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The Church is God's answer:
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March 2015

Congregation in North Carolina provides medical clinics and evangelistic services in rural Swaziland   (click to open/close)

A Southern Baptist congregation in North Carolina received a third Mission Match Matching Contribution to help fund a medical mission project to remote areas of Swaziland, Africa. According to the congregation's Mission Match application, "the project is threefold: 1) rural medical clinics in central and northeastern Swaziland (six clinics serving approximately 1,200 persons); 2) distribution of health care packages to rural homesteads in these same areas; and 3) nightly evangelistic services in the same areas." The congregation’s Mission Match application cover letter stated, "The mission team, composed of medical professionals and others from our congregation, will use matching funds to purchase medicines and medical supplies" to be used or distributed while the mission team is in Swaziland.

Follow-up comments from the congregation stated, "The goal was to provide 6 medical clinics in Swaziland, Africa. Our congregation was challenged to match the Mission Match funds. We exceeded our goal by $2,000."

Additional follow-up comments from the congregation after the completion of the mission trip stated, "We set-up make shift clinics in six rural areas of Swaziland. We saw over 1,600 patients during the six days of clinics. We treated skin infections, upper respiratory and ear infections, scabies, worms, allergies, wounds, cuts, and even did a few minor surgical procedures. We also fitted over 400 persons with used eyeglasses. At two of our clinics, with the help of a missionary nurse who lives and ministers in Swaziland, we were able to do HIV screening and HIV education. Swaziland has the highest percentage of HIV in the world. “We appreciate the assistance we received from Mission Match that helped purchase medicines and supplies."

October 2014

Congregation in Illinois provides funds to help rebuild church building that was destroyed in an earthquake in El Salvador   (click to open/close)

An Evangelical Lutheran Church congregation in Illinois received a second Mission Match matching contribution to help fund support for rebuilding a church in El Salvador. According to the Mission Match application and cover letter, the El Salvador “church was destroyed in an earthquake in 2000. Our members will have the opportunity to work alongside members of the ... church as well as having time for fellowship and worship together. In 2013 we were fortunate to have had the support of empty tomb through the Mission Match and we were able to provide each participant with funds to help offset some of their travel and lodging expenses ... as to not prevent anyone from serving in this manner due to the lack of funds.”


July 2014

Congregation in New York provides help renovating school and leading teacher training in Ghana.   (click to open/close)

 An American Baptist Church congregation in New York received a third Mission Match matching contribution to help send a mission team to Ghana to renovate a school and lead teacher training. According to the Mission Match application and cover letter, the congregation wanted to “renovate a school and build some new classrooms, as well as youth ministries and teacher training. We are raising money to support renovations of a primary school, including the construction of some new classrooms. These mission offerings are monies given by church participants above what they have pledged for the church budget.”
 According to the congregation’s internal E-Journal from early February 2014, the church encouraged, “Boys and girls, don’t forget to bring some change for Ghana every Sunday” to “contribute to the building project at the primary school through the children’s collection of Change for Ghana.” According to the congregation’s Mission Match application cover letter and another E-Journal dated February 2014, [The Ghana community] is “the home village” of a member of the New York congregation who describes the village as “a small farming community … with over 10,000 people.” The E-Journal continues, “Although it has many challenges such as poor education resources, high poverty and lack of jobs, it is very peaceful and friendly and makes every visitor feel a part of the community. … Our team plans to spend about a week in the community working together with the community members to lay down the foundation for three classrooms, leveling and adding poles and securing a roof so the students can start using it before permanent walls are added in the coming years.”
 The E-Journal continues, “There are over 100 students studying under a temporary thatched roof or under a tree. It is amazing and inspiring to see the dedication and how much these students love learning. With the lack of proper school classrooms, they prove they are committed to work hard and are determined to succeed.”
 Follow-up comments from the congregation stated, “This mission project to Ghana had several goals and we feel that all of them were accomplished to some degree. The first goal was to work with a middle school in the community to be[gin] construction of a new set of classroom blocks for the students. The current structure is simply made from bamboo with some palm fronds for a roof. When it rains the students cannot meet in this space and both students and teachers become discouraged. As part of this project we were able to start construction of a four room classroom block. While we were in the community we were able to assist with pouring the foundation, installation of several rows of bricks pillars to support the walls and roof. The blocks were made in the community and the holes for the foundation were dug before we arrived so that the project could move forward while we were there.
 “An objective of the building portion of the mission project was to engage with the community and have the community engage and take ownership of the project. This occurred in a number of different ways and we had a very strong sense that God was at work in the community in very powerful way. There were very positive meetings with the parents at the school with over 30 people attending. It was wonderful to see the students and some parents engage in this process and being to take ownership for the new school block.
 “A highlight of the project was in the second week when there was a call for community support to help dig and haul dirt to level the ground inside the blocks that has been installed. … God moved in mighty ways that day and this was one of the miracles were witnessed on this trip. Over 250 people from the community showed up to help from 6:30–9:30AM. Not only did a lot of work get done but there was a strong sense of people working together and community spirit. When the town elders announced it was time to finish, about 50-60 people said they wanted to continue working and stayed for another hour and half to make progress on the project.
“In addition to the broader community engagement we had very good meetings with pastors and elders from two of the local churches about establishing a partnership going forward. In addition to meeting with the elders we participated in services on Sunday morning with both congregations.
“A second goal of the project was to engage in youth ministries in the community. The young people involved in our mission project were very engaged with students in the school doing various activities including learning new songs … doing some arts and crafts projects and in reading programs hosted at the community library in the evening.
“We also gave away 10 soccer balls to other schools in the community and the young people on our team led these presentations and shared about their spiritual motivation for this trip and encouraged the students in their school work. This was a very positive interaction for our youth and it was really valued by the students in the school and the youth in the community. We also engaged with the students when we gave away 200 pairs of shoes that we had brought with us from the U.S.
“A final goal of this project was to provide an opportunity for young people in our church community to be involved in a mission project overseas and be exposed to another culture and way of life. This certainly occurred and the goal was reached. As we wrapped up the trip and began to say goodbye to our Ghanaian friends and hosts, one of the youth on our team frequently told his new Ghanaian friends that this is not the last time he would be in Ghana and that he would be back sometime soon.
“The support from Mission Match was essential to the success of our project and we are grateful for the support and the way God has used those funds to have an impact in the lives of the mission team and the community in Ghana. Fund raising for this mission trip actually started at our church with the children participating in ‘Change Ghana’ where they were asked to bring in loose change each week and put it in a bucket. Not only the children but adults in the church eagerly engaged in this effort and soon the children were walking up and down the aisles during part of the service collecting change. In just a month over $200 in change was raised and this seemed to really engage our church community in this project. When we announced that Mission Match was willing to match contributions in the church up to $2,000 we felt like this was going to be a stretch for our congregation. But God moved in amazing ways and in less than one month over $3,000 was given by our congregation to support this project. All together our congregation gave over $3,500 directly to this project. … The commitment from Mission Match to support this project was essential to make this project successful and encouraged our congregation to give above and beyond what was expected.
“We have already started planning for the completion of the school block so that the children in this community can have a school with a roof over their heads. We are excited about what God has done so and the opportunity to partner with Mission Match has been a blessing. We are looking forward to seeing how God will work to complete this project in the near future.”

