The following letter was written and sent to those who had committed to support us financially and prayerfully as we prepared to move to Africa. Friends, family, and religious blog followers, we also consider you to be supporters. We, the Newinghams, are grateful for your gifts, prayers, and verbal encouragement during this time of transition, reflection, and healing. We’d now like to share with you the path that God has laid before us:
The story from Genesis 22 of Abraham and Isaac has always baffled us. Not only did God call Abraham to do something He forbid elsewhere, but at the moment of action, the angel of the Lord prohibited the patriarch from doing what he was initially called. The angel said, “Don’t lay a hand on the boy! Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
When one reads this passage, a couple questions arise:
Didn’t God, who is omniscient, already know that Abraham feared Him? Furthermore, why would the Lord allow Abraham to come so close to sacrificing his son’s life, if He never intended for him to do so from the beginning?
As we’ve matured in our faith, we have begun to wonder if God allowed Abraham to come to the razor’s edge in this story – not so that the Lord could benefit – but so that Abraham would witness the dimensions of his own faith. In other words, this test was not set in motion to show God Abraham’s level of commitment; rather, it was intended to reveal to Abraham his level of commitment to his God.
It makes sense, right? Saying that one will follow God is much different than actually following Lord, no matter what the outcome. Once Abraham knew the lengths to which he was willing to go, he was willing to move forward in his walk with Yahweh.
Ginger and I feel a bit like Abraham at this moment. Although we have been making preparations for over a year to move to Africa, now we feel the Lord telling us to stay in the US.
Why would He do this? Why would He call us to one thing and then reveal to us another? We think it is because He wanted us to understand the dimensions of our own faith.
We have prayed and had several discussions with Rick, the founder of the organization. We have decided to still partner with Lifegate Ministries in Sierra Leone, but we will be staying in the United States to raise funds and awareness. On November 4, Chance will officially begin his role as Director of Partnerships at Lifegate Ministries.
The responsibilities of Director can be summed up into eight categories:
For the past two years, Chance has worked to raise support for Children’s Redemption Orphanage Home. He will continue to do so, but from this day forward, he will also work to raise support for the other two parts of Lifegate: the Primary School and the Bible Telling School.
He will travel to churches that currently support Lifegate, share updates with them concerning the ministry and also seek out new churches that might be interested in praying for and partnering with Lifegate. Additionally, he will represent Lifegate at gatherings like The International Conference on Missions and the International Orality Network Conference.
Website and Social Media
Because of the widespread popularity of digital communication, Chance will seek to maximize Lifegate’s image. He will manage the organization’s webpage and social media presence; this will include projects like uploading pictures, stories and videos.
Business Start Ups
One of Lifegate’s goals is sustainability, and we believe that this can best be achieved through the creation of small businesses in Sierra Leone. In an effort to create steady income for the ministry, Chance will work with in-country staff members to create and fund various small businesses.
Chance will create and design printed materials, such as business cards, pamphlets, and posters, for Lifegate.
Chance will plan, organize and execute short-term and medium-term missions trips to the orphanage, the Bible Telling School and the Primary School. These trips will enable people from the US to meet the people of Sierra Leone and see the work of Lifegate, firsthand.
Chance will continue to be the International Director of the orphan home and be active in the lives of Ishmel, Sorie, James, Haja, Esther, Kadiatu, Mayamu, Esther, Hasanatu, Paul, Usifu, Junior, Joseph, Raymond, Mohamed, Zinab, Aminata and Christopher.
Travel & Teaching
As a family, we plan on visiting the ministries in Sierra Leone, at least once a year, for an extended period of time (a month or more). Moreover, Chance plans to visit more often to teach at the Bible Telling School.
While this job description covers a lot of areas, we are excited to serve as best we can. We believe that this position will emphasize Chance’s strengths, and we are praying that God will continue to bless our efforts in partnerships, fundraising and communicating.
This position is not a paid one and because of this, we will be relying fully on donations for our salary. If you choose to still be our financial supporters, we would be forever grateful.
We pray that this letter helps you understand our future path. We believe that we are humbly following God by giving Lifegate Ministries a full-time US representative and director. Now, we are asking you to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance as you consider the support you pledged to our family. We would be honored and blessed if you would continue to support us monetarily and prayerfully in this new role. Please take a week and consider your finances. Chance will contact you by phone to have a conversation about where the Lord is leading you.
Chance, Ginger, Nasko and Louis Newingham