Director’s Report – Ps Alun Davies

It’s hard not to begin any report – or in fact almost any conversation these days – without mention of COVID-19 and the havoc it’s wreaking across our world. As a global missions and development organisation, with field workers and our partners working in more than 32 countries, this pandemic presents one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced in the history of our mission.

While we are doing everything we can to support these communities, their families and the many workers who are on the field, or those who had to return home, we know that these are unprecedented times. Like many other organisations around the world, we do not know what the future holds or what this global outbreak will mean for our work – and for our people – long term.

We need to have more faith than ever for our present needs and for the challenges ahead, and to continue trusting in God who is always working on our behalf.

As you take the time to read through this 2019 report – which we are proud to have completely digitised for the first time – I pray you will be reminded of the difference your generosity continues to make for the individuals, families and communities it is reaching.

In 2019, through your support, the incredible work of our missionaries has carried on. They have continued planting churches, training local leaders and sharing God’s message of salvation in countries and contexts where people might otherwise not have the chance to hear it.

We have also continued our life-changing disaster relief projects, as we support ACC churches in drought affected areas. We have also provided vital emergency relief and (ongoing) recovery for our devastated Australian bushfire communities.

Thank you, as always, for your dedicated partnership and support in all of these endeavours. May you be blessed in this time of great uncertainty and join with us at ACCI in believing for a future full of even greater fruitfulness, as we work together for the glory of God’s Kingdom.

– Ps Alun Davies

General Manager’s Report – Chad Irons

ACCI Missions total revenue for 2019 was $3.5 million. We have continued to maximise the proportion of funds that reach the field, with 76.5% of total expenditure directed to field worker support, missions partners and projects during the year. Our staff costs reduced slightly down to 11.5% of total expenditure as a result of internal efficiencies.

Operations centre costs remain quite low at 6.4% of total expenditure, with promotions, travel and conference costs at 5.6%. Our Revenue and Expenditure Summary for the year ending 31 December 2019 has been prepared from information in our audited financial statements. A copy of the full General Purpose Financial Report is available for download.

As we look ahead through some uncertain times, we know that our organisation, missionaries and partners will be heavily impacted throughout 2020. We are committed to battening down the hatches and weathering this storm, because we intend to keep supporting our missionaries, partners and their teams of national workers, as they continue to minister and serve their communities during and after this pandemic.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Chad Irons,
General Manager

A brave new journey: Nathan and Brooke Dissanayeke, Sri Lanka

In June 2019, Nathan and Brooke Dissanayeke, along with children Bella, 6, and Malachi, 2, left their home in Newcastle and moved to Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo to plant a new church called ‘The Brave’. Here they share some of their learnings and challenges so far, and the hope they hold for their city and their nation.

How have the first months been settling into a new country?

We are now eight months into our journey and still only feel like we have just arrived into the craziness of city life here in Colombo. We are, however, starting to get into a rhythm and feeling like this is becoming home. We are growing closer as a family.

We are also now a registered and licensed travel agency. This helped us get our visa to live here and it is exciting but we know this will take some years before we see return from investment.

Have there been any challenges or are things as you expected?

We still miss our home, our friends, family, church and road rules! Life is harder and we feel isolated, and there is also the stress of trying to keep normal family life, finances and friendships. We know these are all normal feelings when moving to a new country and although we are unsure how it will unfold, we take one step at a time into the unknown knowing we are in the footstep God has made for us each day.

What is your heart for The Brave and how do you hope to build it?*

We believe it is important to build the church from the inside out. For us, that means not only building a strong local team but investing in and raising a strong local pastor who will work alongside us to build the church. Having a pastor who understands the culture and language will help us to reach and influence people and it will also build trust with the churches around us. We have had a few conversations with a key pastor who wants to be part of what we are doing, and we are working on how this will look and work moving forward.

Our heart is also for the church to be centred around life/connect groups, rather than just another thing the church does on the side. We are looking to launch our first connect group during 2020 and to use it to start building foundations for what will be our church. As we build connect groups, our aim is then to launch interest services either once a month or every other month. By the end of 2020, we are wanting to officially start regular services in the heart of the city.

