STANDING STRATEGIES.

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in general

We are a discipleship and poverty alleviation movement. In fact, discipleship is a crucial strategy for our poverty alleviation. Please see our mission: http://www.shapingdestiny.org/vision/
In order to disciple like Jesus did, we are going to share our lives with them like Jesus did: 100% transparency and involvement for a period of time—for Jesus it was 2 to 3 years. The discipleship material itself is only a small portion of the discipleship process. The major portion of it is going through life together for some period of time where discipleship is not only taught but also caught. For many of our orphans, we can easily go through a curriculum with them for 2 to 3 years as they grow. Our greatest blessing and biggest opportunity is that like Jesus’ disciples who followed him, these children are usually willing to follow us wherever we lead. They  have no agenda of their own. Many churches do not have this kind of access to the kids in their children’s ministry. We are their parents. That access gives room for great discipleship and training for life that would not otherwise be given. They can literally follow us around for 3 years like Jesus’ disciples to learn and grow if we called them to follow as long as we love them like Jesus loved his disciples, share our bread with them, share our homelessness with them and be a source of comfort and hope for the future. The difficulties pale in comparison with the advantages for sharing Christ in authentic relationships with these children.  They go to school because we send them, we determine their schedule and what they learn. So its easy to work discipleship into their lives like Jesus did.  Much of our actual discipleship right now targets young people who can read and write. That is usually from 12 years and up. These people will be trained as adults. In time, God will provide staff that will work to develop material for people that are younger than 12 years old.

Again, discipleship is our chief strategy. The first five strategies are currently being used. The remainder are strategies that we may be using in the near future.

1)      Foster Care System. We have a foster care system with about 30 children. It is an amazing strategy for helping disciple orphans and their communities. This program uses local people and their talents to help alleviate poverty in their communities. It is an asset-based community development approach that also helps the local Christians grow in their faith and service for Christ. It is also extremely effective when compared to serving children in an orphanage. This program still needs a lot of training and improvement but it has great potential for serving orphans and their communities.

2)      Kinship Care – Support children with guardians. Some of our children live with guardians who are willing extended family members. We pay tuition and provide school books. The guardians provide food and shelter. The only difference between this and the foster care system is that the guardian is a relative such as a grandmother who loves the child, is able to provide some care but cannot provide all the care.  The food and shelter may not be great  but starvation or serious malnutrition isn’t a serious threat. This is the category that SDM founder Ken Acha would have fallen in. His mother could provide food and shelter but not more than that. 10-15 dollars tuition and a few books was the threat to his dream of becoming the first physician from his village! Not only that, but of having any education at all. Many children confined to poverty are living in these same circumstances and with minimal resources we can help move them from hopelessness, slavery and poverty, to a life of hope, Christ, and a bright future. We have about 40 children in this program now. Last year we had about 500 children in this program. This program will be increased when we start graduating well-trained local staff from our training school to provide the kind of discipleship and care that will glorify God and fulfill our vision.

3)      Orphan Bases or Orphanage Centers.  We currently have one orphan base in Cameroon with 30 children. The building was built to hold 150 orphans but we intentionally reduced the number of kids temporarily to recruit and train capable local staff before we can expand services. A second orphan base was closed in 2012 because of lack of adequately trained local staff. Our Missionary Training School was started to fulfill this need. The orphan base will be reopened when we have trained staff that can both adequately disciple the kids and provide other necessary care.

4)      Adoptions [Local and international adoption]. We have two children that have been adopted to Waco, Texas. Our site, adoptfromafrica.org is currently receiving 300 unique visitors per month. People are calling and asking to adopt. We are putting a hold on it because we need to recruit and train staff for this ministry. The missionary training school will provide the required training.

5)      Missionary Training Schools. Train local Christians for 9 months on Discipleship, Evangelism, Caring for Orphans, Selecting Orphans and managing an orphanage, and other strategies that we use to care for children. Then send them out to the nations two by two to start work there or join a team that is currently there. Our head office staff would be in charge of researching each country, getting permits for Shaping Destiny Movement members to operate in these countries. Our focus would be on sustaining a movement not an organization.

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The above 5 strategies are currently being used. The following are additional strategies that we would be using in the near future.

6)      Day Schools (Grade 1-12/ Primary to High School). This is an excellent strategy that we will use in the near future. We have researched it and it will save money and do more to disciple orphans. It will provide opportunities for thousands of kids at a tiny fraction of the cost of keeping them in an orphanage. In addition, kids from areas that are far can be put to live with willing local Christians who live in the communities near the schools. Our foster care program will handle any of such arrangements.

8)      Partner with local churches to teach local Christians [goes under #2 Christian Foster Care system]

9)      Church planting where there are no churches. –Planting Home churches like the apostle Paul did in areas that are unchurched. Besides helping us fulfill the discipleship mandate of our mission, this will be helpful in poverty alleviation as well. Lack of discipleship in serving the poor is one of the problems that local people have. When we started our foster care program, with only 30 minutes of teaching about what the Bible says about orphan care, we were able to get 57 local families sign up to care for orphans!!! Many of the local people don’t know that God expects us to care for the poor! No one had given them the opportunity or educated them about the significance of caring for the poor.