By Keith McFarland, NHICF Principal, Staff since 2004
Transformation. It is an incredible word. The Greek meaning is more like metamorphosis- the complete change of form or character. This is the heart of the Institute of Childcare and Family- New Hope’s twenty week course designed to equip men and women for effective ministry to the fatherless around the world. It is a true “journey of transformation and relationship” that goes deep into the heart in the context of the community of believers gathered here. Over the past TEN years, NHICF has gone through its own transformation, even as it has been used as God’s vessel of transformation in the lives, marriages, families and ministries of hundreds of God’s people from around Uganda and the world.
On September 22nd over 150 graduates of the Institute gathered together to celebrate God’s work in their lives and ministries and to give thanks to God for the work of the Institute over the past 10 years. Testimonies were sweet, as was the time for re-connecting and refreshment in God’s Word. The messages sought to re-kindle passionate pursuit of Jesus and the living out of His transformation through lives that radically impact other people, children, and ministries.
Ten years ago Laura Beth and I were a part of the very first class. Newly married, we were trying to figure out life and ministry together. In many ways I was still a boy trying to figure out what it means to be a man, how to lead the gift of a wife God had given me, and how to effectively minister to at-risk children. In the twenty weeks of the Institute God called me into manhood, grounded our marriage and family, and equipped us for living fruitful lives of ministry in any context. We were transformed. And we are still being transformed.
Over the past ten years we have watched our amazing Father God transform the Institute as He has taken us deeper into the life-transforming power of the Gospel. We have gone deeper in worldview and our cultures’ impact on all areas of life, idols and the wounds of the heart, the Glory of God and a true God-centered worldview, the orphan heart and the Fatherhood of God, the Gospel and spiritual adoption, manhood and womanhood, singleness, marriage and family, parenting and shepherding the hearts of our children, suffering and the Gospel, biblical counseling, the storyline of Scripture, bible interpretation and application, Christian education, and more.
Over these ten years we have had the joy of watching the spiritual and physical fatherless come into intimate relationship with God as their Father. We have witnessed hard and wounded hearts be confronted, redeemed and set free. We have seen men and women come into a secure identity as men and women of God. We have watched struggling and broken marriages find new foundations, new life, and new intimacy. We have witnessed men and women gain confidence in the Word of God and their ability to teach it to others and minister to those in need. And we have seen ministries transformed through the lives of these men and women living out the Gospel in their ministry context.
These ten years have witnessed us train 165 of our own STAFF from over twenty different tribes and all together over 300 men and women from 15 other nations. The Institute is impacting local churches through its Pastoral Training Institute- serving as God’s vessel of transformation and equipping for local pastors, their families and churches. The Institute is also being lived out and offered in Kenya and India through former students who own the heart and vision and desire to see others experience Gospel-transformation.
Yet this is just the beginning. As God expands the reach of the Institute beyond Uganda, beyond Kenya and India, we are anticipating more Institutes in more countries, both for the building up of ministries to the fatherless and for the building up of Jesus’ Church around the world. Transformation. We like that word. Feel free to come and join us on this journey.