Lastly, we plan to launch ‘The Brave Pathways’ – a personal and leadership development program for senior pastors and key leaders. We know that a lot of people have trouble with burnout, stress and communication. There is a stigma here where you have to have everything together and we want to break this stigma and bring a new freedom and joy in being who God has created us to be. We really feel that the

Church in Sri Lanka has lost its joy. If we can help the pastors and leaders ignite their own freedom and joy, we know this will flow through the Church.

How have you been able to start laying the groundwork for The Brave during 2019?

We continue to meet and talk with new people, sowing seeds and sharing our heart for what we are doing here, and we believe God will keep bringing the right people into our lives to build the church. We are also building our relationships with a few key churches which are kingdom minded and excited to support what we are doing. We want to build a kingdom culture of churches working alongside each other to reach this nation. This is something that is especially important in Sri Lanka as there is so much division and distrust between all the churches.

We are excited for what’s ahead and what God is going to do in building His Church. We feel privileged that He wants to use us in this process. We are also so grateful for all the prayers, messages and support from Australia. We could not build this on our own and believe that with this support, we will see a move of God like never before in this nation.

*Due to COVID-19 restrictions during the first half of 2020, Nathan and Brooke have launched the Brave Church online and have also started delivering their mentoring sessions online too.

How ACCI supports new missionaries

Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER CHAD IRONS

In a nutshell, what does the ‘sending’ process look like?

“We like to think of the sending process as a coaching process. Every field worker applicant already comes with a range of skills, training, experiences and qualifications, and our goal is to help them move from where they are now, to using all that previous learning, skills and experience on the mission field. We want to identify the gaps in their learning, skills and experience, and target those areas in their preparation. For example, an experienced pastor going to church plant overseas probably does not require any additional ministry training but will need to increase their understanding of cross-cultural communication. On the other hand, a qualified social worker going to work as part of an overseas children’s ministry or project, will need to learn family, cultural and community dynamics, the different legal child protection frameworks in that country, and they may also need to do some supplementary ministry training. The social worker might also have no experience fundraising or engaging supporters for their ministry vision, whereas the experienced pastor will probably be able to draw upon their experience of engaging their church.”

What are the most common challenges people encounter when preparing for life in the field?

“The most common areas we need to help people work through are their own assumptions, which are based on the culture they are coming from, as we don’t want to see them carrying that cultural bias to the field. It is also a big change adjusting from short-term missions to long-term missions. We work to proactively identify and address these skill, knowledge and experience gaps with learning opportunities, training, or even short-term field experiences. The topics that we have put into our Intercultural Missions Course are the most common collection of missing knowledge items – or the knowledge items that require life-long learning, like growing in cultural intelligence – so we believe that will play a big role in preparing and equipping people.”

What are the benefits of missionaries having ACCI backing, rather than trying to go it alone?

“Networking with other cross-cultural workers, a peer support network, as well as opportunities to connect and engage with Australian churches. We also offer ongoing coaching because as people stay in the field, exploring new opportunities, they will continue to unearth more of these ‘gaps’ in their knowledge and understanding, as well as just through the normal change of seasons. The ACCI team has a mix of skills in finance, support-raising, systems, organisation and management, cross-cultural communications, community development, and so on. The team can give wise advice in times of change and at any point during a missionary’s journey. Lastly, ACCI has the systems to manage the finance side of things, so our missionaries can focus on the ministry and activities that they are called to.”

Intercultural Missions Course

Expanding ACCI’s Intercultural Ministry Competence (IMC) Course

“Why didn’t somebody tell me about this before I came here?”

Preparing for life and ministry in another cultural context is no trivial matter! Particularly if it’s someone’s first time engaging in long-term overseas missions. We’ve heard this agonised question too many times! In response, ACCI has created a new online intercultural missions training course, which covers the perspectives and skills most relevant to engaging in effective cross-cultural life and ministry.

