We’ve got the power!

We’ve got the power!

Electrical power, that is, at the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life Children’s Village is a community for orphans and vulnerable children built by Family Legacy just outside of the capital city of Lusaka, Zambia.  The Tree of Life opened last summer and currently has 4 homes with approximately 60 children .  Recently a school was added to the campus, and two more homes are scheduled to open at the end of next week.  The children’s village is located on a beautiful piece of land with stately trees and a majestic hilltop, but it lies outside of the city’s water and power supply.  As a result, we had to drill our own wells and install our own water tanks in order to provide water to the homes.  We also installed solar panels to bring light and power to the village.

However, the panels were not as powerful as we originally thought.  While they are able to bring SOME power to the homes, they cannot bring enough power to, say, keep a refrigerator cold, or power a stove.  As a result, the house mothers were forced to cook food for the children on open fires outside the homes.  The power supply was also insufficient to operate the pump which pushes the well water up into the main water tank.  As a result, we were forced to rely on our smaller backup tanks which could only provide a small amount of water pressure.

When we realized the limitations of our solar panels, we began to explore our options.  The only really permanent and effective solution was to connect to the main city power supply.  We contacted a private contractor (one of the only ones in Zambia qualified to do the work) and got a bid for the project.

$380,000!  (U.S. Dollars, that is.)

I must admit that when I heard the amount I was a little discouraged.  I tried to think of other options, but the reason we had gotten the bid in the first place was because we HAD no other options.  We were between a rock and a hard place.

We prayed about what to do next.  And then we discussed it.  And prayed about it some more.  And shared it with the board.  And prayed about it some more.

And then we decided to go for it.

At the end of 2009 we sent out an end-of-the-year appeal asking our supporters to make a sacrificial gift to bring power to the village.  It was going to take a truly heroic effort on the part of our constituents to bring this about.  Still, we felt that it was not outside of God’s ability to make it happen.  Acting in faith, our director booked his ticket to Zambia to travel there on New Year’s Eve to sign a contract with the company to begin the work.

By the time he was ready to leave, we had only raised less than 1/2 of the money needed.  What were we going to do next?  I felt like we had fired our last bullet and the enemy was still coming for us at full speed.

That’s when the Lord pulled out the heavy artillery.

One of our supporters who was passionate about our ministry and about this project in particular issued a $100,000 matching gift challenge that would match dollar-for-dollar any gifts received over the next 60 days.  We shared this exciting news with our board and then talked about how to communicate it to our constituents.  They came up with a bold plan.

We would email an appeal to all of our constituents every day for the next 10 days.

When I first heard of the plan, I was quite honestly shocked.  In my opinion, this was way beyond the parameters of an appropriate solicitation campaign.

It’s a good thing God didn’t ask for my opinion.

Because over the next 10 days, the gifts began coming in.  One after another.  Again and again and again.

By the end of those 10 days, including the matching funds, we had raised $350,000!!!  We only lacked $30,000 to finish the project!  We exuberantly shared the news with our supporters and thanked them for their generosity and faithful support.

A few days later our director was sharing the story with someone who had not been a part of our email campaign. After hearing the story of God’s faithfulness, he decided to FINISH the remaining $30,000!  The power was complete!

Immediately we contacted the contractor and he set to work.  Over the past few months we have been getting regular reports and watching the progress as the power lines have gone in.  And then last Saturday . . .

THE POWER WENT ON!!!

We went to the Tree of Life that evening to help them celebrate . . .

By making brownies!

(Is there a sweeter way to celebrate?)

The children had never had brownies before and were quite intrigued by the process.  They helped pour, mix, stir . . . and devour. 🙂  While we were waiting for the brownies to bake, we read some books, sang some worship songs, and had a testimony time.  It was a very fun experience.  We left them some extra brownie packs so that they could “celebrate” again soon.

I think they like their new power.

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4 Comments

  1. sincerelyanna
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    What an awesome testimony to God’s provision – only He could do that! Ya’ll continue to be in our prayers this summer.

  2. Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! Love the smiles…

  3. Ella Tracy
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    How very very wonderful! God is so good and has carried this project along from the very beginning. The children are beautiful.

  4. Siv
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Love it, Biv! Thank you for sharing! So glad to hear everything is going well over there! Love & miss you!!


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