2016 In Photos

We can't entirely exhaust ourselves trying to write a review of all the wonderful things that took place this year with G.O.D. International. But we can at least give you a visual reminder of 2016, though there's always more to say, we're sure. We pray this short photo story encourages you in this new year. The LORD has given us enough time to do what he's given each of us to do: love him, love our neighbor, learn his Word and do it. We are content, and honored, to do just that, and pray the same for you! 

In the midst of a refugee crisis worldwide, we did what we could to help the refugees in our hometown, according to the services we have to offer: Bible studies, childbirth education and labor support, and drivers education courses. Special friendships were formed, especially when all of three of those needs were met for some precious families from Burma. Their hunger for the Word and desire to do their very best for their children is something we will not forget. 

In the midst of a refugee crisis worldwide, we did what we could to help the refugees in our hometown, according to the services we have to offer: Bible studies, childbirth education and labor support, and drivers education courses. Special friendships were formed, especially when all of three of those needs were met for some precious families from Burma. Their hunger for the Word and desire to do their very best for their children is something we will not forget. 

After receiving rave reviews from sold-out audiences at its home theater and at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center, ALIEN received a special invitation. Gregg Garner, Writer and Director, received an award for "Best Original Work" and was invited by Vanderbilt University to perform at its Chancellor's Lecture Series. The January performance was one of the most powerful of the show's entire run.  

In Tacloban City, Philippines, we acquired a facility that has allowed us to better serve. Tahanan (its name, meaning "home" in the local language) hosts multiple gatherings a week, and is truly becoming a home to those who have lost so much. Times consist of worship and bible study, tutoring, music lessons, helping in the community garden and more! 

We released the "Hopewell History Wall" -- a tribute to the history of the neighborhood where we've planted ourselves in Nashville. Did you know the building where we operate was a school built for black children the year after Brown vs. Board of Education ruled "separate but equal" unconstitutional? There's probably more you didn't know--you'll have to come check it out! 

In El Salvador, we opened a youth house to local teenagers (some pictured here). Previously having very little to do, youth are now able to learn an instrument in our music room, help in our community garden, receive tutoring or counseling, participate in Bible studies and worship times, help with a children's soccer league, or enjoy meals and friendship. The transformation of the area is beginning with these special youth who frequent the space. 

In May, we installed two wells in Uganda--one for community use and one designated purely for agricultural use. These wells not only offer water for cooking, cleaning and drinking, but the opportunity to grow more food! One of our cooperatives recounted this month, "Our few beds for tomatoes, watermelon, eggplant, beets and carrots have been a blessing to us here on the land, widows, and also other neighbors in the village. It makes us feel the burden to produce more to sustain more people. Today, kids from the village knocked at my door very early in the morning before we started our workday, having been sent by their parents to look for tomatoes and eggplant. God is making our land a source of life for many."

In its fifth year of Camp Skillz, the 8-week character and skills oriented camp, facilitated the program in two locations in the Nashville area. Both of our sites target kids who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford summer camps, bringing a day camp to them that, in their opinion, is "epic." From bicycle repair to woodworking to cooking to lessons in teamwork and creativity, participants had a summer packed with fun.  

Over the summer, the Arts at Center Street debuted Mental, the raw, yet relatable play focused around the complex story of the Clark family.  Mental examined "the functional dysfunctionality of the human experience," and the ways in which people choose to navigate life’s turbulence.

Our relationship with this village midwife became a very important one. Though we originally met her as part of an ethnography project, we learned her story, and her concern that her work wasn't being passed on to anyone. Not long after publishing our story "The Last Dai in Badshapur" the Lord introduced us to two young women who had been delivering babies. Though they had some basic medical knowledge, they started delivering simply because they heard women in labor crying out in the street, and had to help. We were able to connect these two parties and form a formal training program to keep the dai's legacy alive in two young willing women. 

Our relationship with this village midwife became a very important one. Though we originally met her as part of an ethnography project, we learned her story, and her concern that her work wasn't being passed on to anyone. Not long after publishing our story "The Last Dai in Badshapur" the Lord introduced us to two young women who had been delivering babies. Though they had some basic medical knowledge, they started delivering simply because they heard women in labor crying out in the street, and had to help. We were able to connect these two parties and form a formal training program to keep the dai's legacy alive in two young willing women

The Tennessee Clean Water Network gifted us two water fountains to our headquarters where we daily host young people who need refreshing water. Pictured here, participants at Camp Skillz eagerly await their first opportunity to use the new outdoor fountain just outside our community center at the ribbon cutting ceremony where the TCWN program director was interviewed for the local news. Kids from the neighborhood were very grateful, asking us over and over again, "Is this for us?"

