“Partnering with local leaders in challenging places worldwide to build the church and transform communities in the name of Jesus.”
This mission statement drives Partners International (PI) to remote corners of dozens of countries around the world. From Peru to Nigeria to India, PI is committed to identifying, training and resourcing local leaders across the globe towards ministry excellence and sustainability.
Every partnership is 100% locally-led. PI knows the power of building up local capacity to create long-term change in the local community. Their approach has proven to be effective for the Kingdom, time and time again, since their start in 1963.
One example of PI’s long-standing and life-changing partnerships is with Beginning of Life (BOL) in Moldova.
Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Ukraine and Romania. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova has suffered from extreme economic instability, becoming one of the poorest countries in Europe. Due partly to such low economic positioning, and other social factors, many young men and women are seduced, bribed or forced to travel to other countries across Europe and end up being trafficked.
Others are leaving Moldova voluntarily, feeling there is no future for their home country under such political corruption.
“Over the last 25 years, a mass exodus of Moldovans has taken place as people search for work and a better future,” shares Serghei Mihailov, BOL Executive Director in a recent interview with PI.
Because of this, leadership development is one of the most requested programs in Moldova.
“Moldova desperately needs a generation of leaders with a vision to reshape society. Finding locals, like the staff at BOL, who are passionate and hopeful for the future of Moldova, is rare and extremely valuable in this part of the world,” he continued.
That’s why BOL created the Studio of Innovative Leadership with the hopes of developing a new era of local leaders who seek to change their context, rather than abandon it. The Studio of Innovative Leadership offers courses for young leaders to help them in the area of personal leadership, community development and social enterprise. The Studio, along with BOL’s other core programs, has seen huge success in recent years.
“To date, over 1,200 people have been trained and equipped in 10 different communities in Moldova through the Studio of Innovative Leadership, 100,000 youth have been impacted by BOL’s Children and Youth Development Programs, and 90 victims of human trafficking have been reintegrated back into society,” states the PI website.
Serghei notes that “BOL is considered a very unique ministry in Moldova because it was founded by nationals, people who understand the context, who can relate and find the best ways to solve the problems—to bring light in the darkest places.”
PI’s new Canadian President, Darren DeGraaf, echoes this same sentiment about the rest of PI’s global work in the most recent Annual Report:
“I am new this year to my role at Partners International, but have been overwhelmed by the effective, passionate, and truly transforming work that is being fueled by the dedicated staff and volunteers in our office. They spend every day prayerfully connecting Canadians and international leaders to advance God’s kingdom in places where the light of Christ’s love is piercing the darkness.”
The Charis Foundation is pleased to be on mission with PI as they share Christ’s light in a world that so desperately needs it.