nehemia MAGAZIN LIFE. CHANGE. A WORKSHOP ON LIFE FOR THE WORLD how does the nehemia team work? WHY MERCY IS NEEDED a theological perspective EMPOWERMENT step by step into maturity and freedom
THANK YOU, HANS … FOR YOUR PIONEERING SPIRIT, WHICH HAS SET SO MANY THINGS IN MOTION AND OFFERED INSPIRATION, COURAGE, HOPE AND NEW PERSPECTIVES TO SO MANY PEOPLE. AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PERSEVERANCE, YOUR CONSISTENCY AND ABOVE ALL YOUR GREAT LOVE FOR PEOPLE.
3 Now, figuratively speaking, the baton has successfully been passed. „A threefold cord is not easily broken.“ (Ecclesiastes 4:12). `A threefold cord’ has now taken over the responsi- bility from Hans Heidelberger: Thomas Tschaftary, Elke Feld and Mathias Hühnerbein have been closely partnering with Hans, in some ways even since the nehemia team was foun- ded. All three have been shaping the nehemia team’s work for two decades in a variety of positions and tasks. Our three main leaders will be complemented by a dedicated „core team“. Together with this new team we eagerly face the fu- ture, so that we can continue to move people and develop life. Or in the words of missiologist Peter Kuzmič: „Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it in the present.“ This issue of nehemia magazine is an expression of our hope and faith for the present as well as the future. May it inspire and grant you insight into our current work. We wish you joy as you read these pages! Your nehemia board DEAR READER, A new season has begun! After 34 years of dedicated commitment to fellow human beings and Christian commu- nities we released Hans Heidelberger into „un-retirement“ in December 2020. This is equivalent to 34 years of „God‘s story“ with the nehemia team in Fürth and beyond. In 1987, a few young men and women around John MacFar- lane and Hans Heidelberger boldly began putting their dre- am into action and created an inter-denominational meeting platform for Christians from various church communities. While the nehemia team’s first ten years were mainly spent focusing on the northern Bavarian region, the work expan- ded and international projects were launched in the 1990s. Ever since, the variety of projects and the number of count- ries involved have steadily increased. The team‘s involvement with the needy and those in distress has spread across the globe. Hans Heidelberger was the driving force behind this movement. His heart and passion have inspired, delighted and accompanied thousands of people. As a team, we have prepared well for Hans’ „farewell“. Alrea- dy in December 2016, the leaders decided on a roadmap for the transition process. Today we can say that this process has been successful. This transition period was characterized by thorough and deliberate conversations based on mutual openness and respect. We are also very grateful for the exter- nal support and advice provided by Peter Aschoff.
4 CONTENT LIFE. CHANGE. 34 TAILORING FREEDOM 14 WHY MERCY IS NEEDED 2 2 3 6 8 9 10 12 12 14 16 17 19 20 21 23 NEHEMIA INTERNAL THANK YOU, HANS EDITORIAL FROM FÜRTH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH NEHEMIA MANAGING COMMITTEE A WORKSHOP ON LIFE FOR THE WORLD NEHEMIA TEAM IN NUMBERS CHANGING LIVES EMPOWERMENT - STEP BY STEP INTO MATURITY WHY MERCY IS NEEDED GERMANY HELPING OTHERS GROW Hamid‘s Story: FLIGHT AND NEW BEGINNINGS UKRAINE TETIANA‘S DREAM EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE IN TRANSCARPATHIA 24 25 THAILAND Um‘s Story: MY JOURNEY INTO LIFE 26 JOINT VENTURE 27 28 29 30 BORNEO THE DAYAKS MOVING INTO THE FUTURE PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION 21 TETIANA‘S DREAM
5 31 32 INDIA Raja‘s Story: 33 34 34 35 36 36 DIGNITY FOR THE LEAST OF ALL FAREWELL TO RAJA THE DALITS TAILORING FREEDOM PAKISTAN EDUCATION CHANGES LIVES Faisal‘s Story: A SECOND CHANCE 37 38 KENYA Paul‘s Story: MY CHANCE FOR A BETTER FUTURE 39 THE MIWANI CENTER 41 42 BURKINA FASO LITTLE EFFORT – GREAT IMPACT 43 44 45 46 46 RUSSIA JOY RETURNS Evgenie‘s Story: CHRONOLOGY OF A RUINED LIFE BOOMERANG OF GOODNESS COLD SIBERIA 47 48 ROMANIA HOUSE OF LIGHT 49 50 50 51 NEHEMIA TESTIMONIALS SPONSORSHIPS SUPPORT IMPRINT 39 THE MIWANI CENTER „A SELF-DETERMINED AND RE- SPONSIBLE LIFE ENCOMPASSES THE WHOLE PERSON.“ – EMPOWERMENT 12 33 GOODBYE RAJA
6 FROM FÜRTH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH MY ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY WITH THE NEHEMIA TEAM Hansi boy, Hansi boy, all alone and far away …… “Hänschen klein (little Hans) ging allein in die weite Welt hin- ein …“ (German nursery rhyme) Songs of travel must have made a great impression on me from nursery rhymes on up, as I felt a deep yearning to ex- plore and conquer the world from an early age. As a youth, I collected postcards from around the world, and an oversized world map decorated my walls right alongside pop posters. Thanks to my favorite board game, “Risk”, I learned the na- mes of distant countries long before I was able to visit them. Except in my case, I didn’t have to travel “alone” like “Hansi” (little Hans) in this nursery rhyme – because of the nehemia team. to act upon their life‘s dreams, which resulted in numerous aid projects and initiatives for young people in the years that followed. This commitment to the needy and those in distress grew, and organizations and initiatives with a similar orien- tation grew out of it. Some of them form the Nehemiah International Network today. The devotion of John and Jean Krueger, who joined the nehemia team in 1993, played an essential role in this. But in all our spirit of optimism and enthusiasm for the new paths we discovered on our journey, we also took many a wrong turn and hurt people or paid them too little respect, which in retrospect we are very sorry about. Wherever this was the case, we apologize. Our changing commitment The nehemia team‘s commitment is constantly developing and changing. Today, we empower and develop young peo- ple with a holistic approach wherever possible. In addition to material, psychological and spiritual aspects, education plays a particularly important role in our accompaniment and sup- port. It is one of the essential keys to breaking out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. From dreaming to taking action Before I dared to step out into the world, some steps towards healing in my personality and character were needed; as a teenager, I was often hesitant, lacking confidence and pla- gued by feelings of inferiority. Only the experience of being accepted and loved by God and also by people, despite my weaknesses, enabled me then as now to leave some securi- ties behind and venture into new terrain of my life. My wife and entire family, for their part, have done me a world of good. I was able to discover early on that God was working in my life not in spite of, but precisely through my weakness. This experience was formative, and eventually led to beco- ming active with the nehemia team. A team of friends The word „team“ is not in the name of the nehemia team by chance. All important decisions are made together. With great appreciation for one other, everyone contributes their individual expertise. This was already true in 1987 when the founding team around John MacFarlane and myself set out on our journey, and is still true today after the change of leadership. This is the only way we could and can master the many challenges we face. Together, we achieve far more than each of us could on our own. The beauty of it is: It‘s fun to bring in one‘s own strengths and to be complemented in one‘s weaknesses. Beginnings In the early years, the regional focus of our work was in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. The nehemia team brought fresh inspiration and ideas to young employees in church congregations, promoted cross-community initiatives and, with the teen group „Fire Kids“, introduced creative approa- ches to children‘s and youth work. A variety of seminars, camps, outreaches, festivals and vacation fellowships, as well as the development of a regional infrastructure, promoted to- getherness at the community level. Enthusiasm In the ‚90s, the nehemia team‘s commitment expanded inter- nationally as well. These contacts also brought widely diverse ideas to the Franconian region. A multitude of „Schools of the Heart“ shaped and inspired thousands of young people in countries around the world. Many of them were encouraged
God is not a Franconian No, this is not as banal as it sounds. We often unconsciously think and expect other people to be and behave like us. And though we‘d never say so, we often think: The way we are is right. These cultural „glasses“ also shape our understanding of God. Our team was international from the beginning. It soon became apparent that John MacFarlane (England), John Krueger (USA) and Hans Heidelberger (Franconia) not only had different personalities, but also came from different cul- tures. Later, this was reinforced by encountering and working together with Africans and Asians. Although I now need glas- ses in my old age, in the ways just described I‘ve been able to set aside many glasses of my (pre)judgments. One example among many: I haven‘t always been cozy towards Eastern Eu- ropeans. Today I appreciate not only the culinary specialties such as pelmeni, blinis and shashlik or a hot banya (sauna) in Siberia, but above all the deep, warm friendships that have grown during my travels. No place for racism There is no place for patriotism, racism or nationalism! There is no preferred nationality. Neither my white skin color nor the fact that I was born in a prosperous part of this world sets me apart from people of other origins. Only in by being comple- mentary counterparts can our cultural strengths come to full light. And perhaps God is then also a little bit „Franconian“. After all, Franconians also have their strengths, which they can contribute to the international mosaic for the good of the world. My journey This is where I could list the many countries, cities, villages where our nehemia team adventure trip has taken us. Or the thousands of mostly young people at the many events. The- se numbers would be very impressive. But what I remember much more in retrospect are the many in-depth encounters I had with wonderful, different people. The love and hospitality among the very poorest, the openness in the prisons and the warmth with which I always met people all over the world. But I will also never forget many of the people who experienced healing, inspiration and new courage and joy in life through our commitment in areas of their personality. These are the 7 treasures that I keep in my personal „memory treasure chest“. Encounters count much more for me today than events and meetings. In this respect I’ve been very richly blessed. End of the line? My journey with the nehemia team does not end with my retirement. I will joyfully continue to accompany young people and inspire them from the „treasure chest“ of my experiences. I will gladly remain, as desired by the nehemia team, an encou- rager, international networker, fatherly companion and friend to many in our regional and international network. I would like to continue to challenge others to a committed, authentic, unconventional Christianity marked by love and mercy, which finds its expression in a commitment to the needy and poor of this world. Change in perspective Through nearly 250 trips abroad to more than 50 countries, I‘ve had the opportunity and privilege to get to know a lot of this world. So, in conclusion, I would like to reveal one last secret: Where is the „end of the earth“ to someone living in Fürth? I have learned that a lot depends on one’s perspecti- ve. In this case, I have found out that the furthest distance a person from Fürth can travel on this earth (if one sets off westward) ends up in Nuremberg. Of course, I am NOT saying that Nuremberg is at the end of the earth. But if you set off in the wrong direction because of the wrong perspective, even the most obvious thing can be far away. Some perspectives have changed for me, and also for the nehemia team, in the course of the last 34 years. But one thing has remained: Our motivation for what we do is the infinite love, respect and ap- preciation that God shows us. And this always leads us, no matter in which direction we move, to people in this world who urgently need this love, appreciation and re- spect! With this perspective and the mercy associated with it, we will certainly continue to move in the right direction in the future. - And then Nuremberg will be very close again to a Fürth resident like myself. Hans Heidelberger
8 NEHEMIA MANAGING COMMITTEE THOMAS TSCHAFTARY MARRIED, 3 CHILDREN Development engineer, entrepreneur working with renewable energies, and coach (European Association for Supervision and Coaching) con- sulting start-ups, founders as well as executives Thomas has been associated with the ne- hemia team for over 20 years and joined after connecting with CGF (Christian church in Fürth) and Hans Heidelberger. „Development is my passion!“ is Thomas‘ slogan, and that is why he is passionate about „developing“ people, companies, organizations and projects. He has been a chairman with the nehemia team since 2001 and is responsible for international projects, grant applications, finances, human resources, orga- nizational management and legal matters. Thomas` vision „I am motivated when people discover and develop their potential, take responsibility for themselves and others, discover freedom, grant and gain trust, and show consi- deration for the needs of their fellow human beings. I am dedicated to seeing our common potential lead to a sus- tainable change of our environment and society. Together we can and must shape the future!“ ELKE FELD MARRIED, 2 CHILDREN Nutritional scientist, with expertise for developing countries Master of theology and intercultural leadership Together with her family, Elke has lived in Nuremberg since 1998. Prior to that the family lived in Cen- tral America and the Caribbean onboard a hospital ship with „Mercy Ships“. There she experienced how people in need and in poverty received new hope through the message of God’s love as well as through practical help. 1999 she beca- me involved with the nehemia team. In the beginning, Elke vo- lunteered for 12 years, leading the youth ministry „Fire Kids“ and later also organizing international projects. Since 2012 she has been working part-time, leading the local integration and children‘s work since 2014, and she has been responsi- ble for various international projects (Indonesia, Ukraine, Ro- mania, Burkina Faso). Elke´s vision „...that children, young people and people on the margins of society get an honest chance to lead a successful and bene- ficial life. This requires a holistic approach, meaning teaching Christian values and offering spiritual training in addition to development cooperation.” MATHIAS HÜHNERBEIN MARRIED, 2 CHILDREN Coach, master coach, teaching coach, supervisor, teaching supervisor, tea- ching trainer church consultant and re- silience coach Mathias has been closely connected to the nehemia team and Hans Heidelberger in various volunteer roles and tasks since the ne- hemia team was founded in 1987. He is co-founder of the Christian Action Teams (C.A.T., 1987) and the church ‘Vater- haus‘ (2002) in Nuremberg. Since 1996 Mathias has been intensively involved in church consulting and thus in the de- velopment of various churches and church plants in Middle Franconia. Since 2003 he has been a board member of the nehemia team.In 2006 Mathias changed from pastoral mi- nistry to working as a freelance coach, supervisor and tea- ching trainer. Today he is in charge of the proCEO consulting practice in Fürth and the proCEO educational institute in Nu- remberg. Mathias’ vision Mathias loves offering guidance and support to individuals as well as organizations, whilst supporting their development. He has a deep understanding of human beings and an exten- sive structural understanding of organizations. He enriches the nehemia team with his versatile abilities and thus sustai- nably contributes to building the kingdom of God.
