Today was an emotional day at church. Our preacher shared a lesson that encouraged our entire congregation to give and think outside of ourselves in a way we’ve never done before. He shared a short, moving clip from Schindler’s List, where the following quote was shared:
“If you save one person, you save the world entire.”
Unbeknownst to my family (who have collectively, in addition to several others, began the “One Day’s Difference” initiative through my sister’s efforts), our preacher encouraged our entire church to get involved in an unconventional way.
You see, the need in Zimbabwe is great. Nearly 1 in 4 children is orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Next time you see a group of 4 (or more) children, imagine one of those precious ones not having a Mom or Dad to love and care for them. Unlike other countries who freely receive aid from various humanitarian organizations, Zimbabwe receives very little due to the volatile political climate.
Of course, providing a “forever family” for these children would be ideal. But Zimbabwe adoption law currently makes it EXTREMELY difficult for anyone outside of the country to adopt these children (especially individuals of a different race). In fact, according to statistics only ONE Zimbabwean child has been adopted by a US citizen in the last 5 years. Yes, we need to enable the citizens of Zimbabwe to take these children under their wing and bring them into their family. But the need is far too great, especially for children who have HIV/AIDS. This orphanage would be a place mainly for these children to have a home and someone to meet their needs…even if it isn’t ideal.
Our church (and my family) have supported Nhowe Mission for the last 15+ years. The mission school was founded back in the 1950′s, but a hospital has since been built (which opened in 2002) and an orphan program established (which cares for 500+ orphans). The hospital was named in memory of my oldest brother Brian, who visited the hospital site with my dad and others just 8 months before being tragically killed in a car accident in 1997. The need continues to rise and God continues to open doors. Now, we’re hoping to build an orphanage, on the hospital grounds, to help care for the babies and toddlers (many who will have HIV/AIDS) who have no one to care for them.
Further into the sermon this morning, our preacher told yet another story of a man who was scheduled to speak at a women’s conference at a large church with over 1,000 women. At the conference, an announcement was made that there was a need for one of the missionaries who needed $5,000. Prior to speaking, the head spokeswoman asked this man to pray that God would meet their needs. Rather than amicably agreeing, this man refused. Instead, he said that God has already provided for the need…it was just their job to give. He then took out all the cash in his wallet (which happened to be only $2.25) and laid it on the table, asking every single person to do the same. When it was all said and done, $7,000 was raised…much more than the original $5,000 that was needed.
During the invitation at the end of the sermon, our preacher opened a basket at the pulpit and asked those who were willing to come forward and empty our wallets (something we have never done before) to build an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Tears were rolling down my face as I watched people I have loved (and who have loved me) nearly my entire life walk forward and empty their pockets into the basket.
Our small congregation of 300-400 people gave over $7,000 today. Seven-THOUSAND dollars. I am in awe.
Perhaps we can’t end world hunger entirely or provide a home for every orphan, but we can (and must) do something.
Join us next Sunday, November 4th and go without food for 24-hours, donating what you would have spent on food for the day to help us with our initiative. You can donate online here or you can mail in a check (to this address) to receive a tax-deductible receipt at the end of the year. Also join us on Facebook and confirm you are participating in the “One Day’s Difference” event.
Let’s see what a difference one day can make.