Dan’s Story: A Cure for Spiritual Myopia

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Missions, Stories, Village Project Africa

Dan Miller recently visited Makutano and shares how God opened his eyes to His works around the world.

Medical equipment for KenyaWell, this trip grew out of the generosity of a giving lady, my aunt Sharon. As his profession, my Uncle Jeff worked on medical lab equipment.  He, like Aunt Sharon, was a generous fun-loving person.  However, Uncle Jeff died of brain cancer way too early, but I believe through his illness God allowed him a uniquely personal and deep understanding of what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Philippians 3:8-11.  He went to be with the Lord, and in memory of him my Aunt decided to donate lab equipment to a clinic in Africa (Grace Clinic operated through Village Project Africa). I was honored to go as a representative of the family and can confidently say that this was orchestrated by God’s mighty handiwork.

God has definitely written and is still writing a masterpiece in this small village of Kenya.  In just a few short years, the school (Heritage Academy) has nearly 600 students! 

There were many blessings we experienced in Africa but one of the most special to me was the dedication at the clinic.  As mentioned above, my aunt donated medical laboratory equipment to this organization in Kenya. 

Clinic dedicationWe were able to take a day out of our schedule to have a service of dedication at the clinic.  The equipment that Aunt Sharon donated will allow this clinic to do so much more than they previous were able to do.  Prior to having this equipment the decision between treating patients for malaria or typhoid was often wrong.  Now, they can test patients and treat accordingly.  That is just one example of the benefits from having this equipment and another example of God working through His people!

The name of the mission, Village Project Africa, truly encapsulates what is happening here.  They have done exactly that.  To see what God has done through a few faithful people is nothing short of miraculous. 

Some of you may relate to the following example: Sometimes I know I could be diagnosed with an eye problem that I call Spiritual Myopia.  Allow me to explain it like this: Within the last few years, I entered into a new level of enjoyment with God.  Now my normal routine is to get up early to have a time of worship with our loving Savior and mighty God.  This time has grown into a real necessity in my life.  Some of you might be thinking, “That’s a good thing,” and you’re right… it is.  But I guess what I mean is I felt that God is actually spending time with me in a personal way.  Foolishly, I was thinking that I must be in some way monopolizing His time.  Silly, I know, but I did not realize I had this eye problem until I went to Africa and saw all the ways our Mighty God has been working.  

The change of hearts, the love for people, the food, clothing, shelter donated—these gifts come from generous givers at “just the right time.”  As my sight started to improve, I saw these gifts as movements in God’s wonderful symphony of sovereignty!  Guys, there is no coincidence with our God!  He is big enough to spend each moment with you and me and still arrange and orchestrate the needs of a village in a remote part of Africa…Honduras, China, Macedonia, and on and on!  This is the God we serve today, and He delights in us and wants to share His music with us!!  Can you believe that?  WOW!  

This “Spiritual Myopia” was only temporary.  God was gracious enough to allow me to go to Africa and see Him at work.  As I have been saying recently, “God is busy!”  And by the way, He healed my sight!

Group in Kenya

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Eph 3:20-21

Project 5+2: Blessing Many

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Missions, Stories, Village Project Africa

Guest blogger Audrey Armstrong shares her experience distributing 5+2 bags assembled and shipped by Church at the Crossing last year as a special partnership with VPA.

Have you ever wondered how the people (especially the children) on the hillside that day reacted when Jesus blessed the lunch of loaves and fishes and started passing them out to the thousands?  The Bible doesn’t go into detail, but I have the feeling I experienced it this past summer.

It happened at the end of that school day back in July.  We had barely recovered from the eReader celebration and were measuring feet for a “new shoe” project coming up.

   “When out on the lawn there arose such a shout, 
     We sprang from our tables to see what it was about!”

 Delivery of gifts to AfricaNo, it wasn’t Christmas, and it wasn’t Santa Claus.  It was better than that.  A huge open truck filled with brown, slightly travel-worn boxes was pulling into the gates of the school.  From every corner came shouting, waving, leaping students.  They surrounded the truck and escorted it across the playground and to the door of the multi-purpose building.  The queen herself couldn’t have had a more enthusiastic procession.  How did they know?  Who told them it was the long awaited 5+2 backpacks arriving in that truck?  By the time we got to the building, the students had crowded inside and were celebrating with cheers, screams, dances, claps, and hugs.  I can’t even describe the excitement and joy on those faces.  And the noise—oh my goodness!

It took our team a whole day to sort and organize the bags.  We had to be sure every student at Heritage Academy had their bag with their name on it.  The letters inside were personal, and it was important to us that we matched them up correctly.  We said lots of prayers, hoping we could distribute the bags and not leave any child without one.  We had a few extra empty bags and a bit of “stuff.”  God really multiplied it so we had enough for every child and every adult connected with the school.  And all the time we worked, small faces were peering into the windows of our workspace, trying to control their anticipation.

African children receiving giftsThe next morning the bags were distributed class by class, and the children carried them out to the playground.  They sat quietly (almost) in the hot African sun, all 500+ of them, until every child at the school had a bag in their arms. Then Pastor Joseph thanked the friends at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis for this display of thoughtfulness, effort, and love.  He thanked us—the team who just felt blessed to be a witness to the event.  He led the children in a beautiful prayer, thanking God for people on the other side of the world who cared for children and showed that love in such a tangible way.

