For many, perhaps, this feels like a Thanksgiving to forget. All the distancing, mask-wearing, and missing family has put un-welcome strain on all of us.
However, throughout this whole year here at Zozu Project, the US staff and board have been learning a much-needed lesson from the team in Uganda. We have been learning what it looks like to have joy amidst trials. Simple to say, hard to do.
As the homeschool program in Uganda was extended and extended, the school needed more library books for teachers and students to check out and have at home. When we gave the principal of Solid Rock the news that the money for those books was on its way, we received this message:
“I can’t really express my joy! There is no message I can type to show you how happy I am!… I can’t stop blessing the Lord for you.”
Those words took me (Elsie) aback. Can’t stop blessing the Lord? That has not been my experience these past few months. You are much more likely to have heard me say “I can’t stop tracking Covid news” or “I can’t stop checking the news for election updates” or “I can’t stop wondering how long this is going to last.” But can’t stop blessing the Lord? That, rightly, convicted me.
Why is it that Principal David said that he can’t stop blessing the Lord? Because he saw, in the midst of trial, a gift from God’s hand to be thankful for. He didn’t give 90% of his attention to the 90% of things that were going wrong, and 10% of his attention to the 10% that was going right. He gave 100% of his attention to the work of God in his life.
So the question on my mind was, where is God at work? And I started looking out for it. We didn’t have to wait long.
With the purchase of the books for Solid Rock, a new problem arose- where were we going to put them? With the children learning from home, the classrooms had room for now, but what about long-term? The Ugandan team correctly discerned that they needed a brand new library annex, more than double the current size of the library. The construction cost for plans they drew up came in at $20,900.
Whew. We’re already supporting a staff of over 30 people in Uganda, providing an education for over 400 children, and taking on a new preschool class of 50 children in February, none of whom
are sponsored. How, we asked ourselves, are we going to fundraise for a major capital project right now, smack in the middle of an economically uncertain time?
Out of nowhere, not two weeks after receiving the library plans, an old friend got in touch with Mick and Elaine Lebens, our founders. They emailed to let us know that they manage a family foundation, and they asked if there was anything we’re fundraising for right now? It couldn’t have been a more opportune time. “Wow,” we thought, “they might be able to help a bit with the library project. Maybe they could fund a few bookcases, or lay the foundation.”
After looking at the plans and the budget for the library, they replied with an email that blew us away. They said they would be happy to donate the entire $20,900 to build the library, and we could expect a check in the mail as soon as we were ready to start construction.
Construction has begun, and we couldn’t be more thankful. This connection and this gift was a miracle, completely unasked for, right when we needed it. Can’t stop blessing the Lord? You bet. This Thanksgiving, may you have the eyes to see God’s gifts to you. He is still at work.
Blessings, Elsie Munoz, and the US Zozu Staff