Covenant Kids Congo Update from Canada

Post a Comment » Written on January 17th, 2013     
Filed under: Featured Churches, Hope Sunday, News & Updates
Update from Julia Sandstrom, director of ministry support, Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada

This past year, the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada (ECCC) committed to 200 sponsorships. So far, 80 of those sponsorships have been met with 13 churches signing up to host Hope Sunday events. Six more churches plan to host Hope events during the next couple months. Our conference office has encouraged all the ECCC churches to participate and so far about 70% have either had a Hope Sunday or are signed up to do so. We pray that God would continue to move in the ECCC and the Evangelical Covenant Church as a whole to bring help and healing to DR Congo.

If you are a church in Canada and interested in signing up for a Hope Sunday event or for more information, go here.

Below is an example of how the Evangelical Covenant Church in Nelson, BC presented their Hope Sunday event. We hope it will inspire your church as you consider hosting a Hope event. More feature church stories are coming so keep checking back here. If your church has a story to share, email us at

Written by Arden Gustafson, pastor

There was something surreal about opening our packet from World Vision. Pictures of kids, some smiling, others not. Some cute. Others, well, perhaps faces only a mother could love. Some were clean and comparatively well dressed. Others wore ragged clothes and expressionless faces.

Regardless, these were the kids “chosen” for us, for our Covenant church family in Nelson, British Columbia. I read the names, struggling with the pronunciations and marvelling at the mix of Congolese traditional names as well as the “Christian” names given to these little ones. Here were pictures of small children standing in the sun, looking at a camera with very little understanding of what was going on. Posing for pictures to be sent to strangers in a land far, far away. Surreal.

“Could we do it?” I silently wondered. “Could we possibly sponsor all of these kids as a small church?”

I was wracked with fear. What if we only sponsored half of these kids? How do you inform a kid half a world away that they have just experienced the equivalent of not making the team or not being picked for a speaking part in the play, only with much, much more dire and perhaps deadly consequences? What if it took a month or more to sponsor these kids? What happens in the interim? What if the razor’s edge of life in the Congo catches up to one of these children while comfortable Canadians decide whether or not their budgets can handle the extra burden of child sponsorship?

As I posted the pictures to the display, I silently prayed that God would protect them, not only from the hardships of life in the Congo, but also from any unmoved hearts here. I prayed that our months of reading and studying as a whole church Richard Stearn’s book “A Hole in Our Gospel” would not be wasted, but would open our eyes to Kingdom of Heaven issues that God wants us to be a part of and take responsibility for in our own lives. I’ll admit, too, that it was a desperate prayer, that I hadn’t gambled too much, or pushed our church too hard as pastors are sometimes known to do.

Hope Sunday arrived and as people got their first glimpses of our Congo Kids, it was amazing. Just like people go strange over new babies, there were giggles and “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” over these kids. By the end of the first Sunday, most of the pictures had been removed from the display and the children sponsored. By week 2 all of “our” children had been scooped up into the loving arms of families who were willing to make long-term commitments to children most will never see in this lifetime.

No church can do everything, but every church can do something. And it’s really wonderful when that “something” actually impacts lives, even the lives of children we may never meet in a land far, far away.




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