SIAFU Leadership Homes
We are launching our Richmond leadership home in just a few months! It's been an amazing journey as more and more pieces have fallen into place. At the same time, we are breaking ground on a fourth leadershp home. This home will serve our southern California Watts community. And since there's been a strong desire for more leadership homes in more cities, we've launched a leadership home partnership and World Impact's SIAFU Network. The SIAFU Network (pronounced See-AH-foo), is a relatively new creation, but one that will be very influential in the months and years to come. It's named after an East African ant, and the concept is that there's "power in unity."
A single ant is virtually harmless. Although it can bite, one ant is nothing more than a nuisance. But when many ants come together, they become a powerful force. One colony has an average of 5,000 to 18,500 ants. A single queen can lay anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 eggs. These tiny predators hide in the deep forest awaiting their next meal. Primarily carnivorous, Siafu ants have an amazing digestive system that allows them to dissolve almost any living creature. In fact, one colony can dissolve and eat an entire cow within hours.
The SIAFU Network is a national association of chapters designed to unite urban churches and city ministries. These chapters help identify, equip and release spiritually qualified servant leaders to reach and transform our neediest communities in urban America. In addition, urban Christian men and women can inspire each other, teach each other and work more effectively together. SIAFU assists urban pastors and leaders in taking more responsibility for their lives, family, community, church and personal well-being. It advances the Kingdom of Christ in the city, while simultaneously unifying urban leaders and teachers across the nation.
We believe the development of "SIAFU Leadership Homes" will also further strengthen the national identity of the SIAFU Network. Much like a college fraternity offers communal support and lasting friendship, the SIAFU Network provides a missions-based family for the urban worker. Anyone who's dedicated their life to ministry knows there can be times of deep loneliness and distraction. For post-incarceration leaders, this is especially true. Loneliness will often drive a person back to a familiar, yet unhealthy lifestyle such as a gang. But a national Christian organization like SIAFU will be the uniting force that's needed.
Exciting days are ahead! We look to accelerate church planting and leadership development by strengthening existing urban churches. We feel strongly that the future of urban church planting is connected to our TUMI students soon to be released from prison. World Impact West includes: San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno and the Bay Area. Please be praying for me as I try to make the right decisions in these cities and move forward with our leadership homes, missionaries and local staffers.
Paul Chan is the Regional Vice President for the West Coast Region.
Paul Chan is the Regional Vice President for the West Coast Region.
God Provides for Fresno Summer Staff
"Be a disciple to help make disciples" is a motto that Precious and Marisol are living by this summer. For the past few years, these young women have been involved with World Impact's Teen Club, discipleship groups, church plants, and camp ministries. They made a leap of faith this year by committing six weeks to serve as summer staff. As summer staff, Marisol and Precious were asked to fundraise and make connections with ministry partners. At the start of the summer, Marisol and Precious were struggling with funding and sought God's provision. God gave them a creative idea--use Facebook. They created an event on Facebook to ask people to support them! In less than a day, they were both fully funded, and then some. They were amazed by how quickly God provided through His people. Their faith in God as The Provider was stretched. The World Impact Fresno summer staff position has allowed Precious and Marisol to have deep quiet times in the Word and time talking with Jesus. They have been able to interact with new families during outreaches, learn about urban ministry, plan lessons for Bible club, share their testimonies and lead worship for teen activities. Marisol says, "This summer is preparing me so that when I go back home I can start a youth group at my church…now I know I can do this." The summer staff program is helping to empower and equip Marisol and Precious to be indigenous leaders who are beacons of God's hope in their neighborhoods and city. Please pray for these young women as they wrap up this amazing summer.
To learn more about World Impact Fresno click here.
Jesus and T-ball-by Danielle Cummings
It was a blissfully cool 75 degree evening after a 95 degree day at the baseball diamond. We arrived for the 6 o'clock T-ball game at 5:50, about 15 minutes before we spotted any other players. Our oldest, Dante (5) accidentally brought his old, too-small cleats, and consequently pranced to first base like a unicorn when it came time. Friends from World Impact and from the Slauson Park area we work in gathered to cheer on our son's ragamuffin, cutest-ever Dodger team.
Our first away game, we were confused for the first of two innings when our outfield tagged another player before they touched first base, and that child stayed on the bag, continuing to play until they made it home. Between the innings we learned from our coach that this park's rules for T-ball included no outs; thus, all the players had a chance to bat and everyone made it home.
Participating in our T-ball league is an adventure and learning experience. The language, the timing, the expectations and some of the rules are new to us--as first-time T-ball parents, and as cross-cultural incarnational missionaries. While the no-outs-rule frustrated some of the spectators that evening, the players did not care, being steadily confused about the whole game anyhow. The more I thought about the rule, the more I realized how Kingdom-like it was.
We are in the middle of a game where there are no outs; with Christ, we all have a chance to come home. It doesn't matter what mistakes were made, what confusion there was at the plate, and who or what we are up against; it's His home rules and He says no outs.
Church planting here in Los Angeles, amongst the unchurched, is a constant challenge to the outs I place on people. The roadblocks, the past, the questions that seem insurmountable to me are bulldozed by the Great Commission that leads us to these streets. We often find our friends here have no experience with the Bible or the Church. When I feel my spirit failing, my doubts rising, His prompting reminds me that He decides the end and there are no outs; He reminds us to keep being faithful to announce the Good News and He will bring His people home.
Danielle Cummings is a World Impact missionary working in the Slauson Park area of LA with her husband and adorable kiddos. For more information about them check out www.worldimpactla.org/Cummings