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Connections: Karlene Gannon
Sept. 15, 2013


Touching the World



Karlene Gannon is the missions and ministries coordinator for the Assemblies of God National Women’s Department and has worked with the Touch the World Fund since 1973. She recently spoke with Pentecostal Evangel Editorial Assistant Emily Tharp about the fund and the department’s annual push to raise support on Touch the World Missions Day, which falls on Sept. 15 this year.

evangel: Tell us about the Touch the World Fund and Touch the World Missions Day.

KARLENE GANNON: The fund was started in 1957 and was originally called the Etta Calhoun Fund (named after the founder of Women’s Ministries, previously the Women’s Missionary Council). Just as Assemblies of God youth give to Speed the Light and children give to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge, Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries gives to Touch the World Fund.

Touch the World Missions Day is held each year, on or near Sept. 19, which was Etta Calhoun’s birthday. In order to encourage churches and Women’s Ministries groups to send offerings to the national Touch the World Fund on that day, we promote the fund through word of mouth, distribution of our brochures, our website at women.ag.org, E-Newsletters, as well as through various publications such as the Pentecostal Evangel.

evangel: What do the funds provide?

GANNON: The money is used to provide indoor equipment and furnishings (appliances, beds, computers, desks, etc.) for Bible schools and institutions, but not for the personal use of missionaries. This can help the missionary a great deal because it alleviates some of the need they have to raise funds for their support and for other projects.

evangel: How has work with the fund changed over the years?

GANNON: For many years, mostly men attended Bible college, and so we tried to meet the needs of schools and provide them with equipment. What we are striving to do now is to additionally focus on projects where there are great needs for women and children, such as orphanages. Additionally, the Touch the World Fund provides funds for equipment and furnishings to the stateside Indian Bible colleges and to AG Family Services Agency in Hot Springs, Ark.

evangel: In what way have you seen the fund directly impact those in need?

GANNON: In 2008, our department took an advance scouting trip to El Salvador where we visited several schools. Thanks to that trip, we were able to provide library equipment and furnishings for the teacher’s residence at one particular institution. Several U.S. AG district Women’s Ministries directors also became involved in raising money for that area.

In 2010, some members of our department and district directors visited schools and churches shortly after the earthquake in Haiti. The ministerial training center was destroyed and needed to be rebuilt. Once it was completed, the Touch the World Fund provided funds to furnish three of its rooms.

More recently we had the opportunity to minister to Muslim women in Paris working with Global Initiative. Personally, I consider it a privilege to help these women, children, and missionaries through the Touch the World Fund.

evangel: Why is Touch the World Missions Day important?

GANNON: Missions is at the heart of Women’s Ministries, and we have been able to show compassion for a hurting world in a practical way through this fund. It’s wonderful to know we’re meeting a definite need. Anything you can do to make missionaries’ ministries stronger is a blessing to them.

Since 1957, the total amount given through the Touch the World Fund exceeds $8 million — it’s amazing what we can accomplish together that we couldn’t do individually.

 

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