What an AMAZING week in Greenwich, Connecticut!
In 2005, the Step into Africa’s very first event was in Grand Central Station in New York City. It was more of a prototype version back then, but it inspired some individuals from Greenwich and finally five years later, the Experience came to Christ Church in their Parish Hall. Christ Church Greenwich partnered with Trinity Church and Stanwich Church to support bringing the Experience into town.
Thank you to our amazing church planning team for all the efforts in spreading the word and getting people to help the children who suffer most from the AIDS crisis. God really moved this week in small and big ways and I would like to share with you some of these stories about how God involves himself in the small ways about our daily lives.
One story was of a woman who was inspired to sponsor a child, but was indecisive about a boy from Rwanda and a boy from Zambia. She asked me about World Visions work in Zambia and after some short thought, she put the children back on “the wall” as she had to leave with friends, but she said she would come back in a few hours.
As she was back looking at these two boys on the wall of over 100 children, she prayed for God to reveal to her who she should sponsor. As she looked, a lady who was next to her picked the Zambian boy to sponsor and walked out with it! She knew that she was to sponsor the Rwandan boy and was overjoyed as she left the Experience.
Another story actually involved me and it still stirs my spirit as I tell you this story.
For a year and half now I have sponsored a boy from Uganda. As this week moved on and hundreds of people came through everyday and children were being sponsored and love was felt all around, I felt led to sponsor another child from the community that Trinity Church had been partnering with for years now. The people from Trinity church had such a strong love for the people of Rwanda and this was evident in the first hand stories of many of them visiting their sponsored kids and World Visions projects in the field. Maybe it was partly their committment to Rwanda that inspired me, maybe it was the spirit moving me, maybe it was just a way to remember how special this week really was. In any event, I decided to sponsor a boy named Emmanuel.
I carefully looked through the many children available for sponsorship and read their stories. Emmanuel lived with his grandmother and 2 brothers and 1 sister. If he lives with his Grandmother, then one thing can be certain: He lost his parents, and he lost them likely to AIDS. His picture was echoing sadness and hurt. I felt it and I sponsored him, looking forward to the love I could give him in the form of gifts, writing and a potential visit like many of the community members of Greenwich, CT had done.
Well, our volunteer coordinator Wendy had noticed I had sponsored Emmanuel and was excited to tell me some news. At the end of our Experience, people write prayers and notes of encouragment to the children and families that are affected by AIDS. Wendy’s son Peter had written a special prayer for a child that was on the prayer wall and this is what it read:
You will find that special person waiting to take care of you very soon! Much love, From Peter I hope you get this!”
As Wendy looked at the boy I sponsored, she realized it was the same boy Peter had prayed for. I was very moved. To think that in all the craziness and vastness of the world, our God still answers the simple prayer of a boy to another boy in a small Parish hall in Connecticut. Thank you God. Your heart breaks for Emmanuel and you love the children.
I am going to be sending this letter along with a picture of Peter to Emmanuel. Peter gave some stickers of animals to be included as well. I told Wendy if Peter ever wanted to send anything else, he could.
Together, we saw so many visitors this week and hundreds of children sponsored (check out our sponsorship thermometer below!) Thank you God! Many hearts were touched and moved. Thank you again to the planning team of Greenwich for all your hard work and efforts. Brian, Chris, Wendy, Ray, Mary, Louisa, Drew, Ruth, and the many others — God Bless you.
In addtion, many special events happened including a Women of Vision dinner, An AIDS panel luncheon, an evening with Maya Angelou and a childrens choir from Tanzania. It was a full week and I leave making lifelong friends.
Next stop: Bourbonnais, IL in August! Stay tuned for more updates!