Here, John Symons and Ian Grant, the course’s creators, describe how completing this training can help anyone with a passion for God’s mission in the world! In particular, IMC will empower new field workers to maximise their impact once they arrive in their ministry context.

“How will this course help me prepare for long-term field work?”

“The content in these modules emerged from a comprehensive survey of our experienced field workers. We urged them to tell us what perspectives, principles and skills they considered were necessary for new cross-cultural witnesses. We believe that the 11 modules we’ve crafted, filmed and field-tested, will help people think through at least three critical areas: the attitudes with which they’ll approach their field ministry, what they’re going to do, and how they’ll go about it.

Engaging with the IMC perspectives will save both potential misunderstandings and time, once you’re amongst the people to whom you’re called. It’ll hopefully also prevent you from reinventing the wheel, setting off in a wrong direction, and ending up with broken relationships. Completing the course will challenge your attitudes, provide motivation, and instil confidence that you can start well, and genuinely learn your way into a great future!”

“So, how does this course differ from other training I might have already undergone, like university or Bible college degrees?”

“Our course is designed to challenge mindsets, provoke thinking and impart vital skills, rather than to provide a ‘complete knowledge base’ for people. It’s designed to initiate people into the whole cross-cultural dimension, by raising awareness of issues that are generally invisible when working in a largely mono-cultural context. We desire to make you go and discover more, or to provoke further enquiry in a specific area that you think you’ll need in your ministry context.

IMC is very strongly focused on the range of work in which ACCI mission, relief and development workers in particular, are likely to be engaged. It’s quite pragmatic, and oriented to the process through which onboarding team members will progress, in order to become ACCI field workers. Being able to craft the course this way was one of the motivations for creating it. We do strongly encourage people to also choose any other qualification, education or training that will accurately qualify them for their anticipated ministry context.”

“How important is it that people engage with these insights and skills before they embark on long-term field work?”

“No one course, can provide all the answers, or help people avoid all the pitfalls, however, we believe IMC will push people in the right direction. Its most important result is that it will help focus your mind on asking the right questions! This will get you thinking in the right direction and pursuing the right information, which should launch you in the right direction. It will also hopefully improve your ability to deal with pitfalls, should you stumble upon them!”

“How can people get the most out of it?

“We’d say that as you engage with, and work through this course, you’ll need to be thinking about how the materials you’re reading and hearing impacts the context in which you intend to minister. For example, how does it impact the ministry in which I anticipate I’ll be involved? You’ll need to engage with the course on that level and discuss the issues that arise from that thinking with their field supervisor.”

“I’m in! Can I sign up for free?”

“Yes, you can sign up immediately! And you get our first module, and one other module for free! The course is online right now, at acci.talentlms.com/catalog and can be started at any time, with new modules being released every month.”

Module 1 – Welcome! God’s Mission – Your Place! Available now!
Module 2 – A Biblical Theology of Mission. Available now!
Module 3 – Culture, Worldview and Belief Systems. Available now!
Module 4 – Cross-Cultural Communication Strategies. Available now!
Module 5 – Biblical Responses to Injustice. Available now!
Module 6 – Planting and Developing Churches in Context. Available now!
Module 7 – Self and Family Care. Available July 1, 2020
Module 8 – Working with Others on the Field. Available July 1, 2020
Module 9 – Managing Effective Ministries and Organisations. Available August 1, 2020
Module 10 – Supporter and Funding Engagement. Available September 1, 2020
Module 11 – Child Safe. Available January, 2021

Hope College

Mozambique

In 2000, Hope College was established in Beira, Mozambique. Since then, ACCI field worker, Robbie Housen, has seen over 50 churches planted in 7 out of the 10 Provinces across Mozambique, and countless lives and communities impacted by the Gospel. The College is a live-in leadership, mentoring, training and church planting centre raising up the next generation of leaders in Mozambique.

