I can never stand on this piece of property for long without tears of awe and gratitude filling my eyes. I remember what this place once was – a small plot of land overgrown with bushes and thorns and weeds that we painstakingly cleared so children would have a spot to play and worship under the lone mango tree. Though it’s empty and quiet today, it doesn’t take much imagination to hear in my mind the familiar sound of children laughing, chattering, and worshipping here.
First, a small group of them worshipped under the tree, and then later a much larger group worshipped in our chapel, and played on the playground and soccer field that we built them. For over a decade I spent every Saturday here with these children who I adore. And as I watched this space change and grow, I watched these children grow both in stature and in their knowledge of the Lord. I got to bear witness as gaunt, despondent faces slowly filled with the life and light that come from knowing they are loved. I got to cheer with mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles as we celebrated their children’s achievements – achievements that they once thought were far out of reach. I got to watch whole families come to know the Lord in this place.
And today I stand on this land where tomatoes and corn and children and my faith once grew. It doesn’t look like it did. Where there once was only grass, classrooms now cascade down the hill – classrooms that very soon will be filled with some of these same children, and many others who are younger. Where I once sat and picked stones out of piles of beans in preparation for our big meal, only to spend hours washing dishes in the aftermath, now an entire staff bustles around, eager to serve our students.
Once again that sweet sound of laughter and chatter and worship will fill this place – these classrooms and fields and playgrounds.
The words of Paul in Philippians 1 echo through my mind and I am confident that He who began a good work here will indeed carry it to completion – that people would know the Lord here until the day that Jesus returns.
It has been over a decade of beautiful work here, and yet in so many ways, the work is just beginning.
We talk a lot at Amazima about transforming lives, restoring relationships, and changing communities. In every program or project, our goal is to disciple people in their faith in Jesus and empower them to go love, serve, and share the Gospel in their communities. And I believe with all my heart that our new primary school, right in the heart of our community, is going to be one of the very best ways to accomplish these goals.
Life on life, relational ministry is at the heart of Amazima, and our primary school. In over 13 years in this beautiful country I call home, every real-life transformation I have witnessed has not come about because of a program or a project, but because of a relationship with someone who demonstrated the love of Christ. As we seek to invest deeper into our students, their families, and this community, we can think of no better way than to be with our students day in and day out at school, modeling the love of Jesus for them. We will teach them to think creatively, to brainstorm and to problem solve. We will teach them that there are no stupid questions and that there often isn’t just one right answer. We will teach them that all people are created in God’s image with purpose and importance. Most of all, we will teach them that they are valued, cherished and adored by the King.
These children whom I love so much will have a place to come, not just on Saturdays, but every day, where they are loved, appreciated and safe. They will be taught about Jesus and they will be taught that they can change the world. We believe that as these student’s lives are transformed, they will be the ones to go back out into their communities, their country, and the world to share the love of Christ with others. They will be leaders for peace and leaders for change, fully transformed and redeemed by Christ, and empowered to share the Gospel with their communities.
A few weeks ago we hosted a Launch Party for the primary school where we shared more details about the school and extended an opportunity for you to be a part of this vision. If you didn’t get to be a part of this wonderful event you can check out the replay below.