO staff. We are thankful for this opportunity to promote good treatment in this area.

ECUADOR: The Tungurahua Volcano in the province by the same name in Ecuador erupted on the 28th of May. Several towns near the volcano, including Ambato and Baos have been evacuated. The ash cloud is blowing South West toward the city of Guayaquil (6 hours from the volcano). The Quito airport has already been closed due to the ash. Health authorities fear that the ash will cause respiratory problems due to its high levels of pollution, especially among children who tend to have dust allergies. The affected area is a popular tourist area with good buildings that could be endangered by further volcanic activity. Please pray with us for those who had been living near the volcano and are now in temporary shelters, who are facing a potential loss of everything they have.

BRASIL: The Maos Dadas magazine celebrates 10 years of publications on June 18th in the city of Belo Horizonte. This magazine is a free publication designed to support the work of Christians who work in social sectors to promote the dignity of children and adolescents. We congratulate them for their work and this landmark celebration and thank God for Director Klenia Fassioni and Executive Coordinator Lissander Daz as well as for their entire staff. May they continue to make their contribution for the glory of God and building the Kingdom. (http://www.ultimato.com.br/boletim/2010/maos_dadas/10_anos/convite_aniversario.html)

PERU: AN HONORABLE PLACE TO LIVE FOR INDIGENOUS GROUPS. On Tuesday, May 18, the Peruvian congress passed in the Law the Right to Consultation of Indigenous Groups in Peru, which requires the original inhabitants of the land to be consulted before any legal norms, programmes, plans or projects are developed that would affect them or their land. This law stems from the Peruvian states commitment to the ILO Convention 169, which was approved originally at the ILOs General Conference on June 7, 1989 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Various Human Rights organizations as well as the Office of the Ombudsman have expressed their satisfaction with the congressional approval, recognizing that the law represents a significant step forward on the long road towards the inclusion of indigenous groups in the government’s decision making around issues that could affect their rights and communities. Peace and Hope has recognized the Andean and Amazonian organizations who despite the many obstacles have managed to attain the approval of this law, highlighting the organizational ability, spirit of dialogue and political maturity displayed in fighting for recognition of their rights.

The Congressional consensus achieved through the advocacy campaign driven by Indigenous Rights Defence Organizations set an ideal stage to generate a new campaign for the inclusion of this sector that has been so excluded in Peru. We invite national and international organizations to:

1) Express their solidarity with the indigenous organizations who are working to reclaim their rights.

2) Pressure the Peruvian government to take effective steps not only towards approving laws, but also encouraging actions that promote the rights of the indigenous communities.

Training Event URUGUAY: A Youth Facilitators training event is programmed from July 4-10 at the El Retoo Educational Center in the city of Canelones. The course is a joint effort of Micah Network members Kairos (Argentina) and Youth for Christ (Uruguay). This course is designed as a follow up course to the April of 2009 course titled Not Afraid to Dream. The topics on the program are: Integral Mission, The Role of a Facilitator, from a culture of dependency to true community development, project development, recreation and expression. We are excited for this new event and are sure that it will be influential in many young peoples understanding of integral mission.

Advancing Palliative Care Conference

Over the past several years, the International Palliative Care Initiative of the Open Society Institute -in partnership with the United States National Cancer Institute's Office of International Affairs, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, and The True Colours Trust -has supported the development of palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting planned in September is to look ahead to sustain the momentum of this work and increase the capacity of palliative care providers and associations. The two day meeting is to participate in a broad discussion of the opportunities, challenges and unmet needs in palliative care development across Africa. The meeting will explore how palliative care fits into the wider health agenda, discuss the potential for beneficial and cross-cutting collaborations, and share best practices and lessons learned on palliative care.

Palliative care is an essential aspect of the continuum of care for people with HIV and AIDS, cancer, and other life-limiting illnesses. Palliative care has a direct impact on the quality of life for individuals and families, while also strengthening and adding value to national health systems.

The meeting will begin at 9:00 am on Monday, September 13th and end at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, September 14th. Lunches on both days and a participant's dinner will be provided for by the steering committee. We hope that many participants will stay for the APCA conference and have an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of palliative care from those working on the ground. APCA conference details are listed at https://ssl-id1.de/apca-windhoek2010.com/home/home.

For more information: African Palliative Care Association’s (APCA) 3rd Annual Conference website: https://ssl-id1.de/apca-windhoek2010.com/home/home

Article on Domestic Violence in Santa Cruz

The Not-So-Holy Cross of the Women and Children of Santa Cruz

By: Alfonso Wieland - Paz y Esperanza International, Santa Cruz, May 1, 2010

I am here to visit a neighborhood near the fifth ring of the Bolivian City of Santa Cruz. It is 11 am on a Wednesday, and what stands out most to me are the young people packed into precarious arcade venues to play games on ancient computers. There is no police station here and only one school. A Brazilian pastor ministering in this neighborhood asks us to visit Blanca and her three young kids.  She and her children emerge from a dilapidated shack.

Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) is a booming Bolivian city, with its population of nearly 2 million surpassing La Paz and El Alto. As recently as 1976 the population was only approaching 325 thousand. Migrants from different parts of Bolivia have come in search of land, but especially with hopes of benefiting from the economic boom caused by the oil extraction, construction and agro industry. Due to this growth, the majority of Santa Cruz´s population works in tertiary sector; informal employment reaches nearly 60%. Santa Cruz brings together people of diverse origins: those of Spanish descent, Guarani, Quechua, Aymara people, etc. but also migrants from other parts of the world: Germans, Italians, Yugoslavs, Brazilians, Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese and Palestinians.

As is the case of many South American cities, Santa Cruz embodies the contrasts between wealth and poverty, with large concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few and a large number of poor people barely surviving on their meager incomes.

