IAS International Director, Leif Zetterlund, in Darfur, Sudan
Over the past months I have highlighted the lives of individuals, families and communities that have been transformed through the efforts of IAS. People like Jasline Riyee of South Sudan, whose village now has clean, safe drinking water. Or women like Adwa Serwaa of Ghana, whose small business now supports her family’s needs. Or even entire regions like Nyinbuli, Sudan, where IAS medical programs are saving lives every day.
It is often easy for me to think that IAS is the reason for these and so many other success stories we have witnessed. Quickly, though, I dismiss that idea as pride. Just as a flower requires various components like sun, light and nutrients in order to bloom, the work of IAS is only one component in God’s blueprint to alleviate poverty in the developing world.
Who is Jasline’s and Adwa’s provider? Who is the provider of their communities and families? Without the intervention of IAS, would they have remained in some hopeless state of desperation? While Jasline was thankful to IAS for our assistance in drilling a well for her village, she recognized that it was the Lord God who provided for her needs. IAS is not her provider, or anyone else’s provider. But God invites us to partner with Him as He brings hope and restoration to people in need. When we understand this simple fact, then we are in a position to believe that He will equip us for the work He has called us to accomplish.
But sometimes believing this calls for extreme faith. This past month, IAS was notified that one of our major donors, a government agency in Europe that has funded our programming for the past twenty years, is discontinuing their support for IAS. The change is due in part to an administrative reshuffle.
“…my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19, ESV
Should these cuts go into effect, IAS would immediately lose approximately three million dollars in funding for our Sudan programs. This would necessitate a sixty percent reduction in our actives there, affecting approximately one hundred thousand Sudanese. Not only would staff in Africa be cut, but staff in our European offices as well. While funding for the US office is not in jeopardy, our overall organizational capacity would suffer tremendously, and our operations in Africa would be severely downsized.
This month I would like to ask you to pray with us that as this door closes, the Lord will open new ones for this work. As international director Leif Zetterlund stated so effectively to our IAS family, “This funding is not about IAS, but about the one hundred thousand people lacking clean water, health care, and sanitation that this funding was going to provide in 2012.”
As you’ve followed our work these past months, you’ve been able to catch a glimpse of the heart of IAS. We covet your prayers as we continue to strive to be the hands and feet of Christ in Africa, and as we walk through this difficult time as an organization. And as always, your financial support for this work is a huge blessing – now more than ever, in many respects.
Please pray for the work of IAS. Please pray for the lives that may be affected by these changes in Africa. And pray with us that the Lord, our provider, will once again have the day.
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