We will not soon forget the year 2020! But even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic EFM witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness and saw his mission move forward. Here are some of the highlights so you can rejoice with us!
- The Lord protected the lives of the missionaries and national leaders during the pandemic and brought healing to those who became infected with COVID-19. The same is true of the people they work with.
- We were able, through our emergency fund, to help meet some of the needs created by the spread of COVID-19. Twelve fields benefited from your generous giving. Most of it was used to buy food and hygiene items.
- We were able to build nine homes for vulnerable families who lost their homes last April due to the flood that swept through the city of Uvira, Congo. Aid was also distributed in August to Friends families who were displaced because of civil war within the Congo.
- The Brad and Chelsea Carpenter Family, who serves in Rwanda, Africa, was able to return to the U.S. for a time of rest, healing, and deputation. Carpenters welcomed baby Ian to their family before leaving Rwanda.
- Maria Giron, the Missions Mobilizer for Hispanic Friends, was able to translate EFM’s monthly prayer letter as well as many of its updates and fundraising materials into Spanish.
- EFM’s Christmas Catalog had another big year. Many, many families (both believers and unbelievers) are being blessed by practical gifts and ministries of various kinds are now funded.
- We did not suffer loss of income due to the pandemic. Instead we had one of the strongest financial finishes in EFM’s history.
- New disciples of Jesus Christ were made and some new churches planted even though physical movement was restricted due to the pandemic.
- Many churches reached wider audiences by holding their worship services online and using venues like Facebook.
- In May the EFM Board felt led to commit to sending at least 10 new missionary households from North America to launch at least 5 new fields by December 31, 2025. We are calling this the “Five-Year Goal.” A strategic plan was developed and the first steps are being implemented.
- A short video was produced to promote the Five-Year Goal and is now in use.
- EFM revamped its approach to educating children about Friends missions by creating a new series called “Children’s Missions Focus.” Lessons were prepared and distributed that told the story of the first missionary sent by Evangelical Friends in North America and the fruit of the ministry she started. Her name was Esther Butler and she was sent by Ohio Yearly Meeting (now called Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region) to China in 1887.
- Further progress was made in incorporating 10 missionary/national worker households and 9 fields into EFM’s systems. Prayer cards are now available for all these households as well as information about their ministries on www.friendsmission.com. These missionaries and national workers were put under the care of EFM by Northwest Yearly Meeting and Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
- Indiana Yearly Meeting became an associate member of EFM. There are now eight yearly meetings/regions in North America that are collaborating through EFM to reach more of the world for Christ.
- Two Field Support Teams (FSTs) were set up, one for Bangladesh and the other for Central Africa. FSTs are groups of five-six people who assist in caring for the missionaries and national workers in those particular fields. We anticipate learning from these two groups (and a similar team we started in 2019 that helps send English teachers to a creative-access country) so that we can set up many more in the months and years to come.
- The International Friends Church Multiplication Conference, which EFM supported in various ways, went totally online and took place in November. Well over 500 Friends leaders from around the world participated via Zoom and YouTube. The prayer gatherings were especially powerful. Many of the workshops and messages are being passed on to others in order to spur church multiplication.
We are grateful for the partnership in the gospel that we have with you, and we are looking forward to continuing that partnership in 2021 and beyond!