Designed in rings that divide the city into six zones, Santa Cruz is surprising in its contrasts, with tall buildings located within walking distance of slums. These contrasts are mirrored in vulnerability, especially that of children and women living in poverty.

Blanca is a 32-year-old woman with a distant gaze and broken speech. Angie, her oldest daughter, is just 12 years old. The other children appear to be between 10 and 7 years old. The pastor asks Blanca to tell her story. “I got married when I was in love, impressed by how he spoke, by his way of helping others, his apparent concern for suffering families.” She went on with a pained voice, “But one day I realized he was cheating on me with another woman. I confronted him, telling him that the Bible says: “No one can serve two masters’ therefore you cannot serve two women either.” But he ignored me. He told me he was a servant of the Lord and that the other woman made him happy, but I did not." He physically and verbally abused her from that point on. She asked him to leave, to let her be, told him that all she needed from him was help to supporting the children. Later on, she found out that he had not had only one relationship, but several with different women, all of them from the church where he served as associate pastor. Worn out, Blanca decided to talk. She asked for an appointment with the leaders of the evangelical church and told them her story. Their response was: “You should be patient, reconcile with your husband, he has a ministry think of.”

As she talks, her legs begin to tremble, and her eyes drop further. Angie, the child, says in a firm voice: "Don’t worry, mom. Relax. That man will never put a hand on you again. I am taking care of you.”

Then, Angie continues the conversation. One day the man came home furious, irritated at everything and everyone. He tried to abuse her brothers and Blanca stopped him. Out of control, he grabbed an iron and hit her several times over the head, knocking her out. Angie just remembers going to ask her neighbours for help. They took her mother to the hospital. Despite having no money, she was able to escape death with help from the neighbours, but the consequences were permanent. Her husband fled. Blanca only knows that he still has ties to a church. Blanca nearly lost her sanity in the following days and months.  She walked the streets half naked, eating excrement and sometimes sleeping in abandoned cars.  Her weight dropped to 42 kilograms.  When Angie finally found her, she literally had to drag her home.  On one occasion, one church member found her in the street and thought that the best way to help her would be to exorcize.  They took her to the church and amid shouting and striking her face and knocking her down into the mud, trying in vain to expel the demons that apparently controlled her.  Eventually Angie was able to get her out of this strange place of vain religious practices. 

Months later, the Brazilian pastor arrived in the neighbourhood. He truly cared for the people in the community. He formed a Bible study group where he met Blanca and Angie as well as other families and abandoned children.  He was able to find medical and other assistance for Blanca.  Her situation opened his eyes, helping him to see how important it is that the gospel brings justice for women like Blanca.

“Angie, you are a strong person. Do you still believe in God?” I ask her, a bit embarrassed. Smiling, she tells me that she does.  But she reiterates, “That man will never touch my mother again. He is bad. He even sold one of my brothers to an aunt that could not have children.”  I look at her and I know that the circumstances of this child’s life have forced her to become an adult, to be mother to her mother, a mother to her siblings, and mother to herself.  Some researchers mention that the peak age of emotional development is between 7 and 14.  Girls like Angie have had to skip stages, to be strong, minimizing their feelings, facing responsibilities that should not be theirs.  It is the death of a childhood at the hands of the adults who abandon them.  We all know boys and girls who have been forced prematurely into adulthood. They live all around us. They survive.

Santa Cruz bears witness to how women and children have to carry heavy crosses each and every day, crosses of pain and fear.  According to official statistics, of every 100 couples, 14 women have suffered serious injuries (wounds and fractures) at the hands of their husband or male partner.  The department of Santa Cruz reports the highest rate of sexual violence against boys and girls in Bolivia.

The media tends to highlight news items related to the violence of common delinquency, wars or terrorism.  Today we know that domestic violence is the cause of more human deaths than those caused by armed conflicts and civil wars.  This violence, which occurs behind closed doors and at home is a crime against humanity and should be of public interest.  Political and social sectors, as well as the church, can no longer turn their backs on this reality.  The struggle has been fought for decades almost exclusively by people and groups of the feminist sector, intellectual progressives and religious minorities; it should no longer be this limited. It should be a large-scale, direct, and effective struggle.

We should no longer tolerate the actions justified by misinterpreted Biblical texts and used to uphold the physical, psychological and sexual abuse against women.  This abuse of power against women and girls is an injustice that God detests.  Those who identify as Christians cannot tolerate stories like those of Blanca and Angie.  No more heavy crosses for them. No more.

Pre Consultation for Lausanne Cape Twon 2010 - Latin America

A report is available from the pre consultation undertaken in the Dominican Republic about the Church, emerging generations and violence in Latin America. To view this report please link to the Micah Network web site.

World Vision Haiti - Quality assunace Manager

World Vision is looking for an exceptional person to take on the role of quality assurance in Haiti. The expectation of the role would be as follows:

Provide leadership across the organization to assure quality in program deliverables and process. This includes quality as defined in the 5 aspects of financial accountability, programs, operational technical quality, beneficiary accountability and human resources. The role is supportive to functional department managers to define, plan, resource and implement the quality objectives as defined in the Quality and Accountability framework. The role has primary responsibility for ensuring that continual learning and improvement occurs across all 5-quality aspects throughout program lifecycle. The role is the key focal point for facilitating research and development opportunities in programs that further the organization’s and humanitarian industry knowledge and understanding of critical issues.

Quality and accountability practices are essential components in emergency response and so this role would play an important part in ensuring those we serve are protected and served diligently.

For more information please contact:

Karen Robinson

Quality Assurance Consultant

WV Haiti Earthquake Relief Response

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Prayer Points

We encourage all our members to contribute to the weekly prayer update. Please email any requests for prayer by each Thursday to Steve Bradbury at [email protected]