Tammy and her team will be going to India to provide consulting and ministry support to Emmanuel Ministries Calcutta.
Oh man, I really want to go, but now? This summer? Can't it wait a couple of months?
I've been wrestling with God, asking that question since Synergy asked me this spring to lead a team to India, up until a few weeks ago when He gave me the clear and loving smackdown I needed. I wanted to go back to Calcutta, and was eager to return to Emmanuel Ministries Calcutta (EMC), an organization I fell in love with 2 years ago on my first visit to India. The work we'd be doing also seemed so in-line with the organization I'm building too. Despite that, a list of reasons of why not to go this summer was growing-from work, family, and such-, mixed in with the fear of India's sweltering heat (although the heat of Philadelphia seems to be much worse).
One of the reasons why prep for this trip has been so last minute, and my attempt to raise support so late in the game is because I wanted clear confirmation from God. I refused to say we were going until His vision for us was clear and EMC's leadership specifically communicated their desire for our team to go and work with them on specific needs. One night a few weeks ago, I pleaded with God, that there were too many open questions, too many things to prepare, too last minute, the list goes on, and I asked Him to officially close the door and get the idea of India out of my heart. The next morning, I woke up to find an email sitting in my inbox from EMC. I couldn't help but smile as I knew it was not a coincidence and it was an answer to my prayer. Well, sort of. Instead of closing the door, it opened as EMC shared their commitment to working together and their excitement for us to come and work with them this summer. That sealed the deal. When the boss says go, you go. No more begging God to change His plans for my plans.
So, here we go. We will be going through Synergy Ministries, an organization that sends consultants and subject matter experts to help ministries around the world with specific organizational needs. Our team will be supporting several areas but will focus heavily on EMC's education programs. I'll be leading a small team with diverse experience in education, IT, microfinance, strategy, and marketing. We'll be working directly with EMC from July 28-August 9.
EMC is an amazing organization where I saw God's heart at work through His faithful servants who have dedicated their lives to His people. I saw how God has and continues to use normal people with a little bit of faith to change lives and communities. EMC and its sister organizations have been serving the poor and the disenfranchised in Calcutta since the early 70s. EMC has programs serving addicts and alcoholics, pavement dwellers, sex workers and children from the slums. They work with the disenfranchised on a daily basis which gives them a deep understanding of the needs of the affected people as well as strong relationships and trust within these communities.
The main areas they've asked for our support include:
•Non-Formal Education (NFE) Assessment: EMC has 5 NFE programs for children from the slums and the streets who do not attend formal schools. The hope is that NFE will get the children off the streets and prepare and enroll them in formal school programs. EMC has asked us to look at their various NFE programs and assess how things are working and where they may be able to improve.
•NFE Curriculum: currently there is no curriculum for the NFE. Instead teachers will utilize whatever they have experience with. EMC has asked us to help build a NFE curriculum to better engage the children and provide them with the basic education and skills required to enroll in a formal schooling program.
•Capacity Building Workshop for Staff: EMC has expressed value in providing a workshop to build the capacity of EMC's staff and/or teachers. We're working with EMC to determine what topic would be most valuable for their staff.
•Microfinance programs: EMC has expressed a need for support in their microfinance programs. We're working with them to understand specifics around that, but we know supporting their operations from a technology standpoint will be part of our role.
•Marketing Needs Assessment: EMC has asked us to help build a more robust marketing strategy to better engage donors, partners, and volunteers. We'll look to evaluate EMC's current marketing strategies, and identify areas that might increase their communications reach and impact.
I'm writing in hopes that you'll join us on our journey by covering us with your prayers. Any financial support is also appreciated, but most importantly, your prayers. If you'd like to support us in your prayers or would like updates of our journey, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!