I cherish my first remembrances of church. I remember the church, the classrooms in
Statesboro where I attended Sunday School, from early years through high school. I remember the churches my grandfather served that we would visit on weekends and worshiping in the little Baptist church where my father grew up in Newington when we spent the day with his mother, Elise. But, something is missing. The truth is, each of those churches gave me more than I could ever return to them. They shaped me, in small and not-small ways, into the child of God I am today. These churches were established long before I came around.
The relationship between Janet Cheraisi and the church she grew up in is a little different, though. For all that they have given her and for all of the goodness that she carries because of their efforts to raise her well, she is giving back. Samuel and Janet grew up in different parts of Kenya. They were raised in newly-started local churches that were a part of the African Island Church denomination, started by an American missionary, Peter Scott, back in 1895 (www.aickenya.org). They did not meet until they were both running track for colleges here in the US. As students at Southern Miss, Janet and Samuel became United Methodist members. Soon after she graduated, Janet started helping the church with its greatest need - more space.
The church Janet grew up in is not large enough. The witness of the people and the work of God in the area have reached more people than the little sanctuary will hold. It means members must stand outside during worship. So, Janet and Samuel have been helping her childhood church build a bigger sanctuary. As of this fall, the building is now in its final stages as they try to finish by next summer. Samuel visited the church recently on a trip back home and carried with him a little note of encouragement I sent to them.
Our core mission partners for the past two years have been local - Open Door, Wynnton
Neighborhood Network, Rose Hill, Allen Elementary. This month we are asking that your gifts beyond our local ministry go to help Janet leave a mark on the place that has left its mark on her. The news of the terrorist attack in a public mall in Kenya last month could not have been more revealing. Kenya is in the midst of spiritual battle. Christians need all the help they can get to continue expanding the footprint of peace that God so desperately wants to win over His people.
I want to be a part of a church that builds people up. Grace and Peace, Scott