2019 Year in review

February 4, 2020
Dave Blundell
10 min
Year-end Review
2019 Year in review

In this update:

Looking towards the future:Multiplying our impact

Our vision is a world transformed and we’ve been working toward that future for more than 16 years now. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been asking ourselves, and God, some questions that 16-year-old organizations should ask. Desperately not wanting to be content with where we are today, we started asking questions like:

  • What is the most effective and efficient way to move toward our vision?
  • How can we increase our impact?
  • Rather than just add to our impact, how can we multiply it?

We believe God has begun to show us the answers to these questions that will give greater focus to the future of HFL. Simply put, the answer is to focus on leaders.

Rather than trying to add to our impact by growing HFL, we can multiply our impact by growing the leaders of other vision-aligned organizations. Over the next year we will be sharing more about this future focus on leaders, but we want to use this opportunity to share what we’ve been doing over the past year to build into the field partner leaders we work with around the world.

We have done a lot through our field partner leaders over the past 16 years, but we haven’t done a lot for them and the leaders around them. So we developed a one-week leadership development course focused on our field partners and leaders around them, such as pastors, project leaders, teachers, board members, and community-based organizational leaders. We’ve translated the material into Russian and Swahili and are working on Haitian Creole and Arabic. We’ve conducted the training and follow up so far in Ukraine and Kenya, and are planning leadership conferences for 2020 in Iraq, Haiti and Ukraine.

One of the many things we’ve learned is that local leaders are the ones who develop their communities and so we are going to develop local leaders. We’ve seen incredible initial results and we’re sharing some here with you.

Organizations our age can easily start the slow march toward bureaucracy and institutionalism. Now is the time to take what we’ve learned in the past 16 years and retool, refocus and have an even greater impact.

Leadership Training:Schedule

Topics covered during a typical week of training include:

Day 1 — Servant Leadership — Confronting tribal, dictatorial, authoritarian leadership practices and fostering leading as a servant.

Day 2 — Leading Teams & Developing Leaders — Confronting the idea that the leader needs to be the center of all of the work and fostering the ability to multiply the work through other leaders.

Day 3 — Leadership Health — Confronting the “savior” leadership complex that leads to burnout and fostering holistic health and leadership longevity.

Day 4 — International Partnerships & Conflict Management — Confronting the idea that conflict needs to be avoided and fostering the reciprocal relationships between the West and developing nations.

Day 5 — Community Transformation Leadership — Confronting the idea that leaders need outside funding for development and fostering the idea that local generosity is the start of poverty alleviation.

The impact of leadership training:

“As a ministry, we have achieved much more than we were achieving before.” -Paul Ochieng - African Word Ministries

“When we have servant leaders… every other person will have an opportunity because everyone will be laying their lives so that another life can be pulled up.” -Silas Oduor - Christ Glory Centre

A story from the Ukraine:One every three days ,

She’s in her later fifties. A bit shy at first, but soon I recognized something aflame in her. There was a spark, an energy and something undeniably inspiring. She was not winding down her life; she had plans, dreams and vision. Tatyana is a woman who leads in Nikipol, Ukraine — a country broken by war and crippled by poverty.

In 2018, she attended a leadership conference hosted by Hungry For Life, alongside our local partner in Nikipol. She was reluctant to believe there would be anything of value for her there, but on invitation, felt she couldn’t refuse. On the final day of the conference, the discussion surrounded community transformation and the truth that God has provided everything we need to sustain us on this earth. And that even in places of poverty, there are still ways that we can demonstrate the love of Christ through small acts of love.

The idea that she could participate and have a part in transforming her community lit a fire in Tatyana. She gathered a group of people together and took the materials from the conference and shared them. It took three months to work through the material, and by the end, only three of the 12 people who had begun with her remained. She was discouraged, but the fervor of the three remaining people caused her to continue. She could not have imagined what God had in mind for her next.

Through a series of unexpected connections, she ended up at a conference in a neighboring city. There she learned about a movement of day centers that was spreading across Ukraine. These centers were rising up to combat the critical needs of children living in poverty.

In Ukraine, one child ends up in an orphanage every three days.

The children end up there for many reasons: some are street orphans with no family, some are from families who give them up because they can’t afford to feed them, some are from families where addictions have invaded and destroyed their homes. The day centers provide a place where these children can receive some support and love. Tatyana had found her act of love.

Returning to Nikipol, she began to work closely with her pastor and another leader to pray and plan. After preparing for two months, and with the support of her church, the center was opened one day a week. Only four children came to the first day, so Tatyana prepared flyers to hand out to advertise for the center. But when 17 children showed up for week two, she determined there was no need to advertise. Now, a few months later, there are twelve committed volunteers and seventy children registered at the center. The children receive a hot meal when they arrive, they are coached through their homework, and treated to a variety of arts, crafts and sports. They also learn about Jesus, through stories and lessons taught by the volunteers.

I met Tatyana only one year after she attended the conference. In that one year, God had unfolded a new plan for her life — a plan that she is tirelessly pursuing. She dreams now of increasing the number of days per week that the center is open. In her words,

“It’s just not enough, seeing our precious children only once a week.” - Board Member Interview:Jim Miller

Jim is a founding board member and has been with HFL since the beginning.