Jar$ for Jamaa Letu
By Pastor Heather Sparkman

When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14:15-21 NRSV

This story of the feeding of the five thousand men (plus women and children!) with only a few fishes and loaves invites us to notice abundance where there only seems to be scarcity and to give thanks to God for the resources that are among us, even when they don’t seem to be enough. As the Hope for the Children of Africa Task Forces launches the 2013 Jars for Jamaa Letu campaign, this is a perfect time to witness a miracle of abundance and generosity taking shape among us. Just as Jesus started with just such a small amount of food and yet was moved to share those resources among many, we are asking churches to collect dimes, nickels, and quarters (a few dollar bills never hurt!) to share in the support of the 80 kids at the Jamaa Letu orphanages in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A few coins may not seem to make much difference but when they are pooled together those coins become food, school fees, clothes, and clean water for the kids at Jamaa Letu. All of the coins collected will be gathered together at The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Sessions in June and we will see how a few coins can turn into an abundance of support for kids in Congo.

Amazing things are happening at the orphanages and the coins collected through the Jars for Jamaa Letu campaign help make it all possible. Here are just a few examples. Recently, a new kindergarten, open to the community of Lubumbashi, was established at the girl’s orphanage site. One of the teenage girls in care is receiving treatment for an ongoing skin infection and is showing signs of healing. A boy who came into Jamaa Letu with severe infection in both legs, and had to have his legs amputated, is preparing to be adopted by a United Methodist pastor and his wife who live on the East Coast.

You can find Jars for Jamaa Letu printable labels at the Hope for the Children of Africa website at: www.hopeforthechildrenofafrica.com. The website has a new look and updated pictures of the kids.

Will you join in collecting coins and watching as God provides for these children through our generosity?

Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon) courtesy of Wikipedia.
For more info on this image, visit bit.ly/YJ2qDV
Illustration by Jesse N. Love
Heather Sparkman serves as pastor of Rochester United Methodist Church.

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