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Church's Christmas Offering Builds Clinic in Africa

The thousands who attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit in 2009 saw a video clip about the Whittier Area Community Church in California. Someone from their church had visited Malawi, Africa, and seen the desperate need for children's health care. When the church heard about this need, they decided to raise $160,000 to build a fully-equipped pediatric clinic. Despite being a fairly large church, this was far beyond anything they'd ever done, so they decided to raise the funds through a special Christmas Eve offering. Pastor Bill Ankerberg shares what happened:

The mood was electric on Christmas Eve as people brought their gifts to the front and put them in large baskets. Women cried, children ran up smiling, people gave with the greatest joy we have ever seen. They were delighted to give to God that which cost them something. People came in droves, three rows in the lobby, chairs in every doorway, people standing along the walls. People from the community had heard of the project and wanted to participate.

Before taking the offering, Pastor Ankerberg asked everyone to write on their envelopes where the money had come from. Children had sold toys and candy, saved allowances, babysat, and sacrificed Christmas presents to be able to give to the children of Malawi. Adults had given up physical therapy, Christmas presents, hosted dinners, sold stock and cars, donated savings, given up winter vacations, and one couple had even donated money they would have used for fertility drugs—in hopes that even if they couldn't have a baby, maybe they could help save the life of someone else's. Everyone dug down deep and made personal sacrifices to achieve this goal. When everything had been collected and counted, the congregation had raised $525,057 for the children in Malawi!

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