We are launching our Richmond training home in just a few months! It’s been an amazing journey as more and more pieces have fallen into place. At the same time, we are breaking ground on a fourth training home. This home will serve our southern California Watts community. And since there's been a strong desire for more training homes in more cities, we've launched a training home partnership and World Impact's SIAFU Network. The SIAFU Network (pronounced See-AH-foo), is a relatively new creation, but one that will be very influential in the months and years to come. It's named after an East African ant, and the concept is that there's "power in unity."
A single ant is virtually harmless. Although it can bite, one ant is nothing more than a nuisances. But when many ants come together, they become a powerful force. In just one colony is an average of 5,000 to 18,500 ants. A single queen can lay anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 eggs. These tiny predators hide in the deep forest awaiting their next meal. Mostly feasting on a carnivore diet, Siafu ants have an amazing digestive system allowing them to dissolve almost any living creature. In fact, one colony can dissolve and eat an entire cow within hours.
The SIAFU Network is a national association of chapters designed to unite urban churches and city ministries. These chapters help identify, equip and release spiritually qualified servant leaders to reach and transform our neediest communities in urban America. In addition, urban Christian men and women can inspire each other, teach each other and work more effectively together. SIAFU assists urban pastors and leaders in taking more responsibility for their lives, family, community, church and personal well-being. It advances the Kingdom of Christ in the city, while at the same time, unifies urban leaders and teachers across the nation.
We believe the development of “SIAFU Leadership Homes” will also further strengthen the national identity of the SIAFU network. Much like a college fraternity offers communal support and lasting friendship, the SIAFU Network provides a missions-based family for the urban worker. Anyone who's dedicated their life to ministry, knows there can be times of deep loneliness and distraction. For post incarceration leaders, this is especially true. Loneliness will often drive a person back to a familiar, yet unhealthy lifestyle such as a gang. But a national Christian organization like SIAFU will be the uniting force that's needed.
Exciting days are ahead! We look to accelerate church planting and leadership development by strengthening existing urban churches. We feel strongly that the future of urban church planting is connected to our TUMI students soon to be released from prison. World Impact West includes: San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno and the Bay Area. Please be praying for me as I try to make the right decisions in these cities and move forward with our training homes, missionaries and local staffers.