“…. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
– Isaiah 61:3
2020 Annual Report
25 Years of God’s Faithfulness
God has called us to walk by faith and not by sight. When we do so, he promises to be faithful. As we reflect on our history, the year 2020, and the future of LIA we celebrate the wondrous things he has done.
What started as one act of obedience has grown into life in abundance.
While celebration might not be the first word that comes to mind when describing 2020, Life In Abundance had reason to rejoice as we hit a significant landmark this year – our 25th anniversary. Thanks to the Lord’s provision and providence, Dr. Florence Muindi’s commitment to pursue God’s calling to love the poor and vulnerable among us has transformed into 25 years of ministry through LIA.
Our organization has grown to around 150 current staff and is now in 14 countries in Africa and the Caribbean, headquartered in Kenya with support offices in the UK, Switzerland, and the US. In the past 25 years we’ve engaged over 2,500 local churches and impacted over 1.4 million lives through the wholistic, sustainable work we do. We’ve seen God display his splendor all over our history. Praise the Lord for the transformative way he has impacted those in need and brought many from around the world to serve alongside us for the kingdom. We are forever grateful and overwhelmingly humbled by our joint heritage.
The Year 2020
2020 was a year of unpredictable changes and unforeseen challenges, but Life In Abundance remained committed to our mission: empowering local churches and leaders in 14 countries in Africa and the Caribbean to love their communities well. We found that God gave us many opportunities to do so and we praise him for all that was accomplished.
Click below for some of the lessons God taught LIA staff this year:
The Local Church
What happens when the church faces a crisis? While the COVID-19 pandemic meant more empty pews and less Sunday services in 2020, we’re proud to say we witnessed the power of the church in action as the local believers we partner with across Africa and the Caribbean stepped up to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities. As Obadias, LIA’s regional coordinator in the Great Lakes Region says about Rwanda,
“It has brought me joy to the climax in this period of the coronavirus to see churches respond using their own resources to support the elderly and other disadvantaged people among themselves…. Where church gatherings are not allowed, the ministry is going on, the love of Christ is being manifested among his people…. We are not just confined in our homes, but we use what we have to share with and bless others.”
Read how local churches have served this year and watch our Kenyan team visit a community:
In Egypt, a closed country LIA works in, a 5-week advanced beading course ending in mid-February became an opportunity for economic empowerment even throughout lockdown. 22 women kept busy during the year making Christmas stars for orders from the UN Refugee Agency.
As a result of the program, Angelina was able to save money for school, Stella was able to get internet for her apartment so her children could continue with online learning, and Sabah expanded her tailoring business. For these women, and others, this work brought great purpose and financial encouragement in 2020.
In Burundi, LIA partnered with another local ministry to put on a medical camp, which included two days of training for community leaders followed by three days of medical activities. 1,700 people received free medical treatment. Mr. E., a junior medical student, says he was inspired by the doctor he worked with, “He cleaned the wound of the patient. And when he finished he asked if he could pray for him.
He prayed and the patient left the room happy and relieved. I watched him do all that. I had never thought that doctors like this exist: treating patients with humility, talking to them nicely, and praying for them. You can’t understand what this means for us. This gave me the courage to keep on; indeed it is possible to serve God in medicine.”
At LIA we like to dream big dreams for small communities and love seeing when they do too. Mr. Mursal is from a village on the border between Somaliland and Djibouti, called Loy’ada. After taking an adult English class run by an LIA staff member, Mr. Mursal decided to return home and fix a problem: no one from his town ever got to attend high school. “The village has only a poor primary school which has no fence, no doors, and there were no teachers because this school was very far for the eyes of the government.” He says parents were desperate and children weren’t getting education opportunities. So in 2019, he pioneered the first ever private primary school in the area. With training from LIA, Mr. Mursal says his lifestyle changed and now he’s a pillar of hope for the wholistic development of his region. The school he started has 150 students up to the 4th grade level. We look forward to partnering more with this leader and his village in the future.
“In the face of a vicious pandemic, when it would have been so easy for fear and selfishness to rule, we have found our shared humanity again.”
– Pastor in Uganda
What happens when a crisis meets a crisis?
As the world faced the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and continues to deal with the many implications of the pandemic, the poor and vulnerable communities LIA works in have many needs. Although this is the case, we know that with hundreds of indigenous partners and an infrastructure to train local leaders and meet needs in wholistic and sustainable ways, LIA has been uniquely positioned to respond to such a time as this. In 2020, our response included mobilizing 270 local churches to help over 111,700 community members in 56 communities around Africa and the Caribbean. Through offering trainings and educational materials, distributing personal protective equipment, supplying food, providing counseling, hosting prayer groups, equipping health care clinics, among numerous other things, we have seen God work. What an encouragement to see the power of the church in action as we represent the abundance and hope of Christ in the time of COVID-19.
Listen below to LIA Uganda’s radio spot created to raise COVID awareness.
Pursuing Wholistic Transformation
In 2020 LIA launched our new Global Institute, focusing on facilitating the influence of LIA’s mission for pursuing wholistic impact through advocacy and missional efforts in collaboration with others. We hosted our annual GMC (global missions conference) digitally, offering five free webinars. Over 500 attendees worldwide explored what wholistic ministry looks like in today’s landscape. Check out more, including recordings of our sessions, by following the link below.
“In the darkest moments light shines the brightest. God is using this COVID-19 time to bring his church to a new level.”
-Dr. Gil Odendaal
This year, we transitioned from leasing our aircraft to a third party to operating it on our own. We are thankful for opportunities to provide affordable flights for humanitarian aid and relief agencies while serving remote communities in East Africa. Recent trips have been in South Sudan, distributing medical supplies for COVID relief and national exam papers for students.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”
Feeding the Shepherds
Pastors are at the forefront in responding to both the physical and spiritual needs of their communities. God builds the church through these shepherds, as they love and serve him by feeding his sheep. While they fed the flock in 2020, we wanted to make sure they too were fed. LIA offered both immediate relief and lasting, long-term solutions to 200 pastors most affected by lack of income this year. With your help, we raised over $62,133, to provide food and cleaning supplies, school fees, and micro loans especially for leaders in ministry.
Listen below to an interview with Pastor Dan in Kenya.
“When someone is hungry, Jesus expects us to feed them.”
-Pastor in Kenya
Finances & Stewardship
The Next 25 Years
Reflecting on 2020 and LIA’s 25 years of ministry, we are so thankful for God’s faithfulness. We’ve made plans, but he has guided us forward through all seasons, bringing vibrant hope in the midst of poverty and pain. We wholeheartedly believe the Lord will continue to do so in the next 25 years. He has already built a firm foundation for our ministry, giving us opportunities to impact many lives. We cannot wait to see how he continues to multiply this work exponentially in the years to come.
We are repositioning ourselves through new infrastructures and systems, evaluating our tools for ministry, preparing for more opportunities to share our experience, and continuing to walk alongside both the Global North and the Global South to empower people to meet the needs of their communities. We see a day when the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized have life, and have it in abundance.