Africa. I don’t even know where to begin except to give God all the glory. I could stop right there and this story would be complete. GOD is commanding and leading this gospel-driven child sponsorship ministry. Of that, we have no doubt whatsoever. We are grateful and blessed, especially for the generous donors that are essential to this ministry continuing and thriving.
Bill (my husband) has visited Africa 4 times, and I have visited 1 time, and that 1 time has been enough to make a great impact on my life. What I witnessed, what I heard, and what I participated in was truly humbling and consistently drew me to God and his Word, especially Philippians 4:4 ”Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
I hope you can rejoice in the Lord with me as I share some of my experiences. For example, I witnessed an entire church that greeted us with enthusiastic singing and dancing as we arrived to dedicate their water tank that was recently installed due to the donations of people like you. We drove for 4 hours over narrow dirt roads filled with rocks, potholes, ditches, water, and animals, and when I saw that congregation singing and dancing for joy, it brought me to tears. The Pastor of this church shook my hand, hugged me, and thanked me for the Bible lessons I have been writing for the kids for Life Center on Saturdays. I reminded him that God gets all the glory, and I am just the broken vessel He uses. He also said, “We want to thank you and the donors for the water tank, because now our children are not sick anymore, they are healthy and can go to Life Center and school.” Can you even imagine having a village full of sick children, only because they are drinking brown water that is commonly shared with the animals in the village? My heart was brought low but was also raised knowing that God had moved the hearts of generous donors like you to fund and build that water tank, which was literally life-giving to that village. These folks were rejoicing in the Lord because of the life-giving gift of water.
And then there is the story about the young gentleman named Alex who was a formerly sponsored child, the same young man who raises his two younger sisters because they do not have a mother or father. This is the same young man who during Covid, shared his food with a widow and her three children because they were starving. Some might think Alex has a cause to be bitter and angry because he has had to put his life on hold to work and pay the school fees for his sisters. But guess what? His attitude is one of JOY, and he is continually praising God for all that He has given to him, including his former sponsor. After all, when you sponsor a child, you are supporting their ability to attend a Life Center, hear a gospel message, eat a hearty meal, drink fresh water, and attend school because their school fees are paid through sponsorship. That’s a lot! For Alex, his sponsorship was life-giving, because he has a good-paying job and he can support his sisters. Alex is a chemistry teacher and a very good one! During the bad times as well as the good times, Alex is rejoicing in the Lord, and he is a very wise young man!
Lastly, I want to tell you about Agnes. When Bill visited her in February 2022, Agnes and her grandchildren lived in what looked like a poorly made shed with “wood slats” (I use that term loosely), that didn’t line up, creating gaps and holes, and the door was hanging askew. Bill took one look at those living conditions and told them that Childcare Worldwide was going to build them a brand new house, and do you know why he was able to say that? It was because of generous and charitable donors such as yourself, who have donated to Childcare Worldwide’s “Where Most Needed” fund. When warmhearted folks donate to this fund, they are helping people in need, like Agnes. If you were able to see the shed-like “house” her and her grandchildren were living in, I have no doubt you would have offered to build her a home. When donors contribute to this fund, they are trusting Childcare Worldwide to use their money in the best possible way, “Where Most Needed.” There was no doubt Agnes and her grandchildren could not continue to live in unhealthy and unsafe conditions, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for contributing to this fund, and for building a home for Agnes.
Fast forward six months from Bill’s February 2022 visit and it is now August 2022 and we were so excited to see Agnes and her new house! When we drove up to Agnes’ house, she saw us and started dancing for joy and praising the Lord. Round and round she turned and sang praises to God while she greeted all of us with a hug, and then she knelt in front of us, thanking us and thanking the Lord God. Again, I was brought to tears. She took us on a tour of her 2 bedroom brick and plaster house which was a beautiful creamy sand color that blended perfectly into the surrounding grasses and palm trees.
I’m so thankful for the donors that made it possible for us to do this for Agnes and the children in her home!
As we left, she gave us gifts of fruit, vegetables, and a live rooster. Now back to February 2022, and what she told Bill she had been praying for. Agnes told Bill that she was a widow and she had been praying for 40 years for a better home in which to raise her children (and soon-to-be grandchildren). For 40 years she was steadfast and stayed faithful to God and continued to pray, and worship Him. She rejoiced in the Lord during the good times and bad times!
What did I learn on this trip meeting the children that we support each and every day? I learned that God has a purpose for all of His children, and there will be times we do not know what His purpose is. We might ask, “Why Lord, are you allowing this to happen, what do we do now, where do I go from here?” Perhaps you have said these things or something similar. But as I recall the Pastor who thanked me for the lessons and the fresh water, Alex, raising his sisters, and Agnes dancing for joy, it reminds me to ”Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.
I was humbled on this trip by realizing how God uses each and every one of us in His story. Some donors give to support water, some give to Where Most Needed, and many give through sponsorship. Those funds combine with the love, service, and time of the staff in-country and are the reason children can receive gospel-centered Bible lessons, nutritious meals, and ultimately - life transformation. God is good!