NEHEMIA TEAM – A WORKSHOP ON LIFE FOR THE WORLD 9 Who we are We see ourselves as an international Christian development organisation with the goal of supporting and doing holistic development work. Our team Get to know the team: https://nehemia-team.org/en/about-us/our-team/ What we do Our motto is “helping others grow”. We want more than any- thing to enable a young generation, inspired by Jesus Christ, to live independent lives with a positive vision and a new qua- lity of life. In this way, we improve living conditions, provide access to education, promote social competence, strengthen character and values as well as social co-responsibility. Espe- cially disadvantaged people need to be enabled to develop their lives holistically and successfully. We work with local ex- perts who are familiar with the countries’ peculiarities. Close collaborations with the people are important to us. This has resulted in a wide range of initiatives around the globe in the areas of education, social charitable projects, training, Christian inspiration, counselling, youth work, small businesses as well as relief services. What moves us? Faith in Jesus Christ The needs of this world Our love for people Our values Holistic Relationship-oriented Actively participating Innovative Networking Legal form The nehemia team is a registered association recognised by the tax office of Fürth as a non-profit organisation. The International Nehemiah Network Through the nehemia team’s many international projects, le- gally and organisationally independent teams have emerged in many countries. These have joined forces to form the Nehe- miah International Network. As an international network we meet the needs of young people, regardless of their origin, nationality or social position. A pioneering spirit, innovative ideas and courageous initiatives lead to further new projects. The nehemia team contributes to this network with its know- ledge in an inspiring, motivating and supportive way. It offers security for the projects in form of consulting, project monito- ring and financial support. This way, the pioneers and experts on site can act according to their culture and personal vision and best meet the needs of their people. As a connecting link and partner in the cooperation, we work closely with the project leaders in order to also support them in their perso- nal development. The legal and financial responsibility for the project remains with the leaders on site - to avoid unhealthy dependencies. Our relationships, based on trust and respect, are the foundation for long-lasting, healthy and efficient co- operations. For more information check out our website www.nehemia-team.org
10 HELPING OTHERS GROW NEHEMIA TEAM IN NUMBERS EDUCATION & TRAINING 4 250 spots Homes for children and young adults in Thailand, India, Kenya, Borneo 5 Schools 1000 Students Primary and secondary schools in Pakistan, India, Ukraine Computer center in Pakistan 14 500 spots Kindergartens in Borneo, Ukraine, Burkina Faso, India Training center for inclusive and modern pedagogy in Ukraine 5 Projects for people with special needs in Romania, Siberia, Ukraine PC-Academy in Siberia and Ukraine 500 Trainees 70 editions, 350.000 printed copies PUBLICATIONS nehemia INFO, nehemia MAGAZIN, nehemia NEWS Migration & Reconciliation Refugee aid: in Germany (contact café, language courses, bicycle workshop, integration helper training, integration courses, cultural connectors, educatio- nal seminars) and Ukraine, Burkina Faso Intercultural Encounters Camps & outreaches worldwide Peace & Reconciliation Conferences, consultations, seminars QUALIFICATION & INSPIRATION (1-7 day events) 402 events in 21 countries seminars, impulse days, leadership meetings, forums, joint ventures, conferences, work- shops 28.750 participants COMMUNITY & REGENERATION 35 family camps, recreational and active camps (longer than a week) in 12 countries 2.500 participants CREATIVITY, ART, CULTURE & SPIRITUALITY Celebrations to the glory of God, festivals, musicals, concerts, dance, theater, creative programs 50 events in Franconia 32.500 participants
11 5,5 Million Euro in donations & grants in 34 years FINANCES All this has only been possible thanks to the loyal support of our friends: we have received over 5 million euros in donations and over 500,000 euros in grants over the past 34 years. CREATIVE CHILD- & YOUTHWORK Fire Kids, Love Shows Action, Kids‘ bus, GoKick, GoTeens, Come together • 30 camps & outreaches (over a week) in 18 countries 1.200 participants 136 events in 14 countries, 11.500 participants 66 camps (up to a week) 25 events 5.300 participants 1.000 participants 20 kids‘ bus events 1.500 children Hundreds of group meetings PERSONALITY- & CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (1-8 week long events) School of hearts, Exploring-Life-Training, Pastoral care seminars INTERNATIONAL MULTIPLICATION Accompaniment, consulting, mentoring, team training, support, networking DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS & HUMANITARIAN AID 10 in 8 10 agricultural development projects and small businesses in 8 countries 46 in 10 46 relief efforts in 10 countries (Relief transports, disaster relief, medical missions, corona aid) Establishment and support of partner teams in 10 countries 8 International Networking meetings Participants from 20 nations Activities in over 50 countries on 6 continents
ter all problems through their own actions. Seven pillars of empowerment and resilience So what promotes maturity in life? A ma- ture life is a resilient life. Psychological experts distinguish between 7 pillars, or sub-areas of human resilience. The more of these characteristics a person or an organization can acquire, the better challenges, crises and change processes can be dealt with. First pillar: confidence Few things spur people on like the pow- er of confidence - the prospect that their lives can succeed and difficult circums- tances can be overcome. With the ne- hemia team, we have met people who have retained their courage to face life even under adverse circumstances. The confident person sees difficulties clearly and faces them, while the optimist tends to fade them out and pass them over. Confidence allows people to deal with strokes of fate and forms the foundation of empowerment. Second pillar: acceptance The second pillar of resilience is ac- ceptance. Learning the difference bet- ween tolerance and acceptance can be life-changing. For example, learning not only to tolerate our shortcomings, but also to accept them fully, frees us from stress, anxiety and doubt. This in turn releases power to work effective- ly on necessary changes. Only tho- se who accept situations for what they are in the first place can trans- form them. Acceptance is thus ne- cessary towards overcoming any crisis. Third pillar: solution orientation Solution orientation depends largely on one‘s personal attitude. What‘s crucial is the expectations people have of their fu- ture and what their goals are. The main idea is to focus on goals and resources instead of just on problems, their cau- ses and origins. All of this is based on the idea that challenges and problems cannot be solved from the outside, but only by those involved, in a sense from within. The responsibility for the solu- tion remains with the people involved. 12 EMPOWERMENT STEP BY STEP INTO MATURITY If anything describes the work of the nehemia team in the past, it is the word „empowerment“, both of people and of organizations. Starting with the commit- ment of John & Carrie MacFarlane, con- tinuing with John & Jean Krueger and on to Hans & Brigitte Heidelberger, peo- ple have been moved, enabled and emp- owered by the nehemia team again and again. To this day, this operating princi- ple runs like a thread through the work of the nehemia team. Over the past 34 years, a great many national and inter- national employees have invested them- selves in a multitude of people, Christian communities and initiatives. Empower- ment wants to accompany people and organizations step by step into maturity, develop and move lives! Empowerment is an act of enabling, or transferring re- sponsibility. This happens through attitu- des and corresponding actions that help people to achieve greater self-responsibi- lity and autonomy. Fundamental to this is a view that does not focus on weak- nesses and deficits, but recognizes and strengthens resources and promotes the competencies of one’s partners. Empowerment leads to resilience Empowered people and organizations have a high level of resilience. Taking personal responsibility is very much lin- ked to the development of resilience, whether in an individual or organizatio- nal context. The term resilience (from the Latin word for resistance) is described in psychology as the capacity for inner strength and flexible steadfastness. Resi- lient people are able to respond with ver- satility to the demands of different situa- tions. Resilience describes the ability to adapt quickly and successfully to constantly changing requirements. By fostering both resilience and emp- owerment, the nehemia team enables young people to shape their lives step by step on their own responsibility. To this end, we focus on strengthening people‘s different kinds of potential long-term so they can lead a more self-determined life. A self-determined and responsible life encompasses the whole person. Empowerment changes lives - econo- mically, ecologically, socially, physically, psychologically as well as spiritually. In this holistic approach, we strengthen the self-efficacy, i.e. the conviction that people and organizations can mas-
13 We from the nehemia team support people‘s solution-oriented action with our expertise. Fourth pillar: leaving victimhood behind What a person is, is the result of past decisions. What the person will beco- me in the future is the result of current decisions. The advantage resilient peop- le have is the fact that they focus their attention not only on other people and circumstances, but in the first instance on themselves. They do not see themsel- ves in a victim role, but actively deal with existing situations and try to change them for the better. Victimhood does not lead to change. As the nehemia team, we do not see people in need and pover- ty as victims. We support them e.g. by showing them respect and appreciation and by letting them take responsibility for their own lives and actions. Fifth pillar: taking responsibility One of our main convictions is that our partners are responsible for their own lives. This of course also includes ac- cepting the consequence for one‘s own actions at all times. The basis of any co- operation is founded on relationships characterized by trust, appreciation and respect. In an attitude of mutual open- ness and transparency, we learn toge- ther. This leads to sustainability and transformation. 34 years of learning by living prove the validity of our approach. Sixth pillar: friendship & network We value teamwork in our various pro- jects. And throughout, we try to be sen- sitive to cultural differences. True coope- ration pays attention to the strengths of the individual, cultural differences, com- monalities and diversity. Cooperation is the strategic alliance of a wide variety of individuals or institutions striving to- wards common goals, based on mutual complementarity. Together we achieve more than each individual can on his or her own. Friendship means encounte- ring one another on eye level. Friendship and cohesion are an essential pillar of empowerment in the nehemia team. Seventh pillar: hope and a future With an active inner hope, it‘s possible to shape the future. However, this requi- res recognizing that we have choices. There are always different options for shaping the future. When we plan the future according to our own possibilities, it remains controllable and major crises can mostly be overcome alone. If the fu- ture is built on hope, this hope dares in the here and now to allow more than the controllable possibilities. Hope carries us into the future and dares to take coura- geous steps of confidence and faith. Supported by these seven pillars of empowerment and resilience, we in the nehemia team shape the future. Move on nehemia team! Mathias Hühnerbein
14 WHY MERCY IS NEEDED A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Jesus has committed himself to those who suffer Jesus has irrevocably committed and joined himself to those who suffer, the poor and the marginalised of this world. “For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat… I was a stranger and you took me in… whatever you have done for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it for me” Matthew 25:35,40. If I weaken in my own mind and heart the connec- tion between Jesus and the poor, the suffering, naked and imprisoned, not only do I lose my sensitivity to my neig- hbour, but ultimately I lose my relation- ship with God. It is a powerful challenge to me to take the needs of other people into my own heart. The pain of this world is often too much for me. A weariness arises within me about the frequent ca- tastrophes that confront me. I withdraw emotionally. I interpret the fate of indivi- duals only in terms of numbers – I dis- tance myself. A hardening of my heart results. The fences and walls that hold out refugees, for example, do not stand only on the borders of the USA or the EU, but stand even more strongly around our own hearts. . To save the whole world? “I’m only one person and can’t save the whole world singlehandedly!” Is this re- quired of me? The challenge to act does not mean: Help everyone and go beyond what you can handle. A better response is to avoid building a protective fence around your heart. Don’t lock your heart away. Let the needs of others reach, touch, and impact your heart! The walling-off of our hearts freezes our love! What am I to do when I have pulled down the wall? What will I do with the sorrow and grief I feel? Mercy is not only something one feels or thinks; mercy does not remain in the place of pain or compassion, or philosophical meditation. The outcome In his 2021 New Year message, the Ge- neral Secretary of the UN, António Gu- terres appealed with unmistakably clari- ty for international co-operation in order to stop the Covid pandemic, rebuild our national economies, overcome social polarisation and confrontation, and to make tangible progress in fighting clima- te change and poverty. He said, “If we work together in unity and solida- rity, [these] rays of hope can reach around the world.” Now, how can we achieve this when the central values of our society include profit maximisation with an emphasis on performance, individualism, and na- tionalism? To make even tiny steps to- wards goals that promise better things for the world, we will need to alter our value system, not merely taking political measures. Will unity and solidarity alone suffice? A rationale for mercy Something more is needed, specifically people who act from a different rationa- le, individuals who act selflessly, who are motivated by compassion, people who have been inspired and energised by the words, “Be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36). This is the verse that the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Germany chose as their verse for the year 2021 – what a great motto! What a challenge! What is mercy or compassion? The author of Psalm 103 attempts to describe God’s character as follows: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy… As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him (NKJV).” The Latin word for mercy “misericordia” de- notes taking the need and misery of others seriously and allowing them to touch your own heart.” The root of one of the Hebrew words for mercy is asso- ciated with the womb of a mother. This expresses a strong feeling of motherly love and family bonding. God himself allows human need to touch him in the depth of his being and to stir him to ac- tion. In Jesus Christ, he enters our world, revealing his true face, a face of mercy and compassion.
15 Make room in your heart This kind of mercy has altered the lives of many of those involved in the Nehemi- ah International Network; some of their stories are shared in this magazine. A change in their own hearts created room for the needs of others. Because of this, many wonderful projects have come into being. As we co-operate with our friends and supporters, we in the nehe- mia team are carriers of hope. In the futu- re we want to continue to act according to the principle of mercy. For those who do so there is a promise in Isaiah 58 that our own lives will be enriched in many different ways: Isaiah 58:10 (NKJV) “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your dar- kness shall be as the noonday”. Elke Feld of mercy is a decision to allow my heart to be touched and then to ex- press love in action. For this to happen we must actually meet needy people. In the moment that I encounter such a person, the need takes on a human face. The numbers and statistics become real individuals and real interaction. Loving your neighbour is an action Love your neighbour as yourself is a re- gularly quoted statement from the New Testament, but it is only when that love for one’s neighbour is transformed into action that it becomes mercy. I ask my- self, “When, in the last week, have I acted mercifully, in this sense? Or have I done no more than simply feel compassion?” In the gospel of Mark, we read about Jesus meeting a leper: “Full of compass- ion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him... and said, ‘Be whole!’” The leper’s suffering was not simply the terri- ble sickness, but also being outcast and rejected from normal social interaction. Those with this illness were rejected, thrown out and were not to be touched. Jesus met this man with another kind of logic or understanding; he allowed him- self to be moved with compassion and then he acted. He touched him and in doing so broke the accepted social rules. He healed him and received him back into human fellowship.. Be actively involved The Verse for the Year, quoted above, ex- horts us to follow the example of Jesus and to act according to the understan- ding of mercy I am describing; to get involved with those who stand on the outside. This understanding sees firstly a human person, without putting the ac- cepted norms or attitudes of society in the foreground. It is built on active in- volvement with people (one of the five basic values of the Nehemiah Network) and transforming our values, the values that are the rule in our individualistic, capitalistic, Hindu (or whatever) society. It deliberately challenges anyone who has adopted the values of profit maxi- misation, performance, material success or personal fulfilment, emphasising in- stead the value of each person. To live by this ‘principle of mercy’ was just as challenging and offensive in the time of Jesus as it is now. We are called to this; to change our way of thinking and to ac- cept the challenge to live accordingly.
16 IN A NUTSHELL IN WHICH AREAS IS THE NEHEMIA TEAM GERMANY INVOLVED? • Sponsorship programs for Thailand, Kenya, India, Romania • Support in the development of new projects at home and abroad • Submission of applications to funding agencies for foreign and domestic projects • Further development of international projects • Public relations: nehemia express news, nehemia magazine, website, social media • Gostenhof Kids‘ Club • Language and learning support for children from educationally disadvantaged families • Contact café for women with a refugee background • Support for integration of people with a refugee background • Resettlement program for particularly vulnerable refugees NesT • „nehemia in touch meetings“ for staff and interested people • Coaching and support for young adults • Impulse evenings on socially relevant topics • Establishment of cooperations with church communities • Cooperation with „Oase“ Hersbruck and „Lasst uns gehen“. regarding relief transports • Establishment of the Nehemiah International Network Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en/ projects “Germany” GERMANY
HELPING OTHERS GROW 17 What does the nehemia team do in Ger- many? How does the support for pro- jects in ten countries work? We often hear these and similar questions, and here are some answers: Public relations - being a voice for the voiceless One of our mottoes is: „Our eyes on the world, our focus on people.” We do not want to treat the needs of the world simply as statistics, we aim to al- ways focus on people. Our projects in ten different countries mostly deal with children and young people who do not live on the sunny side of life; children who have little chance of a future be- cause, for example, they were born as girls in a poor mountain tribe in northern Thailand or as casteless people in sout- hern India, or Christians who have been driven from their villages by Islamist militias in Burkina Faso and need help as they start over again. The essence of our projects is not numbers, but ac- tual people with their stories – peo- ple who are lovable and valuable. They do not have a voice in the media, their plight does not make newspaper head- lines – but it moves us. That is why we want to let their voices be heard. On our website we provide basic project reports as well as background information on the life situation of the people involved. We use our nehemia express news and the nehemia magazine to communicate news and show where and how interes- ted volunteers can take action. Coaching – accompanying project leaders and employees Relationships and mentoring are very important to us. Our international and local project leaders as well as the staff in Germany achieve so much, and at the same time they are people with their own challenges and limitations. At times everyone needs encouragement, prayer, reflection, or a clarifying conversation with someone who can introduce a new perspective. We support each other as friends, mentors, and advisors, whether in personal or ministry matters. We also put our motto „Helping others grow“ into practice by mentoring and advising young people in our communities. Fundraising – using money to do good “Money is not everything, but everything needs money.” With some reservations, this saying also applies to our project partners. What is true is that money can be used to do a lot of good. That is why we call for donations for special projects. In the past, this has birthed a number of very different initiatives, both at home and abroad. Sound, transparent finan- cial management and professional accounting are the basis for this and create trust among donors. However, in our case a wise approach to donations also means making use of additional fun- ding opportunities, depending on the in- dividual project. In recent years we have been able to obtain funding to support people in need through various founda- tions We learned how to write applicati- ons, became more professional and took the next step by applying for funds at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). We have already been able to realize two projects with funds from the BMZ: an elementary school in Pakistan and an inclusive elementary school in Ukraine. Another application has just recently been approved: a training cen- ter in Uzhgorod, Ukraine, will educate and enable multipliers in alignment with The German team procures materials for the projects – your donations make this possible
18 child-oriented and inclusive pedagogy, a project with the potential to sustainably improve the educational system in the Transcarpathian region in Ukraine and to raise awareness for inclusive education. Integration – creating a home for refugees Not only around the world, but also in the Nuremberg metropolitan area, we are committed to helping people who need our help. We create perspecti- ve, inspire new hope, build bridges and use various approaches to con- vey to people how valuable they are. Since December 2014 many people with a refugee background have found help, as well as mentors, inspiration for matters of life and faith and also new friends through the integration work of the nehemia team. The “Kontaktcafé” (café event with refugees), a bicycle workshop, German conversation groups, intercultural training and other initiatives have helped many individuals and fami- lies begin a new life in Germany. Additio- nally, we are very pleased to have recei- ved the „Bavarian Innovation Award for Volunteers“ for our project „Integra- tion through Participation“. Fostering and encouraging – so that children can develop their potential For many years now our team has been offering intercultural children’s events in Nuremberg Gostenhof, with different program points (including songs, tea- chings, games and experiential educa- tional elements). Even during the most challenging pandemic season, it was possible to stay in touch with children and their families through special activi- ties such as a photo challenge and social networks. It became clear how chil- dren from the GoKick environment were becoming even more socially „disconnected“ through distance learning. Parents, especially those edu- cationally disadvantaged, regardless of their background, have not been in a position, to explain the school material to their children during the time of in- voluntary home schooling. For this rea- son, we provide educational mentors for these families who regularly meet with the children to work through deficits – regardless of the particular external cir- cumstances. We would like to offer even more children‘s groups and extracurricu- lar help for children in the future and are currently looking for volunteers. Connecting – building cross-cultural bridges Building cross-cultural bridges not only happens within Germany and related to our work with refugees. We also organi- ze trips to visit our partners around the globe. These trips allow for much more than just getting to know the projects and discovering the respective country’s tourist attractions. Thanks to personal encounters with the locals and their culture, we promote mutual unders- tanding and cross-cultural learning. Fears and prejudices towards other peo- ple and foreign cultures dwindle while friendships bud, creating bonds so ur- gently needed in our crisis-ridden world. Networking – for joint commitment We of the nehemia team not only value regional networking with individuals, but also networking with church communi- ties, dedicated initiatives as well as state and municipal authorities. By doing so we create a dynamic platform for joint commitment. We offer individuals the opportunity to engage in local or interna- tional projects, depending on their area of interest. A few examples are working with the children‘s GoKick group or sup- porting the work with foster children in Ukraine by providing digital training for foster parents. We are also thrilled about the visionaries who keep approaching us with innovative ideas for projects in Germany and abroad, asking for our co- operation. Furthermore, we see meaningful syner- gies as we are represented in different municipal committees such as the ‘Kreis- jugendring’ (a municipal association of various youth organizations), Nurem- berg‘s educational mentoring project, and the Education and Civic Engage- ment Alliance. In addition, an intensi- fied cooperation with the city of Fürth is emerging. Within the framework of a knowledge transfer program, social and administrative authorities of the Ukrai- nian city of Uzhgorod will be able to benefit from the experiences of the cor- responding authorities in Fürth. Further- more, we are looking at expanding our cooperation with Christian congregati- ons such as Vaterhaus e.V., which is in- volved in one of our projects on Borneo. Also, theme nights offer inspiration and help reflect on relevant topics together with churches. “It’s better together”, therefore we want to partner with others as we evaluate the challenges our society faces. We do not want to stop at a needs ana- lysis, but work out specific solutions and be bearers of hope through joint action. If you are interested in participa- ting, please contact Elke Feld directly at email@example.com.
19 FLIGHT AND NEW BEGINNINGS IN NUREMBERG HAMID‘S STORY I am from the North of Syria and was born into a Kurdish family. Being a mi- nority, we Kurds have always had a hard time in Syria, without our own country or independent government. I am one of seven siblings and my parents had to work hard to provide us all with an education. I studied elementary school education and ran a small shop on the side. Then came the people’s revolt in March 2011 and with it the war in Syria, resulting in an estimated 2 million dead or injured and over 12 million people being fleeing. I decided to leave my home in order to escape the brutal atrocities and black- mailing by regime troops and thugs, as well as military service. To do so, I had to sell everything I had. Then, after a hazardous and nerve-wrecking escape, I arrived in Germany in 2012. My first months here were not easy; a new cul- ture, no German language skills, and no family. I lived in a variety of different places, le- arned German and finally came to Nu- remberg, where I met nehemia team staff members Edgar and Elke Feld. They offered me an apartment in their house so that I could take in my 15 year old ne- phew who had also fled. Here we could come to rest externally, but inwardly I was still searching for peace. In the boys’ residential group for underage refugees, where I worked as a pedagogical as- sistant, I met a resident whose life had visibly changed through his new-found faith. He now radiated peace and joy and that made me extremely curious. At the same time I could see compassion lived out in the lives of Edgar and Elke. Even in difficult circumstances they prayed for me and I experienced unexpected turns of events, for example, a job offer after a surprisingly short time. Eventually, I became more and more interested and discovered what it means to believe and live as a Christian. After some time I was baptized. Not all my problems have di- sappeared, but my life now has a new di- rection and purpose. Today it is easier for me to forgive people who have wronged me. I experienced mercy and received a new chance in life, and now I want to help others experience the same. I am cur- rently retraining to become an educator. My dream is to return to Syria with the goal of building up and running a children‘s home there. Children who lost their parents in the war would be given a new home and better prospects in life. Perhaps a new nehemia project will then be established in Syria to give children the chance of a better future, to rebuild our destroyed country and let it flourish once again.
0 2 UKRAINE
21 for many Christian organisations and the Red Cross, where my mother worked. I learned a lot about the Gospel through this and it dramatically changed me and my family. I was shocked at all the po- verty and injustice I saw when I travelled through the country with the Red Cross. There were so many abandoned and abused children who were regularly locked up in hospitals and orphanages. The living conditions of handicapped children was an appalling catastrophe. Likewise, the inhumane treatment of pri- soners shocked me. All this gave me the impulse to turn to previously-forbidden li- terature and to wrestle with these issues. During my time studying economics and finance I had translated books for the university. And my grandparents shared openly about their lives. A completely new world was opening up for me; but what could I do with it? New plans I began planning an overseas trip and was even offered a scholarship to the USA. But things worked out different- ly than I expected. The nehemia team (from Germany) ran the first “School of the Heart” in the Ukraine in 1994 and I was asked to translate. During the se- minars I got to know John MacFarlane, John Krueger and Hans Heidelberger, as well as many young people from all over the former Soviet Union. I was deeply impacted and touched by the lectures and the people who came to teach. The changes in the lives of the young peo- ple impressed me. This resulted in me staying in the Ukraine to help multiply the “Schools of the Heart” throughout the former Soviet Union. At the same time our local university offered me a teaching position in the areas of Finan- ce and Small Business. Because of this I was able to impart to my students a new vision for the future and, above all, give them the tools to be able to renew their nation and have a positive influence. Changed people change a region Anyone who experiences such a perso- nal transformation is unable to simply lead a normal life again. That has been my experience and that of many of those I observed in the “School of the Heart”. Many of these people have established their own ministries, church fellowships, organisations and projects. They have become pioneers in different areas of TETIANA‘S DREAM Memories Once a visit to the USA. I was asked to talk about my childhood in the former USSR. All sorts of recollections about events in my country, my family, my school time, and friends came up inside me. My childhood and youth were fra- med by the realities of the Soviet Regime. I didn’t really know the true background and history of my family and nation. No one talked about them. Thoughts con- cerning the future were tightly bound to the existing system, with no freedom of choice or even a desire for change. The colour of these memories is grey, the co- lour of the soviet era concrete buildings. Everyone owned the same things, and it was not tolerated for anyone to be, or want to be different. The goal of the re- gime was to make everyone’s thinking identical. Pursuing personal goals was not an option. In principle an individual was only a kind of replacement part in a gigantic machine. We were indoctrina- ted that we were living in the best count- ry, with the best leadership and the best future. We were not permitted to ques- tion that. There was no place for per- sonal goals or dreams. Fortunately, life in my family and among my relatives was different - life and joy at family gat- herings; the smell of home-made food wafting through the house; meeting and picnicking in the forest. My grandparents deeply desired that the following gene- rations would one day have a better life than theirs. Dreams of another life As a child, I had a repeating dream at night. I wanted to leave the city, but a tall, wooden fence barred the way. Ho- wever, somehow I managed to get over the fence and what I then saw was unbe- lievable; beautiful houses with multi-co- loured flowers under the windows. Ever- ything was so clean and orderly. I knew nothing like this in my real life. Even in Czechoslovakia, where my family spent a few days each summer, I had never seen anything so beautiful. New beginnings and changes The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. I was a university student at the time and took translation work for English-spea- king foreigners who could now travel freely in our country. I could also translate
22 society, bringing hope and life to the weakest in the community. Just three examples: Marina began to help parents who had kids with special needs, ena- bling them to remain long-term in their homes. She started and led a day-care centre that has been declared by the Ministry of Social Welfare to be a model for other towns and cities in the Ukraine. Former student Shasha had the vision of helping orphans, so he began the Agape Ministry, which has subsequently had a huge influence on thousands of orphans, young people, adoption processes and foster families throughout the country. After a School of the Heart, Ivan foun- ded a series of rehabilitation homes for addicts and newly released prisoners. My involvement with NGO Neemia I also started to help orphans and ab- andoned children. Alongside our local Nehemiah Team in Uzhgorod, we ope- ned shared accommodation for young adults after they left the orphanage. Our model has since been adopted through the whole Ukraine. We opened the first Kindergarten and inclusive Elementary School in the country that uses Montes- sori methods. A house for women and children who have been suffering do- mestic violence has been established. Because of this we were ready, when war broke out in eastern Ukraine, to help more than 1000 internally displaces people who were forced to flee the war zone. NGO Neemia is achieving las- ting, positive changes in the educa- tional and social welfare systems in our region of Transcarpathia. We are part of reforms that contribute to the in- tegration of all children into the schools, including those with physical and psy- chological limitations, and to train tea- chers with appropriate skills to do this. We have an emphasis on inclusive edu- cation that prioritises the child. Through our organisation “Transcarpathia without Orphans” we are able to lead a network of foster families and extended families caring for orphans; 98 of them at the moment. Our goal is to see that all state- run institutions for orphans and abando- ned children will be closed by 2026 and those children cared for in a family envi- ronment. In addition we support families that are experiencing some kind of cri- sis, so that they can continue to care for their children. This requires a constant effort to build a supporting network of churches and other organisations who can shoulder the necessary social work. Together with the regional authorities and church fellowships, we are ensuring the development and implementation of such reforms. This is almost without precedent in our country. As the director of NGO Neemia, I am a member of the regional committee responsible for the- se reforms and I represent all the other NGOs (Non-government organisations) in our region.. Blooming balconies I could tell many other stories of the many positive developments; about for- mer students whose lives have been changed and the influence on their fa- milies, churches, regions and even the whole country. If I recall my dream in real life today, I see houses with balconies covered in flowers. The grey of the past is becoming more colourful. The fences have gone and I can see happy families and children. Young people are able to dream again and freely choose their paths. Our country has truly experienced huge changes. But there is still much to dream about – and even more to do. The following statement has accompa- nied my journey to bring my dream to life. “As long as one remains uninvol- ved, there remains hesitation and the option of pulling back. For any initiative or creative action there is a fundamental truth, which destroys untold ideas and wonderful plans if not recognised: In the moment that one commits to act, things come together. All kinds of helpful things happen that would otherwise not occur. One’s own decision releases a whole lot of unanticipated events, meetings and practical help, that one could never have dreamed of.” I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe‘s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream of doing, begin! Coura- ge contains genius, power and ma- gic within it.” (Goethe) Tetiana Machabeli, Leader of NGO Neemia Ukraine
23 EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE IN TRANSCARPATHIA The nehemiah team has been working for almost 30 years in the west Ukraini- an region of Transcarpathia. In particular, through the efforts of Tetiana Machabeli, who started the Ukranian NGO Neemia in in 1996, the work has been steadily built up. Neemia is in the process (in 2021-2023) of launching an educa- tional project in co-operation with the German nehemia team and the German government organisation, BMZ (Bundesministerium für wirt- schaftliche Zusammenarbeit, or Mi- nistry of Economic Co-operation). The Nehemia Centre in Uzhgorod will be altered and extended to become the “Centre for Child-oriented, Inclusive Edu- cation and Welfare”. Initially appropriate alterations and extensions will be made to the existing buildings, to create rooms suitable for the needs of the project. Qualified staff and international specia- lists will run professional development programs for teachers, social workers and administrative personnel on the topics “Inclusion and integration into society” and “Child-oriented teaching methods.” Work is already underway on model curriculum and resources for schools, for teachers and students. Fos- ter parents and people who have taken orphans from state institutions into their extended families will be given the op- portunity for further training so that they can better assist the children. The German Government agency BMZ and the German nehemia team have already supported the establishment of a model elementary school on land ow- ned by the Neemia Centre. This began in 2019. The “Centre for Child-oriented, Inclusive Education and Welfare” is the logical extension of the school and will genuinely benefit the staff, foster pa- rents and – above all – the children. IN A NUTSHELL WHAT DOES THE NGO NEEMIA DO IN THE UKRAINE? • „Center for Child-Centered Pedagogy, Inclusion, and Social Services.“ For the continuing education of elementary school teachers, parents and caregivers, assistant teachers, stakeholders from the educational and social sector and social workers • Training and practical support for foster parents • Seminars and training for churches • Montessori kindergarten • Inclusive primary school • Children and youth camps • Commitment to orphans and marginalized groups • Help for war refugees and widows • Support for Roma communities • Humanitarian aid • Educational measures Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Ukraine“
24 IN A NUTSHELL WHAT DOES NEHEMIAH DO IN THAILAND? • Home of Blessing, a center for more than 100 8-18 years old girls at risk of prostitution or poverty. In addition to a good education and practical guidance, they are provided with an environment that promotes healthy physical, mental and emotional development. • Sponsorship program for girls • Agricultural projects for self-sufficiency • Youth camps and meetings • Accompaniment and counselling • Preventive educational work in the mountain villages • Training courses and seminars • Networking and accompaniment of former residents Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Thailand“ THAILAND
MY JOURNEY INTO LIFE UM‘S STORY 25 ce changed my life for good and I started becoming open to faith in God. Love is Stronger than Hate I was still struggling inside with the an- ger and the many bad memories from my childhood. But there, too, I gradually experienced great changes. At some point, I even felt love for my grand- parents again and was able to forgi- ve them. The memories were still there, but my feelings had changed radically. And I got more of an idea of what love is. There were also situations in living toge- ther in the HOB that challenged me a lot. But it was there that I experienced great love and acceptance, especially from the staff. Many things have changed for the better since then. Even my father asked my mother for forgiveness for his bad behavior towards her. And although it is important in our culture to have sons, my father has since developed a deep love for his three daughters. My grand- parents, too, have now taken us to their hearts and are always happy to see us. And now? After the HOB, I got the opportunity to study nursing at the famous Chiang Mai University (CMU). In March this year I passed my exam to be able to work as a nurse. During the years of study I found very good friends and a mentor. Now I am excited to see what will hap- pen next for me. I am very grateful that I was allowed to spend all those years in the HOB. During this time I experienced so much love that has healed my inner being and enabled me to love others as well. Thank God! It‘s been an exciting journey and I am very happy that it came about this way. We were made aware of the „Home of Blessing“ (HOB) through a relative of my mother. I have two other sisters and at that time we fought very often. After my eldest sister moved to HOB and we wit- nessed how she changed for the better, my mother wanted all of us to be accep- ted there. Mum Noi, the director of the HOB, came to our village especially to meet us. At first I was still too small, but when I was eight years old, the time had come. My Family, God and Me We were a very poor family. I went to church every Sunday with my three siblings, but I didn‘t understand very much. I didn‘t take it all that seriously. There was a lot of arguing between my parents. My mother was rejected by my father‘s family. She often left the house after a conflict. This made me angry, especially at my grandparents. I blamed them for the many quarrels and resolved to take revenge on them for this some- day. There were many ugly scenes. Once my father tried to kill my mother with a knife. My grandparents did not inter- vene, despite my big sister‘s pleas. Thank God it did not come to the worst. Such horrible situations took a toll, and we fell out more and more. At Home in the HOB For ten years, the HOB was my new home. Although I lived there with my two sisters, I was especially impressed by the love of the other girls. They took care of me and showed me everything I needed to know, such as how to get organized or keep my clothes neat. Ab- ove all, they showed me their love, even though they were not even part of my family. I had never experienced that before. I heard a lot about Jesus, but I was still skeptical about this „God and faith“ talk. Yet one experience really got me thinking. I started praying for my fa- mily and remember one weekend when we were allowed to go home, I prayed specifically that there would be no fight- ing this time. Frankly, I wasn‘t really ex- pecting it because it seemed so unlike- ly. But this time, things actually stayed quiet. Also, for the first time, I had the feeling, unknown to me until then, that my father really loved me. This experien-
