May 1 – The Awesome Joy of Changing the World

KibuyeHopelessness, the sense that things are bad and won’t get better, is a reality for many people in our world. Helplessness in face of hopelessness, the sense that there is nothing we can do to change the ways things are, is reality for many others in the world.

By all accounts, Burundi, a small East African country, is a place of hopelessness. One of the poorest nations on the planet, 89% of the population lives in poverty and 56% of all children in Burundi suffer from malnutrition.  As a presidential election approaches, many observers are concerned that the country will fall back into the kind of civil war and genocide that took the lives of 300,000 Burundians in the 1990s. See this, Burundi on the Brink, from the New York Times for more on the political situation.

How easy it is for us to feel helpless when we hear about a hopeless place like Burundi.

If you have been around LPC for the last few years, though, you know about amazing hope that is being brought to Burundi, for Burundi, and ultimately by Burundians by a remarkable team of eight American physicians and their families. You know that we have been able to help bring hope in small ways to Burundi. Kibuye Hope is the beautiful name of the project we support through John and Jess Cropsey,

John and Jessica Cropsey and their three children are the team members we have gotten to know through God’s surprising providence (we hope to see them here in Langhorne in July). Three-year old Sammy is a student at the local elementary school, and, through Sammy, Jess has gotten to know the school and some of its needs. There are nearly a thousand students at Kibuye School and thirty teachers. The teachers are supplied with a chalkboard, a notebook, and one pen.  That’s it.

Earlier this year Jess began to wonder what might happen if some their American friends, like the people of LPC, could help bring a little bit of hope to the teachers at Kibuye School. What she came up with is Adopt-a-Teacher. You’ll hear and see more on Sunday or check out this month’s Cross Purposes or a copy of the Adopt-a-Teacher flyer. Our mission committee has told Jess she can count on 20 of the 30 Teacher Resource Pack to come from LPC. Please consider adopting one of Kibuye School’s teachers, or make it a project with several friends or family members.

Sign-ups begin this Sunday. If you have questions, contact the church and we’ll put you in touch with a Mission Committee member who can answer your questions.

The point, though, is not the details of the program. The point is that hopelessness does not need to be final, nor does helplessness. A Christian knows more about hope than anyone else, and we know that the One who has called us to hope sends us into the world to help proclaim hope in word and deed. We’re going to help 30 teachers and a thousand students. Maybe that hole-punch or roll of tape or dictionary will make all the difference for one of those teachers or one of those students. And maybe one of those students will make a difference in the poorest place on the planet that this month is on the brink. Or maybe many of those students will become better parents and better farmers and better citizens for what they gained at Kibuye School. That’s our hope and it is not a weak hope, for, after all, we worship a God of surprising providence.

Through the gift of his Son, God has given us hope beyond all measure. We are not helpless. Our hope shared is a hope that changes lives, countries, and the whole world.

Do you want to change the world? There’s awesome joy to be had in helping hope spread.