Annual Report 2015
Think of 2015 and what comes to mind? Refugees, terrorism, underperforming stock markets, 3D games, wearables, Star Wars, global warming, and voices of discontent advocating on everything from migration to marriage and marijuana. Ask the right pollster and you will find the majority of Americans (57% AP poll) thought the world was worse off in 2015 than it was in 2014 and there is no reason to think Americans were unique in this perspective.
Our Annual Report tells a different story – a story of redemption, renewal, and restoration. For those who look to numbers, TeachBeyond continued to grow and add new programs. Our country membership increased, our global partnerships diversified, and our on-going projects, for the most part, added space, personnel, and learners. All this speaks to expanded service and deepening impact.
But what do the numbers mean? What is it they quantify? To understand the facts we look to personal anecdotes for meaning and understanding and our report is packed with radiant testimony of God’s transformational work in the lives of children and adults through the medium of education.
Were there trials in 2015? Opposition? Disappointment? Yes. Our story this year is one of victory in the face of challenge. St. Paul summarized a similar reality when he testified in his “Annual Report” that a great door for effective work had opened but many were opposed. This is why the apostle pleaded with his partners to “help with your prayers.” (I Cor. 16:9) Was there ever a more brilliant, devout follower of Christ than this intrepid missionary? Possibly not, and yet he acknowledged his dependency on the prayers of supporters. Like him, our Annual Report comes with a request for prayer.
It also comes with a message of thanksgiving. God alone provided the increase and God alone created the transformation we celebrate. He also brought together a community of dedicated people who served faithfully from Vancouver to Manila. Our report would be incomplete without a heartfelt statement of gratitude to them and each supporter who stood with them to make this such an rewarding year.
We wholeheartedly desire to serve our Father’s world, to love Jesus Christ, and to see individuals and societies transformed by His Spirit through education.
As followers of Jesus we are an international organization providing transformational education to children and adults. We offer teaching and learning services to all regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion in order to promote holistic personal growth and enduring social benefit.
The name TeachBeyond best captures in two simple words our understanding of the Great Commission in Matthew 28, in which Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” The word beyond suggests crossing geographic and cultural boundaries. It also indicates our commitment to teaching beyond one-dimensional, utilitarian forms of education to a comprehensive, holistic form that fosters personal, transformational growth, and enduring social benefit.
Our name reflects both our organizational mission as well as our challenge to Christians to think beyond their current context, to encourage their growth as transformational educators, to inspire them to get involved, and to help them go where God is leading them.
In 1905, the separation of religion and government law resulted in hundreds of French Protestant private schools being turned over to the secular government. Now there are only 20 evangelical private schools. A former French education minister opined that French secularism should replace the Christian faith in the public schools. “We need a new God, a new Christ, a new church with new laws, new high priests (secular school teachers) enforcing a new religion,” he stated.
As a result, many French people, even the unchurched, are seriously wondering what values the public school will transmit to their children. Among French evangelicals, a growing awareness of the problem has had results: 20-25 new Christian schools will be launched in 2016.
One such school, in Pierrelatte, is Life School with its vision of seeing students’ lives transformed and people coming to Christ. TeachBeyonders Jeff and Véronique Kim work here: Jeff teaches Bible and English and Véronique is a French language/literature assistant. The Kims seek to live out the gospel daily through teaching and in developing relationships with students and their families—a third of whom are non-believers. May God use education with a Christian worldview to influence the culture and grow the French church.
This is Chloe (pictured). She’s a three-year-old in our brand-new school, FATEB Kinshasa Academy. Chloe is engaged in something that could revolutionize her country, the Democratic Republic of Congo: imagining. She is imagining taking care of the baby doll that has a stomachache. She even took off the clothes and gave the doll a little bath. What in the world does imagining have to do with transforming a country? If you can’t imagine a different future, you won’t pursue one.
In Africa, education is typically rote memory. To be creative in problem-solving and to think critically isn’t part of the curriculum. Africa is stuck in age-old political and economic patterns because they are doing education the same way—lecture, rote memory, and copy from the board. FKA is offering an education that fosters creative thinking. When we hold continuing-education sessions for our teachers, government-run schools in the area ask us to include their teachers in the sessions. Our hope is that by transforming teachers and educational practices we will see the lives of children transformed, and they can then transform their communities with the hope of Jesus Christ.
These little ones like Chole can gain skills at FKA that will set them up to be dreamers, leaders, and world-changers. This is how transformational education works.
Wow, I am convinced I have little angels in my class instead of students! They were all so respectful and excited to learn. During Bible we were talking about Abraham and how God spoke to him. I told them that God often speaks in the silence. The students shared many examples of how God has spoken to their parents about being missionaries in the Philippines (So neat!). Then one boy asked if we could be silent right now so we could hear God. For a whole minute we were all silent while each little second grader was listening SO hard to hear God. Wow, I can’t wait to see what God is going to continue to do through each of my 14 students this next year!
