OVC Christmas Program

Dear Advocates,

I hope that this  finds you and your family well.  You should know how much I love your child partners. Many of them are students at Happy Day, and they are a joy to have in class. Your giving and support are changing their lives.

As I’m sure you are well aware, the holiday season is fast approaching. This will be our first Christmas with OVC Kenya; let’s take a moment and celebrate that! I am looking forward to the ways that God continues to grow this program.

Some of you have already asked about OVC Christmas gifts. I would like to share the opportunities for giving that we have been working on here in Kenya. It is our desire to honor the Christmas traditions in Kenya.

 

 

With that in mind, I am excited to present the OVC Christmas Program to you!

Give a total of $71 to provide all of these items for your child's Christmas celebration.

Give a total of $71 to provide all of these items for your child’s Christmas celebration.

You can give to your child partner through three programs: Christmas ShoesFeed the Family, and Clothes for Christmas will provide the following needs cumulatively: a new pair of shoes, a traditional Christmas dinner for child and family, and a new Christmas outfit. These things are so valuable to Kenyan Christmas traditions, but many needy families do not have the money to purchase them. See the attached OVC Christmas Program for the cost of each gift.

 Please follow these steps to give to you child this Christmas:
1. Choose a giving program that fits for you, your family, and/or your community group.
2. Make a monetary donation (separate from your monthly support) to Grace Church by November 21, 2014. Be sure to indicate that the transaction is for OVC Christmas, and include the name of your child partner.
3. You will receive an OVC Christmas Card template in the mail over the next few weeks. Please complete and return to the Grace Church Pelham office by November 21, 2014. These will be given to the child along with your gift.

Please note: Christmas packages will not be accepted for child partners. Due to high customs fees and our desire to honor cultural traditions, the OVC Christmas Program will be the only method of giving for this Christmas season. 

 Once your gifts have been received here in Kenya, we will go shopping for the supplies needed to make Christmas meaningful for your child partner. Each child will receive their gift by December 12. We will send you photos and stories so that you can share in their joy!

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Thank you!

 

Merry Christmas,

Megan Gaminde, OVC Project Manager

Helpful Links

Printable Christmas Card

Christmas in Kenya

OVC Christmas Program


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Ebola: in faith or in fear?

Ebola. It’s undeniable that the biggest outbreak of Ebola has been in our social media and news coverage these past few weeks. During my time here in Africa, I have watched the reaction of our country from afar. The response has been disappointing, to say the least. We are all too aware of the risks and dangers for ourselves (which, in reality, are minimal), but I have seen few people express genuine concern for the three West African countries struggling with the disease.

Rather, as the West realizes that our walls are not impenetrable, irrational and uncontrollable fear is taking over. We lack real knowledge on the topic and real love for our African neighbors.

For believers, this reaction to the virus raises several serious questions about ourselves and our culture that we must ask.

 

What is the source of our fear?

“All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20) At the risk of being overly morbid, we should remind ourselves that as humans we are all going to die a physical death. Our society chases after an ideal that simply cannot be reached in the here and now. The death and decay of our physical bodies in this life is inevitable. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived otherwise. Nor, as Christians, can we allow ourselves to be consumed with a fear of death.

Rather, God’s question to Job is one that would do us good to hear. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4) When we react in fear or near-hysteria to this unknown disease, we are forgetting Who holds the universe in His hands. Rather than responding in this way, we must remind ourselves that the God we serve is in control. He is not surprised by anything that goes on under the sun.

 

What do our fears reveal about our idols?

The fear-filled response of our culture is telling. As believers, we must take a step back and consider the bigger picture. This virus is not something that we can control. The science, medicine, and technology with which we have been so diligently building our walls are failing us. As a Western culture, we are being reminded of our humanness. Our god-complex is being challenged. The pride in our hearts causes us to react in fear. We are not untouchable. We, like the rest of the world, are susceptible to suffering and to disease. Our idols of comfort and self cannot hold up in the face of hardship.

 

What is a better response for us?

Let us consider a more appropriate approach for those of us who are children of God. We should take a stand in the midst of the whirlwind of our culture’s frenzy. Let us rest in the knowledge that this world is not all there is. We must place our trust in our Creator- the One who is in control of even those things that seem uncontrollable. Let us remember that this is not the first time a disease beyond the knowledge of science has entered the world. We are but a small point in the history of the universe; may we be humble enough to realize this.

