Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Losing God’s Money

money

Losing money always feels bad to me. So you might think losing God’s money would feel worse. Here’s what happened.

Back before Future Hope Africa had a bank account in the US or one in DR Congo that we could transfer money to, the only option we had was Western Union. I would go to the grocery store in Maryland straight to the Customer Service desk as my kids wandered frozen foods within sight. I filled out paperwork, produced ID, signed a register, double checked spellings and sent funds. Normally a smooth process.

One time, though, way back in 2012 I was traveling with my family when it was time to send money to Bukavu. Instead of sending money from the usual grocery store I sent money from my parents’ hometown grocery in Kentucky. Only one person was trained for this task, and that store didn’t have as much paperwork. No big deal, I thought–till the money went missing.

Back in Maryland I got the news from our education center in Bukavu. The money wasn’t on the system in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). After lots of hold time on several phone calls I was told I would have to take it up with the office of origin. After many months we were finally back in Kentucky, and the only thing to be done locally was to check the confirmation number. They did and said I’d have to speak with Western Union directly. I tried that again but got no where.

Was God’s money lost? Would the students in Congo never benefit from these funds gone astray?

This was God’s money, not mine. I focused on that and wasn’t as upset after a little while. It’s not like God didn’t know what happened. He knew exactly where that $1000 was. I did my part; gave back to him with open hands. Also, I did what I could to rectify the problem, and then I was forced to leave the rest to him. God was in control then just as he is now.

Fast forward to 2015.We had moved away from Maryland to Holland. After our USPS forwarding order expired, I received a letter. A class action suit was under way against Western Union. It seems lots of people had lost money on transfers about the same time I did. Login online to participate if you wanted to join the suit. I signed up and waited…and waited.

After a while, I figured the settlement wasn’t coming. Or they took out lawyers’ fees and nothing was left. Either way, it was still God’s grand.

In January, the board of Future Hope Africa had our first meeting of 2017. It was time to discuss increasing the monthly amount we send to Bukavu. We’d been sending what we could to pay our staff at the education center. It was a modest amount, but we were beginning to lose good teachers because they couldn’t quite support their families on the amount we were sending. After much prayer (and researching fair wages in Congo) we decided to step out on faith and raise the staff pay. Knowing we needed more monthly donors to sustain the salaries, we got to work on that. But by the end of February we looked at the budget and could see future deficits. We still can, but in the meantime we are praying. We are directly soliciting in places where we are legally allowed to do so. We remind ourselves that the education project is God’s project. From beginning to end, He is our provider. From board to Bintu, from 501(c)(3) status to setting up bank accounts, everything moves or happens by God’s hand.

We do our part. Then we wait upon the Lord.

And sometimes He reminds us how sovereign He is by meeting our needs today with funds that went astray 5 years ago. The truth is we serve an awesome God. A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through the mail and noticed an envelope with a return address I did not recognize. When I opened it, do you know what was inside?  The $1000 plus the $65 transfer fee. Money that could not have come at a better time. God’s timing is best. God’s mysterious ways are unfathomable. God’s almighty authority is over every part of the world, including money transfers.

– Kristin

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From Student to Teacher

moses

Moses Cito Kajiramugabi

Moïse (Moses in English) is one of the teachers at our Future Hope Africa Education Center in Bukavu, DRC. He first came to the Center when he was in high school, for help with his studies and to participate in our Princes Club, now called the Young Leaders Club*.

He graduated from high school with very good grades and was offered an opportunity to go to Kinshasa (the capital city of DR Congo). After much thought and prayer he decided instead to stay in Bukavu and work with us at the Center. His passion is to help younger ones with their school work.

Moses is 20 years old and among the youngest of 11 children in his family. His father has recently become ill so staying in Bukavu has also meant he’s available to help care for him. His father and mother currently have no employment, so working at FHA came as a great blessing for him and his family. Moses joined our staff in September and is one of 4 teachers tutoring students during our Homework School.