TeachBeyond, the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA), and United World Mission (UWM) are partnering to start a school in Mexico City to serve both missionary children and middle-class Mexican families looking for a quality, bilingual educational experience. The CMA Director for Latin America has predicted that 40 families could be serving in this mega-city if such a school were available for these families. Thus, Lord willing, the new BridgeWay North American School will launch in August, 2016 to meet these needs and to connect to the community and culture through education.
At the end of 2015 this school has achieved:
When we start a new school, we usually think our positive influence and witness only begin once the doors swing open on the first day of classes and children fill the halls. However, what we find in the Sensitive Access region is that our influence in the lives of others begins long before the school bell rings.
Starting a new school anywhere, let alone in a foreign country, is a huge undertaking. In some instances, our staff begin interacting with nationals two or three years before a school is actually established. During this time we meet with business people, architects, accountants, lawyers, and other nationals—many of whom hold key leadership positions in their society. Interaction with these professionals is consistent and may span many months or even several years. Throughout this time we have frequent opportunities to model our faith by conducting business in an honest manner and in a host of other ways. Opportunities to witness verbally are abundant as well.
So, the next time you are asked to pray for the start of a new school somewhere in the world, please remember that the time leading up to the start of a school is as strategic and important as when the school is up and running.
Black Forest Academy celebrated the middle of Spiritual Emphasis Week with a day of service in the German community. The student’s worked in the library, museum, churches, a refugee home, and homes in the community. They were living examples of God’s love as they served across multiple work sites in Kandern and the surrounding villages.
English Camps: There were 10 camps in Eurasia, Moldova, Portugal, the Philippines, Brazil, Switzerland, and Germany in 2015. We educated 100 short-term staff who served alongside almost the same number of local volunteers to provide English camps for more than 400 campers. Many campers came to faith and most would say they improved their English. We have a new English curriculum developed by Sue Schmidt and Suzanne Carter for 5- and 10-day camps at various levels, including conversational activities and resources. We educated our camp supervisors to teach teachers to teach English. This included a variety of teaching techniques and assessment geared toward improving student learning.
Language Centers: In Southeast Asia, the language center continues to grow but is in need of a director. In Eurasia, an English Club for children is meeting regularly and impacting the lives of children by teaching Christian truths with English. The Bridge Language Centre in Kandern has closed for now as there is no director. We have needs for full-time staff in countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Moldova, Eurasia, Brazil, and others. We see so many ways that God uses English as an inroad for witness.
Camps for children and families are a key ministry of TeachBeyond Brazil. Every year we reach hundreds of children; many come to Christ and grow in their faith. The ripple effect is tremendous. Here is a story of the impact on one family:
One mother who brought her son to our camp asked why we were teaching the gospel to the kids. A week after the camp ended, she came back on Sunday and said, “What you are doing here caused such a transformation in our son. Our son was broken but was transformed in just one week. My husband and I want this! We want God and we want to know more.”
The camp ministry in Gramado, Brazil, reaches boys and girls, teens and adults through residential camps, day camps and English camps. Leadership development is a core component of this ministry: dozens of young men and women are educated annually to help in the camps and serve more effectively in their local churches and communities.
TeachBeyond Centre in Kandern began a “Basic Computer Training” class for refugees. With the condensed courses we want to help young people prepare for their professional career in Germany. A TeachBeyond member from Canada is leading the training sessions.
An important part of integration into German society is finding a job. It’s vital that the refugees learn to write a resume, letters, emails, and search the Internet. Many have never had the opportunity to use a computer in their homeland. In Germany the ability to use a computer is essential.
Transformational education has a holistic approach, so there are times when the physical needs of students can be addressed in order to demonstrate God’s love. Here is a story from a volunteer at our English camp in Moldova:
All of the North American staff had brought extra suitcases full of useful items for the kids. We reward the campers with raffle tickets all week; they then use them as their “currency” for an auction held at the end of the week where they bid on items of their choice. Sveta, a Moldovan leader, brought a little girl to me as I was organizing the auction items. Evelina had one pair of sandals that she had been wearing all week and now they were broken. Did we have a pair for her in the auction supplies, Sveta wondered. I brought out two pair that I thought would be small enough for her and she chose the ones she wanted. Then Evelina asked me in Romanian, “When do I have to bring them back?” I almost cried. Through Sveta (who was translating), I told Evelina that they were hers to keep. When she wore them she should remember that there are people who loved her very much—and that God loves her, too. Her little face was so happy and she kissed my cheek. It’s something I will never forget.
TeachBeyond members instructing adults in our TeachESL program not only teach English, but also strive to build relationship with their students, colleagues, and communities.
One of the teachers in Prague invited a fellow teacher who seemed interested in Christianity (we’ll call her Z) to an Advent service at her church. Z really enjoyed the program and invited the TeachBeyond teacher to her house for dinner. Pray their friendship will continue to develop, that Z will accept the teacher’s invitation to church, and that she will begin to understand more about our Lord.
