WINTER 2016 - Volume 10, Issue 1

Highlights from 2015 and Exciting Plans for 2016

CCRDA’s Member organizations have a reputation for the extraordinary quality of service they provide both here at home and overseas.

As I reflect on the performance of our member organizations over this past year and anticipate the opportunities of the coming months, let me applaud the excellent work that each of you is doing to positively impact our world.

Like you, CCRDA is striving for excellence and as such we hope that you and your organizations benefited from our efforts this past year to bring top-quality leaders like Dr. Jayakumar, Dr. Steve Brown and Darren DeGraaf to the several forums we were able to host in 2015.  Your positive feedback has fortified our commitment  to continue our efforts in this regard.

Let me encourage you to attend our CCRDA Annual Forum and AGM on May 2 & 3, 2016. Recognizing that an impeccable reputation for excellence is a most valuable asset, it is our desire to assist you in the ongoing development of your leaders, ultimately transforming the world through their efforts. We believe attendance at our regular forums will help accomplish this goal. For CCRDA Forum details, visit​.php

Happy New Year and blessings to you and your loved ones for 2016.
Richard McGowan, CCRDA Chair

by Jessica Nkongolo, Kids Alive International

The final quarter of each year seems to be an experience of time accelerated. Long to-do lists coupled with long days at the office coupled with attempts to maintain some semblance of balance at home with the promise that ‘January will be slower’. We press on towards the New Year in an extreme feat of perseverance and exhaustion often arriving in January hoping to catch our breathes and then being caught up in all of the remaining year-end processes all the while working to set a strong trajectory for the months ahead.
I often find myself rushing into the New Year without taking time to really reflect on what was, and what is before me. This applies not only to work but also my walk with the Lord.

So, several years ago I began an annual tradition of finding the day in my agenda exactly one year ahead of the current date and writing out on that page all that was currently going on in my life (the good, bad and ugly). I would start by writing, “A year ago today....” and end my list or paragraph with the question, “How has God been faithful?”

Then when I came upon that page the following year, I could look back at how far God had brought me and what He had done in my life in the previous twelve months. There would have been times of frustration or discouragement during those months but I have always been amazed by how much I have to be thankful for as I reflect on the year. We serve an amazing Father whose love for us is greater than we can comprehend and who is intimately concerned with the details of our lives even when we don’t necessarily ‘feel’ it as we are walking through the day-to-day.
In light of this, my new challenge is to enter the New Year not simply with a list of tasks and goals to accomplish. Rather, it is to look forward with anticipation to all that God will do – not according to my priorities but according to His. So, as I look at the date in my agenda a year from today and list all that is going on in my life right now, I have great hope and excitement for what God will have done when I come across that page again next year.
As we begin 2016, let us all be sure to look back with praise and thanksgiving for all that the Lord has orchestrated and accomplished. And, as we turn and look forward, let it be with great anticipation as well as praise and thanksgiving for all that He will do.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." – Jeremiah 29:11


May 2 & 3 at World Vision, Mississauga, ON

Join us for this great event for NGO's like yourselves and those wanting to throw themselves into the dialogue of exploring "Spirituality in Relief and Development Work: Reflecting, Raging and Rejoicing in Resonance with the Psalms."

We will be hearing from keynote speaker, Gideon Strauss on the topic above - view his bio here. Plus, these extra workshops will be offered:
1. Peer to Peer Consulting: Bring your questions or concern to the broad table, having others speaking into that by sharing their expertise and experience.
2. Panel Discussion with experienced directors sharing on "How to Remain Faith Based While Maintaining Effective Technical Needs and Employees".
More details on the CCRDA Forum 2016 here.

Working in relief and development puts one in a position of being confronted with both the banalities and the extremities of human experience. Grinding tedium. Systemic absurdity. Entrenched disadvantage. Grievous suffering. Horrifying evil. Overwhelming complexity. Unexpected courage. Profound gratitude. Deep wisdom. We do not always have the words with which to articulate or respond to such experiences.

In these three talks, Gideon Strauss will tell of his own experience trying to find words with which to process the testimony he interpreted while working for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Eventually he founds words in the poetry of the Psalms and their expressions of reflection, rage, and rejoicing.

The Psalms demonstrate a tender yet robust spirituality -- human experience of and response to the work of the Holy Spirit -- adequate to the banalities and extremities that confront us in relief and development work. Together we will investigate three prime moves of such a spirituality -- from wonder (reading Psalm 8), through heartbreak (reading Psalm 137), and toward hope (reading Psalm 23) -- and the significance of these moves not only for our individual emotional lives but also for our social, political, and economic lives.

