Projects done by churches in New York that received Mission Match® funds
An American Baptist congregation in New York sends a team to Ghana to complete the construction of a middle school building which began in 2014. (click to open/close)
In 2014, an American Baptist Church in upstate New York began a project in a village in Ghana. The project was to build a four-classroom block for the middle school. The work was done along with members of the community. It states in their mission follow-up report, "We saw firsthand that the local middle school classrooms were simply made from bamboo with some palm fronds for a roof. When it rains the students cannot meet in this space and both students and teachers become discouraged … It had rained the day before and the ground was all muddy and the desks were all wet and this was the very day when the students needed to take a set of countrywide standardized exams."
This congregation received its fourth Mission Match Matching Contribution to send a team to Ghana to finish construction of the middle school. A great deal of work had been done since the project began in 2014, but there were many tasks ahead before the building would be complete.
In July 2016, the mission team went to Ghana. Local suppliers provided materials at discounted rates. Local carpenters and craftsmen worked with the mission team to complete the various projects. As stated in their mission follow-up report, "God was moving in the hearts and lives of people in very different parts of the world to work together to reach a common goal."
The school building was complete and the community celebrated by commissioning it. Their follow-up report described the commissioning as, "a wonderful event with students dancing, drumming and singing and people sharing stories about how when the community joins together great things can happen."
In addition to working on the school building project, the mission team also partnered with a local church to host a modified Vacation Bible School event. There were many local youth volunteers who participated and stepped into leadership roles.
This congregation described their work in Ghana this way: "God's power and faithfulness was on display as the school was completed and the community celebrated its completion … Many children will be educated and some will be inspired and called to go forward and do amazing things in their community and in the world. Through all of this God will receive the glory and honor for the transformations that will occur."
Congregation in New York provides help renovating school and leading teacher training in Ghana. (click to open/close)
According to the congregation’s internal E-Journal from early February 2014, the church encouraged, “Boys and girls, don’t forget to bring some change for Ghana every Sunday” to “contribute to the building project at the primary school through the children’s collection of Change for Ghana.” According to the congregation’s Mission Match application cover letter and another E-Journal dated February 2014, [The Ghana community] is “the home village” of a member of the New York congregation who describes the village as “a small farming community … with over 10,000 people.” The E-Journal continues, “Although it has many challenges such as poor education resources, high poverty and lack of jobs, it is very peaceful and friendly and makes every visitor feel a part of the community. … Our team plans to spend about a week in the community working together with the community members to lay down the foundation for three classrooms, leveling and adding poles and securing a roof so the students can start using it before permanent walls are added in the coming years.”
The E-Journal continues, “There are over 100 students studying under a temporary thatched roof or under a tree. It is amazing and inspiring to see the dedication and how much these students love learning. With the lack of proper school classrooms, they prove they are committed to work hard and are determined to succeed.”
Follow-up comments from the congregation stated, “This mission project to Ghana had several goals and we feel that all of them were accomplished to some degree. The first goal was to work with a middle school in the community to be[gin] construction of a new set of classroom blocks for the students. The current structure is simply made from bamboo with some palm fronds for a roof. When it rains the students cannot meet in this space and both students and teachers become discouraged. As part of this project we were able to start construction of a four room classroom block. While we were in the community we were able to assist with pouring the foundation, installation of several rows of bricks pillars to support the walls and roof. The blocks were made in the community and the holes for the foundation were dug before we arrived so that the project could move forward while we were there.
“An objective of the building portion of the mission project was to engage with the community and have the community engage and take ownership of the project. This occurred in a number of different ways and we had a very strong sense that God was at work in the community in very powerful way. There were very positive meetings with the parents at the school with over 30 people attending. It was wonderful to see the students and some parents engage in this process and being to take ownership for the new school block.
“A highlight of the project was in the second week when there was a call for community support to help dig and haul dirt to level the ground inside the blocks that has been installed. … God moved in mighty ways that day and this was one of the miracles were witnessed on this trip. Over 250 people from the community showed up to help from 6:30–9:30AM. Not only did a lot of work get done but there was a strong sense of people working together and community spirit. When the town elders announced it was time to finish, about 50-60 people said they wanted to continue working and stayed for another hour and half to make progress on the project.
“In addition to the broader community engagement we had very good meetings with pastors and elders from two of the local churches about establishing a partnership going forward. In addition to meeting with the elders we participated in services on Sunday morning with both congregations.
“A second goal of the project was to engage in youth ministries in the community. The young people involved in our mission project were very engaged with students in the school doing various activities including learning new songs … doing some arts and crafts projects and in reading programs hosted at the community library in the evening.
“We also gave away 10 soccer balls to other schools in the community and the young people on our team led these presentations and shared about their spiritual motivation for this trip and encouraged the students in their school work. This was a very positive interaction for our youth and it was really valued by the students in the school and the youth in the community. We also engaged with the students when we gave away 200 pairs of shoes that we had brought with us from the U.S.
“A final goal of this project was to provide an opportunity for young people in our church community to be involved in a mission project overseas and be exposed to another culture and way of life. This certainly occurred and the goal was reached. As we wrapped up the trip and began to say goodbye to our Ghanaian friends and hosts, one of the youth on our team frequently told his new Ghanaian friends that this is not the last time he would be in Ghana and that he would be back sometime soon.
“The support from Mission Match was essential to the success of our project and we are grateful for the support and the way God has used those funds to have an impact in the lives of the mission team and the community in Ghana. Fund raising for this mission trip actually started at our church with the children participating in ‘Change Ghana’ where they were asked to bring in loose change each week and put it in a bucket. Not only the children but adults in the church eagerly engaged in this effort and soon the children were walking up and down the aisles during part of the service collecting change. In just a month over $200 in change was raised and this seemed to really engage our church community in this project. When we announced that Mission Match was willing to match contributions in the church up to $2,000 we felt like this was going to be a stretch for our congregation. But God moved in amazing ways and in less than one month over $3,000 was given by our congregation to support this project. All together our congregation gave over $3,500 directly to this project. … The commitment from Mission Match to support this project was essential to make this project successful and encouraged our congregation to give above and beyond what was expected.
“We have already started planning for the completion of the school block so that the children in this community can have a school with a roof over their heads. We are excited about what God has done so and the opportunity to partner with Mission Match has been a blessing. We are looking forward to seeing how God will work to complete this project in the near future.”
Congregation in New York builds a new primary school, ministers to youth, and trains teachers in Kenya (click to open/close)