26 OUR JOINT VENTURE WITH THE NEHEMIA TEAM SAYAN‘S STORY... The early days It‘s been more than 30 years now since I first made contact with the nehemia team. A small travel group including Hans Heidelberger was looking for a contact person and interpreter for their trip to northern Thailand. What followed over the next two weeks was the begin- ning of a deep friendship and partner- ship that continues until today. Many of the young families in Chai Borriboon, the village where I was pastor, benefited then from this outreach. At that time, water buffaloes still dominated the rice fields and electricity for the village was only available in the evenings with the help of a generator. Encounter of the heart When Hans came back again, he brought his wife Brigitte and their three children. In the meantime, I was living with my family in Chiang Kham, a small town nearby. In addition to our own chil- dren, we had already taken young girls into our family. When Hans arrived, he was surprised that I already had seven children! I had to explain to him that they were not all our biological children, but that we had taken these girls in to take care of them. We had discovered a place in the center of Chiang Kham where many girls were forced to offer their bodies as child prostitu- tes. The first girl was referred to us by a local doctor. The 14-year-old had been brutally abused and seriously injured by the pimps. We decided to help and it became a matter of the heart for us to fight child prostitution. To supplement our income, my wife Siriporn had in the meantime opened a kindergarten. Encouragement from Germany I remember well one particular moment when Hans knelt on the floor and asked for forgiveness on behalf of the men who abused our Thai girls. He was very concerned, and it touched him that we wanted to help such girls. He took our story to Germany to share it. We began to understand more and more the plight of the young girls in our city and reali- zed that we needed to do more. God had touched our hearts. Through Hans, we felt encouraged. We were no longer alone and knew that there were others whose hearts were connected with ours. The “Home of Blessing” is born We realized over time that more space was needed to offer refuge to more girls, to provide them with a safe home and also the opportunity of schooling. Final- ly, a letter came from Germany in which Hans assured us of the financing of a plot of land and a house for the girls. This was the birth of the „Home of Blessing“ and an intensive cooperation first with the CGF (Christian Community Fürth) and la- ter with the nehemia team. Through this partnership, not only could a number of buildings be built over the following ye- ars, but also more and more girls from different mountain tribes of Northern Thailand could find a home. They come from poor backgrounds, broken families, are social orphans or otherwise in need. In this way and especially through the sponsorships via the nehemia team, hundreds of girls could be gi- ven a good start in life so far. Practical preparation for life The program of the „Home of Blessing“ is designed to accompany the girls in their development, to strengthen them in their personality and to prepare them for life. They can stay until High School Grade 6 (about 18 years) and find here a place of hope, appreciation and securi- ty. This reduces the danger of becoming victims of human trafficking or similar risks. After high school, they can decide for themselves whether to attend a uni- versity, a technical college, a theological seminary, or pursue other education. It’s been worth it Through the cooperation with the ne- hemia team, the „Girl Care Project“ has now been able to operate for over 30 years and many hundreds of girls have visited the „Home of Blessing“. Most of them have grown into self-confident young women. Today they live all over Thailand and are multipliers and repre- sentatives of a new generation of strong women. Sayan & Siriporn Kusavadee, Leaders of the „Home of Blessing“
27 IN A NUTSHELL HOW IS THE NEHEMIAH TEAM INVOLVED ON BORNEO? • Establishment of kindergartens among the Dayaks in meanwhile 10 jungle villages (based on Montessori pedagogy) • Training of the kindergarten staff • Equipment of the kindergartens • Training and seminar work in church communities • Support of pepper cultivation projects • Support of a student dormitory in Sanggau • Intercultural encounter trips Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Borneo“ BORNEO
28 THE DAYAKS LIFE BETWEEN GHOSTS AND MODERNITY Borneo is the third largest island in the world and assigned to three different countries: the largest part of the island belongs to Indonesia (539 460 sqm), the northern area belongs to Malaysia (198 159 sqm) and a small part in the northwest belongs to Brunei (5765 sqm). The national language of Borneo is Ba- hasa Indonesia. The indigenous people of the island, the proto-Malaysian popu- lation, are called Dayaks and number about 3 million people divided into nine ethnic groups: the Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kelabit, Kenyah, Ngaju, Penan, Punan and the Sihan. The Dayak faith Today, about 73% of the island‘s popula- tion are Muslims, almost 20% are Chris- tians, 3.5% are animists, and about 2% are Hindus or Buddhists - but the original worldview of the islanders was animism. To this day animism has a great influ- ence on the world view of the people, regardless of the religion they feel they belong to. In animism, the material and spiritual worlds form a unity. After death, the spiritual part is no lon- ger assigned to a body and becomes an ancestor or spirit being (Antu), which exists alongside nature spirits, gods and other mythological beings in the spiritual world. These beings influence people’s lives and must therefore be appeased by sacrificial offerings. If a person behaves „badly“ or does something forbidden, the wrath of the spirits is invoked, which has negative effects (such as illness or misfortune) on life and beyond. Ritual headhunting One rite in particular has earned the Day- aks a reputation as being wild and dan- gerous: headhunting. The Dayaks were not concerned with conquest or cruelty. Rather, the head of a human being was a valuable offering to appease the spirits and deities. In times of great need or for particularly bad offenses, such as rape, a powerful sacrifice was required. The skull was considered the „seat of soul power“ and thus a powerful spiritual ob- ject capable of protecting entire families or tribes. Today, of course, headhunting is forbidden and no longer practiced, but the animistic beliefs and small offerings to the spirits still exist. Dayaks in the present Today, the Dayaks primarily practice shif- ting cultivation and live from cultivating agricultural products such as mountain rice, corn, pepper, rubber or even hun- ting and fishing. While some Dayak tri- bes still live very secluded lives, many Dayaks have abandoned their traditional way of life and live in the big cities of Bor- neo. More and more young people from remote villages are attending secondary schools, receiving education and know- ledge their ancestors never knew. At the same time, they are confronted with an immense change in values: in the villa- ges it is essential to protect harmony, respect each other, coexist peacefully and avoid conflict, while living in the city looks quite different. Many Dayaks today live between two worlds and feel disoriented. In addition, the increa- sing destruction of the rainforest due to the creation of huge palm oil, rubber or other plantations, leads to the Dayaks losing their previous ha- bitat. Therefore, they often end up as la- bourers on the plantations - a cycle that leads the Dayaks into poverty, uprooting and lack of prospects. To break this spi- ral and create new, healthier prospects for the land and its people, development co-operations with the Dayaks take a ho- listic approach on ecological, social and economic levels. Florentina Mannchen
MOVING INTO THE FUTURE CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS NEED STRAYING POWER 29 remote location where Deckhy lives. A bridge to the Indonesian part of Borneo has been constructed. November 2005 – It has taken me ele- ven hours, in a stifling mix of heat and humidity, first on an overcrowded, ricke- ty bus and then squeezed into a small, noisy, speedboat that smells of diesel to get to Senaning. This is where the first of our „Schools of the Heart“ in Indone- sia took place, organized by Deckhy and his dedicated team of young Dayaks. Many of the participants walked a very long way through the jungle to get the- re - unthinkable in Germany. Many are touched, encouraged, and strengthe- ned, and find vision for the future and for their lives. Numerous training courses were held there and in other parts of West Kalimantan in the following years. In addition to the Lenthalls, other friends from the Nehemiah Network, including Giancarlo and Catherine Elia, Bob Hatton and others, undertook the often exhaus- ting, adventurous and hazardous journey to reach remote villages. On motorcycles or in rickety vehicles, over muddy roads, through riverbeds that have overflowed their banks, or on narrow boats to get to these remote villages. The hardships were worth it. These „Schools of the He- art“ have reached thousands of Dayaks and many of the Christian communities have flourished, experienced renewal and gained a new perspective on life. November 2007 – I meet Jürgen Ertl in Kuching, a business manager, originally from Nuremberg. He later becomes part of the nehemia team in Borneo and in the following years becomes passiona- tely involved in the development of the Dayaks in Kalimantan. Through him and his local network, the nehemia team starts to get involved in village develop- ment and improving medical care. This includes well-drilling projects, medical camps, building composting facilities, pepper farming and more. Time and again, he travels with other nehemia team members to the Dayak villages. August 2010 - Elke Feld leads one of several medical outreaches. In addition to medical treatment for the village population by the doctors and nurses, seminars, nutritional counseling, and preventive health education take place. Wolfgang and Heidi Oelschlegel are also involved. During this outreach, they get to know Ibu Luisa, an unmarried pastor, who shows a big heart for children. To- gether with her, a plan to build a kinder- garten in her village is born. January 2011 – A big step for our de- velopment projects with the Dayaks is the move of Wolfgang and Heidi Oel- schlegel to Kuching - and later in 2015 to the Indonesian side of the island to the small town of Sanggau, where they now March 1986 – a childhood dream co- mes true. I am traveling with a small team in the jungle of Borneo: two days’ travel by speedboat upstream on the Ra- jang River, lush vegetation, colorful bird life and tropical rainforest on the banks. We are the first „white people“ to appe- ar in the village we are visiting in two years. We are guests of the Kenyah, a Dayak tribe – who, until the middle of the last century were still feared as head- hunters. The “headman“ and the village community welcome us with amazing hospitality, so that our week-long stay becomes a time I will never forget: a paralyzed woman starts walking again after prayer, and many other sick peop- le report that they feel better after our prayers, and then there are other special encounters, exotic food, the deafening chirping of the cicadas at night, was- hing in the river, the community life in the typical „longhouses“. All these im- pressions leave me very impressed and deeply moved as I return to our western civilization. Something has become very clear to me: The inhabitants of this color- ful, natural world, reminiscent of paradi- se at first glance, have to struggle with extreme poverty, diseases, fear of ghosts and the many negative influences of the western world. February 2001 – 15 years later I return to this wonderful island of Borneo. Much has changed in the meantime. A year ago, we ran our first „School of the He- art“ as nehemia team in Kuching, the ca- pital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak: Local people working among the Dayak tribes are equipped and inspired here for work and ministry in their communities. Daniel Tan, an active pastor, becomes the hub of these trainings - and a part of our team. Many more of these mostly one-week training seminars will follow in the coming years.. March 2004 – Deckhy Gedeon, a young man from a Dayak tribe, was one of the participants in our training semi- nars. He asks us to come with him to his home on the Indonesian side of the island. In West Kalimantan many Chris- tian churches are waiting for encourage- ment, support and training. We embark on this adventure. Tony Lenthall from Australia is the first to take on an ardu- ous walk of several hours to get to the
Dayak warriors? Stand up and fight for your children! Not with weapons. The blowpipes of the past no longer protect. But if you refuse to sell your land to the corporations, at least a small piece of this paradise may remain.“ Hans Heidelberger 30 run a boarding home for disadvantaged Dayak children from remote regions, in order that they may receive a good school education. Heidi and Wolfgang have become the fulcrum of the nehe- mia team‘s activities in Borneo. They have played a significant part, through their commitment and hard work, in improving the lives of Dayak people, by creating local kindergartens in many vil- lages. This brings an enduring benefit to children and families there. April 2016 – On another Journey to Borneo, I stop in Melingkat and meet Ibu Luisa again. She and her co-workers have meanwhile been trained by Aran & Daniel Tan and Wolfgang Oelschlegel in the methods of Montessori education. Fascinated, I sit among the many small children who attend the now well-equip- ped model kindergarten. I am amazed at the calmness and independence of the Dayak children and the high quality of the education. State-of-the-art peda- gogy in the middle of the jungle! This kindergarten is also used for training and demonstration purposes. Through a series of further trainings carried out by Aran Tan, and further support from the nehemia team, a network of kin- dergartens in more than 10 jungle villages has been developed. These are supervised by Ibu Luisa and her local staff, independent of outside control. August 2016 – Once more a German team visits Borneo – and, not for the first time, is led by Norbert Knöll. He also has a long history of involvement on this is- land. Through these team visits, as well as through internships, many young adults from Germany have been expo- sed to the outside world and have star- ted to develop cross-cultural unders- tanding and perspective. The New Zealand Nehemiah associates Peter and Arna Mountain also visit the villages in West Kalimantan regularly, especially to mentor the leaders and volunteer wor- kers of the Christian communities and to teach them on various topics such as marriage and family. October 2018 – My last trip so far to this fascinating island with its wonder- ful inhabitants. 33 years after my first visit, Borneo has changed drastically. Instead of day-long boat rides on rainfo- rest rivers, the journey now consists of a few hours on a pick-up truck through seemingly endless and monotonous palm oil plantations. Not much is left of the former paradise. More than 50% of the original rainforest on Borneo has already been destroyed! The precious trees have been cut down and replaced by monocultures. Substance abuse and the breakdown of families are prevalent among the indigenous population who have only a small share of the benefits of economic development. The hope and future of this part of the world lies once again with the next generation, the children. For them not to have to eke out their lives as day-labourer ex- ploited by the owners of the plantations, they need renewed self-confidence and a good education. We as the nehemia team will continue to do our utmost to support them and to improve the future prospects of the children by supporting the development of kindergartens in re- mote villages. During my farewell speech in one of the villages on this trip, I appealed to the pri- de of the Dayaks: „Where are you proud MONTESSORI IN THE RAIN FOREST In order to respond proactively to the enormous changes in Dayak society and to produce postive outcomes, people are needed who can face the challenges with healthy self-con- fidence, people who are aware of their abilities and talents and use them for the benefit of others. The foundations for these skills are laid in early childhood. Therefore, the nehemia team currently supports in Borneo ten kindergartens using a child-oriented pedagogy, based on Montessori methods and principles. Montessori pedagogy has a positive image of the human being, assuming that every child has an inherent power to develop his or her personality and to discover his own poten- tial. The child‘s need can be stated as „Help me do it myself.“ Children are accompanied and supported in their individual development, strengths and needs. Montessori education provides an appropriate environment for children with diffe- ring abilities and learning styles. Proven principles of educa- tion such as self-directed activity, learning by discovery, ex- perience of personal success, participation, communication and cooperation, as well as proximity to real life experiences are important. Not only knowledge and information are im- parted, but strength of character and values too, enabling the children ultimately to be in the position to bring about positive change in society through their integrity and strong faith - and thus preserve a Borneo worth living in.
