Australian Mustard Seed Organisation AGM
Letter from Chairman Albert Sander, 29 August, 2019
Fellow Board Members, Ladies & Gentlemen:
Welcome to the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Mustard Seed Organisation Incorporated.
It has been almost exactly a year since our last AGM held on 30 August 2018. Once again, the year seems to have passed so rapidly and I give thanks to the Lord for His gracious provision throughout this year.
Our board of management committee has benefited greatly this year with the addition of Des Burne as a serving committee member. Tricia Burne has also attended most meetings and has been a valuable associate member. Des has a great love for the Lord and has served with humble passion.
During the course of this last year, several board members travelled to Myanmar to attend the 15th year anniversary celebration of the Mustard Seed Orphanage (MSO Youth Development Centre, as it’s known locally). This was a wonderful event with many children and staff from our Ebenezer Orphanage centre in Shan State making the long and arduous journey to attend. A highlight of the event was the various testimonies shared by several young adults (current and previous orphans at MSO) speaking of how the Christian love and care they had received at MSO had changed their lives. Several dignitaries attended this event and a wonderful lunch was shared together with musical and dancing entertainment supplied by the children and young adults. This was a very edifying and encouraging event and testimony to the Lord’s provision for this ministry over the last 15 years plus. Hearing a testimony such as was given at this event, shines a light on what makes this work so important and so rewarding.
During 2018-19, the AMSOInc Board has again sought to strengthen the integrity of our organisation and build on the work achieved in this area in 2017-18. This has included more detail around setting out clear policy around the works of our organisation and the standards we wish to maintain as the ministry in Myanmar grows in complexity and size. We have also sought to gain more clarity around actual costings for the local day to day running of the orphanage centres, broken down into broad areas of costs to best allow us to respond to ongoing and developing needs. The board is aware that it must work towards equipping our staff in Myanmar to more adequately develop ongoing budgeting, as well as budget forecasting lookahead’s. To this end, Des Burne will be spending some time on site in Myanmar in September to assist staff with learning in this area and to gain more insight into the local management on the ground.
We have recently applied for a renewal of our Charitable Collections Licence. This is a detailed and onerous process with the requirement for provision of detailed information to the Charitable Collections Associations and Charities Branchof the Western Australian Government. Information required relates to the organisational constitution and board make-up together with previous terms fundraising activities and expenditure and planned activities for the next term. Our Charitable Collection Licence CC20828 for the Australian Mustard Seed Organisation Incorporated has been renewed for another three-year term, and this is great reason for thanks.
2018–19 has again proved to be a difficult year in terms of raising funds for the ongoing support of the orphanage. We have had a real struggle in some months to send adequate funds for the essentials such as food, clothing, and medical costs. I am concerned too, that maintenance items are building up rapidly (you get a lot of wear & tear with dozens of children running about)! The cost for uncompleted maintenance is growing and this is an area of concern for the board and one we hope we can begin to address over the oncoming year
The last twelve months has thrown some “interesting” challenges for our organisation. An area that has been of particularly private challenge to me, has been a feeling of opposition to our mission coming from an area I would never have imagined. While this challenge has been of great personal strain to me, I have realised that we should expect to face difficulties -especially in a spiritual sense- when being involved in valuable kingdom mission work.
One very difficult issue we have had to face this year has been the disappointing failure of the implementation of the proposed ESL (English as Second Language) training program to our MSO children & staff in Myanmar. We had been very excited about the prospects of this program, as we have had the desire for several years to avail our children of English language training to better prepare them for a future in the local workforce; ability to speak English is such an advantage. We have learned valuable lessons from this, however, and remain keen to attempt to provide this type of program again soon, with the advantage of the important lessons we have learned.
The Board has continued working towards providing as best we can for the physical and spiritual needs of our children and widows under care in Yangon and Shan State and very much appreciate the ongoing prayerful consideration of our supporters so that we are wise stewards of this valuable work. Additionally, the Board is keen to improve its governance of the management structure in Australia and locally in Myanmar and greatly values any advice its support base may offer.
I would like to express my gratitude to our local Board members for the time they volunteer to administer the organisation.
And without the prayerful and financial support of our many supporters and donors in Australia and abroad -such as our friends at “Oakseed”, this work would be at great risk. Thank you once again for your faithful support of our organisation and may the Lord bless you and keep you.
Yours faithfully, Albert Sanders