In deeply impoverished Western Zambia, a young woman named Gloria receives a letter. It’s from a local pastor, asking for volunteers to help start a kids’ church. The need is great, he says. The children in their village have no one to teach them God’s Word. And right now, he has a group of 20 children attending his weekly worship meetings, held under a tree.
The pastor’s letter moves Gloria to action. She volunteers to invite more local children to the weekly meetings and help teach them about Jesus.
The children arrive, but with heartbreaking needs. Many show up in filthy, tattered clothing. Several are malnourished. A few have lost parents and friends to crocodiles that infest the village’s only water source.
As Gloria ministers to them, more children start attending the kids’ church. They memorize Bible stories and sing songs about God’s love. Still, Gloria can’t ignore their glaring physical needs. So she and the other volunteers find ways to meet those needs. They help the children get the clothing they need, and they drill bore wells for every home in the village. Moved by these acts of compassion, the children’s parents begin coming to kids’ church, too.
Today, the church that started with 20 children a few months ago now has 300…plus many of their parents…still meeting under a tree in the hot sun. Gloria will continue ministering to them, but they desperately need a permanent place to worship.
You see, in this region of Zambia, the intense poverty forces many families to sell their young daughters into marriage—at 11, 12, and 13 years old when they come of age. The girls are advertised for sale by crude flags tied to poles outside the family’s hut. Those who refuse to be married often face rape and abuse by potential suitors. And without the bride’s price offered by these child marriages, poor families risk hunger—even starvation. As no government programs exist to help these at-risk families, the Church offers their only hope for social change.
ICM has agreed to help this congregation build the first church in their village…and you can help, too! Click the link below to make a gift to this project.
To these children and their parents, having a church will be a great miracle and evidence of a God who truly loves them. Thank you for your compassion!