For over 45 years our church has collected a special offering during the Thanksgiving season. Originally, it was used to help the church pay off existing debt. Once the debt was paid off the church decided to use the offering to help bless people locally, nationally, and globally. In past years, we've helped orphans in Africa, helped build churches in Latin America and provide mental health counseling services to local schools.
This year's Thanksgiving Offering recipients will be...
Trailview Church, formerly Lebanon Bible Baptist Church, is a local church in Lebanon, IN we started working with a couple years ago. We have helped in many ways already with work days, cleaning, signage, and sending some of our own. Now, we will be taking these funds to help with their community outreach efforts in conjunction with their new name and a facility improvement plan that we've begun work on. Lots of exciting things happening with Trailview!
If you want to read more about Trailview, click here.
A few years ago, Rich & Cherry Smith (our supported Missionaries in Guatemala) started learning more about a huge issue in the area of orphan care. Specifically, the need to disciple/mentor those in their teen years living within systems of protection, especially those who then ‘age out ‘at the age of 18.
Most of the time, these kids have nearly no resources, nowhere to go & no one to go to. This vulnerability puts these kids in extremely high-risk situations.
So Rich & Cherry started praying...praying for funds for a piece of land, for funds needed to build a Training Center as well as a Transition Home and staff to help with all of it. They now have land and an infrastructure and are hoping to build the home very soon!
We plan to give them $20,000 towards the funds needed for this Transition Home!
Eddie & Sarah Ferguson are missionaries we support in Costa Rica. They help strengthen and start churches. Their primary church recently hired a full-time national pastor, and they are mentoring leaders to start churches in nearby communities and even neighboring countries in Central America.
Our gift of $8,000 will support a ministry intern as he trains for church leadership.
To learn more about Eddie & Sarah click here.
Bethesda Outreach exists to care for orphan exists to care for orphan children in family units on a property north of the capital city of Pretoria, South Africa. There is a Christian School onsite - Jabulane Christian Academy (JCA). Operations in the children's homes and at the school are being adversely affected by an undependable power supply - South African electricity is incredibly erratic and unstable.
To deal with the lack of power, the country’s state-owned and only electricity supplier (Eskom) has implemented a strategy called load shedding. Load shedding is a schedule of intentional, rotational power outages in which an area's electricity supply is switched off for 2 hours at a time and redirected to other areas. Depending on the stage of load shedding being implemented, electricity is out from 1 to 6 times in a 24-hour day, meaning that the power is off for 2 to 12 hours per day. The staff at Bethesda Outreach have apps on their phones which help them plan each day around when the power is on or off.
From January 1, 2022 through July 24, 2023, South Africa has experienced 412 days in which load shedding was active. That amounts to a total of 2,352 hours of darkness over the last 19 months. If those hours occurred concurrently, they would have experienced 98 (24-hour) days of no power. That’s more than 3 months of the last 19 months during which the country had no electricity! Imaging if you or I had to do this everyday at work, at home, or on your days off/vacation?! I (Darrel Huff) have experienced this on several occasions while in South Africa. We'd fire up a generator while our board meetings were in progress - this is an increasingly expensive solution, and it's happening more often, and only appears to be getting worse. The government is not dealing with this problem very well.
You can read about this on the Bethesda Outreach webpage. After much deliberation, it has been determined that adding solar panels at the Bethesda property would be the best way to relieve the operational stress so that they can continue to carry out their ministry to the orphan children with excellence. Many of the other solutions that we in the US would consider are not as easy to obtain, implement or afford in the South African context. Sunshine is widely available there, and independence from the current government system is certainly desirable.
We will give $5,000 to assist Bethesda Outreach in purchasing the solar panels needed that will hopefully completely remove their facility from the government-run electrical grid. Some of these funds will also be to help them acquire a needed vehicle for transporting large numbers of people
Our High School students are going on a mission trip to Jamaica in the summer of 2024. They will be serving in the community of Mt. Stewart as we serve alongside our partner church (Mt. Stewart Baptist Church). Additionally, they are hopeful to help with the OPEN Initiative (which we gave funds to last year, Gary & Mary Crawford are leading that endeavor). Their trip will entail both ministry and practical components as they look to help with a VBS, community projects, and more.
The $20,000 will go to off-set the student cost.
Our loan amount for the 12,000 sq. ft. addition, expanded parking lot, updated sanitation and new elevator is now down to $473,889.49! With your help, we hope to completely pay this off in the next couple years. Any amount of money given to the 2023 Thanksgiving Offering after we’ve paid all the other commitments will go to lowering the principal amount on the loan.
We hope to give $20,000 towards this loan balance!