In Budapest, one of our teachers, Maddie, organized a project to distribute Christmas gifts to children who are in a homeless shelter. She leads many service projects like this throughout the year including street clean-ups and retirement home visits.
Basic teaching skills and the integration of a biblical worldview into classroom instruction are the focus of a two-year teacher education program that TeachBeyond is offering in South Asia. In January 2014 we launched the first cohort of 20 teachers on its two-year journey and in December 2015 they graduated. The second group of 20 began in June 2015. The program includes both residential sessions and mentoring in the schools to observe the teachers and provide seminars. This education is so popular that there is a constant flow of requests to enroll. The long-range vision is to establish a teacher education college in this sensitive country. “It has been a remarkable experience,” said one TeachBeyond consultant. “God has mobilized teachers,…reaching out to remote communities and in the most challenging circumstances.”
Our mobilization team members are most visible standing at a table in a college or church mission conference. But much of the work they do involves follow-up to guide the candidates from their initial contact with TeachBeyond to selecting and applying for a ministry position.
Cindy Lucas, our representative in the Midwest region of the US, recalled a particular prospective member who was interested in teaching in South Asia. The country she was initially interested in is one where TeachBeyond did not send teaching staff at that time, so Cindy guided her to a nearby country that had teaching needs. “It’s great to see someone who thinks, ‘I don’t know if this is for me,’ but later tells me that she loves the country and the job,” Cindy said.
This young teacher also had a situation that some prospective members encounter. Her parents are divorced. Her dad was supportive, but her mom had huge reservations. Cindy had discussions with her about following God’s calling. “We prayed that God would change her mom’s heart, and the Lord was faithful,” Cindy said. “It turned out to be a growing experience for her mom, who eventually contacted friends and helped her daughter get the final financial support she needed.”
TeachBeyonder Abby Funk was wrestling with a decision: should she extend her teaching commitment in Bolivia for an additional year? She wrote to her supporters: “During a recent visit by Howard Dueck from Member Care, I was given much affirmation of my call and placement….Through conversations with TeachBeyond, my school director, and in personal time of prayer, I believe God is directing me to return [to Bolivia].”
This fall Abby shared the exciting news of seeing God at work through her obedience in staying on: “After sharing a gospel presentation with them a couple weeks ago, six of my students accepted the Lord for the first time! I feel responsible to nurture their new walks with the Lord so that this is a true life commitment.”
2015 was a challenging but opportunity-filled year given to us by God’s grace. While the search for a Global IT Director continues, the rest of the team made tremendous strides in their various departments. We increased our web presence and, on our website, launched a searchable Opportunities Page (go.teachbeyond.org) to communicate the ways to serve with TeachBeyond. Our Mobilization Department added an online application making the process easier and more in line with expectations of tech-savvy applicants.
The increased use of Office365, including Skype and TeachBeyond email addresses for all members, is helping the speed and efficiency of communication worldwide. Please pray God sends us a Global IT Director in 2016 and may the Holy Spirit bless our team with increased wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the complexities of achieving the goals we have set out.
The Personnel Department has supported TeachBeyond and our members in adapting to new laws, dealing with conflict, helping struggling members grow, and providing a redemptive process for departing members.
In 2015, Personnel has been:
|US Donations for Missions||$7,695,479||$8,815,390|
|CA Donations for Missions||$1,936,198||$1,910,776|
|US General Donations||$104,051||$130,459|
|CA General Donations||$144,756||$94,553|
|US Other Revenues||$63,136||$108,799|
|CA Other Revenues||$25,694||$13,718|
|Expenditures and Reserves*||2014||2015|
|US Members’ Salaries & Benefits||$5,595,750||$6,326,191|
|CA Members’ Salaries & Benefits||$1,317,090||$1,215,869|
|US Service Expenses||$1,269,872||$1,819,105|
|CA Service Expenses||$633,612||$547,371|
|US Reserves for Future Mission Expenses||$643,792||$410,389|
|CA Reserves for Future Mission Expenses||$83,998||$145,949|
|US General Administration||$181,460||$249,902|
|CA General Administration||$88,298||$128,339|
|US Global Services||$175,763||$249,061|
|CA Global Services||$30,701||$11,884|
|Support for Missions||$10,726,166 (97%)|
|General Donations||$225,012 (2%)|
|Foundations, Fund-Raising Events & Other||$152,883 (1%)|
|Members’ Salaries & Benefits||$7,542,060 (69%)|
|Service Expenses||$2,366,476 (21%)|
|Reserves for Future Mission Expenses||$556,338 (5%)|
|General Administration||$378,241 (3%)|
|Global Services||$260,945 (2%)|
Pray for our members, partners, students, parents and all who come into our sphere of influence, that they may hear the gospel and be transformed into followers of Jesus Christ, and demonstrate the fruit of transformation in their communities.