Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Introducing Kingdom Families

Over the last month or two, you've probably seen us posting a lot on Facebook about our new program called Kingdom Families. We are so excited to share with all of you in more detail about this program that we are so passionate about! When we returned to Tanzania back in January, we knew that our long term vision was to get back into orphan care and we are now so blessed to inherit this wonderful ministry that God is increasingly using in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. 

The Overview of Kingdom Families
The focus of Kingdom Families is all about empowerment. Empowering individuals while partnering with local churches and families to be the solution to the orphan crisis in Kilimanjaro, TZ. The Kilimanjaro Region is one of the highest HIV infected areas in Tanzania, hence, having a lot of orphaned children in need of families. This is where we come in! What we do is facilitate Tanzanian Christian families, known as "Welcoming Families", to bring in children into their homes, making these children sons and daughters. As you may know, we've been a part of a great orphanage here in Moshi in the past, but the Kingdom Families model goes a step beyond the orphanage system and avoids some of the inevitable drawbacks of orphanage facility (staff turnover, high expenses to keep the facility running, children that grow up only knowing a small portion of the Tanzanian society in which they live, etc).

At Kingdom Families, our goal is to provide training, oversight, discipleship, family sponsorships, and maintain a good standing relationship with the social welfare department in Tanzania. Our team partnerships then helps us to find children who have been orphaned and/or abandoned. Our hope is to have already trained, capable, and ready parents (AKA our "Welcoming Families") who are anticipating their child match. We then empower that family, by placing children into their care, to use their God-ordained ability as parents to raise those children. Our goal for these children is to not only know the love of true parents and continue to be immersed in depth of their rich Tanzanian culture, but most importantly, know what it means to be loved and adopted by the Lord Himself. As the children are growing and adapting into their new family environment, our Kingdom Families team helps the parents in any way, checking on the families well being and making sure that their transition is going as smoothly as possible. We then have frequent "check in's" with the families, facilitated by our Tanzanian team members who oversee the care of the parents and children. 
Melissa sharing a word at the EAGT Worship Center in Bomang'ombe

Advocacy in Tanzanian Churches
Over the last four Sundays, we have spent three of those Sundays preaching and sharing in churches (the other Sunday we were hosting a team at a local church). We've been sharing about our adoption to God the Father (as explained in Romans 8) and calling fellow believers to take up our collective call to care for the orphans in our midst. We celebrate the true and undefiled religion that James speaks of in James 1:27 and are imparting that passion to those around us. 

Before speaking at each of these churches, we've sat down with each of the pastors and their wives to share our vision and seek the partnership that they can offer from their church fellowship. We thank God for these wonderful pastors, many of whom we've had relationships with for quite some time. We know that we can trust them as well as their judgment, and can rely on their insight and advice for the program as well as the oversight over their own church families. So far we've entered into partnership with: Pastor Unity (a Global-Effect board member and long-time friend) and his church called Voice of Victory in Njoro district of Moshi; Pastor Eli (a close friend and the former assistant director from our time at Treasures of Africa) at the EAGT Worship Center in Bomang'ombe (a city 30 minutes west of Moshi); and Pastor Joseph at Philadelphia Church in Uchira (a village 30 minutes east of Moshi). We are so blessed by each of their partnerships! And to top off these incredible partnerships, Pastor Joseph (whom we mentioned above) and his wife, Neema, have even committed to being our next Kingdom Families foster parents! God is so faithful! 

Brandon (and Promise) preaching at Voice of Victory Church in Njoro, Moshi
The Families
Since Kingdom Families (formerly Kimbilio Families) has been a small project of Global-Effect over the last few years, there are already a couple families that are in the program. Between the two Welcoming Families, we have five children. It's been such a delight to visit these two families and establish our own, personal relationships with them. We are blessed with wonderful Welcoming Families Parents that have taken these children in as their own. Currently we have a pastor and his wife (Michael and Dorothia) who have taken in four children into their home in the Pasua district of Moshi. The children, from youngest to oldest, are Edita, Zaina, Luka and Ezekiel. We also have a little girl (who is two years old) named Amazing. Amazing was orphaned at birth and is now cared for by her recently widowed grandmother in a village called Weruweru (about ten minutes west of Moshi). We thank God for these families, these children, and the American sponsors that have taken them on. We are very much looking forward to adding new families and children into our program after we return following our upcoming furlough.

Melissa taking sponsorship photos of 2 year old Amazing. We got her sponsored this week!
Michael and Dorothia with two of their foster children, Luka and Edita

The (Growing) Stiver Family
As you all know by now, we are expecting baby #2 in mid-December and after much thought, have decided to deliver back in California. We are really looking forward to growing God's Kingdom by growing our own small family. Melissa is now 23 weeks pregnant and tomorrow on our Facebook page, we will be sharing for the first time the gender of our baby!! (We can hardly wait for our gender reveal party tonight!) Our plan for our furlough is to be in the states from mid-October till late February. 

Travelling between Tanzania and California is quite expensive--even in a "good" travel month like October. Since Promise will turn two just weeks before we take off, she will be required to have her own seat on the plane. Brandon visited with our travel agent just this morning and the best seats, which are currently on hold for us till Saturday, are $5,260 round trip for three spots (luckily baby #2 will fly for free on our return to Kilimanjaro). Needless to say, that is a lot of money and we don't have all of it. We would love your prayer and financial assistance as we would like to book these tickets soon, but don't have all the money yet. We've copied the giving information below for those that are choosing to come alongside us. All gifts are, of course, tax deductible.

Online Giving Change
If you have read any of our recent newsletters, then you have undoubtedly heard us talk about the change between our online giving provider (I promise this will be the last time!). :) We had several headaches getting rid of our inferior provider and are so happy to now be with BlueFire/Halo Pays. We had several supporters that were double charged because didn't end their service when they were supposed to. We are so very sorry for that! We're glad to say that it's all behind us now. Any of our supporters that were billed after June 20th should have been refunded and all recurring donations through have been cancelled. That's good news for our supporters! But not automatically good news for us as not all of our monthly supporters have switched over to the new system with BlueFire/Halo Pays. Therefore, our donations have been down the last couple months. :( We want you to know that it is now safe to sign up for BlueFire/Halo Pays and we encourage you, whether you were already giving as a monthly supporter or want to start today, to click the link and set it up right now. We have the big travel expense coming up and could use your help! Thanks for those that have given, are giving and will give towards us and our ministry in Tanzania!

Give online by clicking here and walking through the simple step by step giving dialogue boxes.  Be sure to designate your gift for 'Brandon and Melissa Stiver' and if you're making it a recurring donation, check that box. It'll only take five minutes, promise.

Send a Check
Make it payable to 'Global-EFFECT' and write 'BMS' on the memo line. They will know to credit it to our ministry account. Please do not write our name anywhere on the check.

Send the check to:
Global Effect
PO Box 992856
Redding, CA 96099

Thank You!
We appreciate your friendship, love and support so much. We hope hearing about Kingdom Families has gotten you excited as we ourselves are very excited. Be sure to stay up to date with us on Facebook and on our website. We love you and we bless you in the name of Jesus.

Brandon, Melissa, Promise, Baby #2 and Dodger (our dog)

Our family outside after the service at Voice of Victory Church


Love this update and love you guys! :) Can't wait to see you next week!

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