God never stops working in and for His people. He is faithful to see to completion the good works that He begins in us. 2018 has been a very full year for us at English Connection. Our Guatemala team witnessed the baptism of one of the our education scholarship students, Wendi (see her video below!). Matt Ferguson, Director of The English Connection, was invited to be an ecumenical delegate to the Ash Wednesday Mass in Rome led by Pope Francis. These highlights are in addition to delivering scholarship funds for children in need and serving the church in various European countries.
In a way this was a year of transition for us. Summer camps held in former Communist Europe were the reason English Connection was founded. We continue to be involved in camps, but we are stepping back from taking lead roles in these so that local leaders can take ownership for themselves. Empowerment has become a major focus for us in ministry, and we count it a joy to see others step up to take on these leadership roles in ministry.
With a focus on empowerment, our ministry in certain locations is beginning to take shape. One such location is Belarus. Due to restrictions there, it is a true blessing that there are well-equipped local leaders for camps. Because of them, we are able to multiply the camp model this upcoming year into other areas of the country. If you would like to find out more about our work in Belarus, contact us.
The ministry we work with in Ukraine, Nehemiah House, is continually engaged in important work with orphans and families. This year we partnered with a US church to support our summer camp efforts in Ukraine. Our hope is to increase that summer camp support for 2019. We would love to have you join us on one of our trips in 2019. Our friends at Nehemiah House are very capable of hosting teams who would like to visit and see the work they are doing in person. Bonus: the cafe at Nehemiah House also serves some Georgian (the country) cuisine and it is indeed a highlight of being with our co-laborers in Ukraine.
In addition to our current ongoing projects we have begun engaging in prayer ministry in Belarus, Prague, and Estonia. There are many spiritual strongholds where we work and they do not like that we are bringing light into their darkness. This year, spiritual warfare has become very real for us. As we mentioned in our year-end update we send by mail, we need more prayer warriors joining the battle with us on a daily basis. If you are interested in being on our specific intercession team, please contact us.
Coming in 2019
2019 looks to be a great year for us! We plan to provide 15 families in Guatemala with a scholarship, and for $250 you can sponsor one of the students. We will continue to provide sponsorship for orphans and IDP children in Ukraine to go to summer camps. Also in Ukraine, we will financially support a place for orphans to come in off of the streets and be placed into a foster care system. We will again partner with the Pageant of Hope to do at least one more event at Nehemiah House in 2019. Check out images from our past events with them in Ukraine and Guatemala at www.pageantofhope.org.
We want to say a big “THANK YOU” to those who have supported us financially in 2018, and it is not too late to get your end-of-the-year donations to us. Your support is very important in helping us start the new year with financial resources to cover scholarships and other commitments on the horizon. As our ministry increases so do our experiences. Our goal for December 2018 is $10,000. We are close to that goal, but if you have a little extra to give in this season, it would be much appreciated. Alternatively, as 2019 begins we project a needed increase for our monthly giving by 20% for ministry opportunities similar to the ones God led us to in 2018. If you have ever considered becoming a monthly supporter, January is a good month for new beginnings!
Thank you all for everything you do to support our work. We are so blessed to have you as a part of our team. We wish you many blessings for 2019!