It would be an understatement to say we are the busiest during the holidays nearest the end of the year. For me, the demands of all the traditional holiday events make it challenging to keep the important things important. Keeping Christ in focus during Thanksgiving and Christmas seems normal, yet we spend most of our time trying to center all our activity on reminding ourselves and others of that very truth.
Most people have experienced changes in how they celebrate the holidays, and I say that because so many have changed who they celebrate with. The last few years of living through the Covid 19 virus has robbed us of loved ones. The Covid pandemic also changed how we gathered and sometimes caused us not to gather at all. This sad truth is why many families find themselves struggling to regain the continuity of family and friends and holiday traditions that we enjoyed for years.
This phenomenon is common in many other areas of our lives, but sometimes goes unnoticed if we are not closely related to a particular situation. For example, many pastors have told me that the church hasn’t fully recovered from the effects of those changes made to comply with Covid 19 mandates. Yes, many people found that streaming church was simpler, so they are continuing in that practice; however, the church isn’t a location or building where we go. The absence of people is actually proof of the decline of the church. Not only does the absence of people in the church hinder ministry, but it also has an effect on giving, which affects much more.
4 Him in Africa Ministries has operated through funding provided by child sponsorship and other individual donations. At the onset of the pandemic, sponsorships were ending, and individual donations were declining, yet operating expenses in Uganda were increasing rapidly. With the generous support from our current sponsors and supporters, we were able to keep Life Song Miracle School alive by sending teachers into the surrounding villages to continue the children’s education. When it was time for the children to return, we were then able to help the school meet all ministry of education requirements, and therefore Life Song Miracle School was among the very few schools to survive.
We give God the glory and thank Him for allowing us to help the children and are trusting Him for our future at 4 HIA ministries. As for moving forward, the decreased child sponsorships and donations mean we need to make changes. The ministry model we began with when we started the non-profit has required continual changes to make it work, and we worked hard to make it the best it could be. Truthfully, being forced to make these new changes to our model is not all bad because it is causing us to do what we have not been ready to do. Giving a person a chance to choose a child and pay for their education has been a blessing for many people, and for those currently sponsoring, we are not asking them to stop. We think it is a wonderful thing that our sponsors are doing and want to help them continue.
The new plan allows our new sponsors to sponsor the Life Song Miracle School rather than an individual child. We believe it will allow us to help more children and eventually build a secondary school for the village so the children can attend secondary school without leaving home. This plan allows everyone to give by allowing donations starting at just 10 dollars a month. In my experience, a 10 dollar monthly donation is very doable, and after a while is actually unnoticeable.
I would like to personally ask you to use the spirit of the season to help you consider becoming a school sponsor. If you choose a recurring monthly 10 dollars (or more) sponsorship or a one-time more sizable contribution, it helps bring back some normality to the season that was robbed by the last few years. I know your gift will make a difference to some very special children you may never have the opportunity to meet. Imagine just giving from the heart for no other reason other than knowing another person living on this planet may receive an education that has the potential to make all the difference for a positive future.
Let me conclude with this thought for your Christmas season. I love the Christmas eve candlelight service at our church. When the single candle is shared with the person beside you and then with you, it represents the body of Christ extended. Then I share the flame with my neighbor, which makes me feel so good. The Life Song Miracle School is a Christian school, and when I visit the school there in Uganda, the children are so happy to share what they have learned about Jesus. They sing Christian music and recite scripture while displaying such bright smiles. Most have no other access to the word of God because few families own a Bible. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive that flame from your neighbor’s candle and then turn to one of those smiling children and share your spark? You can!!!!
President 4 Him in Africa Ministries Inc.