A New Year Seed of Hope

Dec 31st 2013

The last 18 months have included a number of transition points for the Nolds, and every transition brings a new beginning, which is one of the things I appreciate about the New Year. Even though it’s somewhat artificial, it is an opportunity to think about new beginnings. A few of our new beginnings include…  

  • Lynn and I (and for a portion of time all of you) walked through the possibility of leaving Calvary and then we stayed, which brought for us, a sense of new beginnings.
  • Lynn’s grandmother died at the age of 101.  She was the matriarch of the Jacobsen clan and this was their first Christmas without her.
  • My daughter Sarah moved to Connecticut for a new position with Target.
  • My daughter Katy got married which also means we added a son-in-law to the family.
  • My son Jake changed his major at Bethel from Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapy to Ministry.
  • My son Josh is on the cusp of a new beginning as he has now been accepted into three different universities.

New Beginnings in Myanmar. We also had the opportunity, to host Joseph and David. Joseph and David are our partners in Myanmar.  This was their first time in the States. They were here for a month that included their first taste of snow and their first taste of Times Square!  I’m not sure which surprised them more.  

It’s pretty incredible when I think about all that God has done in the last several years through this partnership. We’ve sponsored hundreds of children, built orphanages and a Theological School. We resourced students from the seminary to build a school for children in a remote village and help that village develop an ongoing water supply…and so much more…including chicken, pig, fish and rice farms.  With all that has already occurred, in many ways I believe their time here signaled a new beginning for our work together in Myanmar.

The needs in Myanmar are so great. Poverty is off the charts, children are abandoned with regularity, thousands of children as young as 10 have been forced to serve in the military, and very little is invested in the education of the next generation. 

To add to those realities, in recent years, Myanmar was the number one producer worldwide of methamphetamines, and number two in opium production. Making matters even worse is the fact that because of Myanmar’s isolationist government, Myanmar ranks among the lowest countries in receiving international aid. Then we come to the church, the hope of the world. The church in Myanmar is often marginalized and in some parts of the country persecuted and the Burmese Buddhists rank as one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. 

Amazing Stuff! Yet in spite of all those obstacles, God is doing amazing stuff in Myanmar!  Buddhists priests are leaving their robes behind for the cause of Christ. Children are being taken in, nurtured, educated and given new hope for their future. Christian schools are being built, unreached villages are discovering living proof of a loving God and we have a part in all of that.

I’ve met some of these amazing stories. Mynt Shwe and Shu Mong left their Buddhist monk robes behind to become a Christian Orphanage Director and a missionary. Timothy grew up in the orphanage, attended our Bible School and hopes to go back to his village to show people the love of Christ. Elizabeth abandoned by her folks and taken in by Agape Orphanage is now dreaming of becoming a doctor to help people in poverty. Through your prayers, through your sponsorship of a child, and through your giving to the ONE% fund, you have a part in all of that. 

When you give every need becomes an opportunity for God to do amazing stuff.

Continued Opportunities. On Christmas Eve Calvary takes an offering; we’ve called it our ONE% Offering. I ran across a statistic a few years ago, that suggested that American Christians give less than one half of one percent to serve those in need globally and locally, so I said, “Let’s double it and give 1%.” One thing I love about Calvary is being part of a family that celebrates generosity! Our ONE% offering is more than a gift, it’s an investment in hope. The ONE% offering plants seeds of hope for children in Myanmar as well as in the Dominican Republic, Rwanda, and here locally.

The ONE% goals this year were significant, $243,000 to reach them all; a larger goal than we have ever before set. But our giving is behind last year’s efforts.  If you know me, I don’t often go to this length to ask people to give, but this one matters a great deal and I don’t want anyone to miss an opportunity to start 2014 with a gift of hope and be part of God’s amazing stuff.

If you are interested in giving a gift of hope — 100% of what you give will go toward the goals — you can click ONE% for more info and to give.  We will keep receiving this year’s ONE% gifts till the end of January, but why wait? I can’t imagine a better way to kick off 2014!

As New Year’s eve draws close…it’s already a New Year, a New Day in Myanmar.  I wonder what God has in store?