‘All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.’ – 2 Corinthians 4:15
I am already preparing my heart for Canadian thanksgiving in October. Living out of the country means I’m usually on my own or with a few friends who choose to celebrate with me. Typically, I just jump in on American Thanksgiving so I can get my favourite foods! The holiday itself is just a day, but over the years I’ve tried to make it a season of thanksgiving. Maybe it’s age or maybe it’s because of where I live and the culture here, every day is a gift from God. Everything we have is from Him and we have reason to be thankful.
Each season brings it share of ups and downs, but in it all I see the faithfulness of God. When I am out of my comfort zone and doing things that stretch me, I am often terrified on the inside but put on a great face because I don’t want people to see that I am afraid. The building were doing right now for Schools of Hope is something that terrified me and continues to stretch me.
When we were tossing around the idea of renovating the current house (House of Hope) we are renting, it felt comfortable and doable. When the idea of building our own facility came up in discussion I was pretty against it. I had no desire to build, but the truth was, I was terrified to do it. It meant doing a lot of things I had never done before. Raising a ton of money. Making decisions about things that I had no experience with and … and… the list could go on.
It wasn’t until God spoke to me one day in April 2020, that this mindset changed. We had decided to have a structural engineer come to see House of Hope and let us know if it was worth buying the house and renovating it. After doing a complete walk through, the engineer said ‘Don’t waste another dollar on this place, build what you want and need to grow.’ That was not the news I wanted to hear… although Victor was happy because he felt the same way, I was the one holding back.
We then took the engineer to the piece of property we had been thinking about buying. He took measurements and asked a lot of questions with Victor. I stood on the street with my friend Jackie, who introduced us to the engineer. While we were standing there talking, I felt God tell me, ‘Kathy, it’s time to dream bigger.’
For those of you who know me, you know I am a dreamer. I love to make dreams come to life, but this dream was BIG, out of my comfort zone, and it meant doing things I had no clue about. And yet, I felt a peace when I heard these words. I laughed to myself because I had a feeling this was what God wanted all along, I was just holding back out of fear.
Today, we are working on the first floor level where our classrooms will be for tutoring, meetings, office space, a future computer lab/library etc. A crew is working hard at breaking rocks, digging down deep to put in footings so that we can have a 3-4 story building that will be a ministry centre for Schools of Hope and a church space for Renovation Church.
We still don’t have nice drawings to show you, just blue prints, but let me tell you what it will look like and I hope you can visualize with me. Because we are on a mountain we will have various levels.
The first lower level will be parking, storage space, bathrooms and our cistern and septic tanks will go into the ground. This will be at street level at the top of the picture above.
The second floor level is mostly for Schools of Hope. We will have 4 small classrooms and 2 large rooms. One will be our computer lab/library and the other, I hope, will be a music room one day. We are putting in a small kitchen as well as 2 office spaces for our team to work, and bathrooms. This is at street level on the bottom of the picture above.
The third floor will be a meeting space for Renovation Church which will also include a full kitchen, office space or classrooms, bathrooms, and a large auditorium. It should seat up to 250-300 people comfortably with room to grow.
For the 4th level, over a part of the building, I have a bit of a crazy dream (surprise, surprise). The area where we work does not have ‘green space’ or safe place for children to play. Kids often just play in the dirt roads. Unfortunately, we were not able to leave space for an outdoor play area, so my crazy idea was to put a closed in play space on the roof. We would have to fence in the entire area like a cage and put a roof over it, but we could have a cancha (a free space to play). We could put in bleachers and set it up for soccer, basketball, ball hockey (for us Canadians) or use it as a play area for various activities. It’s not in the current budget, but for a project in the future!
I share all of this with you because in the midst of a pandemic God told me to dream bigger… and I have. With some fear and trembling, but also with confidence because I know that when God says something He always provides.
Thanksgiving to overflow.
While there is still so much uncertainty in our world, I see the faithfulness of God. Not only has He continued to provide financially for me, to keep doing what I do, but He has also continued to provide for our programs at Schools of Hope AND provide the funds for this project. One of my fears was that our ministry would suffer financially during this time, because we’re focused on raising money for the building.
Before the project started, we had the funds in our account to keep installing water filters and keep feeding kids, for 2 years! We had the funds to keep teaching bible classes and help with tutoring students. It meant that I didn’t have to worry or be concerned about those funds, I could focus on the building. God continues to keep providing and amazing me! We are in the last phase of fundraising for the building and God has provided another opportunity to match the donations until the end of this year. (Read more here)
Thank you God for this indescribable gift! Thank you for speaking to me and helping me to overcome my fears and insecurities about this project. Thank you for the peace and confidence you give when things are out of my comfort zone. Thank you for showing your favour to me and our ministry. I am truly grateful and continue to be amazed at just how awesome you are.