Torch News Summer 2016
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Transcript of Torch News Summer 2016
Enabling people with sight loss to discover Christian faith and lead fulfilling Christian livesChristian activities and resources for blind and partially sighted people worldwide
SUMMER 2016TORCH NEWSTORCH NEWS
Hope in a disastrous situation
began at the start of last year with severe flooding which wiped out the newly planted maize farms and resulted in the harvest being a non-event in the Shire Valley where many of the blind people known to us live. There were hopes for a better situation this year, but the rains arrived too late, and the planting that was then done in January received only erratic rains, so the harvest is very small or non-existent.
Though it seldom makes a showing in our Western news media, Malawi has now been declared a Disaster Area, due to flooding in some areas and food shortages in the South. Maize is
Torch Trust has long had a deep and heart-felt connection with the African country of Malawi. Outside of Africa, it seems almost a forgotten nation but Malawi is a country in crisis. Ongoing devastation by flood and famine are wreaking havoc among a people already suffering from poverty.
Malawi is now ranked the worlds poorest country (World Bank data 2014: GDP per capita basis). Though geographically quite small it has a relatively large population: over 16 million people call it home. Most of them live as subsistence farmers. The majority live in the Central and Southern Regions, and it is particularly in the South where famine has affected so many, both blind and sighted.
Janet Stafford, Torchs International Leader, recently returned from a trip to Malawi. She explains how its present problems came about: It all
I didnt even recognise Monica at first; she had lost so much weight. But when she received a sack of maize and a loaf of bread she fervently thanked God that she had not been forgotten.
available but at prices which few can afford, and as the majority of blind people live in extreme poverty, they suffer more than most.
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Chair: Marilyn Baker Chief Executive: Dr Gordon Temple
Council of Reference members: Revd Dr Steve Brady; Revd Dr David Coffey OBE; Revd Malcolm Duncan; Jonathan Lamb; Revd Roy Searle; Dr Elaine Storkey; Revd Dr Derek Tidball.
The Torch Trust for the Blind: a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 1095904; a company limited by guarantee, no. 4616526
Torch House Torch Way Market Harborough Leicestershire LE16 9HL UK
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Hope in a disastrous situation continued from front page
Janet reports the situation is really serious. I was shocked seeing those affected by the hunger. I have known Monica for many years but didnt instantly recognise her as she had lost so much weight and was struggling to walk. She was so happy to be given help, and praised and thanked God that he had not forgotten her.
Many blind people and others were helped with supplies of maize flour, soap, blankets and medicines purchased with funds had been entrusted with. This has been literally a lifeline for so many, though there remain many months of shortages until the next harvest time. One blind man commented, What you have given me has made me feel like a man again as I can go home and feed my family. Praise God and thank you.
Janet continues, It was very evident travelling through the villages, which would normally be selling cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and more at this time of year to see empty stalls as there is nothing to sell. Hungry people are eating maize cobs, and water-lily bulbs called nyika. These bulbs cause diarrhoea if too many are eaten.
Many have sold household items and livestock at low prices to purchase food,
which will make it difficult for them to regain stability later. Yes, I sold my chair said Elita, to get money
for food as my children were hungry.
The food crisis has also had an impact on education. Many skip school in order to search for food,
while others can no longer afford the school fees.
This paints a very sad picture but a real one. Thank you to those who have prayed about the situation and those who have given through Torch in the UK over recent weeks to enable us to respond in some small way to this huge need.
Please continue to pray for those affected in Malawi. Janet says I have come back humbled and deeply challenged at the fortitude and trust in God these people have. There is hope. To hear the vibrant singing of a Torch Fellowship Group as they gathered together after several days without food was such a moving experience. What a privilege to have come alongside them in their suffering. May God bless the blind people of Malawi our brothers and sisters. n
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I have recently written the formal report that goes into Torchs Report and Accounts for the year ended 30 September 2015. At their recent meeting the trustees approved it and by the time this reaches you it will have been filed with the Charity Commission and Companies House.
In the process of writing this I seek out key facts about Torch and review progress against the objectives we set a year previously, as well as setting new objectives for the year ahead. Maybe youre wondering why am I telling you all this? Because it is exciting. Through the necessary formality of this report shines the evidence of what God has done among us. It traces a story of Gods guidance, help and provision and it tells of many thousands of blind and partially sighted people whose lives have been touched by the love of God through the diverse ministries that comprise Torch.
Adventure with GodTorch CEO Gordon Temple takes a look over Torchs work of the past year, as well as thoughts on the future
Of course, one area in which we have seen God at work is in our finances. We finished the year with about the same amount in the bank as we started out with. But we still crave your prayers for Gods continued provision. The amount we hold is still much less than our minimum reserves figure, something that makes Torch vulnerable to the ups and downs in our lumpy income. Indeed we all but ran out of money in the middle of last financial year. So we praise God that he has provided and that every bill has been paid.
Torch has always been an adventure with God, a journey of faith, no less so now than at any time.
We approach our annual Day of Prayer on 1st June with thanksgiving and with humble simplicity of purpose. We want to serve God, fulfil his purposes, and bring blessing into the lives of blind and partially sighted people and people losing their sight the world over.
Together we pray: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. n
70,000Braille, large print audio magazines despatched
13,405Accessible Christian books borrowed from the Torch Library
1,400Bemba braille Bible volumes commissioned from Torch Malawi for Zambia
Worldwide circulation of The Torch magazine
7,693of which braille
107Local Torch groups meeting across the UK
34People supported by Journeying With befriending schemes to date
9TorchTalk telephone friendship groups operating
3New ensuite rooms added at Torch Holiday & Retreat Centre
216Subscribers for the new complete audio edition of Premier Christianity
If you would like to know more about Torchs finances or to see a copy of Torchs Report and Accounts then please contact Michael Heaney at Torch House.
I have been so blessed by all you have sent me and the daily readings. I praise God I heard about Torch as I spend many hours on my own. God bless your work. Mrs G of County Down
4to spread the word about accessible media and this is a great way to do so!
Although the Eden website is now open for use, it is currently still in development however, if you do have an issue while ordering, they have a Freephone helpline available during standard working hours. And, if you would prefer to continue ordering books through Torch directly, by phone or email, theres nothing to worry about as were not going anywhere! If you want to search Torchs catalogues directly then go to torchtrust.org and choose Literature on the main menu. n
Torch is pleased to announce our new partnership with Eden Christian Bookshop! Weve teamed up to produce a whole new way for blind and partially sighted people to access our range of Christian books in accessible formats.
From now on, readers will be able to visit eden.co.uk, search for a book theyre interested in and, if its in our catalogue, order it immediately online in braille, large print (various sizes) and DAISY audio. The books will be sold at the same price as the standard print versions and well be providing free delivery on all orders.
The aim of this partnership is to make our books available to a much wider audience, including to visually impaired people who may never have heard of Torch, or been aware that books can be obtained in accessible formats. We want
Accessible resources available online
Read all about it!Are you blind or partially sighted and int