“Go! The harvest is plentiful!”
I have recently been reassigned to serve as IM’s Global Coordinator for Education. In this newly created global servant role, my ministry will focus on identifying, reporting, networking, encouraging, and resourcing ministries of education for IM global servants and partners. Continuing and expanding upon work I did most recently as a regional consultant in Southeast Asia, I will be collaborating with IM’s area directors to pursue goals set forth in IM’s Responding to the Call strategic plan related to the ministry priority of education. As a global coordinator, I will work from my home base near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where my husband Chuck currently serves as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, and travel extensively to support IM’s educational ministries around the globe.
Chuck and I previously served for 18 years as IM global servants in Thailand. There, we worked with our partner, the Akha Churches of Thailand, but also played a lead role in the establishment and development of the Chiang Rai International Christian School (CRICS). I developed a deep passion for education and its transformative power in the lives of children and adults. I have also overseen STEP (Student Tuition Expense Program) programs that assist children in Thailand and Myanmar. I am excited to venture into my expanded role, which will include identifying opportunities and assisting in recruitment of long-term and short-term global servants, developing and sharing resources, facilitating STEP projects and monitoring and reporting progress in IM-related educational initiatives around the globe.
In May, partially in preparation for this new role, I began to visit schools in La Romana, Dominican Republic at the invitation of global servants Vital and Ketly Pierre. At the time of an initial visit in March, it was indicated to me by Ketly and the school administrators in the schools affiliated with the Haitian Baptist Association in La Romana, that they would welcome the opportunity for some teacher training.
Rachel Fox Serra, our eldest daughter and also a teacher in Philadelphia, was able to join me in this exciting training opportunity. During our week there as we received orientation from the Pierres and interacted with the staff of the schools, we were able to gain a better understanding of both the opportunities and the challenges that face the educators there.
This experience had a great impact on my understanding of the need I have in this new role to take the necessary investment of time and resources in visiting our global servants involved in educational ministries, as well as our national partners. My experiences in Thailand and Myanmar will certainly help in developing strategies and programs to meet needs in other places, but each context is so different!
This past year was spent learning about the educational work we are connected with around the world and establishing the baselines for that work.
Now I will get acquainted with more of our educational ministries around the globe. On November 8 I will leave to visit our educational programs in Hungary to better understand the situation there. Carmella Jones, Amanda Good, and Becky Stanton are graciously sharing their ministry situations with me. I will also be visiting the Hungarian Baptist Aid organization to meet with our partners there to ascertain the needs from their perspective. Following a visit there, I will be joining the Area Director for Africa, Karen Smith, as well as our global servant Jill Lowery, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the grand opening of the Mitendi Primary School! I hope to learn a lot from the Congolese women about their hopes and dreams for this school and about the needs in the area.
On a Personal Note
After returning to the USA in October of 2017, my husband Chuck has been enjoying his new role as pastor at the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. We made the move here primarily to take care of Chuck’s parents. His father died two weeks ago at the age of 95. We continue to live with his mother, Dorothy Fox. Our daughter Rachel continues as a teacher in Philadelphia near where she lives with her husband Michael Serra. Rebecca is a volunteer with Camp Hill Village, a working farm in the Phoenixville area (PA) that cares for adults with disabilities. Kenny is working in Seattle, WA for Hopelink, a non-profit organization working with poverty issues in Seattle. He was recently married to Madeleine Miscavage, and we rejoice with them!
* I am thankful for this new role and for the trust and faith that International Ministries has placed in me to do this work. I am thankful, too, for all those who have continued to support me financially and prayerfully to respond to this new role.
* The Chiang Rai International Christian School in Chiang Rai, Thailand (where I still serve as the Director of Resource Development – USA) was able to begin school this fall with a full complement of volunteer teachers.
* With STEP funds from individual donors and churches to the STEP program (IM’s educational scholarship program), children and young adults in 12 geographical locations around the world are currently enrolled in programs that will give them skills, choices and hope that they might not otherwise be able to have!
* Praise for the amazing work that is being done with very little resources by the committed teachers and administrators in La Romana for the Haitian children there, and for the relationship Ketly and Vital have established with the churches there.
* Charles E. K. Fox, III (Kenny) and Maddy had a wonderful marriage celebration at the FBC Pittsburgh where Chuck was able to officiate.
* Please pray for safe travels to Hungary and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for the celebration of the opening of the Mitendi Primary School
* Please pray for children around the world who are not able to avail themselves of educational opportunities because of political situations in their countries or lack of funds or lack of access to schools.
* Please pray for relationships to be built and strengthened with our Christian partners around the world, and for discernment about how International Ministries can best be a support and resource for them and for the educational work they do.
* Charles E. K. Fox, Sr. turned 95 on September 27 and our family was all able to celebrate with him before he died on October 23. Please pray for Chuck and the family as we care for his mom, Dorothy Fox, particularly at this time of loss. Please pray for my parents, Clifford and Rosemary Gilson at Penney Farms, as well.
* Please pray for my support. I am currently at 83% of my overall support. The cost of my travels abroad are not included in the budget, so please also pray that these needs can be met.
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers! What I do is not possible without your support!
Global Coordinator for Education