Instead, let’s take this opportunity to speak truth to our neighbors and co-workers. Rather than joining in with the fears of those around us, we can choose to declare God’s faithfulness in the face of the unknown. We know the end of this Story.

Let us commit ourselves to a more global perspective of the virus. Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are facing an even more serious threat, and there are many who are suffering and dying. Survivors are being ostracized by their communities. Orphans created by the disease are being rejected by their surviving family members. And already struggling economies are plummeting. Let us partner with them in prayer and allow ourselves and our families to have a well-rounded knowledge of this epidemic.

Finally, as the church, let us consider the ways we can move towards those in such desperate need. During His ministry here on earth, our Lord Jesus touched the untouchables and cared for those that society had rejected. Could this be an opportunity for us to do the same?

-Megan Gaminde, Kenya

Other Resources…

Living the Dream: Fear vs. Faith (Online teaching)

10 Essential Facts About Ebola

The Truth About Ebola

Church Brings Hope to Ebola-Infected Families 

Orphans the Forgotten Victims of Ebola Outbreak 


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Why I Love OVC Kenya

Many of you may have seen the photo of one of our OVC Kenya children that I posted last week. Since I am friends on Facebook with several of the teachers at Happy Day, word got back around to Gachoki (pronounced gu-sho-kee) that her picture was posted online. Today, Gachoki approached me and said, “Teacher, I have heard that my picture is on Facebook. Will you show it to me?” 

To Put Partnership Simply
So Gachoki and I sat down for a few moments, and I loaded Facebook on my computer. While we were waiting, I showed her a couple of photos of Grace Church and explained to her the partnership between Grace and the OVC Kenya program. 

“See, this is my church in the U.S. We are working with Pastor Kabaru and Director Mary to help sponsor children in Kenya who cannot pay their school fees on their own.” Since this was not the first time Gackoki and I had discussed her part in the program, I knew she was well-aware that the reason she has never been kept home from school is because an advocate in America is helping her mother to pay tuition. 

We Care About Her Story
Gachoki began to smile when her picture loaded on the screen. I told her, “I posted this picture here, because I want people in the U.S. to know about you. I want them to know your story. I wish that all of them could come to Kenya to meet you, but most of them cannot. When I post pictures of OVC children, my church can get to know you all. Is it ok that I did that?” With a laugh, she said that she didn’t mind at all that her photo had been posted. 

For me, it was a sweet moment. I spend a good bit of my time thinking about how to share and communicate with advocates who support the kids in Kenya. However, this was an opportunity to tell Gachoki that there are people halfway across the world that are interested in her life, in her hopes, and in her needs. 

When We Support Older Children 
We are often drawn to support the young children in these programs. Pictures of their small frames and chubby cheeks warm our hearts. But, I think there is real value in supporting children that are old enough to understand what they are being given. They are aware of the struggles their parents have. They have seen some of their friends drop out of school because the expenses were simply too high. Their needs are all too real to them. And so, they know a valuable gift when they are given one. They see where a good education can take them. They look forward to the day when they can care for their parents. They long to have the ability to give back to their communities and to someday sponsor children themselves. 

Individuals With Futures
For OVC Kenya, this is where the rubber meets the road. We are not only supporting children (although that is what they are right now). More than that, we are coming alongside individuals. Individuals who, given the right tools and opportunities, can have a real and lasting impact on their communities. Individuals who can see the story of the Gospel displayed in their lives- who know what it is to be powerless, to have no means of improving their situations for themselves. Individuals that know what it is to depend on another to own their cause. Lord willing, they will hear the Truth of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and the story will sound strangely familiar because they have known the sacrificial love of an OVC advocate.

Don’t get me wrong, I love every, single one of our OVC kids. As time will show, each child will come to the age when they can truly understand what they are being given. With this in mind, “let us not grow weary of doing good.” May we commit to loving these children for the long haul. May we see their need and give of ourselves for the sake of their success. 

-Megan Gaminde, Kenya

For more information about OVC Kenya, click here.


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