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How Avail Began
Back in the late 1980s Chris French visited missionaries in Malawi, only to discover that the couple were exceptionally short of funds. On return to the UK he contacted a number of people about the situation, and gradually a warm response ensured their support and financial security. Returning to Malawi a year later, the concept of starting a mission seemed sensible, and so we started to grow a bit, simply calling ourselves Malawi Mission Project. They were good days as the Lord continued to bless us. Don’t they say, ‘Time waits for no man’? We soon recognised that change was needed. It first came by changing our name to International Mission Project and then by registering as a charity with the Charity Commission. So, in January 1993 we received our official status. We were growing up! In the next ten years we tried our hand at circulating a magazine called ‘Head to Head’ and began organising mini conferences. Despite some heartaches, they were great years of blessing during which time we gained some good trustees. Others have been added since, and we are grateful for their help and contribution.
By 2012 we felt ready to rebrand. This brought many changes, not least a new name. Struggling to come to agreement on a new name, we invited a friend along to one of our meetings to help us. As the day wore on without any inspiration, he suggested, ‘Why don’t we pray?’ We did, and before long he suggested, ‘How about Avail?’ And that was that. Looking up the meaning, we could see it perfectly captured the sense of our strapline, ‘Serving those who Serve.’ We felt we had come of age, though we hasten to add that we are still learning, and mistakes do still occur. As of 2023 we are revamping our website, and there are several other projects ahead that will continue to take us forward.
The Lord has abundantly blessed His work, and we are thankful for that. What of the future? We know one thing for certain: we intend it to remain firmly in His hands. Which is why we continue to trust, depend on and be accountable to Him, our Saviour and Friend whom we love and serve.
Seeing mission folk on the breadline I knew I needed to make their needs known. As the subject of support began to catch on, I very slowly realised the Lord was giving me the green light to start a mission.
Chris French, Founder of Avail
Who We Are and Why We Exist
Mission work can be challenging, so it’s no surprise that even capable and resilient people welcome timely care. And that’s what we offer – practical, emotional and spiritual support to those in Christian mission, whether they are experienced or just beginning. We recognise the uniqueness of their call whilst understanding the need for them to be accountable to others.
Our experience of nearly 40 years in serving and listening to mission workers has guided us in offering the right kind of care and advice in a variety of areas such as family, health, ministry, finance – or in crises which may require emergency action. But we are careful to distinguish between help and interference, preferring to come alongside people rather than pretending we know best. We never intentionally override a person’s own understanding of the Lord’s will for their lives.
Avail seeks to glorify Jesus Christ by providing spiritual, emotional and practical support to mission workers in partnership with churches.
Avail is administered by a board of trustees that is legally responsible to the UK Charity Commission. The trustees decide on matters of policy and oversee the daily administration of Avail’s affairs with the assistance of a small part-time staff; neither the trustees nor the staff receive a salary.
Our Core Principles
We aim to honour and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by seeking and doing His will.
This principle governs all that we seek to do. In seeking to honour and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ we consider unity to be essential. For the trustees, this unity is expressed in a deep commitment to and respect for each other’s integrity. It goes beyond mutual assent and requires us to discover the mind of God together. His word in our hearts is vital, as is recognising the equality of each trustee. What He speaks to any of us will be considered together to ensure there is agreement and purpose in everything we do.
In following the Lord’s leading, we also aim that everything should be done well. This may involve seeking the input of others more qualified than we are. We will at all costs avoid personal self-seeking or gain, adopting corporate business models to achieve success or being governed by worldly principles.
We want to assist churches by helping them provide practical and pastoral care in the support of mission workers.
We do not send mission workers as the biblical pattern indicates that this is the responsibility of at least one supporting church. We are pleased to recognise that many mission workers are also supported by families, friends or individuals. Our support complements that of the supporting church
We serve those in God’s work, recognising the uniqueness of their call while seeing the need for them to be accountable to key partners.
We respect the integrity of mission workers before God and encourage them to follow His call. We aim to give every support to such a call but recognise the need for accountability. This requires submissive hearts and the development of open, loving relationships. We believe this mutual respect is a true reflection of God’s heart.
More About Avail
Your gifts to support Avail is greatly appreciated
It has been very encouraging to experience the amount of support received over the past few years. Please accept our thanks as the mission continues to be blessed.
We accept donations for individuals/families or for a project.
We also accept donations to be used for our expenses or for a need we know about.
We can receive donations via bank transfers, cheques, through PayPal and cash.
Global Connections is a growing network of over 300 UK churches and agencies with a passion for mission. Our members include organisations of all sizes working in countries all over the world. Drawing on this wealth of experience, together we seek to address the key challenges in mission today.