31 IN A NUTSHELL NEHEMIAH TEAM INDIA`S COMMUNITY PROJECTS We are working with two project partners: 1) Association for Poor People Liberation Effort: • Children‘s Center for Dalit Children • Sponsorship program • Development and construction of an elementary school (250 children) • Agricultural projects for self-sufficiency • Seminars and training in churches • Networking of churches • Humanitarian aid and disaster relief • Well drilling projects 2) Seven Fruits Foundation: • Freedom Tailoring (sewing education for Dalit women) • Mentoring- and empowerment program Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „India“ INDIA
32 DIGNITY FOR THE LEAST OF ALL RAJA‘S STORY The heart and soul of the Indian Nehe- miah Team, which has recently been officially registered as the “Association for Poor People Liberation Effort”, is Ra- jasekhar Gudala. Even before he made contact with John MacFarlane and the German nehemia team at the end of the 1990s, he was committed to the needs of the Dalits (or “Untouchables”) - a peo- ple group that occupies the lowest place in the caste system in India (see report). The fate of a Dalit Raja (47) was born into a Dalit family. From childhood on he experienced what it means to belong to this caste. He was ostracized and treated like scum. Good education and jobs were mostly reser- ved for members of higher castes. The members of his family had to do the suffered a stroke. In between, he also transports many of the 250 students to school with his own school bus. Fighting poverty with education In the Indian education system, it is common that children are only taught by rote, indoctrinating them with facts. Raja, however, recognizes the who- leness of body, soul, and spirit. He shows appreciation, builds self-confiden- ce in the children, and gives dignity even to the youngest. He is very aware that without a good education there is little possibility for them to escape poverty. Not far from Raja’s home is a slum. Even if the women‘s colorful saris suggest ot- herwise, most of the Dalits living there are beggars in the truest sense of the word. This place is particularly dear to Raja‘s heart. As often as possible he visits to bring food and clothes for wi- dows, to provide clean water... and to tell the people of the love of God. His vision is to open a school there as well. Inspiration from the International Network Raja has learned a lot at the various mee- tings of the Nehemiah International Net- work. Getting to know each other, sha- ring perspectives on life, the exchange of experiences and teamwork, but also the free time spent together, have enriched him very much and repeatedly streng- thened him. He greatly appreciates the experience that the interaction is “eye to eye” or person to person. He was able to make friends with many members of the Nehemiah International Network. One can see that it is doing him good not to have to walk his path alone. Shortly before this magazine went to press, we received the sad news of Raja‘s death from Covid. most humiliating work. By some, they were considered „untouchable,“ not even part of society. Even today, a mem- ber of a higher Hindu caste may have to perform a purification ritual just because the shadow of a Dalit person has brus- hed him and „defiled“ him. Painful experiences Raja does not like to talk about the painful experiences of his youth, which are deeply etched in his soul. He had to witness how Dalits were mistreated and their houses were set on fire. A fa- mily member was raped. Because the young woman was a Dalit, the police did nothing about it. He himself was falsely accused of a crime by Hindus and imprisoned for a short time. All this sim- ply because of his Dalit identity and his Christian faith. Support from the nehemia team When Raja talks about the nehemia team, his eyes sparkle. In the past 20 ye- ars he has experienced a lot of support for „his“ Dalits. John MacFarlane, and la- ter, after his death especially his wife Car- ri, whom Raja affectionately calls Mum Carri, have been like parents to him. This acceptance helped him to regain his own dignity. His own deep faith, which has filled and shaped his life more and more since a school camp in 1988, has helped him to accept himself and others as „God‘s creatures“, to appreciate and love people instead of dividing them into categories. His special love, however, is still for the Dalits, with whose needs he particularly identifies. Children need help So, together with his wife Ebba, he de- cided to help children who grew up in similar circumstances to him, literally lifting them out of the dirt and walking through life with them. His vision and passion is to see a new Dalit generation grow up with confidence and self-awa- reness. Children who lack parental care deserve the opportunity to develop into healthy and stable adults. To this end, a children‘s center and a seven-grade school have now been built in Rajah- mundry with the support of the nehemia team. There is a lot to do for Raja, who also has had to take care of the administ- ration of the projects since his wife Ebba
FAREWELL TO RAJA SEKHAR GUDALA 33 Our dear friend and faithful co-worker, Raja Sekhar Gudala, passed away on May 5th, 2021, at the age of 47, because of Covid-19. We are deeply moved and concerned by this news. For many years, Raja was a faithful and committed member and co-wor- ker in our Nehemiah International Network. As a courageous visionary and pioneer, he developed and built a children’s cen- ter and a primary school in the city of Rajahmundy. He was born a Dalit (also known as the “Untouchable” caste) and with great passion and unceasing dedication he helped especially the children of this lowest caste in Indian society. Even when his wife Ebba suffered a stroke three years ago, he continued to serve the poor, the helpless and those who live at the lower end of society. While faithfully caring for his beloved Ebba, each day he drove the school bus to pick up the children and to take them home again. For many of them, he was a fat- her. Raja also cared for the needs of many pastors in his region. He was a true visionary, the heart and soul of many activities aimed at improving the living conditions of Dalit people. Even though we can barely comprehend the meaning of what has happened, Raja will continue to be a great exam- ple to us as we cherish his memory: his great sense of hu- mor, his contagious laughter, his great compassion and, his deep love and trust in Jesus. Raja showed us to never grow complacent in our own well-being, but to press on as a fol- lower of Jesus, facing the challenges and addressing the needs in society and caring for the people around us. RAJA, WE DEARLY MISS YOU! WE ARE HONORED AND GRATEFUL TO HAVE KNOWN YOU! We are committed to continue to support the children’s center and the other activities Raja and his team have been involved into our best ability.
34 THE DALITS THE LOWEST LINK IN THE INDIAN CASTE SYSTEM Officially, the Indian caste system was abolished in 1948, but the reality is dif- ferent. People are still divided into cas- tes, i.e. social classes, which are automa- tically assigned certain rights, duties and privileges. From birth to death, one be- longs and remains in the caste of one‘s parents. Far below the next highest caste, the Dalits (the “untouchables“) are on the lowest rung. In Hinduism, they are con- sidered impure and should therefore not be touched. They perform the most menial tasks, such as cleaning latrines or removing garbage, and many are exploi- ted as agricultural labourers. The term „Dalit“ comes from the Sansk- rit word „dal“ and translates as „broken,“ „torn,“ „crushed,“ „driven out,“ „tram- pled,“ „destroyed,“ and „the one on dis- play.“ labour are very common among the Da- lits. In many places they are excluded from social life. Most live in segregated settlements outside the villages in great poverty, especially in rural areas. They are harassed, attacked or even murde- red. Although some Dalits have made it into high government positions, such success stories are the exception rather than the rule. Since few of the Dalit children receive adequate schooling, illiteracy and child TAILORING FREEDOM EMPOWERMENT FOR DALIT-WOMEN To lead a self-determined life in dig- nity is the wish of many women in In- dia. A first step towards this goal is financial independence. And as usual, what’s needed first is quality education. This is where the nehemia team comes in, together with the Indian organisation „7 Fruits Foundation”, to offer Dalit wo- men the opportunity to be trained as tailors and seamstresses. This training is intended to promote self-reliance by enabling a life of greater financial, social and emotional independence. After the training the women can become self- employed tailors or seek a job in the in- dustry. Having their own income allows them to have a more solid standing in society. The basic training lasts three months. In addition, the women are in- vited to participate in a mentoring and empowerment program that helps them gain personal stability. Through this combination, women are empowered to escape the cycle of oppression and po- verty; single mothers gain social security in areas such as health, livelihood and child care; and young unmarried women are empowered to lead independent li- ves with dignity. Divya, 20, one of the course partici- pants, reports: “I no longer have a father, my mother has to work as a day labourer to take care of me and my younger bro- ther. She earns about INR 200 (2.30 EUR) per day, which makes it very diffi- cult for her to support the family. Fort- unately, I was able to graduate from high school, but I haven‘t found a job yet. I am the oldest and I also feel responsible to support my family. Living a good life as a woman in a patriarchal society like this is very difficult. Especially when there is no father to take care of the financial needs. I want to help my mother so that she doesn‘t have to work so hard anymore. That‘s why I‘m training to be a seams- tress here. This will improve our finan- cial situation sustainably and also help me personally for the future.”
35 IN A NUTSHELL NEHEMIAH TRUST PAKISTAN´S COMMUNITY PROJECTS • Developing and establishing schools • Nehemiah Computer Center • Medical and humanitarian aid / disaster relief • Supporting the needy • Seminars and training Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Pakistan“ PAKISTAN
we want to continue working alongside them until, in the ideal case, they have finished high school or higher training and have found a job. So, we seek con- tact with businesses which can offer ap- propriate positions. In this way we have been able to assist many young people in getting an appropriate education and have helped them enter the workforce, which ultimately will bring permanent improvement in our country. Muazzam John is the leader of the Nehemiah Trust Pakistan. He was interviewed by Thomas Tschaftary in March 2021 36 EDUCATION SAVES LIVES AN INTERVIEW WITH MUAZZAM JOHN Muazzam, how did this all begin? We began working together when we met Giancarlo Elia from the UK. He invi- ted us to an international conference in Thailand in 2008, and there we met the nehemia team from Germany. How was making contact with the nehemia team important for you? We immediately realised that we were accepted in the gathering. Our perso- nal relationship with Hans Heidleberger and the rest of the team taught us many things about how to change people’s li- ves, above all that people are more im- portant than projects. A highlight for me was being able to go with a small group of workers from the Nehemiah Internati- onal Network to Germany for a week for a training program together. We learned together, played, laughed, and shared our lives. In this way we experienced the Nehemiah Team as a family, able to care for one another, not merely to focus on our projects. Also, the fact that my family is given advice and that our needs were taken seriously is something I really va- lue. What is the passion of your heart, Muazzam? The thing that is on our hearts was and still is to give children an opportunity for education and training, so that they can break out of the cycle of poverty. You have to realise that in Pakistan, where we are, there are still many people who cannot read or write. The literacy rate is about 60%. The problem is usually that many families cannot pay school fees. So, the children are forced to work or end up on the streets. Some are recrui- ted by terrorist organisations. What have you done practically ab- out this? We have been able to open three schools so far, over the last years, with more than 700 boys and girls. Contra- ry to what is normal, the proportion of girls in our schools is over 50%. We as- sist poor Christian families too. Many of them live below the poverty line, live in isolated places and their children hardly get a chance to go to school. Such fami- lies often experience rejection because of their faith and that reduces the possi- bility of getting a decent job to earn mo- ney. It is important to us to show them that their children will have a better futu- re if they get an education and can get a good job. Later they can help provide for their families too. What does the care of these children look like in practice? Our task doesn’t end when they have completed elementary school. Instead, A SECOND CHANCE FAISAL‘S STORY My name is Faisal. I have a daughter, Muskan Faisal. My wife left me when my daughter was only a year old. Because I had to care for the baby, I lost my job. After a while all our money was used up and we began to sell our furniture. In the end, we were unable to pay our rent or buy food. That’s when a Christian acquaintance came up with 100 rupees (less than a Euro) to help me contact Muazzam John and his wife Shumaila. Our story touched their hearts, so they helped us very practically to escape our financial misery, by paying our rent for a month and giving us food, until finally I found a job washing cars. In this way I could work and provide for my daughter. What good fortune for us! Since then, we have been able to live a normal, or- derly life. My daughter went to a boar- ding school and was able to start higher studies. I am grateful, from the depths of my heart that we recei- ved this chance from the Nehemiah Trust Pakistan.
37 IN A NUTSHELL WHAT DOES NEHEMIAH INTERNATIONAL KENYA DO? • Miwani Center • Sponsorship program for destitute pupils and students • Internships and mentoring for young adults • Agriculture and dairy farming, poultry farming, vegetable and fruit growing • Bakery • Farm shop • Medical clinic • Medical outreaches in the surrounding villages • Preventive health education • Vaccination programs and HIV testing • Mentoring programs • Church and community building • Children and youth camps • Guest rooms Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Kenya“ KENYA
38 MY CHANCE FOR A BETTER FUTURE PAUL‘S STORY I am Paul Otieno and I was born in 1996 in Kibos township in Kisumu, Kenya. I be- long to the Luo tribe, a tribe known in Kenya for their love of fish. Since I was born on the shores of Lake Victoria, as children we fished in small rivers, which was a lot of fun. My mother died in 1997, a year after I was born. I only know her from pictures. Whenever I think of her, I get very emo- tional. I was told that I was breastfed by my aunt. I don‘t like to remember my tough childhood. I was separated from my older siblings at an early age becau- se they were forced to get jobs to sup- port themselves. By now, they have all passed away and I am the last one left from our family. It is not easy for me to be without family. I started school in 2001. Since I was very intelligent, I skipped one grade and was very much favored by my teachers in ele- mentary school because of my alertness in class. I was also allowed to join the Miwani Orphans Club. The club provided us with activities such as tree planting, religious activities and other meetings. Through this club, I was placed in the children‘s program of the Kenyan Ne- hemiah Team in 2002. I took this to be a gift from God since there were about 400 students in our club and only six of us got this opportunity. On the farm of Nehemiah International Kenya, we were placed in different fami- lies. The integration into my foster family was a challenge for me at the beginning, but with time I got along well. In the community at Miwani Farm, we were able to grow in many ways. In addition to my new family, we were involved in a wide variety of activities in the farm community: playing soccer, swimming, cleaning the grounds, working the or- chard, and milking the cows in the dairy. I experienced a new kind of commu- nity and togetherness. But children‘s worship and Bible study and the expe- rience of being loved and accepted also enabled me to experience a good youth after my time of suffering. I didn‘t fall short on my education either. After I graduated from high school in 2013, I came back in 2014 for a few months to help on the farm. In August 2015, I began studying for a tea- ching degree, which I will complete in December 2021. In addition to that, I support the managing director Michael Ndeda on the farm. He has given me the opportunity to work here to gain further experience and qualifications. I really en- joy my work at the farm. It has become a real home for me. In conclusion, I want to thank all those who have supported me. They have enabled me to see a pathway into the future, after my difficult child- hood - an opportunity that I definite- ly want to continue to use!
