MAY 2010

Dear EAPE Partners,

A couple of weeks ago, while speaking at a    conference in England, I reconnected with Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis, with which we share our work in Zimbabwe. Steve told me about a physically handicapped, seven-year-old girl who has been living in the dormitory and school EAPE helped establish for special needs children in that troubled country.  Because she was born disabled, the now-deceased parents of this child had given her a name which in the Zimbabwean language means, “She Doesn’t Matter”. 

For years this little girl had been terribly hurt and embarrassed by her name.  However, after she came to our facility, it was discovered that her parents had never registered her, so she had no birth certificate. When one of our Oasis Zimbabwe staff members took her to be registered at the proper government office, the worker behind the counter, who was filling out the paperwork, asked for her name. After a poignant silence our staff worker, on behalf of Jesus, smiled as she answered, “Precious!”.  And so she is Precious, and will be from now on.  

As happy as that story made me, I was just that sad a few days later, when I received a telephone call from EAPE’s dear friend Peter Grant, who told me his wife Jo had died.  Jo was the founder of Aquila Way, which reaches out to abused and abandoned women and children in Newcastle, England.  Over the years, hundreds of women and children were brought into one of the five Aquila Way group homes until Jo and her coworkers could find them jobs and apartments of their own.  Indeed, her work was so excellent and well known that England’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, had recently appointed Jo to head up a national task force dealing with such problems. 

The work of Aquila Way will go on, of course, and EAPE will continue to support it, but there is no way we can replace the heart and soul of Jo Grant.  What bothers me most is the long and painful struggle with cancer Jo and her family had to endure, after the way they eased the suffering of so many others.  At times like this, I understand what Mother Teresa meant when she said, “God, you’d have a lot more friends if you treated the few that you do have a little better!” 

EAPE has lost a true saint, but Jo’s husband and three children have lost even more than that. Pray for us, but pray for them even more.  And pray for Precious too, with thanksgiving in your heart.  In the midst of our sorrows, God is still at work in this world, and His Kingdom is coming for all of us.

Tony Campolo

P.S. Because so many of the gifts we’ve received these past few months have been designated for relief and development work in Haiti, we’ve had to struggle to support our other ministries.  Please, give what you can to help us through these difficult days. 

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