A Fresh Perspective

Over the past few months, I have heard many great things about the OVC Kenya program.  However, my experience with the program was purely superficial.  I only knew how many advocates and children there were, the amount of money necessary to support a child, and other facts about the program.

The OVC Kenya Advocacy Gathering on Monday night helped shed some light on my perspective.  I had the chance to meet many of the current advocates, and this gave me  the opportunity to witness their excitement when they watched a video of the children and to hear concern that they had for these children as they engaged in conversation with Megan and Brian.

 

 Now I see the OVC Kenya program as more than just an area to give money; it gives people the ability to make long-term investments in these children’s lives.

 

Rather than being stuck in the cycle of generational poverty, these children now have the ability to receive an education and to someday find jobs where they can support themselves and their families.

The story of one boy stands out to me. He began the OVC Kenya program years ago, and now he a successful entrepreneur and is currently giving back by supporting a child himself.  The goal is not just to funnel money into a troubled system, but instead to show the children their potential and enable them to escape a life of poverty so they can have the ability to make a difference.

 

-Eric Williamson, Cultor House 


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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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