Making New Friends at the Heartbeat International Conference
As always, Heartbeat International did a great job hosting its annual conference last week in Atlanta. This year, it provided a great opportunity for me to introduce Mission Partners, and talk about the growth of Lydia in Macedonia.
I was also surprised (and humbled) with the 2016 Servant Leader Award. I am so honored to be added to the list of previous Heartbeat International Servant Leader award recipients. Thank you to the Blue Ridge Women’s Center and the Lydia Teams — who kept it a secret from me. I’m totally blessed to be your coach.
During the conference, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with so many wonderful professionals with the same goal to advocate for life. I also got to spend extended time with a number of vibrant next-gen leaders like Nakita, a young energetic director of a center in Texas.
A special thanks to all who stopped by the Mission Partners table and attended our special introductory reception.
Let’s Grow Mission Partners!
Located in Macedonia, where the abortion rate per capita is 2½ times that of the United States, Lydia – A Beating Heart Women’s Center is the first of many international pregnancy centers supported by Mission Partners (PRO). In addition to offering support to moms and babies, the Lydia team also provides invaluable support to the refugees who were recently stopped in Macedonia because of the European Union’s decision to close its borders. “We were able to distribute diapers, wet wipes, baby cosmetics, and clothes,” said Lydia’s director, Svetlana Jovanova. “But we still need your prayers and support!” To understand how great the need is, read below letter excerpt from Mirce Andreev, a pastor in Macedonia and president of the humanitarian organization AGAPE.
Dear Prayer Partners:
…As many as 15,000 to 20,000 refugees are stuck on the border between Greece and Macedonia and they [are living] in conditions below every level. From a humanitarian point of view, it is catastrophe.
…We were present [at the southern border camp] every day with distribution of food and clothing. It’s been few days since we had a distribution.
On the northern border we had another big problem. Around 1,500 migrants are stuck in a camp that was only a transit camp towards Serbia. In the tents, there is space for [about] 200 people, but now, there are around 1,500 people, mostly Afghans.
…We have to provide a meal 3 times a day [for these migrants] – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The problem is becoming bigger and bigger because the power of the humanitarian organizations that are present there is getting weaker…They STILL hope they will get opportunity to go towards West, but the situation is opposite.
We, as AGAPE, are present there every day, and our main duty is to provide vitamins (fruit), proteins (boiled eggs), and bread. Every day we distribute large quantity of bananas, oranges, apples, kiwis, dates; and daily we provide between 1,500 – 2,000 boiled eggs. Also, every day, we provide 600 – 1,000 teas, and for that, we need tea, sugar, plastic caps, etc.
A kilometer or two from the camp, there is place that is no man’s land with another group of people who are stuck between the two countries, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, who have problems with documents and they can’t continue forward. Their situation is miserable, and they are 437 people, and for all of them there are only 8 toilette cabins which can’t be kept clean. They have big problem for food and water, and all the other things they need because, they are families – mostly women and children. On top of it, in the last week, it rains constantly and I can’t describe the mud that is there and the people are walking on it. They have tent that can hold up to 3 people, but in every tent there is one family which is 7-10 members. I can’t find the proper words to describe the situation….
…God shows us again and again that He is Great, and He works on places we least expect. I would like to share a situation from yesterday. One young man, Afghan, who is here alone – the rest of his family was killed but he manages to escape. Yesterday, he met and accepted Jesus Christ for His Savior and Lord. Let’s say his name is “Alie,” and in a special way he experienced our Savior. Besides all his troubles, someone stole all his money, and his mobile phone. One of our volunteers talked to him about Jesus and he tried to comfort him. Among other things, he offer to him SDI card with a Bible on Farsi, the movie Jesus, and few other things so he can read and watch in private. But the problem is that he didn’t have a phone. Our volunteer gave him a phone too. The next day, the young man, testified to us for his experience with Jesus. The last evening he was reading the New Testament and he had many interesting questions about it. Who [would have guessed] that someone from Afghanistan with all those problems, somewhere in Macedonia, in a refugee camp, would accept Jesus Christ? But what is unbelievable for us, it is normal for God. Please keep “Alie” in your prayers and pray for him because those examples are rising and keeping the faith to all of us.
With spring coming and with a new wave of refugees, we are waiting to see more new decisions. May God have mercy upon all of us! At the moment, we have clothing on stock…but we need funds to continue the work.
God bless you!
President of AGAPE – Macedonia
Become a Mission Partner and Help Refugees!
Please keep Macedonia, the refugees, and the volunteers who are working among them in your prayers! Click here if you would like to donate to this cause.
Mission Partner Stories
A church in Colorado had been supporting their local pregnancy center for a number of years. One of the leaders heard about Mission Partnering with Lydia in Macedonia. Although they had conducted a Baby Bottle fundraiser annually for the local center during the month of January, they decided to have another Baby Bottle campaign in the summer to support Lydia. We sent them the bottles, inserts, and posters to promote the campaign. After the first campaign we asked them to keep the bottles, and told them we would supply more as well as new materials for the event the next year. They raised over $8,000 in two years with a simple and easy event. And by the way, the January campaign for the local center grew as well.
The executive director of a local pregnancy center approached one of the churches that regularly supports their ministry to tell them about the desire to help Lydia. She knew one of the primary focuses of that church was to support international missions. The church increased its giving by $200 per month just so the local center could Mission Partner with us to support Lydia in Macedonia. A simple ask turned into a regular supporter.
