Happy 20th birthday, Footsteps!

By Rebecca Dennis

What were you doing 20 years ago? Some of you may have been starting a family, others may have been at school and others of you may have not even been born! I was in primary school and had no idea that 20 years later I would be the Editor of something as great as Footsteps.

Over the past 20 years we have seen a lot of changes around the world. There have also been changes in Footsteps. However, through all these changes we have remained true to the original idea of providing a source of practical inform­ation and encourage­ment from a Christian perspec­tive to people who want to make a change in their countries. We thank God for his continued blessing on this work.

Around the world the number of people living in poverty continues to increase; the world climate is becoming more unpredict­able; conflicts continue to devastate lives; and life continues to be a challenge for survival for many people. In each issue of Footsteps our aim is to share useful information and to challenge you to make a difference to the lives of people in your community and beyond.

In this issue we share some stories about the use and impact of Footsteps that we hope will encourage and inspire you. Slanwa Gaston, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Niger, shares how he discovered Footsteps while he was at school and how it shaped his career (opposite page). On the centre pages we look at the changes in Footsteps over the past 20 years. World Relief Haiti shares the challenges and encouragements that Haiti has faced over the last 20 years (page ten) and on page 13 we consider what some of the challenges will be in the next 20 years. We hope you enjoy celebrating 20 years of Footsteps with us in this issue.  

I am sad to announce that this is my final issue as Editor of Footsteps. I am leaving Tearfund to support my husband as he becomes an Assistant Minister at a Baptist church. We are excited about the new opportunities that this will open up for us.  I am pleased to introduce Helen Gaw as the next Editor of Footsteps.

The next issue of Footsteps will focus on natural resources.  

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 81 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 81, please click here (403KB).


  • ‘Knowledge is power’

    by Slanwa Gaston. It is a popular saying that knowledge is power. The Bible states that ‘people perish because of lack of knowledge’ (Hosea 4:6). Footsteps plays an important role in bringing much-needed information to people who want to make a positive difference in their homes, churches and communities. Footsteps also helps us to understand that each one of us can play a part in making our world a better place to live. 

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  • A celebration of 20 years

    by Isabel Carter, Editor of Footsteps 1989–2007 The growth of Footsteps over the past 20 years is rather like the parable of the mustard seed. From tiny, insignificant beginnings – as a health newsletter for a few of Tearfund’s partners – it has produced literally millions of copies all around the world. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to add up all the paper copies distributed, the CD copies, those sent electronically and those down-loaded from the internet – in a number of different ...

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  • Bible study: The power of prayer

    1 Samuel 7:2-14 I believe that prayer is one of the key factors that have led to the success of Footsteps. So, as we celebrate 20 years we can raise a pillar called ‘Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” ’ [1 Samuel 7:12]

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  • Footsteps in a local context

    by Rufaro Chitsamba. Rede Cristã Contra HIV/SIDA (Christian Network Against HIV/AIDS, referred to below as Rede Cristã ) is a Christian organisation working in Mozambique. In partner­ship with Tearfund, we are responsible for printing and dis­trib­ut­­ing the African Portuguese version of Footsteps. Footsteps is also one of the resources that we use in our activities. Borrowing and adapt­ing inform­ation from Footsteps improves our training activities and helps to ...

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  • Footsteps online

    by Georgina Orchard. In 2002 we did a survey of Footsteps readership and learned valuable information about who is reading Footsteps and what they are using it for. We found that each copy has a wide impact. Most copies are shared with at least one other person, and a third are used regularly to train groups of up to 100 people. There is a full article on the survey in issue 50 of Footsteps (March 2002).  

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  • How Haiti has changed in the last 20 years

    by Dr Hubert Morquette. Twenty years ago, everything changed for the people of Haiti. After many years of very strict, controlled government, they hoped for the possibility of a better life. However, over the years their dreams of change have failed to become reality. Failure and disappointment have led to a crisis which continues to destroy society. Haitians now face a new set of challenges including natural disasters, a weak economy and HIV. They need new ideas so that they can regain a ...

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  • How will the world change in the next 20 years?

    by Nigel Timmins. Futures studies, foresight, or futurology is the practice of trying to predict possible future realities. It is not crystal ball gazing or witchcraft, but it is looking at current trends and identifying patterns from which different possibilities emerge. This area of work is growing in significance as governments and organisations seek to understand how robust their strategies are.

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  • Improving understanding

    Footsteps helps to improve my understanding of development work. I have read Footsteps since 1997 when I was studying for my Masters. Since then I have read almost every issue of Footsteps. I have gained more knowledge and read many interesting articles in it. Since joining the Christian Social Service and Development Department of the Myanmar Baptist Convention I have used Footsteps in training, discussions and in some of our own literature.

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  • Letters

    Networking I have been receiving your journal for a year; thank you for including me on your mailing list.

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  • Readers’ feedback

    by Alice Keen. One of the joys of working on Footsteps is getting to know more about you, the readers. You are involved in so many different aspects of develop­ment work and we love to hear how you are making an impact in your communities. It’s especially encouraging that you take ideas and inspiration from Footsteps and then take action in your local communities.

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  • Resources

    One Week – One Worldwide Prayer There is a time for everything: a time to pray and to worship and to discern what God is saying to our world.

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  • Twenty years of using football to change lives

    by Rosa Camargo de Bravo. Young people and adolescents from disadvantaged areas of the city of Medellín in Colombia are exposed to many risks. These include enrolment into illegal armed groups, injury, death, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and natural disasters.

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  • Why I like reading Footsteps

    by Luka Kitungano. I have been very interested in Footsteps since 1996 and I have been reading it regularly. My friend received Footsteps and he began to send it to me when he had finished reading it. This meant that I could read it myself and then use it again and again.

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