In March, 2019, Mozambique was hit by cyclone Idai. The cyclone caused extensive damage to the college, including Robbie’s home. However, due to the incredible generosity of churches and individuals in Australia, Hope College has been reopened and the college is continuing to be rebuilt.

As Robbie looks to the future it is extremely important that Hope College continues to create leaders that build hope, empower change and shape the future, not only of the nation but of the leaders being produced.
In the video below, Robbie thanks all those who helped support Hope College in the aftermath of cyclone Idai.

Called to serve and teach: Phillip Porcheron

Philippines

It wasn’t long after Phillip Porcheron was saved that he felt God calling him to missions. Not knowing where or how God would use him, Phillip began serving faithfully in his church, taking whatever opportunity he could to learn and grow in his faith. He served as a musician, home group leader, deacon and later, as a lay pastor. He also attended Bible college and worked with Teen Challenge as a counsellor and coordinator.

In 2007, some 25 years after he first felt the call to full-time missions, Phillip moved to the island of Samar in the Philippines. After working initially with pastors he’d established relationships with during previous short-term trips, Phillip began forging new paths. Since 2017, he’s ministered in Catarman City, northern Samar, a very underdeveloped region where people lead very basic lives.

Here Phillip works in partnership with the Filipino AOG to run a Bible college program, through ICI College, for potential pastors who will one day plant churches in the area. “It is difficult to get graduates from Bible colleges outside of the area to volunteer to be pastors in northern Samar, as conditions here are difficult for pioneering, [so] the best option for securing long-term pastoral leadership is to raise up local church members who demonstrate a potential for leadership,” he says.

Phillip also ministers in existing churches in his area and is heavily involved with getting any new church plants off the ground; often providing initial ministry and administrative support. With the help of teams from Australia and local churches, he also runs evangelistic campaigns in Samar to help lay the groundwork for future churches. In fact, in June 2019 during one of these campaigns, he and the visiting team from Australia saw more than 1,000 people give their life to Christ, with many also receiving prayer and experiencing miraculous healings.

“[We then] follow up those who make a commitment to Christ at the crusades, develop Bible study groups with these converts and eventually form these groups into house churches,” Phillip says. “Once the churches are established, then larger facilities can be rented for holding services and allowing for growth. At that point, the churches will be registered with the [Filipino AOG] … and administered under the local district leader.”

In 2020, Phillip will continue to train and develop leaders and assist with church plants; he also plans to start a Bible study in his home. “Eventually, I hope to develop this into a house church and raise up a local leader to become the pioneer pastor of the church,” Phillip says.

Equipping the next generation of Iranian Christian leaders: Blair and Althea

In April 2017, after almost 10 years serving with Teen Challenge – first in Kazakhstan and then in Georgia – Blair and Althea and their sons Locky and Jesse made the move into a new mission field. They now work as part of Christ International Church Mission (CIC); a live-in discipleship program which provides Bible training and community development skills for new Iranian Christians.  

The goal of CIC – as the video below explains – is to bring new Christians to Georgia for one year and train and equip them to plant new churches in their country of origin or the surrounding region. The community development skills they learn in the program – which include dairy farming, fruit growing and other agricultural practices – help them to develop self-sustainable ministries, as well as knowledge they can share with others. 

CIC’s director Reza says CIC is meeting an important need, given the lack of discipleship available for Christians within Iran. “The growing Church in Iran needs leaders and there is a great need for discipleship,” he says. “The people trained here will be able to become independent Spirit-filled disciples who can transform the nation and communities in Iran by the gospel and [through] development.” 

As well as training new Christians to take the gospel back into Iran and surrounding countries, CIC team members and students minister to Iranian tourists and visitors to Georgia. They start conversations, give out Bibles or flash drives full of digital content, pray with them and invite them to church. CIC also has a ministry on social media which is reaching countless people in Afghanistan and Iran.  

