It is an all-comers event and everyone is invited. We’ll gather tomorrow morning at nine and soon enough we will figure out the best way to get 6,400 crayons into 800 ziplock bags; eight crayons, one of each color, in each bag. The 800 bags will be safely stowed, and in time they will be added to a shipping container of all sorts of supplies heading to our Hope Kibuye team in Burundi. That container will be filled with medical supplies and equipment, things essential to the work at Hope Kibuye Hospital. And 6,400 crayons for the children of Kibuye Elementary School. Oh, and those 30 teacher kits, 20 from LPC, bound for the Kibuye Elementary School teachers.
I think the crayon packing party it will be a good time.
6,400 crayons. It’s part of the way we do mission at LPC.
A little background. Burundi may be the poorest country on the planet. By all measures it is poor. The IMF says it ranks as number 228 of the world’s 230 countries. The point is not just poverty, however. The point is hope. Through grace that can only be called grace, LPC has gotten to know an amazing young couple, John and Jessica Cropsey, who have responded to God’s call to invest the rest of their lives with the people of Burundi. John is physician, an ophthalmologist, and John and Jess are part of team of physicians and teachers and others, along with their children, who are in Burundi to help Burundians build a hospital and bring medical care and Gospel hope to one corner of this small East African country.
LPC gladly supports the Cropseys financially and a gift from a generous LPC member will provide one of the valuable pieces of medical equipment that will be in the container that is shipped to Burundi this fall. Then there are the crayons. As Jess has gotten to know Kibuye School and its teachers and students, she has seen the utter lack of teaching and learning resources – other than teacher dedication and student desire, which run high. Talking with the teachers at Kibuye Elementary School, Jess is the one who came up with the idea of a bucket full teaching supplies for each teacher, and then the crayons.
We’re not sending money to buy the crayons in Burundi, because there are no crayons to be bought in Burundi. Having our mission committee buy the 6,400 crayons in bulk and then an LPC home team sorting and packing them into 800 ziplock bags makes sense and it makes sense that Jess would ask LPC to help because she knows something about the way we do mission.
At LPC we believe that God is at work in our world and that he calls his church to be the primary instrument of his work. We believe in the hope of the gospel even in the face of overwhelming hopelessness. We believe that the ministry of reconciliation, justice, and lives changed by gospel hope is a one-life-at-time ministry. We believe that 6,400 crayons can be used by God as one small way with a lot of other small ways to witness to the coming reign of God. We believe that when God called John and Jess Cropsey to spend the rest of their lives loving and serving the people of Burundi, he also called friends and family, churches and individuals, to stand with them, pray for them, offer every kind of support to them, as they go about the Hope Kibuye project. It is nothing more or less than a humbling honor for LPC to be among the churches and our people to be among the people to be so called.
So we will gather tomorrow, as many as come, a home team filled with joy, as we pack those 6,400 crayons into 800 ziplock bags and then stow them away for safe keeping until they are ready to be loaded into that Burundi-bound shipping container.
6,400 crayons to the poorest place on the planet. In some ways it seems absurdly inadequate, tragically naive. The one-life-at-time gospel is often accused of just that. But then God uses our absurd inadequacy and tragic naïveté to shine hope into hopeless places. It is going to take more than 6,400 crayons to bring God’s hope to Kibuye. But they are a part of it. A small but important part.
We’ve introduced new words and new names to the LPC vocabulary over the last few years, and we keeping adding more. PLM, HPCA, Hope Kibuye, and recently IPJA. Jorge and Adriana, Jen and Kevin, John and Jess, Michael and Sara. Real places, real people, real hope. It’s how we do mission at LPC. One crayon can make a difference.
See You Sunday (or maybe Saturday morning at the packing party)