About a week ago our church ended it's most recent message series with a heart wrenching and challenging message!
The service was designed to educate all of us on our church's work in a country called Mozambique.
Just so all of this really sinks in... here is a little info on the country of Mozambique....
Mozambique is the world's 35th largest country with a population of more than 23 million. A Portuguese colony for nearly five centuries, Mozambique gained independence in 1975. At the end of their civil war in 1992, it was considered one of the world's poorest countries.
The official language is Portuguese, though a majority of the people speak an indigenous language. The primary religions are Christian and Muslim.
Of the 10 million Mozambicans who are employed, more than 80 percent work in agriculture. Some of Mozambique's exports are: aluminum, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, and timber - mostly to countries such as Belgium, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
Our church, Eaglebrook, has been working in Mozambique and partnered with an organization called World Vision since 2006.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. They are dedicated to working with the world's most vulnerable people.
Eaglebrook found that one of the most effective ways to reach people for Christ was to partner with an organization that was already making a difference.
Through their partnership with World Vision they are able to provide leader development, pastoral education, job creation, the resourcing of Bibles, and efforts toward self sufficiency in one specific community.
In that community, since 2006, Eaglebrook with the help from us as sponsors and all of our churches donations has changed the lives of half a million people within a 13,000 square mile area!
They have sponsered thousands of children, built several schools and medical facilities, and dug numerous wells so that this town or community could have clean drinking water for all of it's residents.
The goal of Eaglebrook and World Vision is to give a specific community the tools and resources so that after 15 years they can become a self sufficient community.
As of about 2 weeks ago, Eaglebrook announced that our first community is thriving and doing quite well for the standards of its country... and they have decided it is time to take a second community under it's wings!
And that is where the heart wrenching and challenging message came in.
Our head Pastor, Pastor Bob Merrit, spoke of all the poverty that is still out there.
He showed wonderful footage of the community that Eaglebrook has helped set up.
But it was followed by some of the most raw footage of a girl who was homeless, walking the streets of Mozambique...
She couldn't have been more then 5 or 6 years old. She was dressed in a dirty yellow dress, hair a mess, no shoes, and all she carried was a little rolled up mat.
The video footage was stamped 11:13 pm and taped her walking down a street until she finally found a place she saw fit to rest for the night. She laid out her mat carefully making sure all of the corners were laid flat. She wiped her feet at the edge of the mat, then laid down with her hands clasped under her little head for a pillow.
And through tear filled eyes I couldn't help but feel so helpless and saddened.
It wasn't even the fact that this poor little girl was homeless, with no bed to sleep on, it was that she was ALONE.
No hope for her future or a better tomorrow.
And that is when Pastor Bob read a quote that grabbed my heart and has forever changed how I view this life.
He said "Can an accident of mere latitude and longitude really decide whether you live or die?"
Just because of the mere location I was born... I am blessed to have all the luxuries the world has to offer!
Me and my family get 3 plus meals a day!
We have a home to live in, beds to sleep on, and a choice of 2 different cars to drive or 3 tv's to watch!
We have more clothes then we could ever need and countless options of shoes to cover our bare feet.
I began to think... what if Greta or Tuck got sick and I had no place to take them? No doctor to see them or medicine to make them all better?
What if the pure and simple basics that I see fit to live were stripped away, or I guess never there from the beginning?!
What a sad and hopeless life it would be.
And that is when Bob gave all of us a challenge!
In this second community of Mozambique that we are about to take on, there are 2,000 children that need to be sponsored.
If we chose to sponsor a child our money would make sure that that child had food, clean water, medical attention, and the chance to go to school.
For a mere $35 a month... all of this would be possible!
As Bob dismissed the congregation he read a verse...
"To whom much is given, much is required."
And as we walked out into the lobby of our church there sat tons of tables with hundreds of little faces staring up at us!
In that moment, Loren ad I realized this was our time.
This was our opportunity to bless someone else like God has blessed us.
And with that,
This was the card that caught our eye...
A little boy named Chanito Bendito, born on January 22nd of 2006.
He lives with his Mom, Dad, and 3 other siblings.
He loves to play soccer.
And his daily chore is to sweep the dirt floors of his home for his Mother.
Because of lack of work and little money, Chanito's family is suffering.
But that was then!
I am proud to say that we are the brand new sponsors of this sweet little boy!
Mr. Chanito Bendito is now apart of the Appleberry Family!
Since us sponsoring Chanito, all of his brothers and sisters were sponsored as well.
And now, this Mom and Dad will get $35 a month for each child.
We will be able to help make sure Chanito and his family have food, clean water, proper medical attention, and that Chanito is able to go to school!
I can not even begin to tell you what a wonderful feeling this is!
To know that we are helping one of God's children is the most heart warming feeling I have ever felt!
Every time I pass Chanito's picture on the fridge I say a prayer for him.
And it's funny how in sponsoring Chanito Me, Loren, and the kids, all feel a little more humble, a little more thankful, and a little more blessed.
Sponsoring a child is one of the most amazing things!
If you would like to join our family and sponsor a child as well you can go to ://eaglebrookchurch.com/sponsorachild
"To whom much is given....."