Today I met a woman who lives to being good news to the poor, to bring hope to the destitute, to bring justice to the oppressed.
I must say I am very humbled by Erika who runs this development center where we will be tomorrow. It is in a township where everyone is very poor and many do not have jobs. They are blacks from many different tribes and have no real community. I was mistaken thinking it was just a center for kids. She has a whole vision of bringing hope to the neighborhood. She has job training for whatever they need. If it is computer skills they need, she and her staff train them in that. She has trained women how to sew or even do nails to gain a livelihood. Her husband is planning to train men how to make bricks.
And there's the kids...
She said last July when our team was here there were maybe 60. Now there are over 100. She trains them, helps them with homework, feeds them, loves on them, and bring Christ to them. Today we went with Erika and her 15 yr old son, Francois, to two toy stores to buy gifts for these 100+ kids and then to the development center to wrap them and put name tags on them. Tomorrow we will have the joy of giving them these gifts.
I don't remember if I wrote this before or not but we are able to pay for these gifts because college students gave money. At the Rocky Mountain Getaway, the fall conference for Colorado schools, the students gave $1500 to buy gifts. And then one student said he would match it and did. So not only do we have enough money to buy these presents for kids who would have nothing this Christmas, we are going to be able to give Erika more money so she can buy school uniforms or supplies or computers, whatever she needs to continue ministering to these people. One vision she has is offering counseling for these kids who have no parents and for the girls are often recruited into prostitution because they see no hope.
May they know the hope found in Christ this Christmas!