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Mission Possible UK

Summer Newsletter 2023

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Ukraine: Faith, hope and love in the midst of war

Olya and Maria receiving help from Mission Possible, and a Bible Club in a village in the Odesa region

Mission Possible has been working in Ukraine for 30 years, and during the war the work has expanded to meet rising needs. To date, our team has distributed over 20,000 food packages to elderly people and families. Along with the food, a Bible or New Testament is included in the packages together with a booklet on how to receive Jesus as Saviour. Our team members talk to each recipient and often pray with them. Tania, from our Odesa team shares: 'It used to be that most people in the villages were reluctant to discuss Christianity with us. Now people are beginning to turn to Christ.'

We could tell so many stories. Pictured right is Olya living in a remote village in the Odesa region. With the help of friends, she and her baby boy were able to find another place to live after miraculously surviving when a rocket destroyed their home. In her need, Olya turned to Mission Possible at the urging of her neighbours. Then there is Maria who lived in Kherson and also lost her home to a missile. Miraculously she escaped by boat across the Dnieper River after all the bridges had been destroyed and arrived in the Odesa region with nothing. Marina and her four children from Donetsk are another story… just three of the thousands of people who have been supported. Our team believes the Lord has led them to meet each one of them and their hope is they will come to know the Lord.

Our team continues to run children's Bible Clubs in villages in the Odesa region. There is not much for children to do in these remote villages and when the children see the van coming, they run out of their homes with excitement. One child put it this way: 'When you come, I am so happy that I start jumping and dancing with joy.' As the team walk to the club site, the children share what has happened since their last visit. Sadly, this now includes siren alerts and explosions. Our team offers joyful activities for the children, giving them spiritual support and reassurance. Every club meeting seeks to bring the children closer to God as they learn more about His love.

Bulgaria: Compassion touches hearts

A group of Christians in Bulgaria meeting in an old trailer and Asen and his wife Fanka with one of their children.

Mission Possible continues its works with the Roma communities on the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The team provides aid to Roma families in slum villages in remote areas and also Roma ghettos in urban areas, ranging from soup kitchens to feed hungry children to distribution of warm clothing. Mothers are mentored and the Baby Box project is part of this programme. There are educational programmes including literacy lessons for children. Supporting Roma churches in developing outreaches and other activities such as summer camps are all part of the ministry. Pictured right is a small group of Christians who meet in an old trailer. The team led a gospel event there for children and distributed clothing.

One village that our team have worked in for many years was hit by a flood some months ago. Some houses were destroyed while others were severely damaged. One of the homes belonged to Asen and his wife Fanka, seen in the picture right with one of their children. Their life had never been easy, but this was more than they could handle. The flood had taken everything. Thankfully, Mission Possible had funds to purchase a small plot with an old house in disrepair on it. This was completely renovated as a new home for the family. Asen was deeply touched by this compassion. In his thirty years he had never received a gift – not for his birthday, Christmas or even his wedding. His first gift was a new home! And the children received Christmas boxes distributed to 260 children after an evangelistic event in the village. The family are now regular attenders of their local church. And of course, this is just one story; other families were supported as well.

Albania: To the camp, Yes!!

A spring camp for children in Albania

Mission Possible ministers to the people of Albania through evangelism, aid and education. This includes camps for children and young people. The children were so looking forward to this year's two-day mini spring camp. 'We cannot wait for the camp' one child said and some even arrived three hours early! Games, singing and making friends were all part of camp. But as volunteer Sherri said: 'The camp was much more than fun and games. The children gained a desire to be involved in Christian community, a hunger to learn more and the assurance that faith matters in their lives.'

Rwanda: Star School

A field in 2006 where the Star School will be built, and children at the Star School now

Supporting the Star School was Mission Possible's first project in Rwanda. It was in late 2006 that Nathan, who was then a parish priest (now Bishop of Kigali), took me to a field several miles out of Kigali and said, 'please help us build us a school' (see picture right). The country desperately needed new schools at the time – especially secondary schools. Amazingly it cost us only £5,000 to purchase the land for the school – the price of land was still low in those early post genocide years. Today, this hillside is a campus with over 1,000 children being educated. It is also a beautiful place with many trees, shrubs and paved walkways.

Since writing the spring newsletter, the Star School child sponsorship programme, which we launched in 2007, has been handed over to Christian Hope International, who have embraced the programme in a loving way. We continue to support the school with one-off mini projects such as the planting of fruit trees at the school, new textbooks, new instruments for the worship group and benches dotted around what some now call 'the garden school'.

Rwanda: Cyangugu Diocese

Recipients of Mission Possible's first pig project and girls with their feminine hygiene kits

In 2012, Cyangugu diocese became our second partner. We have done so much in this diocese focusing on the islands on Lake Kivu and Kabahire on the mainland. Projects in the diocese include the building of churches, the building of a school and hairdressing salon, providing chickens, cows and banana plants for the diocesan farm, over a thousand water filters and nearly 100 toilets, the planting of several thousand fruit trees and the Champion a Child programme. We have also run leadership and marriage conferences in the diocese.

This year, we have already funded a pig project for families in Kabahire – our first ever pig project. See picture above. We are also building a kitchen for the nursery school we built in the same village in 2020. The government have indicated that they will probably fund the school meal programme if this is built. Planting more fruit trees is also part of our portfolio of projects in the diocese. And finally, we are rolling out our feminine hygiene programme in the diocese to new places. In 2022, we provided kits for girls at a secondary school and two parishes. This year, we have already provided kits for Kabahire parish (see picture right) and plan to provide them for both another school and another parish by the end of the year.

Rwanda: Historically Marginalised People (HMP)

A woman from the Historically Marginalised People in Rwanda

We started working with the HMP in the northwest through our third Rwandan partner Transformational Ministries in 2014. Our first project was supporting children going to primary school. We continue to support this project, and a good number of these children are now going to secondary school. This has been an important initiative in a community in which education has not been valued. We have provided cows and goats, run literacy courses for adults, funded four agricultural cooperatives and more. Many families live in the most appalling conditions beneath any understanding of what constitutes human dignity and last year we launched a new housing project. This year we have added the provision of toilets to this building programme. We also continue to fund crusades in these communities, the most recent being at Easter when 50 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Christian literature

A pastor's book pack in Zambia in 2012 and a Ugandan pastor holding a copy of The Essentials of an Excellent Christian Marriage

The distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature has always been an important part of our ministry. In our early years we used to send pallet loads of Bibles and books donated by both British publishers and supporters to stock new Christian resource centres or to make up pastor's book packs in Rwanda, Zambia, Burundi and Uganda. Pictured is a pastor's book pack in Zambia in 2012.

In recent years our focus has changed in two ways. First, we now provide Bibles in local languages and already in 2023, we have funded such Bible distributions in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. Second, we have published two books in our Essential series – on leadership and marriage – which seek to be culturally relevant for African readers. In addition to thousands of copies distributed in English in many countries in Africa, these books have now also been published in eight languages. We know the material is used for church-based training conferences and the marriage book is also used by pastors as a counselling resource – something many pastors do not have. Recently, a British missionary gave the marriage book to the Ugandan pastor seen on the right, reporting: 'Your marriage book is invaluable. It answers a lot of questions. People here like it so much.'

That is all for now. I write this newsletter with gratitude to you for partnering with us for many years and with gratitude to God to whom I give the glory.