Althea says in a day-to-day sense, she works primarily as a cashier for the training centre and the CIC church that meets there, while Blair is an all-rounder – helping within the Bible school, in the community development areas and mentoring students. They both also serve in the leadership team of their church. “We have our specific roles within the ministry but being missionaries, we also put our hands up if there are other needs – for example, cleaning, helping with transport, translation,” Althea says. “Blair has many years’ experience in counselling (through his work with Teen Challenge), so he often spends time with the English-speaking students if they have any issues in regards to family, faith, etc.” 

Althea says the family is happy to be where they know God has planted them. 

“Serving God and being in the place where you know He has planted you [is] always exciting,” she says. “It excites us seeing the openness of the Iranian believers and their desire to grow more in their faith. We feel very privileged and blessed to be in this place at this time, working with this ministry.”  

Training up children in the word: Katrina and Isac Condesse

In Beria, Mozambique, Katrina and Isac Condesse are supporting churches to build stronger children’s ministries. Through The Living Word Ministries, the Condesses have developed a Biblically based children’s church curriculum which they provide to churches, alongside training for children’s church leaders. They also provide general ministry support and encouragement for pastors by hosting regular training seminars. And each year, the team provides school bags to local children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In 2019, ACCI’s 1Day program supported The Living Word Ministries’ school bag project, as well as recovery efforts after Cyclone Idai.

School bags for children

In 2016, The Living Word Ministries begun ‘the school bag project’.

It started with the team buying school bags for seven children from disadvantaged families, who they had come into contact with through their children’s programs in local churches. The next year, it grew to 100 bags. And in 2019, with the help of ACCI’s 1Day program, 110 children were able to receive a bag; along with a special Christmas lunch to celebrate.

Katrina says the bags – which contain two exercise books, two pencils, an eraser, ruler and sharpener – can be a big help for struggling families at the start of a school year.
“We have many testimonies of grandparents who are struggling to raise their grandchildren and are so thankful for our love; they have told us that it’s given them hope,” Katrina says. “We also encourage the pastors who we partner with in this to use this project to reach out into their community, so that it is not just families with their church who receive the bags but community families who may not go to church … It’s been such a blessing to be able to help these families!”

Recovering from Cyclone Idai

In March 2019, Cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, causing widespread devastation and loss of life. In Beira, Katrina and Isac’s home and ministry was impacted, as well as many of the churches they work with. Yet in the aftermath, they witnessed God’s faithfulness in helping them rebuild and open new doors. As Katrina explains…

“Because of the cyclone, I spent a lot of time working alongside Samaritan’s Purse, being a voice for 20 local churches. For example, I was able to negotiate 50 tarps for each church, which is a total of 1,000 tarps! The tarps were for the churches to help rebuild their own place of worship, as well as use as an outreach to help bring hope and healing to the community. We encouraged each church to give ten tarps to people in the community who were not from their church and help these people put their tarps up and to develop relationship with these 10 new families. We were also able to give some tarps to local schools and neighbours, which was a great outreach for our ministry.

Through working with Samaritan’s Purse, we also made new contacts with many different pastors and since then have helped Samaritan’s Purse to host three different pastors’ seminars. Aside from this, I was also asked to speak at a youth conference, a woman’s conference and a church conference – all of this was a result of the cyclone.

Another major shift in our focus after the cyclone was to focus on prayer and fasting. I had already been feeling a need to start a prayer and fasting group but hadn’t been sure how or when but the cyclone catapulted us into what has become an amazing part of our ministry. We started with 2-3 people but now have a core group of 15-20 people. And if everyone came, we’d have 30-35 people! These people come from eight or nine different churches and God has been doing a deep, cleansing, healing and restorative work in the hearts of the people and in the life of the Church. Many people in the group have testified how this prayer and fasting has transformed their lives!

Cyclone Idai turned our lives upside down and we faced many challenges but at the same time as Cyclone Idai was a challenge, Cyclone Idai was a blessing. We expanded our ministry and made great connections and saw God moving in our lives to the glory of His name. A cyclone affects you mentally, physically and even spiritually, so we had to really depend on God. As we trusted in Him, our faith grew. God’s provision is real in our lives!”