Monthly Archives: December 2012

most popular post of 2012: #4

Last pic from Belgrade

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CEO Year End Report and Appeal

Blog, Twitter and Facebook readers: This is a modification of a letter I sent out to folks who support our ministry through prayer and financial giving. The purpose of this letter is to inform people through  stories of our work, the cost of the work, what our need is and how people can get involved. This version, unlike the print version, has had personal names removed or changed and personal pictures removed for privacy issues. I may take privacy to far sometimes, but that’s just the way I am. If you are interested in learning more about our work (and maybe even giving to help us!), read on. Otherwise, you can go read my thoughts on my books read in 2012 by clicking here.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATORS OUTREACH
Tom Foley’s End of Year Report 2012        

Many of the cities of Central Europe are especially brightly lit this time of year. Beautiful Christmas markets fill the squares of cities, be they large or small. These markets are filled with stalls full of handicrafts, delicious food and drink…they make for a wonderful outing. But these cities, in what some call post-Christian Europe, are often largely devoid of the “Gospel of Christmas.” You and I are working with our partners and friends in ministry to make the Gospel of Christmas known in six foreign countries, and I thank YOU for being part of that effort. This time of year I am reminded that no matter what I face, whatever the day might bring, I need Jesus to press on. Is that true for you too?  So then, the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of God with us, Emmanuel  God knew our need, He felt our hurt and sent His son to be among us, to teach us, to die for us, and to rise again. Some say that the stable was actually in a cave. Perhaps it foreshadowed the tomb, both of which are empty, for He has risen! This is the Gospel of Jesus that we are working to share with a post-communist, post-Christian Europe, which is a wreck both economically and culturally. These peoples desperately need God’s influence in their lives and cultures.

In November of 2001, I sat in a cold office in Ukraine working with leaders to complete a grant application that would fund half of the cost to buy a former communist youth training camp. God had used the generous hearts of folks like you to provide the down payment. A Christian foundation then provided the final funding and we bought the camp! Afterward, God blessed us as I traveled to help with the development of a board and staff leadership. This past July, I returned to the camp for three days to speak to 175 teens and celebrate the tenth season since God provided for it. I was elated by what I saw. IMG_1175New, young leaders are giving their all to the ministry. It has never looked better and the Lord was at work in awesome ways! In those ten years, twelve thousand people of all ages have been blessed (like the kids in this pic!) and the future is very bright!

Almost ten years ago, I met a young Ukrainian leader in one of our partner organizations. He was full of enthusiasm and ideas. A few years later he asked me to become his mentor. I prayed and agreed. he and I began a discipling/mentoring relationship that continues today. God has developed him and allowed him greater and greater responsibility. He now travels around the world advocating for solutions for the orphan problem. God used CEO as tools in His toolbox that helped that young man grow into the maturing global leader that he is rapidly becoming. This would not be possible without our financial supporters. Thanks be to God for our supporters!

In southern Hungary (where CEO got its start almost thirteen years ago) new and newly invigorated youth and university ministries are impacting young people with the Gospel. We are working alongside these leaders on a regular basis. Through Skype calls and visits, I urge them to keep their hearts and minds turned toward God. Our impact in this city includes my opportunity for regular preaching in two of its churches, and conversations with leaders about their lives and ministries. We continue to invest in this college town of 250,000.
Having done a fair amount of traveling in the Balkans in the last few years,

wpid-IMG_1720.JPGI can attest to the need for more pastors and missionaries, especially in the nearby Muslim portion of Europe. The Lord has led us into an opportunity to use our gifts and expertise to be a part of helping insure the flourishing of a Bible school/seminary. A new teacher, just placed in that school in the Balkans recently finished her first semester of teaching. She writes about her partnership with CEO: “I came to CEO as an English teacher because, practically speaking, that is the area in which I feel I have the most to offer; it provides opportunity to help and minister to others. … From my relationship with CEO, I expect (and I have received) an adventurous learning experience that gives me the opportunity to foster my skills, guidance, and financial/logistical support.” We are thrilled to be supporting this first year teacher and others like her living the Gospel in schools.

As we look ahead to 2013, we are looking forward to helping schools do a better job teaching,and helping teachers in the schools live in such a way that students can know the Gospel and have it impact their lives. During the first half of the year, we are eagerly planning conferences and retreats where we will train elders and pastors to go back to their churches and make disciples. Over time, God has opened a lot of doors for me to serve other workers in the region.

wpid-2012-07-17_20-14-29_351.jpgThese stories you’ve just read are stories of people that God has used us to help. Through newly open doors, the Lord is moving us out to encourage and enable many church and ministry leaders. The kingdom is much bigger than our organization and we freely give of our experience and training to leaders, hoping that God will bless and bring fruit, and He does! We trust God’s word which reminds us that: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)

   I love to tell ministry stories, but I also want to give you some data that may help you see what we are doing, what it costs me to serve, and how you can help. Our organization finances are set up on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year, but I have done a bit of research and prepared some statistics for the calendar year about to end. These statistics are based on figures “to date” as of December 18th, and are provided as a snapshot of the work done and the cost of that work that you have invested in. Our CPA reviews our finances based on our fiscal year. You are welcome to examine that document.

