UFM in the USA (UFM Worldwide (USA)) was first established in August 2013 with an office in Birmingham, Alabama. The OneHundredFold team had become part of UFM in 2012, and we needed to provide the services our mission workers who are American citizens required.
Six of us were huddled over a blank canvas. One of us had stayed up late the night before to sketch a basic calendar for the year ahead. Every little box for every day of the year represented an opportunity – an opportunity to do our job and to reach the campus for Christ.
In Rico Tice’s book ‘Honest Evangelism,’ he talks about ‘the pain line’, the point in the conversation where we move from topics that are socially acceptable – the sport, home improvements or our next holiday – and into territory that’s much less comfortable: to speak about our faith in Jesus.
Last year, the number of UFM children reached almost 160! The term Third Culture Kid (TCK) has been coined to describe children who spend some of their formative years outside their parents’ culture. They build relationships with both cultures, without fully owning either, and often identify most with other TCKs. This is one reason children in the UFM family love our Summer Conference. They feel they have met their ‘own tribe’!
Hindu mobs wielded rods, tridents, swords, guns, kerosene and even bottles of acid. Adorned with Hindu militant headbands, they shouted slogans such as, “Jai shri Ram!”, (Victory to Ram, the Hindu god) and “Jai bajrang bali!”, a tribute to another Hindu deity.
As we begin another new year, it’s such a joy to know that we invest together in something that will last, we partner together in something that all of history points towards and we serve together knowing our labour is not in vain!
In April 2016, we arrived in Istanbul to spend two years focusing on learning the Turkish language and culture with the longer-term plan of working alongside a national church in a smaller city elsewhere in the country.