Foremost is to ask and listen. First and always is to seek wisdom from God for His continued direction for this ministry. From day one I want to get a good feel from our staff, our field partners, and our supporters about why they’re involved with Cross International, what they believe we are doing well and what we can improve on and/or put focus on. We’ll work hard to develop a strategic plan for the next season for Cross International which will include continuing with our strengths and will also look at broadening our programmatic impact. That could be centered around an “issue” focus (such as child trafficking or HIV/AIDS impacts) or around a “program” focus (such as education or orphan care). It’s going to be exciting to see where God leads us as we ask these questions.
Strengthening and broadening our partnerships will be critical too. That ranges from our many field partners around the globe, to our partners who support us financially and in prayer, and a strong emphasis to tell our story to new supporters asking them to partner with us in this exciting ministry and work. We have a unique opportunity to help many thousands of supporters here in the west not only provide financial and prayer support, but we also have the privilege and responsibility to be a bridge between them and those we serve abroad. We realize that people crave to “help,” but they also want to learn. Too often people who are interested to help just don’t know where to turn to and which organization they can rely on and trust. Cross International is a wonderful vehicle to be that bridge across cultures to impact lives in real and tangible ways, and for the sharing of the Gospel in Word and deed.
My faith is central to my why. As it is for all of us, each day is part of the journey to understand God more and to live for Him. I hope at age 58 I’m starting to learn more about “letting go” and letting God lead… He does it so much better than I do! My tendency is to be a fixer so I have to make a continual, daily, conscious effort to seek His direction rather than “just do it.” I think after experiencing many bumps in the road over the years, that the need for God’s leadership in all things at all times is simply the way to live.
Galatians 2:20 is my home-base. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This verse is so grounding for me, in the good and not so good. These words remind me of how transformational the Holy Spirit is in me and each of us who receive Christ into our lives. They remind me who’s in control (it’s not me!). They remind me that faith is trust and assurance of those things unseen. These are soothing words for me.
Mutual respect. Those two words have been embedded into my thinking about coming alongside the world’s poor for almost 30 years. I was in Bangladesh in early 1990 and while meeting with the leader of a local Christian organization he asked me “Kelly, truly, why are you here?” I was taken aback a bit by the question and responded with something like, “well, to help you all…” He smiled and gently grabbed my arm and said, “You know, yes, we appreciate and need the money that you all send as we cannot exist without it, but, really, what we really want is mutual respect. Not to be seen as needy beggars, but as God’s creation with talents and skills, and lives of possibility just like you.” I was stunned by his words. I just hadn’t thought that way. My mind-set had been in the “those poor people, I’m here to help” place. His words changed my view of the poor and how we with resources should interact with them. Indeed, we must view those called “the poor” with eyes of equality. Certainly, we with resources are called by God to share and help, but we should lead with a view of reciprocity. What can we learn from the world’s poor? Well, quite a lot. Especially about things like family, like values, like relationships. I can say without a doubt that every time I’ve worked in a developing country the people I’ve spent time with have taught me so much, and usually it’s been centered around the quality of relationships… the very reason God created me and you!
A second foundational aspect is to “be faithful.” Years ago when Mother Teresa was asked in the midst of overwhelming numbers of destitute people how she felt she would make an impact and be successful, she answered: “God doesn’t call us to be successful, He calls us to be faithful.” And from there, you work one at a time. And at the time of that interview, back in the later 1980s, the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta had been “one-at-a-timing” tens of thousands of people! We at Cross International, are just one thread in the tapestry of His work around this world. We need to be faithful to that call and to impact lives one at a time.
A third foundational perspective is to avoid the “donor-receiver” mentality (this fits the mutual respect approach) and to structure our work in ways that not only take care of immediate needs (such as disaster response) but to build the ability of local partners to be self-sustaining in their ministry. It’s about them, not us. We don’t want to create a dependency model, but rather one that is based on partnership and migrates effective local control and capability.
One of the main reasons I was first attracted to Cross International was its dedication to the idea of partnership, and how deep and wide that is in the organization. Now let’s be real, there are many Christian relief and development organizations which serve the world’s poor through partnerships, but Cross International has a depth and dedication to this that is rarely seen. First is its commitment to our local partners. We strive to work “in partnership” rather than simply providing some funds and then asking for a report. Second is our commitment to our supporters. One of our goals is for our supporters to not just feel, but to know that they are partners with us in ministry and impact. We strive to share information back and forth so each one knows they are connected to not only Cross International but also to every life this organization touches. We’ll continue to put a strong emphasis in this area.
There is a lot to be hopeful for! When we work with a mindset of being faithful (see Mother Teresa above) rather than being “successful” and trying to fix it all, that is very freeing. It allows us to dive into our work with our local partners and participate in work that is transformational for one person, one family, one village, one area at a time. I’ve experienced it so many times in places like Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Kosovo, Cambodia, and many others. It’s just simply being faithful to the call. When God allows you to do that, there is great joy and great hope.