July 2014

Congregation sends mission team to work on improvements to community center and medical center in Belize   (click to open/close)

A United Methodist Church in Indiana received a Mission Match matching contribution to help revitalize the church mission spirit and to send a mission team to Belize. The mission team worked on improvements to the community center and the medical center in partnership with Christian Service International (CSI Ministries).
According to Mission Match application materials from the congregation, “We are attempting to revitalize our church mission spirit. We have made some short trips during the past year, and are undertaking a giant step of sending a small team of 7 to 9 to a mission in Belize. We will use the matching funds to help fund the trip for our team and for supplies. … It is hoped that this small starter group can find an energy to expand our mission outreach and to make Christ centered missions more a part of our conscious giving.”
The Mission Match application materials also stated, “While on the ground in Belize we will be making physical improvements to the community center and to a medical center. The community center is a gathering place and a major source of the outreach that CSI uses to develop relationships. One of the other projects may include constructing bleachers for outdoor basketball courts, another strong point of contact for the CSI missionaries.”
Follow-up comments from a mission team member in the form of a story stated, “The … church in Belize is a small church in a relatively rough neighborhood. … By American standards the church building is closer to a shack than a church, but by Belizean standards it is well above average. … The church yard is flanked by two concrete block walls. The one on the right is brightly painted with a colorful Bible verse running it’s roughly 100 ft. length. The wall on the left is bare concrete blocks and topped with razor wire to keep kids form climbing it.
“At the front of the yard stands a brightly painted picket fence with one picket missing. … We enter the church and find it clean and in good condition. We are not here more than 5 minutes before the first young girls arrive, … around 5 years old or younger. … They just want to be loved and played with. … It’s not long before a young girl walks up to me and says, ‘Bop me.’ Bop me … means more than just pick me up. I swing her side to side and she lays her head back. She just giggles as she is swung. … The next thing I know we are taking our ‘selfie’ and she’s taking photos of everyone in the yard. Every photo needs to be looked at so we look at it and show the person we photographed. … Almost everyone on our team is playing with or talking to a child. Finally, … we get ready to leave. It is time for last hugs. As we leave the ladies sing ‘Jesus Loves Me” with the children. Sitting in a 2nd story porch watching and listening is a man who just minutes before was cursing his children.
“We arrive about 8:30 am … to beat the heat. When we return there is far more trash than before. … [Team members] started picking up trash while the rest of the team starts painting the wall. It goes quickly … the yard is clean and the wall is painted.
“Our afternoon plans change, which has been a common theme for this trip. Rather than sit and do nothing we return to [the church] to paint ‘Jesus Loves Me’ on the wall. It turns out to be one of the biggest blessings of the trip. … It is 2:30 pm, and school is out for the day, and as [our] van starts to pull up to the church, the kids know what is happening. A few of them chase the van down the road. [One] runs through the gate with his arms wide open and hugs the first person he comes to …
“We spend another hour or so hugging, bopping, twirling, playing with and loving the kids. We once again make our exit to the van, saying goodbyes and giving final hugs.
“The rest of the trip gave me time to think. If you are like me, you wonder if you’d be a better steward of God’s gifts simply by sending money to places like Belize … I cannot give you an answer, but I know that you can not put hugs, bops, and laughter in an envelope, and that as Christians we are called to GO!”