I Love Baptisms!

I love baptisms.

And we sure see a bunch of them on the field.

Dyron Howell from Amarillo just got back from preaching at Redeemer, our church plant in Eldoret, Kenya. He was so excited because on the weekend he was there, they had 33 baptisms!

I can identify with his enthusiasm. On the last trip I had to Kisumu, Kenya—we had 82 baptisms. And one of them was a child Barbie and I had been sponsoring for fourteen years. They asked me if I wanted to do all of the baptisms. I declined because in the past I caught a parasite in Lake Victoria that nearly killed me. And the baptisms were also in a place called Hippo Bay. We didn’t see any hippos around, but—next to mosquitos— hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa. So I observed and rejoiced. Do you know how long it takes to baptize 82 people? A long time.

On the other side of the world, I loved this baptism story that Curt Seright of Christiansburg, Virginia told us. Curt and his wife Alison have sponsored a CRF child since 2014. Each month when they receive our newsletter, Curt gives it to his son Elijah. Elijah loves to read the newsletter and tell the family what’s going on with CRF.

Elijah recently decided to be baptized. Curt and Alison had Elijah write a letter to himself explaining why he wanted to be baptized. Curt and Alison are going to keep it and give it to him when he graduates.

In the letter Elijah talked about reading the CRF newsletters and realizing how blessed he is in this world. He was so thankful that his family could help a child through CRF. He said it was a part of him deciding to give his life to Christ.

Wow! Elijah, we are so happy for you and proud of you. And we are also proud of all of our children around the world who have decided to give their lives to Christ, too! - Milton Jones, CRF President



Beautiful Feet in the Desert

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!
— Romans 10:15 —

“How many wells did CRF drill last year?” Andrew Brown told me 90 had been drilled.

That’s a lot of water!

“How many churches did we plant?” Francis Bii told me 108 in the last three years.

That’s a lot of churches planted!

But our goal was to plant a church with every well, and I realized that we fell short.

I asked Francis again, “Why do we drill three times as many wells as we plant churches?”

His first answer was obvious—“Because it takes longer to plant a church than it does to drill a well.”

But his second answer was a little more intriguing to me—“Because we don’t have enough preachers, and we haven’t been able to train as many as we need for all the wells.”

CRF is most known for sponsoring children and drilling water wells. And that’s what we do. But it’s also important to know that we do everything we can to help children to grow up knowing Jesus. And we try to make sure that we not only bring clean water to famine areas but also Living Water. As a result, our children often become Christians and famine areas get church plants.

You can drive through the desert and see church after church planted where we drill wells. But I wish we had them at all of our water sites. What’s it going to take?

More preachers.

We now have a training school for preachers started by one of my old students, Gene Morden. It is in the town of Lodwar in Turkana. We have another one started by Francis Bii near Eldoret. It is called Victory Christian Training Center. But we need more potential preachers attending, and more sent.

Many of our donors give money through our Christmas catalog to train preachers. For only $600 you can train a preacher who can plant a new church. Is your church looking for a missionary? They could support a full-time preacher where we are planting churches for only $60 to $100 a month. Could you help us train or support a preacher?

And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
— Romans 10:14 —




What Do You Do When You Don’t Have a Preacher?

Sometimes we drill a well, and we go ahead and plant a church without a preacher. We do everything that we can do to get them one as soon as we can. But we drill wells so quickly (in six days on average), and it takes some time to train a preacher (usually a year).

So what do we do in this in-between time? That’s where Proclaimers come in. You may not know what a Proclaimer is, but they have become invaluable where we plant churches.

A Proclaimer is like a boombox only it has the Bible recorded on it. You can get them in nearly any language with a native person who speaks that language reading God’s Word. They are solar powered and loud enough for at least 300 people to hear.

When we don’t have a preacher, we give the community a Proclaimer and the people get a message they can understand. This is especially helpful where we drill wells. Although we don’t have enough preachers ready to go, the people can still hear the Bible. This is important because in most of the places we drill, many of the people are illiterate. So sending Bibles doesn’t help much.

Faith Comes By Hearing in Albuquerque makes Proclaimers. They have nearly every language. And if they don’t, they will make a new one in that language. They sell Proclaimers to CRF for only $75. What a small investment to bring the Good News to people who have never heard it! Many people send Proclaimers through our Christmas catalog—but you can donate for them anytime.


Unsponsored Children

CRF is often asked what happens to children that lose their sponsor. When you sponsor a child, we have money to devote to the health, education and spiritual training of that specific child. When a child loses their sponsor, I think that it would be unkind for us to cut off their support where they could no longer go to school, be housed, or receive food. As a result, when a sponsored child loses his or her sponsor, we don’t quit supporting them.

But this money no longer comes from a donor. So the money has to be taken out of general funds that are devoted to paying for other CRF programs.

For our finances to work, CRF has to keep the number of unsponsored kids in our programs to a minimum or we don’t have money for our other ministries. When a child loses their sponsor, I try to get them another sponsor at places where I am speaking, and we put them on our website hoping people pick these children to help reduce our general fund spending.

Here’s what you need to know — if a child loses their sponsorship, we don’t leave them high and dry. We still send funds. But we need to quickly replace the sponsorship or hope people donate more money to our general funds to cover the unsponsored children.

We certainly realize that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have to stop sponsoring a child. And we don’t want anyone to fear for the safety and care of their previously sponsored child. We continue taking care of them.

But you could also help us when you sponsor another child to pick one of the unsponsored children—there’s a special “unsponsored” category on our sponsorship website.

Or you can help by giving to our “Most Urgent Needs” general fund, which will provide support for children’s interim needs.

Usually the children who are least likely to get sponsored are older children. Of course, we want you to pick the child you want to sponsor. But sometimes older children don’t come across quite as cute or as in need as the younger kids, so they tend to get bypassed. This often happens with war orphans like those we help in Liberia and on Mt. Elgon in Kenya. Because of war situations, schools were closed—and children had to start school much later than usual. It is also true where famines have occurred. Schools were shut down or didn’t exist. And so by the time schools opened again, the children were older. These kids need a break more than ever.

If you can’t decide what child to sponsor, could you consider an unsponsored kid or an older child? - Milton Jones, CRF President





Shalini’s Sponsorship

It sounds like the opening episode of “This is Us.” A baby is left at the doorstep. Only this wasn’t a television episode.

It was real life.

Shalini Angel Sharma was left on the doorstep of CRF’s Howard Peacock Cottage in India on January 5, 1992. She was only one day old. Her parents were never found. What a sad story! Can you imagine abandoning a newborn baby? But she could never have been left at a better place—the birthplace of Christian Relief Fund.

Yes, in 1971 Baxter Loe started Christian Relief Fund here in India. Shalini was going to receive care. She would get an education, a place to live, and good food. She would be raised knowing about Jesus. And she would be loved by her house parents.

Shalini wasn’t sponsored immediately. And then she lost her sponsor. And you can easily see how important it was for her to be sponsored again when she became unsponsored.

The Millsap Church of Christ picked up Shalini’s sponsorship and made sure she finished her education. They continued their support until Shalini finished nursing school. Shalini is very smart and an exceptional student. Her academic abilities demonstrate once again how important it was for her to be responsored. And now she has a job!

The good news for Shalini doesn’t end there. She was just married! She is so thankful for all of her sponsors here and her house parents in India. We congratulate her on her graduation and marriage.

Shalini, you have come a long way since that doorstep!