39 is often only a few Kenyan shillings that go over the counter, but there is a lot of laughter and everyone who comes finds an open ear. Medical go-to address Next to the farm shop is the „Clinic“. It is a small medical centre run by a regis- tered nurse. Very few people have the money to see a doctor in town. So for many in the surrounding area, the Miwa- ni Clinic is the only place to get medical advice, be treated for malaria or even take an HIV test – and get counselling if necessary. Several vaccination pro- grammes and health screenings for the surrounding villages have also already been carried out with volunteer teams. As malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and diarr- hoea-related diseases are common, pre- ventive care and health education are urgently needed. through Vegetable farming and fodder produc- tion Anyone walking farm grounds will quickly meet residents of the farm community at work. Courteous and curious, they will involve the guest in conversation. Over 25 acres of land are currently cultivated. Besides maize for the THE MIWANI CENTER A BUILDING BLOCK OF LIFE IN NYANZA PROVINCE To get to the Miwani Centre of the Keny- an Nehemiah Team takes a drive of ab- out three quarters of an hour from Kisu- mu on Lake Victoria. The dusty, potholed road leads you past the typical, colour- fully painted roadside kiosks displaying a wide variety of handicraft on rickety shelves or selling all kinds of local food. In between, lots of children are running around, mostly barefoot and in torn clot- hes. Every now and then, you may have to stop for cows or goats that are being herded from one field of stubble to the next by young people chewing on sugar cane. Passing the large sugar cane plan- tations that fill the valley and the „Nandi Rock“ that rises proudly above Nyanza Province, you finally arrive at Miwani Farm shaken, dusty and sweaty. Investment in the future This 100-acre farm project was initiated in 2001 by John Krueger in co-opera- tion with Kenyan partners and Heidi and Wolfgang Oelschlegel from Nuremberg. Under the motto „Rebuilding a Genera- tion after God‘s own Heart“, Kenyan chil- dren were placed in foster families and sent to local schools, giving them a home and hope for the future. The surrounding villages were supported in their develop- ment through training in agriculture and nutrition. Today, 20 years later, this project is independently run by the Kenyan charitable society „Nehemi- ah International“ and has developed into an important support centre for the region. Many of the participating children have meanwhile completed their schooling or studies, others are still in the process or are just being admitted to the support programme. The German nehemia team continues to support this project through sponsorships and the establishment of small agricultural pro- jects. Farm Shop and Communication Centre Visitors to the farm are greeted at the gate by co-founder and project manager Michael Ndeda or one of the staff. Just behind the entrance gate is the farm shop. Here, the farm sells its own produ- ce as well as everyday items. Not only do the residents of the farmshop here, but also many villagers from the area. After all, you can also buy a drink or a snack here, get the latest news, the exciting football results of the English Premier League or the latest gossip from the neighbouring village. Since many peo- ple here still live at subsistence level, it
future for children of impoverished fami- lies and to promote talent. Meanwhile, this support programme extends from primary school to college education. It is holistic and inclusive in meeting the educational needs of children, teenagers and young adults. Through this predominantly sponsorship-funded programme, 42 children have been sup- ported so far. Michael‘s dream The hope for a better future for the peo- ple of Nyanza province lies with the next generation. And that can only happen with good education and empowered personalities. Michael has since given up his job as a lecturer at the university to devote himself entirely to this project and the young people. His broad smile cannot hide his deep concern when he talks about the hardship of the poor fa- milies living in the mud huts of the neig- hbouring villages. When he talks about his „Nehemiah kids“ who have already graduated from university, his eyes light up. If you ask him about his dream and about the future, a quick frown crosses his face, a mix of hope and apprehen- sion. As much as he wants to see this project mature and grow, and give many more children and young people from the area the chance to develop their po- tential, he is aware that they need part- ners who will support them. But at the latest when he says goodbye, his broad, confident smile is back, even though he is aware that the road to a better future is stony and bumpy - just like the road the guests take back to Kisumu. It takes patience and perseverance. Michael has demonstrated plenty of both. Thank you, Michael! 40 the cattle, tomatoes, watermelons, oni- ons and various vegetables are grown. Partnering with „Twiga Foods“ (an or- ganization promoting an efficient, fair and transparent market), Michael Ndeda and his team plan to further expand and modernise the farming operation, e.g. through suitable drip irrigation.. Dairy and poultry farming The farm is a haven for colourful birdlife and heaven for a band of monkeys that frequently raid to plunder mangoes or corn, but mostly it is home to 14 cows and lots of chickens. Milk, eggs, and meat are sold, making a small contri- bution to the regional supply. The emp- hasis is shifting from dairy farming to dairy breeding. Animal husbandry also offers young people the opportunity for internships. Many of the „nehemia kids“ were thus able to acquire skills during their school holidays that they could use in their later lives. The small bakery and the guest rooms in the guest house on the farm also create internship and le- arning opportunities for young people from the area. Vibrant colors, exotic smells, unfamiliar sounds As you walk around Miwani Farm, you come across the small church - not a sacred building with stained glass win- dows and a steeple, but a simple, large room with wooden benches that is also used for all kinds of community events. This is the place that connects everyone living on the farm. On Sundays, people come to the church service, dressed up in colourful clothes. Not only the farm re- sidents, but also many visitors from the surrounding villages dance to the beat of the goatskin drums and join in the typical Kenyan call-and-response hymns. The sermon, the songs and the fellow- ship give new strength for the often gre- at challenges in their arduous everyday life. After the service, Michael, his wife Benter and the leadership team of the congregation always have an open ear for the needs of the visitors. And one thing is for sure: As a guest on the farm, you will be invited (if you haven’t been invited already) to the evening „Ugali din- ner“ with one of the families. Sponsorship programme for children From the beginning, mentoring, sup- porting and guiding the young gene- ration was more than just a motto for this project, which has experienced many ups and downs over the years of its existence. Michael and his staff have often faced great challenges, but these also served to reveal new possibilities. The education programme is the most important building block of Nehemiah International to create a vision for the
41 IN A NUTSHELL HOW IS THE NEHEMIA TEAM INVOLVED IN BURKINA FASO? • Support of the children’s care facility in Dedougou • Support for the re-enrollment of children from refugee families Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Burkina Faso“ BURKINA FASO
42 LITTLE EFFORT – GREAT IMPACT The nehemia team works together with the Creuset d‘Eveil association in Burki- na Faso to change the living situation of the people in Dedougou. The main goal is to empower and support women and young mothers and their children. It is of- ten the little things that bring big change to the hard everyday lives of women and children - with little effort. Fanta Yanna started the children‘s centre and also a women‘s initiative in Burkina Faso and helps to run it from Germany. She tells us three little stories: During our last visit home in Burkina Faso, our daughter had her birthday. She was very sad because there was no way to bake a birthday cake for her. This me- ant we had to be creative. We put a pot filled with hot sand on the fire and pla- ced a cake tin in it. And indeed, the cake turned out well and the birthday was sa- ved. After this experience I thought that something like this must not happen again! So, with the support of the nehe- mia team, we had a special wood-bur- ning oven built so that, among other things, we could offer every child in our children‘s centre at least one meal a day and, of course, bake delicious cakes. The wood oven is a great improvement, not only for the children. Now people can also bake bread and once a week the vil- lagers can buy bread and cakes for their own use. This way, not only the children profit from it. Here, too, a little has turned into a lot. Shortly after the founding of our wo- men‘s initiative, a woman came to a meeting and proudly told the other wo- men that she had achieved something for the first time in the past few days - something that had previously been im- possible without the support of her hus- band. She had prepared a good meal with the money she had earned her- self and fed the whole family with it. Before, she had been dependent on the money her husband brought home in the evenings. And that was often too little. This had often led to quarrels. She was tired of having to beg her husband for money. Now, through the women‘s initiative, she had a possibility to provi- de an income on her own. In addition, the meetings and working together also strengthened her self-esteem as a wo- man. Some of the other women repor- ted similar developments for themselves and their families. Last year, we were able to set up a so- lar-powered water pump in my home- town of Dedougou. I can still remember how the women used to run to the old well very early in the morning to get a few litres of usable water. As the day went on, the water became less and less and in the end all that came out was a muddy, brown mixture. It makes me hap- py to see photos of the men, women and children beaming with joy because they can now get fresh water from the new well every day. The children are also thril- led that they no longer have to walk the long way to the well before school. Now they can get to school on time. These are small stories, but what is often taken for granted in our wes- tern culture is a giant step in a coun- try like Burkina Faso, and for the wo- men this opens up a new world. You can read about how it all began and get more background information by cli- cking on the link https://nehemia-team.org/en/ aid-projects/burkina-faso-en/
43 IN A NUTSHELL HOW IS THE NEHEMIA TEAM INVOLVED IN RUSSIA? • Support of the social center and multi-generational house „Help Center“ in Prokopyevsk. It now accommodates over 100 women and men: addicts, homeless, senior citizens, physically handicapped, single mothers, ex-offenders, people seeking protection • Counseling and support for leaders • Training and seminars in churches • Camps and meetings • Support of projects for children with disabilities in Prokopyevsk and Krasnoyarsk Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en/ projects „Russia“ RUSSIA
44 JOY RETURNS A PERSONAL REPORT FROM OLEG NOVOTORZHIN of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God… God sets the solitary in families (gives them a home)…” This experience permanently changed us and has moti- vated us to extend our involvement with the needy and to build the “Help Centre”. Our “Noah’s Ark” in Siberia The Help Centre is a big, co-operative project, which we have been able to build with help and support from Klaus and Elisabeth Buchner and the nehemia team. It is a multi-generational house where hopeless and desperate people can find refuge and their way back to a life of dignity and human relationships. It has become a kind of Noah’s Ark for ap- proximately 100 people who live there – young and old, men and women, peo- ple with handicaps, homeless, addicts, street people and those who have fallen into some other kind of difficult life-situa- tion live here together. We can certainly say that the effort and commitment has been worth it. Hope and joy has returned to many people. We gladly extend our deep thanks to all our supporters and friends! Oleg Novotorzhin, Prokopjewsk The involvement of the nehemia family We are thrilled to be part of the wider, international Nehemiah Family. In part- nership with the nehemia team, Germa- ny, we have been able to achieve many good things and establish a number of successful projects by working in co- operation. At the moment we are sup- porting a large family with ten children (some are HIV positive) whom we have taken under our care from the orphana- ge. Together we have assisted them to buy and furnish house. The “School of the Heart” programs have inspired many in our church fellowship, giving them courage to use their gifts to help those in need. Here it has been Giancarlo und Ca- therine Elia (GB) und Hans Heidelberger, in particular, who worked self-sacrifi- cially to make these times inspiring and life-changing. The turning point The first international conference of the Nehemiah Network in Thailand in 2008 was a turning point and established our involvement. My wife, Lena, and I saw how Pastor Sayan Kusavadee and his fa- mily were helping young girls to escape poverty and the danger of sex-slavery. When we heard from the girls some of their stories of suffering, it deeply moved us. We knew that back home in Proko- pievsk there were also many orphaned and abandoned children. Shortly after- wards I read in Psalm 68:5–6 “A father “The joy which we inspire has this char- ming property, that, far from growing meagre, like all reflections, it returns to us more radiant than ever.” (from Les Mi- serables by Victor Hugo) Borrowing the words of this famous author, I want to say that the joy we bring to those who are on the fringes of society will return to us too, stronger than ever. These peop- le know how to say thank you! King Solomon wrote in the Old Testa- ment, “Intervene when someone’s life in in danger, do whatever you can to save him from death” (Paraphrase of Proverbs 24:11). I believe that these words were initially directed to the king’s servants, who administered the government. But, of course, these words apply today to the Christian church. Drugs, poverty, HIV, old age, and life at or below the minimum needed for survival, are the challenges of the 21st Century. The church cannot and is not permitted to close its eyes to so much pain and suffering. Drug and alcohol addiction in Siberia 23 years ago I moved with my family to Prokopievsk (West Siberia), a city with 200,000 inhabitants, to start a new church fellowship. Within a very short time many addicted young men and wo- men came to us, asking for help. Their situation and personal condition deeply touched our hearts. Often, with tears, we prayed for them and at that time ex- perienced many miracles. Later we ope- ned a rehabilitation centre, “Freedom House.” 20 years later we have seen thousands of people go through our intensive program, mostly success- fully, with permanent change. Many were diagnosed with HIV – a discoura- ging diagnosis. The doctors in the hos- pital were unexpectedly surprised when some of these patients were healed. Prayer and their faith in God played the key role in this. An HIV positive couple married and had children who were completely healthy. You can hardly ima- gine the thankfulness and joy that came into the lives of such previously hopeless people. Many of them were able to go back into working or business life, com- pleting education and training, and esta- blishing families.
THE CHRONOLOGY OF A RUINED LIFE – MINE! EVGENY‘S STORY 45 I was born in Prokopievsk, Siberia. My mother died when I was 2 years old. My father remarried, but there was no room for me in his new relation- ship, so I was handed over to my grand- mother. After my school time I went to the Technical School for Mining to study Electrical Engineering, but I dropped out because I had started to drink and take drugs. My “prison career” began when I was 17. First for burglary, then for stea- ling a car, robbery and manslaughter. Over and over again I would be free for a couple of months before being thrown back behind bars – in total for twelve long years. I was released again in 2010, but my life was quickly consumed again with drugs and alcohol. My incessant drunkenness meant that I was repeatedly beaten up on the streets. I wanted to kill myself. Looking back I’m certain that God held me back. I once attempted to slit my throat with a knife; another time I slas- hed my wrists, but the doctors saved me each time. And I kept living, drank Vodka and took drugs. I contracted AIDS and got tuberculosis in prison. Sickness and addiction were my companions and dragged me repeatedly down into de- spair. My father and grandmother both died while I was in prison and after that I had no home and was unable to find shelter. Youths would bash me up on the streets because I looked like a defenceless, ho- meless derelict. I lived on the streets. One day I came across a church that offered meals for the homeless. Pavel, the leader, told me there was a way of escape and that he could take me to a “Help Centre.” Some days later, after a couple of drinking sessions, things were going so badly for me that I decided to go there. After my arrival Pastor Oleg came and prayed for me. My condition was very concerning. I had powerful withdrawal symptoms, my face was co- vered with bruises from fights on the streets. I felt better after the prayer and just two days later I began to help with household chores. I was aware that God had helped me and I even began to read the Bible. My physical condition impro- ved markedly. A year later I went to a theological trai- ning institute and held worship services every Friday in the “Help Centre”. There I met Inna. I was immediately attracted to her and in time we married. After two years in the Help Centre we moved to Novosibirsk, where I learned a new tra- de and have been working for the last six years in a factory. The bank approved a mortgage and we are now the proud owners of a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of town. My wife is getting a driver’s licence and soon we’ll have our own car. To my surprise, the doctors have declared my lungs to be completely healed from tuberculosis. I can clearly see and am astonished how God has made such beauty and goodness from nothing, from the de- struction of my life. I am so grateful for the “Help Centre”. My deepest thanks goes to those who are involved there for people like me.
