Extending the kingdom of heaven to earth is a huge task. Making progress in it requires having creative, innovative trendsetters among us, and our Person(s) of the Year Award honors such people. It can go to anyone in the PEER Servants family – micro-entrepreneurs, students, volunteers, donors, partner staff members, board members, etc. It is selected at the end of December each year and announced at our Annual Meeting the first or second Saturday of January. This is the Archive for our Award recipients from years ago – all the more special, as this captures the people whom God has used to shape the PEER global family into what it is today.
Occasionally, God blesses an organization with people who help transform the organization into one that is much more strategic for the kingdom. Those people for PEER Servants are Bill and Judy Long. With Bill and Judy, it starts with prayer and their passion to see many experience the kingdom of heaven on earth. It then extends to discipleship – encouraging others in PEER Servants to become much more sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit and sacrificial to see the kingdom come. It goes further to fully embracing Jesus’ simple strategy to “go and tell what we have seen and heard” of the kingdom of heaven in our midst. That has led Judy and Bill to tell many others about what God is doing in PEER Servants to proclaim good news to the materially poor. God has allowed PEER Servants to more than double in impact since 2018, and Bill and Judy are significant contributors to that growth, leading them to be the recipients of our 2021 Persons of the Year!
PEER Servants is growing, and that may have been most obvious in 2020 with the establishment of our Kenya Chapter – our first Chapter of volunteers outside of Boston. The Kenya Chapter volunteers already number 20+ and serve on or have visited not only our African partners, but those in Asia and the Americas as well. They come from many different ethnic groups within Kenya and are some of the global leaders in PEER’s youth empowerment arm while already taking the lead in local kingdom outreach to an ethnic group in northern Kenya. God has prepared them to assume the mantle of leadership within the PEER Network and to serve as an example and inspiration to many more forthcoming Chapters of PEER volunteers. We celebrate and thank God for the Kenya Chapter volunteers as the very deserving recipients of our 2020 Persons of the Year.
Our 2019 was such a phenomenal year, we couldn’t limit the Person of the Year to one individual! Alejandro Huaman is an exceptional loan officer serving with our Peruvian partner, Kallarisunchis. He travels to remote Quechuan villages offering much more than micro-loans – clearly God’s agent to extend more of the kingdom of heaven. In 2019, he maintained a 100% repayment rate while entering these villages with such Christlike humility and sensitivity to God’s Spirit that those who had previously rejected the gospel were now more open to it. Sandy Smith has been an exceptional PEER Servants volunteer for over a decade. As amazing as she had been, 2019 was a year she found a way to step up even more! Sandy has given much time and effort to serving our African partners and volunteers while taking a special interest in PEER Teens around the world. The world celebrated when Sandy was honored with this Award!
Many in PEER Servants were a tad concerned when PEER Servants President, Todd Engelsen, and his wife, Leslie, went on a 6-month sabbatical in 2018. Who would do what they had done? While it was certainly a team effort, no one person did more than Carol Mostrom. Carol has a passion to help others combined with the knowledge, skill, and experience to do it exceptionally well within PEER Servants. She sacrificed much of her summer to make certain the PEER Servants office was running well. Many inside and outside of the organization knew that if they needed a question answered, Carol was the one to go to! The year ended up being one of the best in the history of PEER Servants, and Carol Mostrom is very much to thank for that! We celebrate Carol and her willingness to be used by God in an extraordinary way in 2018 by making her the very deserving recipient of the 2018 Person of the Year Award.
Esther Suh, one of 160+ PEER Servants volunteers, is a prayer warrior and a fantastic encourager. She hosted various PEER Servants 2017 events with her gift of hospitality. But it was, in her own words, Esther’s willingness to “get out of the boat” and embrace her dependence on God that enabled her to be used by Him to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the materially poor. She used her gift of painting and sold her works of art and then donated the proceeds to PEER Servants. She brought PEER Servants brochures with her and shared them with interested friends and family who responded by giving generously. In short, she did what Jesus told all of us to do – go and tell what we have seen and heard. We celebrate Esther Suh and her willingness to be used by God in an extraordinary way in 2017 by making her the very deserving recipient of the 2017 Person of the Year Award.
In August 2014, six teenagers gathered in Arua, Uganda. They wrestled with two Bible verses – Matthew 6:10, asking themselves what would the kingdom of heaven look like in northern Uganda, and 1 Timothy 4:12, asking how they could set the example for other believers in their speech, conduct, faith, love, and purity. In the months that followed, they went into the prisons living out and proclaiming God’s love, and then into the hospitals, the homes of the elderly, secondary schools, churches, and beyond. When teenagers in other countries in the PEER Servants network heard about it, they wanted in, and they wanted to not only focus on extending the kingdom locally, but explore ways they could partner together globally. By the end of 2016, Teens in five countries were involved, with two more countries planning to join in 2017. The vision, courage, and dedication of the PEER Teens Uganda members led to their being chosen as the very deserving recipients of the inaugural Person(s) of the Year Award.