February 2016 Newsletter
As I draft this letter one is conscious of God’s blessing, promise keeping and healing. Just one year ago I was facing the challenges of cancer, and was faced with a very limited future, and the likely end of Ministry travel. God brought on a miraculous healing, though one could not travel so soon after the operation and travel insurance was not possible. All that has now changed as we go into 2016; I have no restrictions, and am once again actively working under the IMS banner. Despite my personal health challenges, IMS projects have continued to progress over these past twelve months.
IMS is now registered in Canada as International Mission Support Society, and we are working on our charity registration for Canadian donors. Watch the web page for updates!
Bungoma Children’s Center
The extra financial challenge we faced as we took on the abandoned Children’s Center in Bungoma, Kenya some 20 months ago has been met each month, and IMS has managed to settle past debts. Children have been fed and cared for and now have a hope on a settled future. It was a great blessing to receive a phone call from the center during the Christmas period and hear the children sing and thank God’s blessing.
The costs to support the work have increased slowly; we now need $2,200 USD each month to maintain the work in the orphanage and school. During this next twelve months we plan on visiting the center as we will need to consider the possibility of renewing the lease on rented accommodation (the lease runs out December 2016), consider purchase, or building new facilities.
Please continue to pray for us as we work to get this project on a firm financial footing. If you can help in any way, or know of others interested in supporting this work, from the past or new supporters, please be in touch with us. Forms for you to become supporters of the Children’s Center are also available.
Lahore Schools and College in Pakistan
This is the first twelve month period since establishing the schools and midwifery college that we have not had to reflect on our personnel or students being murdered or attacked in some way. We thank God for His protection, as there have been many attacks and explosions in Lahore. Even as I write theses notes a polio vaccine clinic was bombed. It is difficult for western people to understand the daily dangers our staff and students face with these kind of attacks – explosions, martyrdom, shooting, being burnt alive, and young children raped – this is completely outside of our life experience, yet this is what the family of God face in Lahore.
The schools have all been safe and continue to be effective in their work. Discussions of extending the work by adding a high school have come as a result of continuing growth and demand. The latest school, only some three years old, continues to expand. The new hostel for the rural based girls at the Midwifery College is almost complete and will be occupied in March of this year. Another 28 students have enrolled to the existing 18 month courses. Our aim is to graduate 35 to 45 students each year with professional training. We praise God that we are able to deliver the Christian message in unbelievably dangerous situations.
Polio Disease – and Children
On January 15, people were killed in a suicide bombing outside a vaccination center in the city of Quetta (photo from the BBC). Polio workers in Pakistan have been the target of many deadly attacks by Islamist militants in recent years.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where polio, a crippling childhood disease, remains endemic. Attempts to eradicate it have been hit by attacks on immunization teams and clinics that have claimed nearly 80 lives since December 2012. Islamist groups, including the Taliban, claim vaccination is a front for a conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. In 2014 the number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan increased, the highest in 14 years. This is a real concern to our workers who care for so many children, two years ago Lahore was attacked, and the same day our administrator was killed.
For many years IMS has worked to supply pastors with valuable transportation so that they can visit the many rural Churches that they minister in. It always amazes me that the moment we hand out the transport to make their lives easier, which is our motivation, they see it as an opportunity to open new centres and start travelling over a greater area.
Each year we set a target for new bikes, this past year we tried to purchase an increased number, supplying 6 motor bikes and 29 bicycles, for which we thank the Lord and all those who supported the project. Please continue to pray for the means to supply funding for more transport; typically, a motor bike costs about $2,100 USD, and bicycles $140 USD.
Small Loan Schemes (a practical way to lift out of poverty)
Small Loans have been used to assist locals to independence in many third world countries very successfully, and IMS has been working with the concept for over 28 years in many countries. We have found the best way to support a business project is to work through local church members. IMS helps fund the start up, and gives guidance of its development until the project becomes independent. This has been successful with larger projects, but for individuals the “Small Loan Schemes”, is a great starting point. A small loan to buy and sell fruit, for example, is sometimes the boost need to start a successful venture. Small loans, ranging from USD $25 to $100, have always been repaid and have helped establish new businesses by ladies and men. By working with local churches with an initial fund of $5,000 USD we have supported many local business startups. We are looking to increase this work in Ghana, where IMS project work first started, and also into Kenya. Please pray with us for the necessary finance to commence this work.
Nairobi Orphanage (in the biggest slum in the world)
IMS only planned to take responsibility for these 20 children for 3 years, but having seen the positive work of this rescue center we are prepared to fund it for another two years by continuing incremental support every six months. Many of the children are AIDS orphans, and many are infected with the HIV virus. The good Christian teaching and practical life instruction they receive take those with no hope, a new hope as part of the family of God.
Sri Lanka Refugee Camp
Work continues in the Sri Lanka refugee camp supporting schools and a church. Support is provided every 6 months, most recently providing $3,000 USD. We are often asked how long this will go on. For the families here the answer would seem to be indefinitely. Children born here grow up and will probably die in the refugee camp. There are no government plans to remove or rehouse any of the inhabitants; a common issue for many refugee camps in the world. There is no work to be found, nor any means of establishing self-help projects. There is an amazing opportunity for the Family of God to deliver the gospel message without restriction or condition. That is what we have to do.
After the devastating earthquakes in April 2015, the access to the orphanage still has great challenges as the country struggles to continue replacing damaged infrastructure. Nepal is no longer in the world’s spotlight as war and other disasters take over nightly newscasts. The help Nepal requires is not happening at a pace to meet the needs and is resulting in increased costs for food, clothing and shelter.
There was no injury to IMS personnel or damage to projects but plans to improve the facilities had to be postponed due to the restricted access to the orphanage. IMS still has plans to extend facilities in the future, but more immediate help is required to re-stabilize the work on a monthly basis. Costs have increased by about $650 USD each month.
The above is a brief summary of some of our most pressing projects, which present us with the most challenges. The IMS mandate is “To Reach, To Win, To Train, To Release” and this is being continued as IMS associates, along with Rev. Mike, continue to preach and teach the word of God, presenting the Gospel in many venues and situations across international and western locations. The first task of IMS is preaching the Gospel, presenting the Kingdom, supporting orphanages, midwifery colleges, and schools along with small businesses. All these serve as vehicles for the extension of the Kingdom. Please pray for us as this work continues.
Rev. Mike J. Jones