Austin is the Program Director at Camp Beechpoint, Inc., a Christian Children’s Camp since 1959. Beechpoint’s mission is to serve urban and under-resourced youth from Chicago and urban and rural areas of Michigan. Several years ago, they began a camp partnership with a ministry in NE India to train local Bible College students to use the tool of camping in reaching and evangelizing children in India. They also assist the students in running a week of camp for children in a rural (mainly Muslim) community. FPC supported Austin’s parents, Mark and Betsy, from 1993 – 2018. Betsy is the granddaughter of Earl and Fleta Rose, long-time members of Spirit Lake First Presbyterian Church.
Patti Griffiths is a typical American wife and mother whose primary career has been pharmacy. In 2012 she traveled to Tanzania on a mission trip, fell in love with the Tanzanian people, and met Laurence Laben. In 2013 she made her second trip when Laurence was the young Tanzanian working at the orphanage Patti visited in Mbuguni. On that trip he suggested that they team up to create a vocational school to provide skills for Tanzanian young people, providing hope while helping them lift themselves out of the poverty that they have always known. Patti immediately agreed, and the vision for Next Life Foundation was born.
Today, NLF is into its second school facility, has graduated its first two year class of tailors, is halfway through its first carpentry class, and has begun the second session of the tailoring class.
The mission of Next Life Foundation is to provide vocational training and sustained opportunities for the young people of Mbuguni, Tanzania, providing education in a Christian environment while gently sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this very short time, an obedient woman from the Iowa Great Lakes and a young Tanzanian motivated by his love and concern for his people have been used by God to make a difference in the lives of numerous young people. NLF Tanzania operates the ministry in Tanzania while NLF America provides gentle guidance and funding to support the school. Next Life Foundation is an example of what is possible when one person responds to God’s calling in their life.
First Presbyterian Church has supported Next Life Foundation since 2016.
Saki is the Area Operations Director for the Francophone Africa area of Cru’s global ministry (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). Francophone Africa is made up of the sixteen French speaking countries in West Central Africa. Francophone is one of thirteen Cru areas encompassing developing ministries in emerging nations around the world. There are four global areas in Africa alone.
As Operations Director, Saki oversees the operation of staff in these sixteen countries. These countries are vastly different in ministry development and therefore require a great variety as Saki strives to implement standard systems for all of the ministry staff to follow. Eight of the countries have Country Operations Leaders but Saki has to lead the remaining eight himself. Developing ministry in these countries is a big challenge for Saki as his leadership in operations affects over 330 Cru staff.
In addition to his work with Cru, Saki is also involved in preaching in several churches in and around Togo. He has planted churches and in the process has personally led many people to Christ.
Saki has known Dave Butterworth since 2011. They have been in a coaching relationship for the past two years and have just extended that relationship for another two years. They are great friends from opposite sides of the world.
First Presbyterian Church began supporting Saki’s ministry in June of 2018.
Appointed as a PC(USA) mission co-worker in October 2009, Josh is regional liaison for West Africa. He facilitates support for the programs, relationships and activities of PC(USA) partners. He also provides support to PC(USA) mission personnel and helps connect partner churches with PC(USA) churches that want to be involved in ministry in the region. West Africa has tremendous challenges. Niger, for instance, is the poorest country in the world. But the Christian churches of West Africa are some of the most dynamic on the continent, and they are committed to addressing the many problems that people of faith confront. The PC(USA) has partnerships with churches in three countries in West Africa. In Ghana, where our historical roots go back many years, PC(USA) maintains partnerships with two denominations, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. The PC(USA) also has newer partnerships with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger. Josh is responsible for maintaining relationships with all these partner churches. Joshua was ordained as a PC(USA) minister of Word and Sacrament in 2004 in the Presbytery of Chicago and is currently a member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
The idea was conceived and patterned after the Dream Center in Los Angeles, California. The concept is to provide services to those in need throughout the region at one location. It opened in 2011 after a two year miraculous renovation of the former Tangny Hotel, which was offered to the Day Spring Assembly of God Church as a place to house the Center. Ministries included are a food pantry, clothing distribution, prom and wedding dress loans, free medical and dental services, teen youth center, after school tutoring program and a coffee shop.