We at Cross International are blessed with thousands of supporters who love our work and over the coming years, we hope to have many thousands more join us in this journey. Who wouldn’t be hopeful with all this!
Just how much I appreciate each and every one of our supporters. We simply cannot do this work without each one of you. You are an equal partner in this ministry. Also, if you have feedback for me, feel free to reach out to me directly. I’d love to hear from you. You may contact me at (954) 657-9000, extension 201.
In terms of the future, it’s exciting and bright. The fact is that our work will be needed well into the future and God is leading Cross International into its next season of life-impacting ministry. Over the coming months, through seeking His direction we will define how that work will look and continue to grow how we engage with all our partners. Please keep us in your prayers and join us in this ministry!
Time is running out! You still have:
Any gift you give before the end of the year will be MATCHED dollar for dollar, up to $75,000, to transform lives not only now, but into the future!
The UN estimates that between 93 and 150 million children worldwide
live with a disability. In developing countries, these children are often unable to attend school, play outside or access specialized resources. Negative stigma or superstition among their parents, neighbors and community leaders often reinforce these barriers.
This year, we’re providing $60,000 worth of medical equipment to Kupenda for the Children in Kenya. This is a very remote location, and your gift will help cover the shipping costs to this very worthy medical outreach.
This gift will benefit: Kenya
In developed countries, basic medical supplies such as gauze, wraps, bandages, and syringes are commonplace.
Unfortunately, that is often not the case in the developing world. Christian doctors and volunteers in developing countries frequently run low on these supplies, and they also lack the funds to keep large inventories on hand.
This year, we’re providing $84 million worth of medicines and medical supplies. Your gift will help cover the shipping costs to medical outreaches in some of the most remote areas of the globe
This gift will benefit: Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya
A gift of a safe, secure home is tangible affirmation of God’s love for a desperate family — it brings hope, health, stability and opportunity. Most poor families must settle for much less. Mired in poverty, they are forced to live in unsafe shacks fashioned from mud and thatch.
You can provide the life-changing gift of a safe, storm-resistant new home with Cross partners Ambuya Development Center in Malawi and Hope of Life in Guatemala. A new home will ease the family’s burdens, protect them from the wind and rain, and help them achieve their dreams.
This gift will benefit: Guatemala, Malawi
The gift of an education is an investment that reaps long-term dividends for a child’s future. By opening doors for the children of the poor to enroll in Christian schools and get the same educational opportunities as their more economically well-off peers, you are giving not just a hand-out but a “hand-up.”
Your gift will fund Christian education to nurture vulnerable children mentally and spiritually — for thriving futures that will transform hopeless places.
This gift will benefit: Haiti, Ecuador, Uganda
Through emergency child rescue services, vocational training, anti-trafficking programs and Bible literacy classes, Cross International is helping vulnerable women and children reclaim their lives. Inspired by Jesus’ love, we work shoulder to shoulder with our in-country partners, empowering them to create change that lasts so that those who need help will eventually be able to stand confidently on their own. Be a part of this good news and make a life-saving gift part of your holidays.
Your gift will help protect victims of gender-based violence and also help save marginalized women and children from harm.
This gift will benefit: Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua
Our ministry partner, the Kachere Development Center, has an ambitious plan to install 20 wells, providing 5,160 adults and 8,414 children with clean water. Our goal is to finance the drilling and installation of one well – part of an entire community water system, which includes training to maintain the well, and sanitation and hygiene training for improved health.
One borehole can provide 2,800 gallons of safe, life-sustaining water every day. Help us bring clean, safe water to one of these villages today — in a way that will last for generations.
This gift will benefit: Zambia
One of nine people worldwide survive on less than $1.90 a day. Without training and supplies to grow moneymaking crops and breed profitable livestock, poor farmers stay locked in the cycle of poverty.
By supporting this fund, you’ll help families break free of poverty — transforming lives for generations. When families get the training and tools they need, it means bountiful harvests and small animals that produce income for a sustainable business model.
This gift will benefit: Guatemala, Nicaragua
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 811 million in the world suffer from under-nourishment. By providing the gift of food, you will save the lives of thousands of hungry children and their families in developing countries.
Your gift will provide meals for ministry partners such as Divine Shelter Schools in Haiti and Hope of Life in Guatemala. A generous donation during this season of giving will change lives forever.
This gift will benefit: Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Malawi
Inspired by the love of Jesus, we work shoulder to shoulder with local leaders overseas, equipping families with the resources they need to thrive – basics like food, clean water and healthcare, as well as longer-term community transformation projects that will ensure lasting change.
By giving to our Thriving Kids Initiative, you’re not only meeting children’s Most Urgent Needs, you’re also helping lift their families – even entire communities – out of poverty.
This gift will benefit: Africa, The Caribbean, Central America, South America
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 811 million in the world suffer from under-nourishment. By providing the gift of food, you will save the lives of thousands of hungry children and their families in developing countries like Haiti, Malawi, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Your gift will support the provision of meals and other basic services that are essential for survival. A generous donation during this season of giving will change lives forever.
This gift will benefit: Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Malawi