United Church of Christ

Mission Moments

 

Mission Moment 1

Welcome to OebakiOGHS_Indonesia_-_members_of_a_farmers_group_planting_corn_-_credit_Shanley_Studiosm.jpg
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Oebaki (pronounced Oe-ba-key) is a small village in West Timor, Indonesia. It is considered one of the poorest communities in the country. The prefix “Oe” means water, but the drought has stolen this town’s identity. Poverty abounds, and families struggle to feed their children.

Imagine having a garden, but not being able to feed your family, or digging into the sand of a dry river bed in search of drinking water.

Imagine your child has been diagnosed with stunted growth, a preventable early childhood condition with lifelong consequences.

Now imagine the world the way God intends.

God imagines a world where all are fed, everyone has access to clean water, and all children grow up healthy. The author of Ephesians writes, “Now to God be the glory, who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine...” (Ephesians 3:20).

Your gifts to One Great Hour of sharing help make this world look more like the world God imagines. In Oebaki, your gifts help support well-trained savings and loan groups that allow families to buy resilient vegetable seeds for farming, yarn for weaving stunningly beautiful traditional fabric, and egg-laying chickens for a sustainable source of protein essential to prevent child stunting. These enterprises produce excess goods that families sell to generate income.

Today in Oebaki, those who once struggled during the dry season and drought can now maintain a diversified diet by eating stored root vegetables from the last harvest, supplemented with greens purchased at the market.

Nelci Tlonaen works hard in Oebaki with her husband and three children—two in elementary school and one entering high school. Despite the current drought, she feels confident that her family will persevere. “Even now, I can afford clothes and food for my children. I don’t have any difficulty paying for their school.”

That’s what happens when we imagine the world as God intends. Through your gifts, a new reality exists for families in Oebaki and around the world. Please give generously! 


OGHS MISSION MOMENT 2

Info Park
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a_young_woman_looks_out_the_window_of_Info_Park_credit_CWSsm.jpgImagine a 12-year-old child that you know. Maybe this is a neighborhood child, one of your own children or perhaps a grandchild. In your mind, what does the child do on a normal day? Go to school? Eat breakfast with friends? Argue with a sibling about what game to play after school?

Today I would like to tell you about another 12-year-old child. Her life is a little different from most children you know. We’re going to call her Z, which is the first letter of her name. For Z, a German language course in Serbia felt like the most normal thing she could imagine. She was born in Iran, but her family came from Afghanistan. They were refugees. And, like millions of other refugee and immigrant families, Z’s family began the long journey towards a better life. They went through Serbia, and eventually made it to Germany.

In Germany, aid workers spotted Z and her family. They were walking through a park, looking out of place and afraid. The aid workers offered them hope in the form of a safe space to rest and warm noodles, which Z described as “the sweetest food she had tasted in years.”

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in God,” the Psalmist sings.

Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing help the aid organization, Info Park, assist refugees with a safe place to rest, educational opportunities, and nourishing food to eat when they are hungry.

Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing help children like Z, inch closer and closer to the goals they only dream about as they navigate borders, checkpoints, and an exilic life.

Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing assist learning centers where girls and boys can escape the life of refugee camps and experience the normalcy children in many parts of the world take for granted.

Because of your generosity, Z is on a path towards education that only she and her mother dreamt of for her. Z won the Hamburg regional competition for best writing skills among newcomers to Germany. Two years earlier she didn’t know a word of the language. She had only begun attending a German school in Hamburg a month before the award, and yet she walked away with the prize.

Thank you for making it possible for families like Z’s to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Your gifts provide more than we can imagine!

_____________________

1. Psalms 34:8

Since July 2016, nearly 170 women and girls have attended German classes at Info Park. Of those, 140 successfully graduated and received a language certificate. Teachers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland inspire students to gain confidence, knowing that if they work hard they will have more opportunities.