Drawing on the work of the ethnographic theologian Natalie Wigg-Stevenson, Gideon will ask us to consider how the annual collaborative studying and praying of the words of the biblical scriptures in CCRDA forums intersect with the relief and development practices of each of our organizations, and what emerges (or might emerge) at that intersection.
Dispensing Ebola messaging in Liberia
Sustainable Agriculture in Tanzania
For many men, women, and children in our world, 2015 was a year with moments of struggling in connection to poverty, disease, disaster, or war. Yet, it was also a year where the mercy and love of Christ was made visible in fresh, powerful ways in communities where World Renew is at work.
“To inspire hope in communities where chronic poverty crushes the body and soul is nothing short of miraculous,” said Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, World Renew Co-Director. “And yet, through the prayers, involvement, and support for World Renew in 2015, hope was inspired in 1,841 communities among 838,298 people who live in 40 countries.”

Amid the humanitarian crises that threatened many lives in 2015, World Renew provided emergency food, assistance, and medical care to 96,950 people affected by violence in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. World Renew Disaster Response Services volunteers also assessed the needs of 5,529 North American disaster survivors and repaired or rebuilt 697 homes.

In 2015, the threat of Ebola made simple human contact a life or death interaction in West Africa. Despite the risk, local health workers responded courageously. World Renew trained these heroic volunteers in Ebola prevention and supplied medicine, protective equipment, and hygiene kits.
“There was no hope left here until World Renew helped us with equipment and training,” said one chief. In Sierra Leone, families released from treatment centres received food and supplies to restart their lives. World Renew continues to provide food assistance to families who foster children orphaned by Ebola.
World Renew joins with communities around the world in rebuilding hope, reconciling lives, and restoring creation. In 2015, 1,841 communities partnered with World Renew. Of these, 91% met their development goals—and 321 were new communities.
In 2015, World Renew worked alongside our partners to expand agriculture programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania with a five-year, $14 million grant from the Canadian government. The project involved 14 local organizations and 120,000 subsistence farmers who, thanks to addressing soil infertility due to climate change and employing new agricultural techniques, are now better able to rely on the land to support their families.
World Renew’s ministry would not be possible without the dedicated work and support of our volunteers—both in North America and abroad. In 2015, our ministry was supported by 3,211 volunteers who donated 254,569 hours. That is equivalent to the work of 122 full-time employees for one year!
Overall, World Renew can reflect on 2015 with deep gratitude and look forward with endurance inspired by hope.
“It is our earnest prayer that in the days ahead the church worldwide will continue to grow in both the local and global communities,” said World Renew Co-Director Carol Bremer-Bennet. “We pray that justice for people living in extreme poverty will prevail, and that all who suffer hunger and want will have the opportunity to build on their resilience.”
Haiti is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010 that killed more than 250,000 people and crippled the nation's infrastructure. Six years later, The Salvation Army continues to work alongside Haitians to strengthen their communities.

“On January 12, 2016, to mark the sixth anniversary of the earthquake, The Salvation Army will open a new, expanded medical clinic, to replace its health facility that was damaged beyond repair,” says Manjita Biswas, Program Director for Overseas Projects.

“The new clinic has been funded by The Salvation Army in Canada, in partnership with The Salvation Army World Services Office in the U.S.,” continues Biswas. “It will serve a greater number of patients and integrate with other Salvation Army supports within the community.”

The Haitian contractor committed to hiring and training unskilled workers from the community to participate in the construction. They walked away with a livelihood for their families and ownership in the buildings and the community.

In addition to the clinic, The Salvation Army in Canada has funded a five-year, US$3.6 million integrated family support program. The project provides assistance to vulnerable families and children in permanent housing and offers vocational training to help re-establish livelihoods and agriculture.

As of November 2015:
  • 162 permanent houses have been constructed and another 50 are in progress.
  • 741 vulnerable youth received vocational training. Many are employed and working in various fields such as construction, motor mechanics, auto shop, plumbing, agriculture and electricity.
  • 815 families received livelihood training and business support.
  • 1,015 farmers received agricultural and inputs support.
“The Salvation Army World Missions Department is grateful for the support of its generous donors,” says Major Gillian Brown, Director. “Your generosity is ensuring that earthquake affected communities in Haiti can rebuild their lives and meet their own needs.”
As we look back on 2015, we are filled with gratitude for the many ways we have seen God at work, and for the change that is taking place in Rwanda through quality values-based education. At the grassroots level, we have the privilege of working in the 49 schools of Rwanda’s Gasabo District, where we equip leaders, teachers, parents, and community leaders to play their part in developing vibrant learning communities where 82,000+ students can thrive and fulfill their God-given potential.

In 2015, we celebrated the news that these Gasabo schools are now leading the way in Rwanda, and demonstrating that sustainable transformation is possible. In addition, we are thankful for the ongoing opportunity to work with educational and government partners to see systemic change – particularly through our involvement in developing Rwanda’s new competency based curriculum. 
2015 also saw the launch of our new Abundant Leadership Institute (ALI), and the arrival of the first cohort of students.

This one year mentorship-based program is equipping these exceptional educational leaders with the tools to be catalysts for change in their school communities.

