Psalm 80: 1-7, 16-18
After returning from Cameroon last November, I was blessed to enjoy a Christmas concert at the National Cathedral. In the carols, I heard the voices of my Cameroonian sisters and brothers, moving me from the magnificent Cathedral setting to the grim reality of life in a developing nation.
I began to wonder, what does it mean that once again we await the Christ child filled with the hope of a new tomorrow?
Our Cameroonian friends have been fed the bread of tears every day of their life. Take Precious, for example. One of the brightest students in her 5th grade class, she was not allowed to further her education. Secondary school is not mandatory in Cameroon, with too few schools for thousands of eager students. Those who are accepted must pay school fees that her family couldn’t afford, so Precious had to stay home.
As neighborhood children left for their long walk to school, Precious could only cry as she was forced to do household chores. She ate the bread of tears and drank bowls of tears, for she knew the life of poverty that awaited her.
Then one day, her mother received an unexpected call from Sister Jane Mankaa who had had heard the plight of Precious. With your support, Sister Jane and I established a cross-cultural partnership to build Good Shepherd Academy in Cameroon, a secondary school that focuses on critical thinking, leadership and inclusivity. A secondary school that teaches not just Christianity, but also world religion. A secondary school that educates the poorest of the poor through scholarships, with first priority given to orphans of Good Shepherd Home.
“We have an extra scholarship!” Sr. Jane proudly exclaimed. “Would Precious like it?” And in that moment, her life was forever changed.
The birth of the Christ child we await motivated someone to give, and that new tomorrow did come for Precious. Through our Alleluia Fund, YOU are the Christ in someone’s life over 5,000 miles away.
Precious drinks bowl of tears no longer. Thank you and thanks be to God!
The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz
Priest Associate, Calvary Church, Summit, NJ
Founder and Chair, Good Shepherd SLF