by: Lovie Phillips
I am one proud lady. Oh yes, I know that you are not supposed to be prideful, but I am, though not in myself or of something I have done.
I returned from Africa and briefed my staff about the trip. I told them about a young man I met at our New Eden orphanage, Julius. He has finished high school but can’t afford to go to college and has no place to go, so he is still living and helping out at the orphanage. He told me he is studying the Bible and church history on his own. He shared with me his desire to go further in his studies so he can become a pastor. He has such passion for the Lord. I handed him a sheet of paper and said, “Go write down your desire and bring it back to me.” A few minutes later he handed me the paper and I said, “Julius, I will pray with you that God will give you a sponsor so you can go back to school.”
Yet, God impressed upon me that I was not to wait to get a sponsor. I needed to put him into Bible college now and believe God will send the sponsor to pay the tuition. I thought, “But Lord, we have so many needs to present to our donors, so many more I have learned about even on this trip.” I didn’t say anything to Julius right then, but as I prayed about his problem I could hear nothing but, “Send him to Bible college.”
CCC sent two other young men, Kacura and David, to a Bible college in the capital city of Kampala. We were very pleased with the education they received and the spiritual impact their education had on their lives. Kacura Kanisious is now planting a church in Kigali, Rwanda, and David Lukyera is working at CCC’s new high school in Uganda. I knew I had to obey and send Julius as well.
Rev. David Easterly, president of the college, told me school would start in a couple weeks, but they were expecting to have all openings for new students filled by the end of the day. I told him about Julius. He agreed to hold a place open if Julius could come in for the exam and interview. He told us his staff and teachers had been so impressed with the other two young men we sent to the school and that they would be very pleased if we would send another one of our boys.
I explained that I did not have a sponsor for Julius, but asked him to please give me time to get home. “I am believing God to give me a sponsor.” Once home, I received an email from Rev. Easterly saying Julius passed his exam and that he seemed to be a fine young man. I still did not have a sponsor. “School is starting; Lord I need a sponsor.”
So why am I such a proud lady? Actually, I am a very proud grandmother. Knowing Julius’ story, my granddaughter said, “Grandmother, how much would it cost to sponsor Julius? I want to sponsor him.” My immediate reply was, “Honey, can you do that?” She said, “Yes. I have been feeling that I should sponsor one of the college students. I know how important it is for them to get an education and he sounds like the kind of person I would like to sponsor.” Am I one blessed grandmother? Do I have plenty of reason to be proud?
Hayes is in her first year of Bible college. She just turned 18 in September. She started working with me at CCC in 2004. She started saving so she could go to Christ For the Nations Bible college, located about 60 miles away from our office. She could work closer to the school and make more money. However, she has a heart for the children. Every day after school, she commutes and works four to six hours at the CCC office. She often stays over on the weekend and works all day on Saturday. She has to have a car; there is no public transportation she can use. She pays her own car payment. It takes a lot of gas for her to come every day. She is also helping pay her school bill. So what do you think? Do you agree with me that I have a right to be a proud grandmother? Not only a proud grandmother, but also a thankful grandmother. I am thankful for my children and all of my grandchildren, who love and serve the Lord.
Another proud day, one of the most exciting days of our recent trip to Africa, was the day we spent at our new high school, Christ The Rock School. The students put on a beautiful program for our team. I knew that many of the students grew up in our orphanage schools.
After the students performed, David Sseruwagi, our administrator for our orphanage and Christ The Rock School, stood and spoke on sowing and reaping. As he was closing he said, “I want to quote a lady who is very special to all of us.” Then he quoted the close I have had after my signature on all my emails, “Don’t judge today by the harvest you have reaped, but by the seed you sowed.” He went on, “Today we want to present to her some of her harvest.” One by one, he called the names of children we took into the orphanage years ago. He called the names of those who saw their parents killed right before their eyes, who hid in the forest and ate whatever they could find to stay alive, whose parents died of AIDS. He named children who would never have gone to school or known Christ if not for CCC’s sponsors. One by one, confident and beautiful young people walked forward and reported what they are doing today. Many now work at the new high school, helping other orphaned children like themselves.
He was not half way through the list before the tears were streaming down my face. I could not keep my composure. When he finished calling the names, the stage was full of God-loving young people. What a day! What a harvest! I sat there literally bawling. My prayer was, “Lord help us to continue planting seed. When I am in heaven with you, please make sure there is still someone planting seed, so this scene can be repeated, generation after generation.” Sponsors, you are making a difference! You are changing lives, and those you have changed are changing others.
I know of no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving month than to give thanks to my Lord for my own salvation and for my wonderful Christian family, here and in Africa, India, Nagaland, and Nepal. I sometimes find myself humming that old hymn, “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings and see what God has done.” You are one of those big blessings in my life. If you had not believed in my vision, and cared enough to help me, my family would be a whole lot smaller. God’s family would be a lot smaller. As I thank God today for you and my family, join me as we count our blessings together. Let’s take time to name them one by one. Just think about what God has done!