In the year since our family committed to speak and pray on behalf of mothers and their children in Mbulu, Tanzania, we have often been both humbled and surprised at the way God has moved and provided for these people He loves and knows by name.
Though we've had our own plans sometimes thwarted and disappointed, more often than not, we've seen God move mightily in the hearts of people we do not even know and in ways we would never have expected.
A little more than a month ago we received an e-mail from Kirk Winter, our friend and contact at Compassion International. He told us he'd recently been contacted by a 15-year-old girl living in New York who had learned about the Child Survival Program, and felt a burden to raise funds for a CSP somewhere in the world. Would we, he asked, be interested in partnering with her as God is calling her to raise funds for a CSP?
Our answer was an enthusiastic, yes, and we were soon given the opportunity to correspond with this young lady whose name is Chiara Salati. It's been a true blessing to get to know her and her story, and she's been gracious enough to oblige our request to share it with our readers as well. As you read her words below, please pray for God's continued work in her life, and that He would use her in a powerful way as she reaches out to others on behalf of the Anslay Church of God CSP.
I still clearly remember the night that I first learned about Compassion International's Child Survival Programs. The night that I was hit in the face with the shocking truth: every three seconds, an innocent child under five years old dies from a preventable cause. It was a firm blow that I never expected to come from a simple Louie Giglio video series. But, all the same, it had. I found myself unable to understand how avoidable health hazards like dehydration, diarrhea, measles, and influenza had the final say on so many children's existences. At the time, I felt unsure of so many things. But of one thing I was certain. Something was about to change. Something had to change.
As I mentioned briefly before, my church, Main Street Baptist in Oneonta, NY, had been going through a Louie Giglio video series. That one particular night, Louie talked about Compassion International, the Child Survival Programs, and the desperate needs of children around the world. Throughout the evening I couldn't help thinking what a wonderful mission that would be. But for someone else of course. Deep down inside, although I thought it would be great, I really didn't want to be the one to get the ball rolling.
Although I tried, I could not get the Compassion project out of my head in the days and weeks that followed. In that time, World War III was being waged between two fierce opponents know as my heart, and my head. While my heart was telling me to take a giant leap of faith and reach for my dreams, my mind was keeping me well informed of reality and telling me that I was insane. After bringing the idea to several people, including two of MSBC's pastors, I still came away with mixed feelings. Some people thought it was a great mission, but didn't want to be the ones to take responsibility for it. Others on the other hand, agreed with my head and thought I was crazy. They told me that they'd believe it when they saw it. Although the clouds of doubt were beginning to swirl around me, I was determined to give this mission my best shot.
For close to a year, I continued my search for someone who would back my ideas up. Someone who was significant in my church, that people would respect and listen too. I felt that as a teenager, I wasn't qualified to be the one to do God's work. I was ready to supply the inspiration, enthusiasm and my own physical and mental energy. But at that point, I felt that was all I was capable of. I prayed that God would put someone in my path that would help me get a CSP project started. It wasn't long after, surprisingly, that God showed me who that person was: me. When I finally accepted that this was a project God meant for me to start on my own, I was inspired once again to make my dream into a reality.
My trust and patience were tried for another time as I battled the complications of getting in contact with Compassion International directly. I sent multiple emails, even a few different ways, but received no reply. I tried to reach CI by way of telephone but had no success with that either. Finally, as a last resort, I sent a letter to CI in Colorado. There was nothing further to do but wait. Wait and see. I knew that if it was God's will that I undertake this project, He would see to it that the letter arrived.
I was surprised by a phone call, a week or two later, from Doug West, a CI advocate. Yet again I was re-energized and re-inspired to continue with this assignment. I was ecstatic that I had finally accomplished the first step to putting things in motion. With Doug's encouragement and guidance, I managed to set up a website and get my hands on further fund raising materials.
Things were still unfolding as Doug was in the process of identifying a Child Survival Program that I could raise funds for and support. Suddenly, God amazed and blessed me by bringing Jeff and Julie Thompson into the picture. Doug introduced them to me over email as CI advocates from OH who had raised the initial funds for a project with the Anslay Church of God in Mbulu, Tanzania. He expressed his excitement that Jeff, Julie, and I might be able to team up and tackle this mission together. I knew immediately that, for the millionth time, God had answered my prayers. So here I am, joining in this project to bring hope to children in Mbulu!!
Everything is still moving slowly and my biggest goal at the moment is to present this mission to my church. I am praying that God opens hearts to step out in faith and join me for HIS Glory. How beautiful it would be to see my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ, come together to overcome poverty and death itself!!! Please join me in prayer for MSBC, Tanzania, and the many people involved. Thank you and God bless you for all your support!!!