2018 New Year Letter

Taking AIDS Prevention Education to Africa



Dear Friends,

Wow! 2018 has been a whirlwind year for Beacon of Hope. I can’t believe it is over and we are about to start the cycle all over again.  Here is a brief summary of our status and what we have accomplished this year. 

The Smart Choices (SC) AIDS Prevention Program remains the center of what we do. We still have seven centers in four countries totaling about 11 active teams.  In 2018 they trained 25,720 students. There were 7,125 new professions of faith for Jesus, and 12,411 students committed themselves to abstinence until marriage and to be faithful to one partner after marriage.  This brings our fourteen-year grand total of students trained to 184,000 and applying our one third new converts on average to the total, gives about 61,000 new converts since 2004.  Wow! Is God faithful or what?  Thanks, and blessing to the 40+ trainers who volunteer their services to make this possible.  They don’t get paid to do this.  We pay for the cost of the printed material, transport, phone and they sometimes have enough left to have a free lunch or a soda. Occasionally there are bigger perks, see later.  We have known for a long time that there is a need to upgrade the Smart Choices training material because the treatment of HIV and life expectancy has changed so much since the original training was written.  This year we have started the process and hope to have something that we can showcase by the next mission trip.  No definite date planned yet.

For many years we have been encouraging our teams to follow up the Smart Choices program at the schools with a Discipleship program.  This year we have started making positive steps in that direction.  For this year we did not stipulate how it should be implemented or what material to use but only that they must implement something. One team chose to not do any Smart Choices and to do only discipleship.  Some teams chose to do one-time follow-up programs at schools where they had already done Smart Choices.  Others did a more conventional style discipleship, doing multiple training sessions with a smaller group of very interested and committed kids.  In all cases the teams made their own choice of curriculum to use for the training.  We committed by the end of the year to make a recommendation for a preferred resource for 2019 discipleship.  We chose the Navigators’ “Rooted in Christ Series” Book 1 (African version).

The 2018 mission trip was very different than all past trips.  Why different?  Primarily because of only one participant from the USA, Glynn and because Uganda is our least visited partner.  We had two specific goals. One goal was to participate with our Uganda partner, Pastor Moses for two weeks as he delivered the Smart Choices program to eight schools. He runs his programs using a completely different model than the rest of the schools and consequently his cost per student is also different.  There was a need to analyze his methodology and his budget. We have given Moses some ideas about how he might adjust his methodology which might also help to keep his expenses lower.  We will see what he suggests when he submits his grant request for 2019 funds.  The second trip event was in Zambia.  As part of our search for suitable discipleship training options, we were introduced to an organization called ILF (International Leadership Foundation).  Our partner from Zambia, Prisca Kambole introduced us to ILF. She had attended their TLGCP (Transformation in Leadership and Governance Certification Program.) ILF also have a program intended for youth called LADS for (Leadership and Development Studies).  We sponsored two members from Prisca’s SC and Discipleship teams to attend the ILF training with Glynn, to evaluate it as potential Smart Choices follow-on training.   I mentioned earlier that sometimes our team leaders or members get an unexpected perk to reward them for their dedication to the Beacon of Hope programs.  This is one of those examples. Timothy is the leader of one of Prisca’s two SC teams and Douglas is the Pastor conducting the Discipleship program for Prisca’s PLEAP non-profit.  They enjoyed a week long all-expense paid training session at the brand-new Zambia Baptist Seminary in Ndola, Zambia.  We were introduced to both the TLGCP and the LADS training and as a result the local teams initiated two LADS programs at two different churches. One in Ndola and One in Kitwe.

Another big perk opportunity came to Prisca from Zambia, Abraham from Zimbabwe and Welcome from Johannesburg, South Africa.  We were able to pay for them to go to a week-long conference at Wild Life Game park in South Africa. This was put on by TEN (Teach Every Nation). This is a program produced by Bruce Wilkinson and his production staff, for providing seminary quality training for pastors.  Our goal was to have each of them go back to their home country and use the material to train our SC Teams.  This is part of our plan to shift our focus into training our leaders because they are now well enough equipped to manage the task of training the students without our direct participation.  Pastor Moses from Uganda was also exposed to this training as he assisted in using the same material to establish nine training centers for pastors using the Bible School on Wheels (BSOW) kits.  Nine kits have material to start nine remote training centers for training a total of ninety pastors.

Michelle and Melissa have been working hard to create opportunities to market Fair Trade goods manufactured by our partner PLAEP in Zambia and sold under the product name of Sanika.  You can see samples of the Sanika product line at www.plaep.org/sanikadesigns .

I can give all these positive update stories because of our faithful support partners. Thank you from our Beacon of Hope Board and from our supported African partners for your contributions over the past fourteen years.  Without your generous donations we don’t get to do all these wonderful things to bless God’s children.  Thanks to those who have already made a year-end donation through our Giving Tuesday fundraiser or have already made an online donation or mailed in a check.  Our monthly donors are so valuable to us.  It is your donations that allow us a solid foundation to set the baseline annual operating budget.  We are looking to expand this base in 2019.  Some nonprofit organizations refer to their monthly donors as Legacy Partners.  Do you have the financial bandwidth to become one of Beacon of Hope’s next band of Legacy Partners?

Besides our general budget needs for 2019 we have a few special needs requests from Africa that might just touch your heart. 

  1. There is Welcome’s Wellness Testing Project. See: beaconint.org/2018_wellness_testing
  2. Surgery for Pastor Moses wife. See: beaconint/org/betty_surgery
  3. School fees for Pastor Kenny’s Kids. See: beaconint.org/kenny_s_kids

Please take a look at our teams pages www.beaconint.org/teams to learn more about our African team members and our blog pages at www.beaconint.org/blog to learn more about trips and other activities.  Please remember Beacon of Hope as you are planning your year-end charitable giving.

It is our hope and prayer that you will all have a blessed Christmas season with your family and friends and you remember and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We need to be ready to share the good news that God became man and dwelt among us and if we believe in Him and receive Him into our lives, we have the right to be called children of God John 1:12

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all.


Glynn Smith

For Beacon of Hope Board.

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