It’s a typical morning in Africa. As the sun rises over the land early in the morning, everything seems to settle into its routine of the day. Roosters, once singing the sun over the horizon, have settled into pockets of sunlight. Children, who readied themselves in the early-morning quietness of their homes, gather with their friends and begin their journey to school. Fathers, board their 5am transportation, which more closely resembles a cargo truck with seats fused to the frame than a bus, and hurriedly rush to the city for work. Mothers, after ushering everyone off to begin their days, strap their young child to their back and make their way into the family field. Soon, a dust cloud rises over the single-lane, dirt road that leads into this quiet community, signaling that the visitors will soon descend on the community and begin their work.
Riding into the community early on in ministry, we received a lot of side glances and stares. It was if the people asking themselves, “What could they possibly be doing all the way out here?” or “How long will this group last?” We’d descend out of the comfort of our bus, a vehicle made in the made 90’s that was “newly” imported no less than a year ago, and find ourselves among a handful of community members. With large smiles and firm embraces, pulling in your face to touch both of their cheeks, these community members would quickly extend their gratitude for your journey and efforts in their community. It was small and near forgetful, but it was greetings like these that began our work in these communities.
In those days we would sit with mothers in their homes, youth in their classrooms, and, with our best efforts, communicate God’s love and grace through Jesus. We didn’t know their stories or backgrounds well, but we began with each one of them, hoping that one day we wouldn’t just be reaching people in their homes, but in their schools, churches, and community gatherings. We rejoiced in the meagerness of our beginnings, because had we known what would be ahead we may have shied away from the work.
Today, Rejoice Project impacts over 9000 children, youth, and project volunteers each week. No more is the time of departing a bus into small gatherings of people. Now, we descend into schools whose pupils number thousands and we are so thankful that, in the beginning, it all began with one. By simple recognition of the importance of just reaching one person for Jesus, we asked God for whole communities to be restored back to Him. For us, the best part is not even that the our friends in Africa are excited about the impact Rejoice Project is having on the youth and in the community as a whole, but that each one of them, individually, will come and tell us how glad they are that they have a Father in Heaven, who knows their names, and calls them His very own prized possession. Each week, through Rejoice Project, masses are reminded of this truth and we are trusting God, again, that by continuing to go after the one who needs to hear of their Heavenly Father, that we would be allowed to reach the many for His name.
We want to invite you to join us in going out after that [ONE]. This, as our offering, we are trusting and believing that God is allowing us to be a part of something much bigger than this [ONE]. Whole communities will one day be reached by going out after the [ONE].