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Partner of the Month: John & Mary Beth Flippen

Meet John and Mary Beth Flippen, Crown’s Partners of the Month, currently serving at the Crown Stewardship Center in Malawi. Recently, they shared these compelling stories from their work during a Testimony Day, where local trainees recounted life-changing experiences like restored marriages and improved agricultural yields through Crown’s biblical stewardship teachings. Their innovative approach to storytelling has not only spread these principles effectively across communities but has also embedded Crown’s impact deeply into local cultures. We know you will be inspired by their journey from California mission trips to becoming integral figures in discipleship and sustainable development in Africa, emphasizing the transformative power of small steps toward lasting change.

You can read additional updates from the Flippens in this recent update or this update from last summer here.

Resilience and Hope: Fredrick Phiri’s Journey Amid Zimbabwe’s Drought

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We share this recent update from our partner, Fredrick Phiri, in Zimbabwe.  He attended one of our first “I Was Hungry” classes in Zimbabwe and he is one of our most active African Money Map trainers. (Fredrick actually learned English by reading the African Money Map!)

Img 20240610 Wa0007Recently Frederick faced significant challenges when he lost all his crops to the current drought. With his oldest son moving in after his grandmother’s passing and the addition of a newborn baby, the pressure mounted. He expressed his fear of not being able to feed his five children or afford their schooling. Fredrick had no livestock and a shallow well without power for the pump or a hose.

A partner in Zambia suggested that Fredrick start by planting a small garden. Fredrick acted immediately, and with the solar panels and hose donated by friends of Crown, he started his garden. Shortly after, a pastor visiting his town needed an interpreter, and Fredrick volunteered. The pastor’s gratitude came in the form of money, which Fredrick used to buy five chickens. Despite the worsening drought, the vegetable garden and chicken eggs have become their main food source. Fredrick continues to work hard, hoping for rain and asking for prayers for provision for his family and many others in Africa facing similar hardships. The photos below show the garden’s initial success and its current struggle, alongside a picture of Fredrick’s healthy baby, Mufaro.

Crown could not accomplish our mission of spreading biblical stewardship principles around the world without the efforts of people like Fredrick. Join us in continuing to pray for Fredrick and his family and that God provides strength in his continued ministry efforts.

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Rejoicing in God’s Achievements Throughout Latin America

So many exciting developments are unfolding across Latin America, and we are thrilled to share these encouraging updates and photos with you. From impactful financial training programs to entrepreneurial education and leadership development, the region is buzzing with positive change and growth.

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The Centro Cristiano de Liderazgo Siglo XXI Cenfol La América church in Medellín, Colombia, is thrilled to announce the graduation of 20 individuals who successfully completed a 12-week personal finances study. This achievement is mirrored by the Centro Cristiano La Gran Comisión church, also in Medellín, where 38 people graduated from the same small group study. We pray that these biblical financial principles will continue to spread throughout the region as the graduates train others in these essential skills.

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In May, we launched the second cohort of the Crown Español Entrepreneurship School, “Crown Emprendedor,” led by Gonzalo Aranda. This cohort includes 13 entrepreneurs with seed-stage businesses from Costa Rica, the United States, Colombia, and Venezuela. Throughout the program, participants have been learning key business concepts related to sales, human resources, management, and leadership. We pray that this knowledge will significantly impact their businesses and communities.

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Additionally, we recently received reports of 98 leaders being trained last month by our dedicated team of volunteers in Panama. This training took place both in person, at various churches located in Panama City and Cáceres, Arraiján, and via Zoom. We praise God for the faithfulness of these volunteers and their commitment to leadership development.

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Last month marked the launch of the Emanuel Stewardship Unit at the Emanuel Foundation in Bolivia. Seven women graduated and received their certificates after completing a seven-month training program called “Stewardship of the Land,” provided by our partners at Fundación Apoyo Bolivia.

Join us in praising God for the incredible work He is doing throughout Latin America. We ask for your continued prayers for the dedicated leaders within these communities as they inspire and guide others towards growth and raising up more faithful stewards.

