It makes sense that when you do something nice for your grumpy neighbor’s child, the neighbor becomes less grumpy. You might even get a smile or a friendly hello. We have found a similar response is garnered in villages hostile to the Gospel when Christ-followers do something helpful for the vulnerable children in their midst. Ethiopian society, especially in rural areas, is communal. When you do something good for one, it is as if you are benefiting them all.

Giving a head-start academically to the poorest children is an effective way to make friends in Mus!im villages, not to mention the advantage of literacy for the child that ultimately benefits his family and society.

Providing education at no cost to the student’s family  —

with small class size for individualized attention –

giving the children a nutritious daily lunch –

a daily vitamin –

and getting to know their families — positions the church to help if the need arises. Fulfilling a request of the community opens doors for friendship and acceptance.

We have been running a kindergarten for 60 students in one village for eleven years. This fall, a new early childhood education center is opening in another area. We will start with one classroom of twenty students selected from homes where there is a high likelihood the child would never have the opportunity to go to school. The local government gifted us a piece of land, a valued friend of the ministry donated the money for construction, and one classroom (to start with), latrine, lunchroom and kitchen are being built.

We will eventually add a playground.

What is needed is money to run the school monthly. In our current school, this has been achieved through people sponsoring a student where they receive a prayer card/biography, quarterly report cards and a family visit report once during the school year. Through our gift catalog, there is the option to personally help the child’s family with practical gifts from blankets and pillows to oxen or a new house.

Tuition for one young scholar is $48 a month. Would you consider this ministry as your way to help a child, his family, his community? Sending a little boy or girl to school is so much more than “just” giving a hand-up to an impoverished child. The impact literacy has on society and the ripple effect of open doors for the Gospel are undeniable outcomes of showing kindness to a son or daughter. It makes a grumpy village welcoming.