Moses is a deep thinker and has written the following piece for our blog. Thank you, Moses!

 

Home in Bukavu for Christmas and New Year

 

“For Christians, Christmas does not mean only the day of his birth, but rather the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ in our hearts. Christmas is not only a day of celebration for children, but it is the day when we remember the love of God for humanity.”

When the pastor said this, I felt more comforted. Because, I had done research on the meaning of Christmas and what it should represent for the world.

Here are the results of my research: The word Christmas does not even exist in the Bible. Noël is Christmas in French; it is a Christian feast day instituted in 368 AD. It was established by the fathers of the church, they said. If we relate to the biblical calendar, Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. This date was just a pagan feast day celebrated once a year, at night, in the midst of winter, at the peaks of the mountains to worship Saturn. They worshiped in the middle of four candles. During this pagan cult celebration there were four things:

– debts were forgiven and forgotten,

– captives were freed,

– slaves were emancipated,

– and the condemned to death were pardoned.

The celebration of Christmas on this day of the 25th of December, gathered around this feast the pagans and the Christians.

I found these results quite interesting …

In Bukavu, Christmas and New Year are two very important events. And this observation I have made since when I was still very young. Back then, we were even more interested because we were expecting new clothes and gifts from our parents. Unlike those in Europe, we were not told about Santa Claus. The idea of Santa Claus develops only in certain families, but it is not popular here.

One week before Christmas, almost all the shopping points of the city, and the markets are filled with new clothing and decorative articles (flowers, Christmas trees) and in this festive atmosphere, all the parents of the middle class strive to buy beautiful clothes and beautiful shoes their children  in order to see them in Sunday clothes. Those who are more fortunate organize holidays and take their children to foreign countries to spend the holidays. And the less fortunate are just satisfied to find a better meal than what they usually have.

On the festivals’ eve, the public places are beautifully adorned with flowers and with Christmas lights. An intense circulation of pedestrians and vehicles is noticeable until late at night. At the same time, in the outskirts of the city, some young people spend the night under the stars and take pleasure in “palavering” (chatting) around a fire that they often light with tires throughout the night.

Alas, for many people, generally unbelievers, it is an opportunity to wander here and there during the night, visit nightclubs and drink too much, and to commit various other disorders.

Unfortunately, after all these pleasures, wounds and sometimes death follow.

Christians, on the other hand, gather in their different assemblies to praise and worship the Eternal God for the passage from one year to another.

For the Congolese, the crossing toward year 2017 was especially valuable. We were seized with a certain fear because of the political riots that could have taken place on December 19, 2016. God in his mercy protected us and now we have arrived successfully in 2017. All the churches were invaded by songs of joy.

All those who live on Congo territory had a good reason to glorify our God for his protection this year. After Sunday worship, everyone went to spend the rest of his party with his family gathered around a table filled with everything the family would be able to afford for the celebration.

In my family, my grandparents, my brothers-in-law, my parents, my brothers and sisters, my cousins and nieces, my uncles and aunts, all in fraternity, we shared the same meal. We talked about our personal experiences last year. And at the end of the ceremony, we wished each other the best wishes and shared the gifts.

The Christmas celebration is not an opportunity to wallow in sins. One is not obliged to put oneself in situations of distress to celebrate a great feast at all costs and beyond possibilities.

Thus, God’s children should avoid getting into debt to have a celebration above their financial level.

Indeed, for us Christians, it is Christmas every day because we have to remember the great deeds of God every day as if Christ is born in our hearts.

Moses Cito Kajiramugabi

*Our Young Leaders Club is a club for young men to meet and discuss the way young men should behave, how to be useful to their families and community, and to discuss  entrepreneurial projects. We have a similar club for young ladies called the Princess Club. Our club teachings are based on Biblical principles.