Global Online Training Initiative

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Crown is thrilled to announce the ongoing success of our online training sessions, designed to enhance the expertise of our partners and foster global networking opportunities. Our latest series, “Bible on Money,” launched on May 7th, led by Curtis Anderson, Senior Director of US Urban Development. This series comprises five engaging Zoom sessions, and the curriculum offers an insightful exploration of biblical teachings on financial stewardship, focusing on the relationship between money, our hearts, and possessions.

The response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, with more than 20 participants from diverse backgrounds, representing 12 different countries including Burkina Faso, DRC, Haiti, Egypt, Mongolia, Namibia, Nigeria, Romania, Thailand, Turkey, Zambia, and the US. This cross-cultural participation enriches the learning experience, providing a unique platform for dialogue and understanding.

Feedback from attendees has been encouraging. One participant expressed his appreciation, stating, “Thank you so much again for this wonderful initiative. I will keep the recordings and will use them to enrich our presentations as it comes along.” The participant also highlighted the relevance of discussions on honesty and integrity, emphasizing the transformative impact of such teachings.

This series not only aims to educate but also to inspire action and reflection among our partners, ensuring they are well-equipped to apply these teachings in their respective contexts. We are proud to be a part of this journey and are committed to continuing our efforts in providing valuable learning experiences that resonate across borders.

Partner of the Month: MELTI

This month’s Partner of the Month is Dr. Wahid Wahba, our partner from Egypt.  He founded MELTI (Middle East Leadership Training Institute) in 2000 and in 2019 he established 4G3 (For the Glory Of God)  to support displaced and persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world. MELTI  focuses on empowering Christians to stand firm in their faith through strong biblical teachings and promoting financial transparency, contrasting with traditional practices in many Islamic communities where finances are typically male-controlled.

Since partnering with Crown in 2007, Dr. Wahid’s team has translated and distributed financial management materials across the region, reaching over 800,000 people. Their annual conference in Istanbul was notably impactful, introducing Crown’s financial teachings to attendees from 15 countries, with significant spiritual engagement among the youth. This initiative has continued to expand, highlighting the transformative combination of financial education and spiritual guidance.

Training Leaders in Brazil

In March of 2024, Crown staff visited the beautiful country of Brazil to speak at a conference with Crown Partners and leaders. For over two decades, we’ve empowered leaders across the nation, equipping them with materials to ignite change within their communities. With more than 20,000 active leaders leading small groups in churches nationwide, our collaboration has flourished, spreading God’s stewardship principles far and wide.

In this video, you will see highlights and testimonials from a few of the many Crown leaders in Brazil. As one Crown leader stated, “Being a Crown leader in fact, is a responsibility to the kingdom of God, because we have seen in our classes and also in our own lives that when people understand this principle, they serve the Lord more.”

Our alliance has amplified our reach, extending our impact beyond what we could have imagined. Together, we’ve touched millions of lives in Brazil, empowering individuals with the tools to thrive spiritually and financially. Join us in praising God for the incredible transformation we are seeing in Brazil.

Partner of the Month: Farm Stew

 

We are pleased to introduce you to this month’s Partner of the Month, Joy Kauffman, MPH, from the organization FARM STEW International. The partnership between FARM STEW and Crown has produced incredible results in translating and distributing resources globally. Through collaborative efforts, manuals like the Money Map and the FARM STEW “Recipe” manual have been translated into seven languages, reaching countless individuals worldwide. Together, we strive to serve the Lord and make a meaningful impact, recognizing the strength found in unity.

“Outrageous Joy” in Malawi

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John Flippen and his wife, Mary Beth, who faithfully serve in Malawi, shared this inspiring testimony:

“In 2023 Cyclone Freddy decimated the villages and fields surrounding Blantyre. Nine months later hunger, real hunger, was an ever growing and constant reality. Such is life in Malawi, the number four nation on the World Poverty Index.