Here in Canada, we have joined with our partners at The Elevation Project (part of Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited) to launch JustUs – a curriculum for young people and their leaders that explores God’s heart for those experiencing poverty and injustice. We look forward to seeing many more young people engage meaningfully with these issues, and equipped to participate in God’s work of restoration.
As we look ahead to 2016, we are excited for the many opportunities to develop and build on our innovative work. Construction has begun on the new Wellspring Centre in Kigali, which will serve as our East African HQ and training hub. In addition, we are exploring opportunities that will allow us to expand our School Development activities to impact over 200 Rwandan school communities. 2016 will also be a busy year for our North American team, particularly as we plan for our Vancouver Gala on April 29, and our Ontario Gala on October 13. We also look forward to bringing our most energetic supporters together for our 7th Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda on September 17-18 in the Okanagan, and our family cyclathon, Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda, in Langley, BC, on July 9! We are so grateful for God’s provision, and for the community of partners who continue to embrace Wellspring’s vision to see a generation transformed in Rwanda, and beyond.

Architects meet to design children's home
Children move into the orphanage in Haiti
How has Engineering Ministries International designed a world of hope in 2015?

The numbers are easy. We came alongside 4 distinct ministries to help them give voice to their visions by designing children's homes in Guatemala, Haiti and Uganda, and a Bible School & Conference Centre in Malawi. We mentored 11 Ugandan Geomatics Students through an 8-week survey practicum, and impacted 80 others through a 2-week introductory course or a 1-day workshop. We had 46 volunteers & interns from around the world participate in Canada-led project trips, and we mobilized 27 Canadians to use their technical skills on projects in the developing world. We saw construction progress in 10 eMi-designed projects. 

But the numbers don’t tell the real impact. It’s not about the numbers, or even about the buildings. It’s about the little boy who now has a home and a family because a children’s home eMi designed in Haiti in 2011 opened its doors this summer. It’s about the woman in India who acquired vocational skills because she was offered training this year in an eMi-designed Ministry Training Centre. It’s about the Ugandan surveyor who generously served with his skills on our Malawi trip because of mentoring poured into him when he was a student in our practicum in 2013. It’s about the young woman in Niger who has had life-restoring surgery this year through the Fistula Clinic that eMi designed in 2008.

Designing hope is an intricate process, and it takes time. We’re thankful to have a small role in offering our expertise, and we’re thankful – even years later – to see the impact of our designs. In a few weeks, we take new volunteers to design new projects. A home for abandoned babies in Nigeria. A safe and welcoming place in Cambodia for women who have survived human trafficking. An outreach centre to help spread the gospel to the spiritually poor in Mexico. We anticipate watching these projects progress from concept, to design, to construction, to impact. And one year, we’ll look back at these projects and say “this is what it means to design a world of hope”.
PI - Relief Efforts in Nepal
PI - Inside a Syrian Refugee Camp
January provides time to reflect on the year passed and look forward to what lies ahead. For us at Partners International, we have been blessed in 2015 as our national workers continue to advance the Kingdom of God by promoting holistic development in some of the least reached areas of the world. It was an amazing year, highlighted by our Restored: Hope in Action conference, that focused on human trafficking and the work being done to end it. The conference featured our partners from Moldova and India, sharing the restorative work they are doing to help victims of human trafficking. By establishing after-care homes to help rehabilitate, they build relationships of trust to help victims regain a life they thought had been taken from them.

2015 also saw the release of Trapped in Transition, a short film that focuses on the plight of Syrian refugees through the eyes of national workers serving on the ground.

The film follows their activities as they help families who have been forced to flee their homes in fear. Our ministry partner has been sacrificially serving on the front lines of this crisis since 2011, providing families that are struggling to survive with relief and long-term assistance.
Their work and long-term vision will be one of the focuses of the upcoming year, as our ministry partner plans to use their work in Lebanon as part of the larger goal of building the church throughout the Middle East. We look forward to seeing the continued efforts of our national workers as they bring healing to broken communities. Partners International plans to increase our focus on national workers as they are the key to creating truly sustainable, holistic development. Their grassroots knowledge of the region allows them to understand cultural sensitivities and bring about holistic transformation in the most effective, least expensive way. We are excited to see how our national workers will continue to advance the Kingdom of God in the year to come!
In Canada, we look forward to hosting our national workers as they share their stories as part of our 2016 Hope In Action tour. Leaders from Nepal, India and Brazil will share how they are working to end human trafficking, rebuilding the church in Nepal and continuing to reach the hidden tribes of the Amazon in practical ways. For more information please visit

Richard McGowan--Chairperson
Executive Director, Emmanuel International Canada

Laura Solberg--Co Vice-Chair
Director—The Elevation Project, Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited

Philip Tanner--Co Vice-Chair
Director, Global Programs, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada

Tracey DeGraaf
Senior Program Officer, Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.

Carole Leacock
International Programs Operations Manager, Programs and Policy, World Vision Canada

Jessica Nkongolo
Director, Projects & Operations, Kids Alive International Canada

Hank DeJong
Executive Director, EduDeo Ministries
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