Future Hope Africa – September 2014 News

A Letter From Bintu in Bukavu

Dear Friends, Brothers and SistersP1

We have had a wonderful dry season this year! Wonderful indeed! Not too much dust, because we had some more rain during the very dry month. Yesterday again we had some rain. We have been having running water most of the time. Electricity was an issue sometimes but really things have not been too bad this year. Also, God has given us a wonderful VBS week with the children at the end of July through the first week of August.

P2OUR 2014 VBS THEME

This year our friend and coworker Jean Michel suggested that we work on the theme “Excellence”. At first it sounded really confusing to us and we could hardly think of how to explain such a complex matter to the children. But as we continued thinking and searching on Internet we found elements that allowed us to construct the most popular of all VBS sessions we have ever had.

Our theme: “A la poursuite de l’excellence” or “Pursuing/seeking the best”.

OUR GOALSP3

First, our goal was to teach our 24 young teachers and helpers to seek for the best of best in everything they do. Help them integrate the idea in their mindset so that during the 5 days of VBS class they could try their best to teach and help the 60 children, the participants in VBS, about this.

TARGETED POPULATION AND STAGES

24 young adults were trained for two mornings, to help as teachers.

60 children aged 6 to 14 were trained for one week in the VBS program.

About 15 young adults from families that sent someone to take care of their child on the field trip were taught the lessons of that day as well.

About a total of 99 young souls were trained in how to do our best in all we do.

SPIRITUAL GOALS – to present ourselves in the best robes before Christ. P4

Key verses: Ephesians  4:24-29

24 …put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness

of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we

are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on you anger,

27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must

labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one

who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good

for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Our community in Bukavu is ruined by bad habits that have implanted and are becoming norms. Lies, corruption, robbery, prostitution…

Our goal in selecting this passage was to help learners decide to get rid of some of those things to present themselves better before Christ and their neighbor.

On the fifth day of the activities, we took a trip with our learners and went to a Nun Monastery called Murhesa. It is a very quiet place well kept where people go to escape from the busy city. We sat with the children on the grass and had a quiet moment of meditation on the Word of GOD and the best decisions were made of our lives.

P6PHYSICAL GOALS – to have a plan in everything we do and to seek to do and accomplish things in the best possible way in order to get the results for our own, for our family’s, for our boss’ satisfaction and for all the people who depend on us. Here we taught that one has to set different goals to live for and aim at in his/her life. We have to choose strategies and means to reach those goals. We may set financial goals, intellectual or learning goals, business goals, small projects goal and more.

Let us remember the 99 will bring the teachings back home and will impact at least 50 families that sent us their children for this year’s VBS.

Here are the activities we conducted with the children during that weekP7

Discussion class – In this class the children had a chance to discuss the Word of GOD with the teachers about how to work your character with GOD in order to build an excellent life in HIM and with those HE put around us in our family, school.

Music Class – In the music class our children learned the A, B, C of music; they sang a new song according to our theme. “We will work our best to be excellent in things we do…” Then they also learned how to play a few guitar and keyboard keys.

P8         P9

Craft and Creativity Class – In this class, children learned how to draw, color and build a paper house and a school.

P13P12P11

Acting/Drama Class – The children created and read poems as well as short plays always in the theme. They performed on that Sunday for their parents.

P14           P10

Taking the bus to Murhesa – On the fifth day we took the children to Murhesa where we had a very pleasant quiet time with them. We meditated on our theme and on the P15life changing Word of GOD. We taught the children what it takes to please GOD and improve our relationship with him and with our neighbors every day.

P16Picnic Time – Most of the children have their picnic packed by their parents. However, our girls have to check and find those who have nothing. Another perfect occasion to teach the children about sharing.

Playtime –  On our way back to town we stopped 13 km from Bukavu and had a great playtime for the children. This is a unique place to be with all these very excited young ones, as this is a yearly occasion for most of them. Last year we stopped here as well.  They loved it!P17

Sincerely,  Bintu