This year FPM began its process of metamorphosis. When we first started this adventure nearly ten years ago, we envisioned being part skunkworks and part advocacy-resource center for healthier mission models. In other words, we wanted to wanted to persuade folks to rethink their approaches to mission, and we wanted to walk our talk by putting our ideas into practice on a larger scale than we as individuals had done before. There was a problem in those early days, however. Our assertions challenged conventional wisdom about mission projects, and our work at the time looked like just some crazy people taking long risky bike rides. Who was going to financially support or even listen to us?
Thankfully, you believed in us. Over the years, those bike tours resulted in deep and lasting boundary-crossing friendships, which then resulted in fruitful collaborations on numerous locally-led projects and programs. Many lives have been changed and even saved by FPM-financed initiatives—especially since each year the El Dorado Nursing School produces another wave of nurses and midwives, and our graduated scholarship recipients are serving in rural communities all along the Congo River in the North Katanga and Tanganyika Conferences. In July, we celebrated the grand opening of another collaborative project: the new women’s vocational training center in Mulongo, which to Teri’s surprise was named in her honor.
Now that we’ve proven the effectiveness of our missiology, it is time to re-embrace our vision of being a mission education resource center. Taylor, who just submitted her ThD thesis, Decolonizing Mission Partnerships, has a number of speaking and teaching gigs lined up this spring. Her calendar already includes teaching the Course of Study section on mission at Wesley Seminary, guest-speaking at Boston University’s Intro to Mission course, leading a workshop at The UMC’s North East Jurisdiction’s Mission Academy, and serving as a panelist at Global Ministries’ Bicentennial Conference. The manuscript to Biking Bob’s second book is currently being edited by Dr. Kate Koppy, and we plan to offer it and eventually other books for purchase in the coming years. For those who desire an immersive learning experience, Rev. Glen Robyne (Purdue U.) and Rev. Joseph Mulongo will be leading an FPM trip in summer 2019. The itinerary includes a tour of Africa U. in Zimbabwe, a visit to Victoria Falls, and a bike ride in North Katanga up to Mulongo, DR Congo. Spots are still available.
Ramping up our focus on mission education does not mean we are abandoning our collaborations and strategic fundraising assistance for FPM leaders in Congo. In fact, we are in the process of officially expanding FPM initiatives into the Tanganyika Conference, with Freddy Kitwa (based in Kalemie) as our newest official team leader. We are counting on our friends like you to help us finance this work.
As always, much of what results from your contributions to FPM cannot be quantified, but plenty of things can. Below are some of the ways we used your gifts in 2018:
Providing Full-Tuition Scholarships:
Supporting Children and Youth:
From our homes to yours, we wish you peace and joy this Christmas.
Your friends at FPM
(Taylor, Joseph, Lana, Freddy, Teri, Willy, Bishop Mande, and all the team)