Reach
Countries where we serve: Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and South Africa

Ministry partnerships abroad: 29

Number of cities and towns where we are invested: 11
Churches with whom we partner: 16
People impacted: 3000+

Cost
Number of days I invested serving abroad in 2012: 126
Approximate average daily cost for me to serve overseas: $79*
Average cost of flights to Eastern Europe for me (2012 trips): $1044
Financial support provided ministries abroad: just over $263,000 –

  • Facilitating education in Europe: 52%
  • Strengthening churches in Europe: 28%
  • Micro agricultural ministry to the poor in South Africa / care for orphans in Europe: 20%

Cost of administering the organization: $14,835; cost as a percentage – 5%**

Need
In order for us to help, train, love, and facilitate the twenty-plus ministries we support and to properly administer our organization, we need $41,000 per half year.***

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We have received, to date, $19,408 of the $41,000 needed by December 31st. When we do not meet our budget need, we cut expenses and rely on reserve funds. But cutting expenses means that support for and ministry alongside our partners may be curtailed. Our reserve fund is at a very low ebb. Therefore, to prevent further possible curtailing of ministry, we need your help. Please pray that God will use the generosity of his people to answer our need. Would you continue your partnership with us and send a gift today? We trust in Scripture which tell us: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10 ESV)

Our trust is in God as He bears fruit in the generous hearts of His people. I am thrilled at the blessings of God as He has moved in and through us this year. It is wonderful to see leaders grow deeper in their walks with God, then with their families, then, to see God work through them as newly invigorated leaders. I am thankful to God for the way He continues to open doors of opportunity for us. I am thankful to Him for working through generous hearts to provide us with the resources to take the Gospel of hope into some hard places. How blessed I am to have you on our team.
If you would indulge me in a personal note, I thank God for Anna, my wife of thirty-three years. I recently undertook an exercise in which I wrote down all the things that God has used CEO to do over our almost thirteen years as an organization. But you know, outside of God, there is no one who has given more to make that list possible than Anna. She works hard to help us make ends meet each month as we provide for our family together. Back in September, our second daughter, Rebecca, was married to an awesome young man, Lee. (Joanna had married Will last year and we are so blessed by both of these men who seek God!) At the wedding reception when I greeted those in attendance, I called Anna “my Proverbs 31 woman”, for she truly is. Her sacrifice over the years has been an amazing testimony of following God. Her willingness to allow me to travel is essential to our ministry. I am so very blessed. So, for Anna, I say thanks be to God.

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Thank you for your interest and for praying for our work. Would you join the effort that will help us start 2013 on solid financial footing? Whether it be $10, $50, $100 or $1000, you can glorify God through your generosity. You can use the envelope I have included to give by check (made payable to CEO) or visit us at www.ceokids.org/giving/  and learn how to give via credit card or learn about “matching gifts” and “gifts of stock”. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Anna and I, on behalf of all the folks at CEO, wish you a very Happy New Year that is filled with the love of God, from the Prince of Peace who brought us…

Peace from Grace,

Tom

________________

CEO is a tax exempt non profit organization under 501(c)(3) of the IRS code; it is accredited by ECFA and is qualified to receive tax deductible donations. Contributions are solicited and received with the understanding that Christian Educators Outreach has complete control over the use of donated funds.

CEO

P.O. Box 6578

Charlottesville, VA  22906

In accordance with the rules put forth by the IRS, only donations with a postmark on or before 12-31-2012 can have a receipt for 2012 tax purposes.

___________________________________________

* This figure is well below the State Department recommended range of $133-253 for lodging, meals & incidentals.
** This includes only 5% of my salary, as our CPA categorizes 95% of my salary as ministry cost, not administration.
*** The CEO board approves the “Mentoring, Recruiting and Admin budget” each year.

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Filed under experience

most clicked posts of 2012: #5

CONGRATS LEE AND BECCA

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what a journey

I was amazed at this planned journey…

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2012: my reading awards

Last Christmas my first born and husband gave me a small tablet with a Kindle app. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed reading on these devices. Here are my book awards from my reading in 2012:

The Most Resonated With Award: Crazy Love by Francis Chan  –  I had not resonated so much with a book since I read _Blue Like Jazz_ back in ’07(?), that is not to be inferred as my saying these are the same, just comparing my reaction.

The Most Needed to be Read Award: Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray  –  This was a powerful book that reminded me of the need to engage in intercessory prayer. Warning, Murray is a 19th century – early 20th century writer. I think I need to reread it (or at least my highlights) at the beginning of 2013.

The More People NEED to Read This Award: Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan –  I was so glad to find this book and read it. Even though the style is popular and, like much of Chan, a bit preachy, I wish all believers would read this book. It gives a well balanced and highly biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit. If this had existed back in the day, my Bible students would have had to read this.

The Just Because C.S. Lewis is in the Name Does NOT Mean It Is a Valuable Read Award: Calvin & C. S. Lewis: Solving the Riddle of the Reformation by Ferrier  –  The title of the award says it all.

The I Got Sidetracked and Must Finish Because It Is Awesome Award: What To Do? Thoughts Evoked By The Census of Moscow by Leo Tolstoy  –   This is an interesting narrative/essay of dealing with one’s wealth and he poverty that surrounds. His struggle is really helpful, to those in the west who really still do have so much, in thinking about how to reconcile our wealth with the poverty around us.

The Best Small Book Award:  TIE: Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen – AND – Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to the True Christian Joy by Tim Keller – I read Nouwen on a silent retreat at a monastery in the spring, and Keller on a Sabbath in Budapest this autumn. These are great resources for one’s spiritual development.

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a Christmas wish

May you know Christmas joy and may that joy permeate your home and your life through the twelve days of Christmas and on through 2013.

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Filed under culture, experience, seeking understanding, Uncategorized

are you ready for tomorrow’s weather?

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December 20, 2012 · 16:24