Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 2012 Update ANNUAL REPORT

Working Together Brings Results...

As the end of the year approaches my mind turns to holidays, family and of course stopping and reviewing our work in order to share with you how together we have effectively increased the Kingdom of God. As I do this it is my intention to share with you in hopes that you as friends and supporters will sense God’s hand in our work and how valuable your partnership with us has been.

As you take time to read through this report please know that it would be impossible without you joining with us to accomplish these results. Together, we have been used by God to expand his kingdom, see hope come to thousands, and new futures created for many, many lives.

Personal: This year has been exceptionally hard, as we have arrived at a ministry place where many activities have been divested to others. That’s right we have grown the ministry to the place where we have giving many duties to other people at United World Mission. This transition, though great, was hard. I’ll explain more throughout the report on the deeper steps we are taking post transition.

For many of you who have walked this road (over 14 years as a missionary) with us you know we have three adult kids (two married and one single mom) and five grandchildren. There are several prayer points here as Kristen has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease called Ankylosing spondylitis and Lupus. She is still figuring out what her limitations are and how she will move forward but we as a family are committed to her and Bailey, now 13. 

Recently Matt’s wife, Devon went through successful spinal surgery and is recovering and doing a lot better. Their two kids, Lilly and Scarlett, are now 9 and 3 years old. Matt is working part-time to repair scientific robotic instrumentation and would love full time employment but the economy seems to have dampened this industry sector.  

Jason and Laura have survived the downturn in the economy and their business continues to move forward. Their children, Hannah (9) and Christian (7) love the outdoors and NASCAR. 

Cathy and I have celebrated 35 years of marriage this past July and miss each other more than ever when I travel. It’s great to have all the kids and grandchildren living around us.

Financially: Our ministry account could use some bolstering and this coming year we will have to take time to strengthen it. We have about 60 supporters and are looking for another 25 or so that will allow us to continue strong into the future. If you want to consider this you can email or call me and I will give you specifics about our needs.

Our annual budget is $87,000, which includes salary, taxes, medical, administrative service fees, ministry expenses, travel, etc. We normally have commitments for $50,000 per year and then I find other income like church consultations, etc. to fill in the gap. The $87,000 may sound like a lot but for those of you in business for yourself you know that as a self-employed person (which missionaries technically are) you must pay for everything thus you have both the employers costs as well as the employees cost for taxes, etc. This is the practical reality of being a missionary in today’s world and one the IRS watches.

Ministry: Off loading some responsibilities to other fellow workers allows us to expand and drill down into other areas such as building partnerships between churches, businesses, and talented individuals and international leaders and believers around the world. We have assisted in developing 15 working partnerships from Latin America to Asia. Kevin Mason  and Billy Dempsey are two great colleagues that are very capable and talented.So the team is growing and we are adding a few new faces in 2013 too.

Most of you know that world has changed dramatically from a North American mission movement where the United States was the primary sender of missionaries to a global movement where people from every nation are entering the missionary work force. An example of this is that this year I spent time training a Venezuelan mission director for their denomination. They intend to send people to Panama and Cuba next year and are praying about India in the future. I also bought gas in Venezuela for $.09 a gallon. That's right, 9 cents per gallon!

I will be collaborating on a project to develop a training center in Panama to train Latin American missionaries for the world. We are in discussions with several partners and hope to get started in the fall of 2013. 

In this new era building collaborating partnerships and networks are essential. These collaborative efforts catapult God’s desires for a global church impacting the world to new heights. God’s church is one that is expanding as it worships Him and reaches neighbors with the gospel and holistic needs that confront injustice, poverty, health and educational challenges. We must connect, coordinate, and integrate movements of many people from several nations and organizations across cross-cultural visions and understandings. Each one is like creating a small merger between companies. It takes patience and skill. Here are a few church planting and expansion initiatives we have been working on:

1. Micro Bank: Helping Indian partners institute a micro bank that is lending to the poorest of the poor resulting in families lives and futures being changed, an income stream for their evangelist/church planters, and providing improvements to communities like clean water and education. When you look into the eyes of a person who has been drinking clean water for a month you see the difference. When it is a church that supplies that water your see salvation! The group we partnered with, MEDIC, has more than 250 banks worldwide with 5000 loans in place. I want to help them expand their base of capital in order to continue their holistic church planting efforts. If you want to make an investment in this type of work please let me know.

    2. Church Planter/Leadership Training: The only way the church can grow is through the deliberate development of leaders at every level. In Cuba we have establish a multi-denominational training initiative across  24 denominations. Imagine as you read this new churches are being planted in small homes even though the government tries to stamp out the gospel. Though leaders are harassed, sometimes jailed, and often denied basic needs these courageous leaders continue to build the church. I’m actually looking for more US based businesses, churches and talented individuals to join this partnership as we expand the network… interested? 

     3. Islamification of Europe: This is a term, which refers to the changes we see in Europe. With Muslims moving into Europe in greater numbers they will congregate in communities of like-mindedness. Just as the United States experiences immigration, which produces ethnic communities Europe is made up of the same ethnic community structures but at a much more alarming rate. Several countries soon will teeter on the edge of becoming an Islamic nation (where the Muslim population exceeds the indigenous population) within the next few decades.

This new initiative, which is so sensitive I can’t name it here, is on the move. We have built a database of Islamic groups numbering hundreds of thousands, where they live and whether or not there are any ministries, mission efforts or European national churches engaging them. We are at the point of building profiles and advocating for groups to adopt them for prayer and placement of believers that will live in their communities living out the gospel of Jesus to them and starting new churches. If you or your group want to be an advocate, prayer partner, or perhaps what to move to Europe to live in an Islamic community please, let’s talk.

As I mentioned these partnerships take a lot of time, travel, and ingenuity. As a facilitator I am working across many cultures creating collaboration, mutual respect and genuine relationships. All this effort rises and falls on prayer. Please join us in praying for these efforts. The enemy is real. We have experienced his attacks, but it is worth it.

Cathy and I need you. Please hear that. CATHY AND I NEED YOU. We have enjoyed 14 years of relationship and partnership in the gospel. We have seen thousands of new churches planted each filled with people like Toi, Jose, Angelica, Mohammad, and Tonkunda. We have seen clean water brought to villages, medical care provided and people healed, new futures built by helping establish family and small businesses and helping national churches creating income in order to allow for greater growth. All these efforts result in people finding Jesus, hope and new life. You are a critical part of this effort.

Ever month I tell a story of the work we do on our blog; This seems to be the most effective way to keep everyone updated. You’ll also note that these updated get posted on Facebook. If you are not getting them just call me, drop me a text (7045170255) or email me at:

All of us are human and deal with life situations that are hard but in spite of those we sense the overwhelming hand of God in our lives. Proverbs 17:17 expresses it well; “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Another verse that I love is Ecclesiastes 4:10; “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Please know that we are very thankful for your love, friendship, prayer, and support. We are proud to serve with each of you. Please accept this annual report with all our love.

This is your investment. This is your joy. Merry Christmas!

Mark Szymanski

Won’t you please consider joining our financial support team? You can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see Thank you to our present supports that allow us to impact the many lives across the planet. Again, THANKS!


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