We had a wonderful group of summer interns that served with us for 7 weeks this summer.  They started their time serving at Camp Skillz and among other community service efforts here in Nashville and then dispersed to our international hubs for 4 weeks of service.  

This year we opened "The Trade," a store that is harvesting change in rural Uganda by offering trade-credit for the currency the poor have to offer--produce. Beyond the trade-credit system, The Trade is offering healthy alternatives to favorite snacks and supplies. Thank you to those of you who have helped get this store off the ground! 

This summer, Students Living a Mission (SLAM) facilitated service weeks for over 700 youth from around the United States.  The summer's theme, "Pu-Cho-Werk-N" (Put your work in, 2 Tim. 2) taught students the values of hard work and service in their effort to please the LORD.  

Over 600 people joined us at our headquarters this past November for the annual Hopewell Fall Festival. Tasty food, lots of games for kids, music and storytelling were all free for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy for an afternoon of fellowship and laughs.  

"What we do here is what we do there." Their shirts read "Pu-Cho-Werk-N" because this is a motto for all followers of Christ, from the U.S. to the Philippines, where we facilitated a service week for a youth group. It was a particularly awesome time to connect kids with the Lord, and his heart for service, then get them involved in needs in their midst. Some of these kids, the children of peasant farmers, called it the best week of their lives

The Institute for G.O.D. Int'l welcomed a healthy batch of new students this fall.  Young people from Montana, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas to right here in Nashville enrolled in our undergraduate program where they will take courses focused around Biblical Studies and Community Development.  

The Institute for G.O.D. Int'l welcomed a healthy batch of new students this fall.  Young people from Montana, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas to right here in Nashville enrolled in our undergraduate program where they will take courses focused around Biblical Studies and Community Development.  

Because of the wonderful business partnerships we have developed over the last five years, all of our Institute students are now able to get a job as soon as they arrive. (And, they're really fun people to work for, like the Califarmia food truck for one.)  These jobs provide an income for students, help them develop practical skills and even donate to our non-profit efforts.   

Because of the wonderful business partnerships we have developed over the last five years, all of our Institute students are now able to get a job as soon as they arrive. (And, they're really fun people to work for, like the Califarmia food truck for one.)  These jobs provide an income for students, help them develop practical skills and even donate to our non-profit efforts.   

At our C.A.S.E. after school program, students put both character and skills into action to serve an elderly widow in their own Hopewell neighborhood. Students planted and cultivated a garden for Ms. Palmer, who has lived in the neighborhood her since childhood.  

Our C.A.S.E. program continued at two sites, both serving students from Dupont-Hadley Middle Prep. At the end of the fall semester, students showCASE-d what they'd learned for their parents. At the Dupont-Hadley site, they premiered videos they wrote, directed and filmed together. 

Located in close proximity to our hub offices in the National Capitol Region of India, Aquatic Public School is home to 150 precious children. Upon getting to know some of the faculty, we found an opportunity to partner with the school, offering skills from classroom management to how to get more water access to the school's facilities! 

In their history class at the Academy of G.O.D., students are learning the importance of documenting history. Their final project of this semester was to create a documentary about the Academy and its first 3 years of operation. Students interviewed Principal Betsy Johnson about the school's beginnings.  

We launched Center Street Dance Academy this year and taught classes to students ranging from 3-14 years of age. We value dance as a creative artistic expression that is universally practiced and we are happy to provide as an outlet for young people to develop in the art.  

Junior high and high school students at the Academy for G.O.D. helped design, build and implement an aquaponics system at Hopewell Gardens. Nutrient-rich water produced by fish in the tank is transferred to assist in the growth of plant life in the garden. Watching the students take on ownership for an innovative project was truly awesome.   

As a third world development agency, our emphasis is on developing people. In El Salvador, those people are the youth whom we've been teaching the Bible on a regular basis. Several times a year, we host Bible conferences for this hungry group of students. In between conferences, they are getting opportunities to serve those in need in their area, displaying faith that they can be used by God. 

This December's 'Bible Talk' at our headquarters hosted about 50 participants from ages 15-72.  The weekend focused on God's Word consisted of both teaching and discussion oriented around understanding God's word in such a way that we can allow it to shape our lives. It was a truly special time where we witnessed the Bible's timeless relevance touch people from every age grouping and walk of life. 

This December's 'Bible Talk' at our headquarters hosted about 50 participants from ages 15-72.  The weekend focused on God's Word consisted of both teaching and discussion oriented around understanding God's word in such a way that we can allow it to shape our lives. It was a truly special time where we witnessed the Bible's timeless relevance touch people from every age grouping and walk of life. 


We thank God for 2016. It was a fantastic year. We venture into 2017 with the faith that God is in the business of outdoing himself every time we give him a chance. So we submit ourselves again, to his goodness and direction, excited to see what this year will bring. 

Happy New Year!