Planning and connecting

Planning and connecting

Over the weekend the Spirit in Action Board of Directors met in Washougal, Washington. We had one and a half days of planning, singing, praying, and approving new grants and a new Small Business Fund coordinator! One of the themes of the weekend was TRUST. Even when there was initial disagreement, we were each able to express our opinions and work towards consensus.

Thank you to our dedicated Board of Directors!


We approved $15,453 in Community Grants and $5,040 for 28 new business grants and training through the Small Business Fund. I’ll share more details in the coming weeks! It’s so exciting to be able to help dedicated community organizations. And it is wonderful to support the local solutions that are building the foundations for long-term change in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi.

Barbara Farley, SIA Board member and Bebe Andersons niece, brought some old photos of Del and Bebe from their trip to Japan in  the 1960s.

Barbara Farley, SIA Board member and Bebe Anderson’s niece, brought some old photos of Del and Bebe from their trip to Japan in the 1960s. 

Our Inter-Connectedness

“I believe that this beautiful Divine Plan for me is a perfect part of the larger Pattern for the good of all, not something separate unto me alone. I believe that it has ramifications and interweavings that reach out through all the persons I meet and all the events that come to me, and that the best way to put myself in harmony with the Divine plan that is within myself is to accept with radiant acquiescence all the individuals and events that are drawn to me, seeing in them perfect instruments for the perfect unfoldment of my perfect Plan.” — Glenn Clark, The Divine Plan

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you to all who attended our 20th Anniversary party on Saturday! It was a wonderful gathering with both people who have been part of Spirit in Action from the beginning and new members of the SIA community!

My dream is that in our next 20 years we approach our work recognizing the power, knowledge, and vision that already exists in the people we serve. My dream is that Spirit in Action, with our wide international network, dedicated Board members, passionate volunteers, and amazing donors, will serve as a catalyst for people reaching their dreams of sustainable, fulfilling, comfortable lives. And that we each always interact with others in a way – like Del did with me 12 years ago – that lets them know that they are valued and have something to contribute to the world.

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We gathered at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, which is also part of SIA’s history! This was where Marsha Johnson, our Administrative Coordinator for SIA’s first 12 years, first met Del Anderson. She was impressed with his joy, and the prayer he put into his work.

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Rhoda Teimuge, SIA partner from Kenya, told stories of two successful students who have graduated from Samro School. Rhoda is director of the school. Samro focuses on encouraging, empowering, and loving each student to help them succeed. (Stories to come in a future blog post!)

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A timeline of SIA’s history crossed the hall of the meeting hall. I read through 20 years of SIA Board meeting minutes and was humbled by all that we’ve accomplished and the amazing people who have led and contributed to SIA! (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

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Samuel Teimuge, of Kenya, and Rob Hanford, son of Lucile Anderson, chatting. In the early days of SIA, Samuel and Rob wrote to each other about improving Kenyan agriculture with compost and worms.

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“If you hear My voice and obey Me, I will use this very small organism called SPIRIT IN ACTION as leaven, as a mustard seed, as Light.” ~ From “God Calling…” by Del Anderson

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The ripple effect of SIA represented on pretty metal water bottles!

What’s up? WhatsApp!

What’s up? WhatsApp!

I am thrilled! Technology is once again rocking my world! In a tech/cellphone/screen-saturated culture we can sometimes forget that for Spirit in Action cellphones and their applications are nothing short of a miracle!

When Del first started Spirit in Action in 1996 – 20 years ago! – he was writing letters back and forth to his friends around the world. An airmail letter could take weeks to arrive in Kenya. Even if the person responded right away, Del might not receive the reply until a month after sending his initial letter.

Email sped up the conversation. When I started working with Spirit in Action eight years ago, I could write an email and have a response in a few days. That interaction still required the person in Kenya to go to an internet cafe to respond.

And now…..I can communicate almost instantaneously through the amazing technology of WhatsApp!

A WhatsApp conversation with Naomi this week.

A WhatsApp conversation with Naomi this week.

What’s the Difference?

WhatsApp is a phone app that requires very little data to send text and photo messages. No more international texting charges! I am now one of WhatsApp’s almost billion worldwide users, along with Naomi, Wambui, Canaan, and Jeremiah, four of our Small Business Fund Local Coordinators in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. Cellphones are relatively inexpensive in Africa (as I have written about here) and while someone in Malawi might check email only once a day or once a week, they always have their phones with them.

cell phones charging

Grace’s shop in the Manyamula Market is connected to the new electricity lines in town and so she provides phone charging services for a small fee.

It’s not to say that I never use email for Spirit in Action anymore. Now when I’m waiting for an email response I can WhatsApp message the recipient and urge them to check their email! Also, the messaging back-and-forth is more like a conversation, so it’s helpful for developing a closer relationship with our partners.

WhatsApp’s technology allows users to send photos without taking up a lot of data, thus making it easy and affordable. I now routinely receive photos of SBF report forms – taken on smartphone cameras and sent through WhatsApp. The process before? A coordinator would have to take the forms to the internet cafe, paying for scanning services and internet time to email the PDFs to me. Or, they’d send the physical forms to me in the mail, costing international postage rates and taking weeks to arrive.

Do you understand now why I’m thrilled?!

Fall Newsletter Preview! Welcome our newest coordinator!

The SIA Fall & Winter 2015 Newsletter is ready for your reading enjoyment!

Read exciting stories and see photos from our programs:

  • Welcome Hastings, our newest Small Business Fund Coordinator in Malawi!
  • Mirriam’s story of transformation from poverty to stability in Zambia.
  • Student scholarships have a big impact at Samro School in Kenya.
  • “A Life of Wholeness” – Inspiration from Del Anderson

You can download the newsletter as a PDF document (4 MB) or read it online.

With joy and gratitude,
Tanya

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A boy in Manyamula Village, Malawi with bags of dried corn maize.

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Can you believe it was FIVE years ago that I started my weekly Tuesday blog posts? Wow! I started the run on June 29, 2010 with a post titled The Gift of a Pig about Winkly Mahowe in Malawi who had received the gift of a sickly pig. He nursed and cared for the pig and when the pig had piglets, he graciously shared one with someone else in need; perfectly modeling our Sharing the Gift program. Last summer I visited Winkly and his family, celebrating his herd of pigs and the new house he has been able to build with the profit from his thriving piggery business.

Since then I’ve written 238 blog posts with success stories, grant updates, photos from my trips to Africa, inspiration from Del Anderson, and my own reflections on our work and our world.

Thanks for joining me on this journey! If there’s a story you wish I’d tell, let me know and I’ll see how I can make it work.

Muddy feet after a walk to visit some rural Small Business Fund groups in Kenya. (SIA Coordinators Conference, 2011)

Muddy feet after a walk to visit some rural Small Business Fund groups in Kenya. (SIA Coordinators Conference, 2011)

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guardian's group with CIFORD Kenya.

Women in the guardian’s group with CIFORD Kenya.

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