Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Building a school, one donation at a time

In 2011 when we went as a family to Sierra Leone, they had just gotten this amazing machine... which takes the beautiful, plentiful red dirt and creates bricks. At that time, they were building some new classrooms for the Mallory Jansen Memorial School - the onsite school where not only the 93 Children's Home kids attend, but roughly 600 children from surrounding villages.

Since we went last time, they've built two guest houses, a senior staff housing building, a staff home for long term international staff, a store for the kids to buy things and more classrooms. All from those beautiful red bricks...

Currently, work is progressing on a remote school in the village of Mokpangumba, a warehouse, and a brand new secondary school. You can read more about that school in this incredible article: Mokpangumba School

We had the privilege of seeing the kids pitch in on one of their last days of school to carry bricks to the new secondary school site. Our son, Spengy, told us he can carry five bricks at once on his head. "I carried six once. I will never do it again, my neck hurt!"

The work ethic in Sierra Leone is amazing. These kids were essentially on 'recess'.  The ones who chose to, carried bricks during their whole break.

Education is highly valued in Sierra Leone... most children know young adults who lost out on years of schooling during the ten-year civil war. They understand without an education, there is little hope for their future. The school is reaching kids that would otherwise not have an opportunity to receive education. Many of them are sponsored by COTN's Village Partnership Program, which pays not only school fees for kids, but also offers them medical care, feeding, community development, family support and social services.

Something I really appreciate about COTN is that they have great dreams for the future of all their ministry countries. We had an amazing dinner with the Sierra Leone country director, Mr. Yambasu, and his vision for their ministry there is incredible. There are so many things he'd like to do. ALL of it comes down to resources. Something like this brick-making-machine can change SO much in a setting like this. People taking on village partnership sponsorships or donating to the Secondary School Fund is the only way things like this happen in this impoverished country. With the Ebola outbreak essentially grinding the local economy to a halt, the need for resources is going to be more profound
 than ever.

I had an amazing experience at work today... a dear member that's been coming to my meetings for several years and recently worked with me to get back 'on track' gave me an envelope. She explained that it was a way for her to give back for all my help - and that it was a donation for Children of the Nations. Folks - if you've EVER wanted to give back, there's nothing you could do that means more to me. I was brought to tears by her simple act of generosity. AND, inside the envelope, she explained that for every ten pounds she loses, she will make another donation. That, my friends, is music to my soul. Not only do I get to help someone succeed at her weight loss journey, I've impacted people in a way that makes a difference in the country I love.

I know some of you probably get tired of me looking for sponsorship and donors. But when we go, the people there are SO kind, and SO excited that we've come... and over and over again, they say "Go back and tell people about us. Tell them our stories. Tell them how their resources make a difference." And so I do. Unapologetically. Because I know, first-hand, that there's no better way to give your money away. I've invested thousands of dollars, choosing to spend my vacations and my money and my heart on this amazing place, these amazing people, this amazing ministry. If I can get one, or two, or three people to also give, I feel victorious. I feel I'm doing my part. I'm honoring the people I love who appreciate all we do for them SO wholeheartedly. I don't want to selfishly keep the blessing of giving to myself. I want to share it. It's the best feeling in the world.

Could you donate today toward the building of this school?
Could you join in the Village Partnership Progam?
Could you give $5, or $10, or $100 toward the fight against Ebola?

I'll keep asking. And I'll keep telling you stories about how much richer I am because I've given. There's nothing like it in all the world. What others gain is exponentially bigger than what you give away. I promise.

1 comment:

  1. Love this so much... have shared it too... :D


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