The director of a pregnancy center in the states met one of Lydia’s staff members at last year’s Heartbeat Conference. She took the information about Mission Partnering to her leadership team, and they agreed to start sending Lydia a regular monthly financial gift. They are now one of eight pregnancy centers that count themselves as Mission Partners with Lydia.
Do you have any extra puzzle pieces?
One of the leaders of the church I pastored spent 15 years in prison. He told of a time when a number of the inmates were ushered into the cafeteria and seated at tables of 10. In front of each man was a manila envelope that contained the pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. The inmates were instructed not to talk or communicate with anyone at their table or anyone else in the room. The object was to find out which table could properly assemble all 10 of their individual puzzles the fastest. They were instructed to empty their envelopes and quickly put their puzzle together and they were warned that if they communicated with anyone in the process they would be disqualified. As he emptied his envelope, he noticed that there were pieces that belonged to his puzzle, and pieces that didn’t belong. As he looked around the table he could see that the pieces he needed to complete his puzzle were scattered in front of other inmates. How could he get the pieces he needed without being able to ask for them or reach across the table and take them? It then dawned on him to look at the extra pieces he had and who needed them. He slowly moved those extra pieces to the inmates who needed them. It didn’t take long for the entire table to catch the process. Each man simply moved their extra pieces to whoever needed them and before they knew it, all of their puzzles were properly assembled; they had been the first table to complete the task.
Most of us are faced with finding the resources we need to accomplish the task or vision we have been given. We spend tremendous effort and energy devising new ways to get the missing pieces we think we need. Seldom do we look at the extra pieces in front of us, and even less seldom do we look around our table to see who may be missing the extra pieces we have.
The Kingdom of God has all of the pieces needed to fulfill God’s vision but He has spread them around much like the pieces of those inmate’s puzzles. I am suggesting the way we complete our puzzle is to begin sending our extra pieces to places that need them so we help them accomplish their task.
I can hear someone saying, “Wait a minute; we don’t have any extra pieces. We don’t have enough of anything to accomplish our vision.”
For years I’ve heard ministry leaders and individuals give testimony of how God came through with just the exact amount of money they needed right at the moment in time that they needed it. In fact I used to tell those stories regularly. That is until I began to believe God when he said, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think…” and “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…” I came to the understanding that God gives us more than what we need because He desires us to proclaim Him as an extravagant giver. So, look around more closely and discover the extra that came with that last blessing of provision. It’s there; you just have to find it.
Churches, pregnancy centers, businesses, and individuals are catching the vision to become Mission Partners and make a difference for lives worldwide. The amount isn’t what is important – but the desire to impact the effects of abortion worldwide is. All of the money given to support Mission Partners goes directly to their efforts.
Two of Blue Ridge Women’s Centers long time supporters were instrumental in launching the Pregnancy Resource Organization (Lydia) in Macedonia. At their encouragement, Blue Ridge Women’s Center made two commitments to Lydia. First, that we would financially support their efforts by covering the cost of one month’s operational overhead annually. Second, that we would help find more Mission Partners that would cover overhead costs for the additional months.
Each of the current offices of Lydia (Štip and Skopje) have monthly overhead of $2,500 each. Today, Mission Partners provide about 60% of their overhead. We need more Partners that will make the same kind of ongoing commitments. Can you be one of them?
It’s Time to Take a Stand
Located in Macedonia, where the abortion rate per capita is 2½ times that of the United States, Lydia – A Beating Heart Women’s Center is the first of many international pregnancy centers supported by Mission Partners. Much like pregnancy centers in the United States, Lydia offers counseling, support, and assistance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy – including women who are already scheduled to have an abortion.
The Lydia team is also helping many of the thousands of refugees passing through Macedonia weekly. Lydia goes to the refugee exit point into Serbia with diapers, clothing, baby cosmetics, and pregnancy tests. Pregnant women and moms with babies are helped daily!
It costs $2400 a month to sustain the operations of one Lydia Center. Twelve Mission Partners can easily support one center with a monthly commitment of just $200 each.
The Mission Partners effort also includes coaching the Lydia team to develop financial resources locally. Yet Mission Partners isn’t just a source of financial support with little or no accountability. Financial resources given to Lydia through the growing network of Mission Partners is budgeted and distributed directly within the provisions of that budget.
Together we can continue to reduce abortions here in the U.S. as well as globally. To join us in this important endeavor, please contact Phil Holsinger, President of Blue Ridge Women’s Center, by phone (540.362.3007), or email [email protected]
What is Mission Partners PRO?
In 2015, 50 million babies were aborted outside the United States.
As a missional outreach, Blue Ridge Women’s Center launched Mission Partners PRO to serve some of the most impoverished locations throughout the world. Most of these communities simply do not have the resources necessary to sustain a full time pregnancy resource organization like those found in the United States.
97% of all abortions worldwide happen outside the U.S.
In many areas around the world, the need for unplanned pregnancy support is significant because the number of abortions is high but the community resources are low.
90% of all pregnancy resources for unplanned pregnancies are concentrated within the U.S.
Lydia – A Beating Heart Women’s Center
Located in Macedonia, where the abortion rate per capita is 2½ times that of the United States, Lydia – A Beating Heart Women’s Center is the first of many international pregnancy centers supported by Mission Partners. Are you interested in joining us in this Mission Partnership to raise the funds necessary to meet the growing needs of pregnancy centers worldwide?