When you arrive at SIFAT's Galilee Campus in Lineville, Al on September 30 for the AHMEN General Meeting you will see a new face. Don't worry, though; he isn't really new! One of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries, Ezekiel Nichols, will be with us to talk about different approaches to raising money here at home and in Honduras. In addition to the ways we can move toward subsidizing projects in Honduras and move away from a “giving a fish” mindset, Nichols will tell us about a brand new project he is developing with AHMEN!
Ezekiel Nichols will be graduating with a Ph.D. in Economics this December, and he has come up with an idea to completely transform the La Ceiba Dump Ministry. You may remember speaking with Sister Eleanor about the Dump Ministry, or you may have even been there yourself. If not...I do not aim to dramatize the situation. There are literally hundreds of people living in the city dump, making their meals and building their homes with other people's trash. Although we cannot immediately alter the conditions contributing to such a crime against humanity, Ezekiel has come up with a plan to make sure the Dump Ministry has what it needs to provide physical and spiritual sustenance for the dump's inhabitants.
|1st of many benefits to raise money for the endowment|
What makes Nichols' plan so special is his understanding that fundraising, like mission work, is about a concerted, long-term approach. As a starting point, Ezekiel aims to raise $40,000 for an endowment to continually pay for the Dump Ministry preachers' salaries and a reliable supply of highly-nutritional meals produced by Stop Hunger Now for the dump inhabitants. His creative means of raising the money is testament to the type of partnerships AHMEN can include in our fundraising efforts. Ezekiel is holding benefit concerts, producing a blues album, placing change jars at local businesses, having bingo (the legal kind) events, in addition to soliciting funds from large corporations. Planning for down the road and to meet needs now, he immediately splits money raised between direct relief to the Dump Ministry and the endowment. What a difference a long-term approach to fundraising will make for both the people living in the dump and AHMEN!
|Orlin, a child with Bullous Dermatosis in Belaire, before receiving Stop Hunger Now food packets|
|Orlin 6 months later|
Now I don't want to get too philosophical here, but Ezekiel Nichols also serves as a symbol for the way mission work is done outside of the mission field. He is a symbol for the people who want to help out with AHMEN but don't necessarily want to or are able to go to Honduras. Nichols went to Honduras several years back, but has been unable to return because of school, work, etc. Now, he has come back full-force to tackle a single project and serve as an analyst to such other projects as the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. By starting the Dump Endowment and holding fundraising events he also raises awareness of issues important to the Honduran people and AHMEN. By starting a blog about his ideas and efforts he raises AHMEN's web presence. Through communicating with other AHMEN folks about their projects he adds valuable input and momentum to our shared concerns. His efforts clearly show the value of teamwork, the importance of communication, and the inspiration of long-term planning. In all sense of the term, in the past few months Ezekiel Nichols has become one of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries.
When you get a chance, track down Ezekiel Nichols to see what he's up to lately. He is on facebook, and a link to his blog can be found here. Hopefully we will be hearing a lot more from him!