46 BOOMERANG OF GOODNESS On an idyllic farm in the middle of the Si- berian Taiga (a forested region between the tundra and steppes), handicapped children are experiencing various kinds of assistance. They belong to the Boo- merang of Goodness, an organisation founded by workers from the Russian Nehemiah Team. Until recently they ow- ned horses trained for therapeutic pur- poses, but their finances have been under pressure because of the Covid pandemic and they have been forced to sell them. They want to begin equine- assisted therapy again with support from a stud farm. About 60 children, mainly with cerebral palsy, benefit from this particular therapy. The movement of the horse creates wave-like motions that are transmitted to the rider. This sti- mulates the rider’s own movement me- chanisms and stabilises his or her bodily processes. It develops a new harmony in the body, stimulating slack muscles while relaxing cramped ones. In this way posture, muscle tone, and co-ordination between the back, pelvic area and legs is improved, all while teaching balance at the same time. For children with cere- bral palsy this meets an essential thera- peutic goal. A factor that is easily overlooked with people who have special de- velopmental needs is the effect on the family, particularly relationally. In Russia such families are often inade- quately supported and so are left to their own resources, resulting in them being overwhelmed and stressed; the children may be left at home all day and under this pressure, no time remains for social interaction with others. For this reason, on the farm they don’t merely work with the handicapped children, but with the whole family. The parents have the op- portunity to get to know other families and to share with them. They offer the family a chance to switch off, take a deep breath and regather their strength. After all, that is part of navigating life; making room for a break, in which one can rebuild strength and energy. COLD SIBERIA LIFE BELOW SUBSISTENCE LEVEL – A FEW FACTS also active, the situation for discharged prisoners, the homeless, drug addicts and handicapped people is not much better. Because of this, several Chris- tian churches have established re- habilitation centres for drug addicts and alcoholics, accommodation for the homeless, therapy facilities and social meeting places for handicap- ped people, and women’s refuges, etc. The Nehemiah Team wants to help alleviate these needs by supporting some of these projects financially and through mentoring. The Kemerovo Region of Western Siberia has a population of 2.6 million. There are about 15,000 orphans or children who have no older caregivers. About 8,000 people are addicted to drugs, (not inclu- ding alcoholics) and about 15,000 peo- ple are in prison. The average income is about 200-300 Euros per month. Basic rental costs are from 8,000 to 10,000 roubles (100 Euros) per month and the government estimate of subsistence-le- vel income is around 12,000 roubles (approx. 150 Euros). This is the amount needed to meet basic human needs and to sustain a person’s life. Many retired people live below this level. Taken toge- ther this paints a sad picture of this regi- on’s economic situation. The elderly struggle for survival, among other things, because their children don’t look after their needy parents as was once normal. The city of Prokopievsk is hardly coping financially with providing accommodation for needy citizens, so the “Help Centre” is a refuge, sometimes the only hope, for some in that region who would otherwise starve or freeze to death on the streets during the winter. (See the report from Oleg Novotorzhin.) In Krasnoyarsk too (the third largest city in Siberia), where the Nehemiah Team is
47 IN A NUTSHELL HOW IS THE NEHEMIA TEAM INVOLVED IN ROMANIA? • Support of the day care center „House of Light“ in Sighisoara for children and adolescents with disabilities • Support of the workshop and therapy farm for young adults with impairments • Sponsorship program for children in the day care center • Accompaniment and counseling Further information: www.nehemia-team.org/en projects „Romania“ ROMANIA
48 HOUSE OF LIGHT PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR DISABLED CHILDREN lopmental support was the involvement of the parents. They are supported and accompanied in this process by psycho- logical counselling. Every child has its own rhythm of de- velopment and strives to develop its personality and potential. Therefore, it is important to accompany and support the children considering their respective lives and environments, their individual developmental stories, their handicaps and life stories. The team goes about their work with a lot of love and patience, professional competence and emotional closeness in order to support children like Denis and accompany them in life. You are welcome to support this va- luable work through sponsorship. Eva Jiga, psychotherapist specialising in autism Vasilica Moldovan, clinical psychologist But Denis has always had a hard time with this. He could not acquire certain age-appropriate skills and therefore it was difficult to integrate him into a group. Denis was enrolled in a comprehensive therapeutic programme. He took part in psycho-education, speech therapy, psy- chology, kinesiotherapy as well as work in a children‘s group. In order to train his social skills more, he was given the op- portunity to take part in birthdays and celebrate with others. Learning materials specially designed for autistic children and children with attention deficits were used. These turned out to be a great suc- cess and Denis visibly enjoyed them. It is inspiring to see how Denis has gradually developed. He can now verbally express his wishes and needs, as well as some feelings. He expresses himself with short comments and recites little poems. Even though communication still needs work, it is a great ray of hope for the parents that he can say „mummy“ and „daddy“. Denis recognises his face in photos as well as the faces of his friends. Today, he can deal with rules much better. He is aware of other people and feels emp- athy. A very important part of the deve- Some people still remember the ter- rible pictures that went around the world at the beginning of the 1990s, showing neglected children in Ro- manian orphanages. Happily, there are many initiatives today that have im- proved children’s quality of life for good, including those with disabilities. The ne- hemia team supports children in Sighi- soara in the day care centre „House of Light“, one of the projects of the Roman- ian foundation „Pentru Familia Creştină“ and „Viata are sens“. The Social Centre The facility was established in 2008 as a centre for children, adolescents and young adults who have mental and physical disabilities. Children whose di- sabilities still allow them to receive an education and training find competent guidance in the day care centre. A team of professionals supports them accor- ding to their talents. Fourteen Romanian staff members take care of the different therapies, administration and manage- ment. Today, more than 40 children and adolescents are regularly looked after in the day care centre. There are also children who come for professional evaluation and to get used to the thera- py and programmes step by step. In this process, the foundation works closely with the state authorities. Specialist doc- tors recommend the free services of the „House of Light“ to parents because the children in their care consistently show positive development. To illustrate this, we include the following insight into the life of a three-year-old boy - we’ll call him Denis here (real name known to the edi- tors). Little Denis Denis‘ parents were desperate when they realised after 18 months that Denis was „different“ from other children. They came in the hope that he could catch up on his developmental deficits here. They wished that their little son would also learn to communicate and, for example, learn to address his parents as „mummy“ and „daddy“. That he would cry when he fell down and seek the help and protec- tion of his parents. That he would play with other children and discover the world full of curiosity. That he would ask questions about God and the world and perceive his environment and react to it.
WHAT DO FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS SAY ABOUT THE NEHEMIA TEAM? I got to know a part of the nehemia team on an unforgettable trip to the „Home of Blessing“ in Thailand. The close and almost family-like, simple structures of the nehemia team made it possible for me to get to know the projects very closely. Through the expe- riences on the trip, I know exactly where and how my help arrives. Helping people to help themselves is the key for enabling projects to develop sustainably. The nehemia team helps with this. Thank you! Andi Koch, Vienna, AUSTRIA, Freelance Cinematographer I got to know the nehemia team as a young man through people who trusted me and gave me space to try things out. People who always thought and planned a little further and more courageously into the future and into the vastness (of the world and of Christianity). This mentality has shaped me to this day, and I believe the world can still use a hefty dose of it in the future. Dr. Peter Aschoff, Nürnberg, Pastor financially, For us there are many (!!!) good reasons to support the nehemia team in prayer and through per- sonal contact/relationships: We appreciate the friendships that have grown and the close contact with individual leaders from the team. We appreciate the transparency (we always feel well informed and experience you as open people) and we are sure of the responsible handling of do- nations. We were also able to get to know the work on site in Kenya through a „work assignment“. Thereby we both got to know and love each other in 1992. We are exci- ted about the blessing of God that we can see through the work of the nehemia team in many places around the world. Birgit & Walter Oechsle, Fürth, Educator/Engineer I was able to experience the founding of the nehemia team in 1987 at first hand. Today I am excited by how this work has grown worldwi- de over the years and how the initial vision li- ves on: building the Kingdom of God through networking! Friedrich Horänder, Frommetsfelden, Leader of GMS Friendship that lasts the test of time is truly friendship in Christ. This is what we experien- ced in many years of ministry with nehemia team. Thanks to the dedication of so many Nehemia friends, godly brothers and sis- ters who helped us and supported us with amazing kindness, we were able to minister within the framework of various nehemia’s projects all around the world, from Siberia to Argentina, Borneo, India, Ukraine, and so on. This is what the Kingdom of God is like, friendship with an helping, loving hand. On the top of everything, whenever we got toge- ther there has always been great fellowship and sincere fun. Giancarlo & Catherine Elia, London, GB, Light to the Nations Ministries We especially appreciate the relationships and friendships that have developed with the nehemia team. Whether in Caorle, Borneo, Thailand or the Ukraine, the people and ex- periences from these missions were and are always a great enrichment for our lives. Kess & Michael Peiker, Nürnberg, Educators 49 I associate the nehemia team with the idea that it is personal relationships that invite people to experience real help. God‘s love and closeness are at the center of the team‘s work. That is why I was not surprised that my text program understood „Nähe mia“ (my clo- seness) when I typed „Nehemia“. Joe Pöhlmann, Nuremberg, Musically Creative Artist What I really appreciate about the nehemia team is that heart and mind work together in the diverse projects all over the world. The team acts in an uncomplicated and pragma- tic way, spreading faith, hope and love, the three positive effects that, according to the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:13), have lasting va- lue and endurance. Jan Gehrke, Nuremberg, City Council The nehemia team - a global network of love, remains deeply inspiring and a beacon of hope in these difficult and uncertain times. You lift people up, enable them to grow, thri- ve and find hope by the unselfish love you share. Faith, hope and love spread around the world. Well done!! Dr. Ernie Franz, Port Townsend, USA, Physician We support the nehemia team because we value the philosophy of helping people help themselves, and that mainly disadvantaged children are given a chance for education and thus for a more livable future. Impressive for us is also the refreshing and stimulating contact with the staff and helpers of the ne- hemia team. Marlies & Walter Rentsch, Aichach, Athletes
50 WE ARE SUPPORTING THE NEHEMIA TEAM: Ausbildung zum COACH 2022 in Nürnberg Start: 04.-07.04.2022 | 12 Blöcke, 34 Ausbildungstage Zertifiziert durch die EASC, Berlin | Ausbildungsleiter: Mathias Hühnerbein Infos: www.proceo.de | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 0160 - 552 25 25
Centrum für Speichelanalyse www.censa.de Ihr Partner für Hormondiagnostik - Speichelhormontests bequem von Zuhause aus. WIR SUCHEN HELLE KÖPFE! w w w. p r o j e k t a n t r i e b . c o m Tinten Papiere Toner Drucker 10% auf Ihre erste Bestellung Gutscheincode „nehemia“ Compana EDV-Zubehör GmbH email@example.com 0911 / 94 97 6 - 0 IMPRINT PUBLISHER nehemia team e.V. Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße 27 90762 Fürth PHOTOGRAPHY / DESIGN Florentina Mannchen CONTACT Phone: + 49 911–77 34 54 Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas Tschaftary (director), Elke Feld, Mathias Hühnerbein Registergericht Fürth Nr. 848 WEB www.nehemia-team.org INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK nehemia team / nehemia team Fürth MEMBER OF NEHEMIAH INTERNATIONAL NETWORK
COUNT ME IN! HOW TO BE PART OF NEHEMIA • Join our staff, especially for projects in Germany, administrative work, creative projects or international projects • Commit to a sponsorship for a child in one of our iternational projects • Become a nehemia embassador and tell others about our work • Donate finances – make a one time gift or become a constant supporter • Humanitarian aid on short time outreaches • Pioneers welcome! Join our network with your own project or project ideas – we support you in planning, getting started and executing • Invite us for an information event • Support us through your business in finances or project collaborations Just send a message to: email@example.com DONATIONS Support our projects with a one time gift, constant support or a sponsorship: nehemia team e.V. Sparkasse Fürth BIC: BYLADEM1SFU IBAN: DE32762500000380072918 Please specify the project if you are giving for a specific cause.