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Letter From Directors


In 1992, a group of people gathered to discern whether God was calling them to create a new organization committed to Kingdom transformation in urban poor communities. The group recognized that the Holy Spirit had already been challenging hundreds
of people to ask themselves what it meant to love their poorer neighbors. The idea
of Servant Partners was born at that prayer meeting, then came into organizational fruition in 1993. Much has changed for us over the past thirty years. What has not changed is our unwavering commitment to walk alongside and partner with our neighbors to seek God’s transformation. Over the years we have been privileged to see the dramatic impact our small, Spirit-infused efforts have had on our communities.

After another season of discernment in 2019, we felt led to develop our Vision
2030 which set three major ten-year goals: grow to 30-40 sites, strengthen organizational structures to equip staff for flourishing, and develop 4-6 new national movement partnerships that would work with the US ministry to reach cities around the world. We have seen growth in each of these areas but most remarkably in the discovery of international partners who share our sense of call and desire
to build something new together. Today, we find ourselves in a similar place as in 1992, asking God how we can partner with the new thing the Spirit is doing in the world. We hope that in these following stories, you gain a sense of who we have been as well as who we are becoming in Jesus. Thank you for your partnership in prayer and financial support as we follow Jesus among the world’s urban poor.

With gratitude,
Derek and Lisa Engdahl

General Directors

Walking with God from Africa to Latin America

Beauty & Phillip Ndoro trace their journey into cross-cultural missions, and how God is stirring a similar movement throughout Latin America

Mexico City, Mexico


"God has called us to walk with him and do whatever he is doing.”

Phillip Ndoro

PHILLIP NDORO first learned about holistic ministry at a missions conference in 1999. “I knew then that God was calling me to ministry among the less privileged, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like.”

Beauty didn’t know either. She too felt God call her to a life of missions. After they met and married, Beauty and Phillip moved into a middle- class neighborhood and began ministering among the urban poor in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. Phillip planted churches, and Beauty trained community members in business development. While the Ndoros were discerning their future in missions, Servant Partners invited them to live and minister in an informal settlement in Mexico City, Mexico.

“I was afraid of having to speak Spanish!” Beauty recounted. After several weeks of discernment and prayer, they realized that God was indeed calling them to leave Zimbabwe to live and serve in Chimalhuacan—a crowded, resource-deprived urban settlement in Mexico City. So they went.


A Vision for Beauty and Equity

How the Singleterrys' life of love and ministry birthed new organizational possibilities

San Jose, California

"My injury was pushing me to be more rooted in my neighborhood... to live out my calling: to
be flesh and blood among neighbors, not just for the summer, but for a lifetime.

Janet Singleterry

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ONE ORDINARY TUESDAY MORNING, Janet Singleterry woke up to find herself paralyzed from the knees down. “One month before my wedding, I went into emergency surgery, and came out with some—but very little—function. God is good, and I got to walk down the aisle to my husband Andy with the help of friends.”

Janet was on staff with student ministry InterVarsity Christian Fellowship when her injury happened. For seven years, she had taken students on annual summer trips to Thailand to experience life in an urban marginalized community. Each time, she’d invite them to consider God’s call to live and serve among the urban poor. In this moment of injury and upheaval, she realized she needed to ask that same question of herself.

“My injury was pushing me to be more rooted in my neighborhood,” she said.
“Joining Andy in Servant Partners would allow me to live out my calling: to
be flesh and blood among neighbors, not just for the summer, but for a lifetime.”


Hope that Returns to the Hopeless

Aaron and Ema Smith chronicle the 20-year past, present, and future of their journey of hope on Manila

Malina, Philippines


“Because I had Jesus, I had hope... Being poor is hard—but being poor without Jesus is unbearable."

Emma Smith

"THE HOME I GREW UP IN is normal for most people in the world,” Ema Smith writes in Voices Rising. Her home was a one-room shack jammed into a dense squatter settlement in the heart of Manila, the Philippines.

“There were times that I wanted to die because of all the hardships I faced,” she said.
“Words cannot describe what it’s like to always be hungry and not know when you will eat next, not to mention not having enough money to go to school. It is even worse if your parents are always quarreling. ”

When her parents abruptly left Ema and her siblings alone for a week, local missionaries cared for them. “I think my calling to serve God among the poor started during that difficult week,” she reflected. “The missionaries were not even our relatives, but they took care of us. I knew in my heart that this kind of love only comes from Jesus.”


Mexico City
San Jose


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Vision 2023

Vision 2030

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THREE YEARS INTO OUR 10-YEAR VISION 2030, we have seen God move in profound ways. 

Local leaders have been empowered to pursue lives of sustainable urban ministry in domestic and international capacities. 


New sites are being planted in the US and internationally. We are bridging national movements of urban poor church planting and community transformation in Canada, the Caribbean, Colombia, Ethiopia, Mexico, South Asia, and the US. Leaders of these movements are beginning to collaborate with one another on how to extend God’s Kingdom to urban poor communities around the world. 


You can read more and partner with our Vision 2030 by visiting


Watch our newest videos showcasing who we are and the Nine Signs of a Transforming Community in English and Spanish at


The Mural is a quarterly art magazine published by Servant Partners Press, featuring poetry, prose, photography, and more from

people living and working in urban marginalized communities. Find it at, along with other theological reflections, narratives, and training materials that proclaim God’s presence among the poor.

Past Annual Reports
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