Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Christ's Service

In Christ's Service
Sunday, March 25
Lent 5
John 12:26
Props: Map of Cameroon or a globe
            A Papaya (opt.)

This week's sermon has at its heart a story drawn from the One Great Hour of Sharing materials.  Many churches will be taking up the OGHS offering on Palm Sunday, April 1.  If your church does not participate in OGHS, adapt the sermon using an example from your own church's mission work.

Cameroon is a country in Western Africa.  Here it is on a map.  (Show map or globe.)

Stephanie is a young girl who lives in Cameroon with her father and her three younger siblings--brothers and sisters.  Stephanie dreams of becoming a journalist when she grows up.  One day, however, it looked like she would never achieve her dream.  In Cameroon, parents have to pay money to send their children to school.  On this one, sad day, Stephanie was sent home from school because her father could not afford to pay her school fees.

Stephanie's father, Pierre, is a hard-working farmer.  He grows papayas, like this one.  (Show papaya, if you have one.)  Three times over the last ten years, Pierre and his children were kicked out of the farm they were working because a huge farm next door kept growing bigger and bigger.  Three times the big farm bought the land Pierre was renting to farm, and he, Stephanie and her brothers and sisters had to move.  Each time, they spent monty to build up a new papaya farm.  And then, just when the farm was producing well, the big company bought the farm and Pierre had to start all over again.  Finally, Pierre was out of money and he could not even afford to pay Stephanie's school fees.

Pierre wanted to start a new farm far away from the huge company farm next door, but he had no  money.  He didn't know what to do.

Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing are now helping Stephanie and her family.  One Great Hour of Sharing money was given to Pierre to start up his new farm, and to send Stephanie and her brothers and sisters to school.

One Great Hour of Sharing also supports a fair trade dried fruit project called Fair Fruit.  Pierre sells some of his papayas to Fair Fruit, which adds to his income and helps him care for his family.

Money donated to One Great Hour of Sharing helps dreams come true for families who, like Stephanie's, live in some of the world's poorest places. 

To be a follower of Jesus means to live a life of service to others, especially those who are struggling to survive.  When we help the others, we are helping Jesus' mission and serving God.

Please remember to bring your fish banks with you to church next Sunday for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Let's pray.  Dear God, we thank-you for the chance to help people like Stephanie and her family build a better lives for themselves all over the world.  Help us to be loving servants so that Jesus' mission will reach to all corners of the planet.  Amen.


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