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Annual Report: In Ministry to Children (IMC) 2012

This Annual Report for the year 2012 was produced by the Executive Committee of Trustees and was first published on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting, April 15th 2013. Another annual report in about three months time!

Since this report was written…

…but the work continues as always!

I hope these few thoughts help provide some context, and update.

Every blessing to you and all in your church. Thank you for all you do to support the work of IMC among marginalised children and families in Colombia.

Yours Sincerely,

Paul Stockley.
(on behalf of the Trustees)

Dear Friends,

It is a very great pleasure and a very great sadness to present my final Annual Report for IMC. I will end it by paying tribute to all who have been concerned with the work, but I will start by saying that being a trustee of IMC has been an experience all of its own and one I will always treasure. To be part of any committee for eleven years and never once experience conflict of
interest or ego, to always find consensual answers to the day’s problems, and to combine this with close ties of trust and friendship is something rarely experienced in life. To serve the children of Colombia in the process is an extraordinary privilege.

My report is a brief summary of the work in Colombia and the effects it has had on our current thinking and actions in the UK.

In Colombia Alfredo has stepped down as President and Raúl has stepped up to follow in his footsteps. As some of you know, Raúl is pastor of a church in Bogotá which regards IMiC as its outreach project. Nancy and Raúl work well together and IMiC is receiving much help and encouragement from their members. For a long time, Nancy has been looking for solid backing from within Colombia so that the work is not so dependent on the UK; the church is making good progress in providing this.

Peniel Farm is home to many young boys whose families suffer domestic violence, or whose parents are drug users or are in prison. Juan–Carlos and Diana (two members of Raúl’s church) are serving as houseparents there with their only 14–year–old son, Sebastian, who enjoys being a great help to his new “younger brothers”.

The farm occasionally holds open days (with an entrance fee) to show others what can be done for the children of Colombia. The farm is fully stocked with animals, cared for by the Guzman family, and now has several small productive enterprises. This has fulfilled the original intentions of the agricultural funding which we signalled to Nancy would cease at the end of the year 2012. IMiC trades much of the farm produce to help balance the budget.

At our Dining Room in Fusa, Carlos continues to ensure that children are cared for in every respect, along with Sofia, our cook, who serves so faithfully. Now they have a wider impact on the neighbourhood through the Adventure Club on Saturday mornings, with its team of volunteers, including some of the older children who help to run this fun activity.

Lucy’s “Return to Life” day care programme is now housed in a much better property, and provides for some of the youngest and most vulnerable, as well as several school–age youngsters. Their charity shops selling second hand clothes help to pay the rent here. It was with great delight that we welcomed Jenyfer to England in October. She has been Nancy’s right hand lady in the Bogotá office for over ten years and, as all good PAs do, knows everything that has happened in that time. You might think I am describing someone of mature years, but she is still only 29 years of age and displays a wonderful commitment to IMiC and speaks about her work with such joy that everyone who meets her is gladdened by the experience.

While she was with us, we arranged a supporters’ evening in Petersfield. This was the first of its kind and was held to say thank–you to those who are already involved and to welcome those who have been showing interest in the work. One of the decisions taken by the trustees earlier in the year had been to encourage and include a wider range of support in the UK and the evening was our first step to achieving this.

Toward the end of the year we prepared ourselves for a day of thinking long term and our January meeting (2013), which was attended by Charles Farr, was our opportunity to review 2012 and start to reshape IMC in the light of events in Colombia. Praise God, with the gradually increasing support for the work from within Colombia and the independence of IMiC, we no
longer need to ask ourselves how we can help manage the programmes for the children, but only how best we can support them. As you may have noticed over the last couple of years, we have less influence already on day–to–day management issues and it is time to regard ourselves chiefly as a fundraising body for the work in Colombia. Perhaps the second most
important function is to maintain close personal relations with Nancy and all her team. As the work in Colombia has become more about helping families stay together than giving long term residential care to individuals, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain individual sponsorship. Seren has gently reorganized the scheme and the sponsors so that income goes to programmes of work rather than for specific individuals. Most sponsors have agreed to support the changes and no doubt progress will be monitored this year.

We are, as ever, very grateful to all of you for your support in every way that it has come. Thank–you to you who have prayed for the children so faithfully and powerfully this year. I have often wondered, when we are sitting in a meeting and the financial report from Paul is a bit grim, whether we should be more worried or whether we just need to look at what is happening and hear God saying to us that he has everything in hand and that he can make up for our weakness by his awesome power. We have seen that so many times and it does not happen without prayer.

Thank–you to you who have given up your time for the children this year. Whatever you have done has enriched the work and I can say, as I said last year, that if you visit Colombia, you will see that every moment and every action was more than repaid by events there.

Thank–you to you who have given so generously of your money in a time of recession when many charities have suffered terribly. No–one would say that our accounts look rosy or that we can put our feet up in contentment, but the work continues to develop with Nancy’s extraordinary guidance under God.

And now it is time to thank those with whom I have worked over the years. Firstly retired trustees, David and Sue Hall, Liz Studd, Suzanne Doherty, Ian Brons. We stand on your shoulders, the shoulders that with Terry and Joan made James Beaunaux’s vision of a safe house full of ex–street children in the Andes come true.

To the current trustees, what can I say without embarrassing you or myself? Paul, Sharon, David, Seren, Chris and Carole. Thank–you on behalf of everyone here for giving yourselves to the work and for being the best committee I have ever been a part of. It is a privilege to know you and to call you all friends; I look forward to serving you and IMC into the future.

For Terry and Joan, on behalf of us all here, thank–you for your continued presence, influence and inspiration. I have spent the last five or so years preparing my son Daniel to take over our farm business. I know exactly how hard it is, not just the giving up of responsibility to others, but seeing the precious jewel that you found and gave your life to in the hands of others,
trusting that they will cherish it as you have.

You have been instrumental in bringing everyone here together in this great work and we give thanks that you have.

Jeremy Burdett (chair)

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