One year after Cyclone Freddy, Mary Beth and I stood in Mtutile Village’s maize field. We were here by these Malawian villagers’ special invitation. “Come! See our fields!” was their joyously extended invitation to us. The I WAS HUNGRY training twenty Mtutile villagers had attended eight months ago was, for the villagers, a huge success. And, they could not contain their Joy. Showing off their fields was something never before done in Mtutile. Now with just two more months until harvest, Mtutile’s hard work, perseverance and the I WAS HUNGRY transformational training would soon put food, lots of it, back on the menu.

That evening, Mary Beth and I sat at home reflecting on this day’s privilege. “Babe, can you believe it? We got to play a small part in their outrageous joy!”

Just one year earlier I had sat in my car and eyeballed Mtutlie’s destroyed houses and fields. Instinctively I reached for my wallet as if it was a magic wand. Easy-Peezy! Sell a stock from our retirement fund and then throw money at the village’s problems! But I had learned this type of relief effort, although making the donor feel great, would not produce any lasting results. But today, I was witnessing overflowing joy. Smiles were all around. Mtutile’s abundant harvest had been produced from their own hard work.

Today’s joy and smiles are the effects of a marvelous new poverty alleviation tool. The I Was Hungry two-week training is a truly transformational combination of farming, finances, family and faith. Now when I visit Mtutlie village, I exit my car committed to the training, not to charity.

Mtutile’s extreme poverty was the entry point for Crown’s I Was Hungry. Their coming harvest will, in turn, produce a rich generosity. I now see the bit part Mary Beth and I were picked to play. “God, I get it. Everything we had earned and learned in our 35 year long careers is now in play here in Malawi. I no longer build with sticks and stones. God, our good God, has entrusted Mary Beth and I with building into His precious people. This is a new game with a new score book. ‘And God, thank you for true riches!’”

Partner of the Month: Conrad Kalonde Bwalya

 

Crown Partner, Conrad Kalonde Bwalya, shares about his passion for ministry and his vision for a stewardship center in Kenya, merging principles of farming, entrepreneurship, and faith. Through our partnership, he aims to establish a space where people can access knowledge of Kingdom work, sustainable business practices, and regenerative agriculture. Conrad shares his hope for a future where institutions of learning and emerging leaders can be equipped with these transformative principles, guiding them towards ethical entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship. Watching this video offers a glimpse into the impactful work being done and the potential for positive change in communities in Kenya.

Providing Hope in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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We recently received this letter from one of our dear partners, Mobali, who may sound familiar from past updates:

“Dear friends,

I am still trying to find the words to briefly outline what this first training at the Crown Stewardship Center in DRC meant not only for me but for those who participated.

In total, we had 20 registered, of these, 18 were able to participate, 2 more were unable to attend due to restrictions at their refugee camp. 13 of them were Muslims which made the training very special.

The Chief outlined that our training was more practical than usual. It was important for participants to walk through our demonstration fields, and be able to ask questions. They were surprised to see the methods we use and how our crops are growing. They were amazed when they saw our Pfumvudza plots of maize and soy and how much we could harvest from them. We covered Compost theory and we will do a practical follow-up in the upcoming weeks. Participants learned Foundations for Farming theory and practice and Crown African Money Map. We also had the opportunity to discuss some of the issues that affect this community such as hunger, lack of medical treatment, witchcraft, and lack of practical farming information.

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The training in general brought hope to the attendees. We want our trainings to be effective. For this reason, these participants will not receive a certificate of completion until they are able to build a Pfumvudza plot, have a healthy compost pile, and show that they have tracked their expenses for 3 months. We still have a lot of work to do as Cédric and myself will follow-up with them.

We could have not scheduled this training without your generous donation; thank you for making it possible and being part of it. There is still a lot to be done, and we would appreciate your prayers for our upcoming registration process and the growth of our center. We need God’s favor and grace to help and impact the community around us. May the Lord bless you!

With deep appreciation, Mobali”

Please continue praying for Mobali and the incredible work God is doing in the people of the DRC.