African woman with Bible

What happened next was just remarkable.  The children started moving.  Some big brothers and sisters found younger siblings.  They gathered together in groups and carefully began to explore their bags, helping each other when needed.  Two memories I have were of a little girl hugging a baby doll and a small boy making a road through the dust as he pushed a little car along. That boy was so caught up with the car that he didn’t even look at the backpack full of treasures sitting there beside him.  The children tried on socks, counted pencils, examined toothpaste and smelled bars of soap.  They played catch with balls, played with trucks and stuffed animals, and jumped rope.  The brightly colored washcloths were a hit too.  We saw them worn on heads like hats and tucked into waistbands.  The adults were also excited.  The lady who received a Bible just shouted and cried as she waved it over her head.  She carefully put it back in her bag and then, two minutes later, she pulled it out and was waving it and praising God again.

 5 + 2!!!  I feel like I was twice blessed.  First, to witness the fun and pride of the families, both children and adults, at Church at the Crossing as they chose a child, carried an empty backpack home, and returned it full.  Usually there was a letter addressed to the child and maybe a picture of themselves and their dog inside the bag.  I have no doubt the bags were also filled with love and prayers.  My second blessing was to be at Heritage Academy when the truck pulled into the schoolyard and those African children knew someone cared about them.  Prayers are important to the children and they need to know we are praying, but when you’re a child, having tangible evidence—with your very own name on it—well, that’s impressive evidence that someone knows you and loves you.

It’s been some months since I was in Africa, but the emotional impact is still alive whenever I remember.  I may forget the facts (it’s an “age thing” with me) but I will not get over the joy.  It makes me smile again right now!  I know what 5+2 means in a whole new way.

Village Project Africa is thankful for all who have participated in this program for the last two years and who are participating again this year! What a blessing each of you are to the children and teachers at Heritage Academy!

 

Christmas in July–5&2 Bags Arrive!

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Missions, Village Project Africa

A huge thank you to the congregation of Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana for collecting and putting together backpacks for all the children in our school again this year. After packing all the bags and shipping them to Kenya, several members of the church were on hand in the village last month to help distribute the bags to the children. Before receiving backpacks through the 5&2 project, many of the children had never had new pencils, crayons, notebooks, or toys. The absolute joy seen and heard when the bags are handed out is priceless. This year, in addition to providing backpacks for the children, Church at the Crossing also put together bags for our teachers and staff filled with school supplies and other useful items. What a special gift to our school! 

And now… on to the happy! 

Joy!This is what joy looks like!

So many boxes, so many bags!

Modeling the new backpacks!

Such excitement when the bags are handed out!

The kids were so excited about the contents of the backpacks.

A new book to read–one of the most requested items!

Damarius loves her new doll…

As does Shanny!

After the kids received their new bags, it was the staff’s turn!

They were so thrilled with the contents of the bags!

 

A big thank you from Village Project Africa to the congregation and staff of Church at the Crossing and our sponsors who helped make this possible!

Summer Visitors–The Hands and Feet of Christ

Written by margaret. Posted in Missions, Village Project Africa

It’s been a busy summer! Tomorrow our last group of the summer leaves the village and it is with great sadness that we see them go. Sometimes we wonder if short term groups are of any value, but I can answer that with a resounding “Yes!” They are of value, and they are Jesus’ hands and feet in this village. Sometimes, it is a simple visit to a home where the people are hurting, sometimes it is the healing touch of a medical doctor or nurse, sometimes it is reading or laughing with a child, sometimes it is giving a hug to a lonely and desperate widow. There are so many ways in which God uses us. And for this past week, it has been the skilled hands and minds of willing men to answer God’s call. In a few short days, they have ministered to us, and we have seen work accomplished that would take us months to finish—if we could ever get the work done at all. The cabinet they built to house the e-readers is perfect.  When they started with the scrap wood and humble resources that are available, I cringed—but when they finished and put on the final coat of paint, we all rejoiced at a job well done. 

When God called me to this place, I knew that we would be touching the lives of the women and children in the village of Makutano and the surrounding areas. What I didn’t realize is how this work would touch the lives of our visitors—followers of Jesus who carry pain and hurt, followers of Jesus who have sometimes lost their way, followers of Jesus who are lonely and troubled. It has been marvelous to hear their testimonies week after week. This morning was no exception as one of the men told his story of bitterness and brokenness and a cold and hard heart and how, through the witness of Pastor Joseph, Davis, and the villagers, God has touched him, renewed him, and brought him back into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord.

This summer, God has done amazing work in our midst. He uses the quietness, the rain, the mud, and the stars. He uses the times away from home and the testing of our comforts. God reaches to us in ways we never dream possible and we praise His name.

The dedication of the well at the school was a high point of the summer. The look on the faces of the mothers and children as they received a bottle of good, clean water is a moment we will never forget. And the reality of what this well means to the community came to me when one of our lead teachers said, “Today, our problem of water has ended.”

We are so thankful for the groups who have come this summer and ministered and share their love—this village will never be the same. I will never be the same because of their coming.

Blessings and love to you all,

Margaret

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