When we celebrate Christ’s birth throughout the season of Advent, we recognize Jesus as the source of our hope, the root of our faith, and the basis of our joy. Our final Advent devotional this Christmas season invites us to consider how we may receive and reflect our heavenly Father’s love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
–1 Corinthians 13:13
A Beacon of Hope
In a desperate, crime-ridden neighborhood within Ndola, Zambia, Pastor Fredrick Mumba and his wife, Faides, established a beacon of hope. In 2001, they embarked on a mission to build a church that would also serve as a free community school. Today, Hope Chapel thrives as a testimony of God’s faithfulness. The congregation of about 100 members collectively serves more than 120 children through their various orphan care ministries, which are supported, in part, by Forgotten Voices!
The goal of the community school is to meet the basic needs of these children, providing opportunities for them to achieve academically, as well as providing breakfast and lunch each school day. Many of the children who attend the school are HIV positive, and most have family members who have been affected by AIDS. Several of the students have lost both parents and now live with grandparents who struggle to meet their educational and medical needs.
In the face of these hardships, the church and school staff serve with selflessness, consistency and compassion. They go beyond merely offering a safe and stable learning environment to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ for each child they reach. Custom plans for each child in their care may include counseling, coverage of school fees and supplies, access to home-based medical care, and food/water assistance.
God’s Radical Alternative: Love!
A young lady named Suwilanji attended school at Hope Chapel from grades 8 through 12. Before graduation, Suwilanji shared: “Although my birth parents won’t be there to see me graduate from high school, I am grateful to my heavenly Parent, who has provided a community that believes my dreams are worth achieving.”
Throughout His birth, ministry, death and resurrection, Jesus was the flesh-and-blood embodiment of God’s radical alternative to human sinfulness: unconditional love and grace. We believe that demonstrating Christ’s love must be at the core of any efforts to meet the needs of children like Suwilanji… because love is at the root of the confidence she describes when she knows her community believes in her dreams! Her community’s love allows Suwilanji to see herself as our heavenly Father sees her – a precious child, dearly loved and worthy of His deep provision and care.
When we quietly invest in custom plans with partners like Hope Chapel, we seek to ensure that although children like Suwilanji may never know about Forgotten Voices, they will experience the truth of God’s love through the care of their local church.
Questions for Reflection:
- Why do you think Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “the greatest of these is love”?
- Have you ever experienced God’s love through the actions (or words) of another person? Take time to thank God for people in your life who have loved you well.
- What’s one way you can reflect God’s love with family, friends or co-workers this week?
Visit Previous Advent Devotions: