Kingdom Assignment

U.S. Alliance Church Partners with Mali Mission 
     “This is completely out of control,” says Jill Ramirez, coleader of International Missions at Christ Community (Alliance) Church in Omaha, Nebraska, “and it is totally God.” When the missions team approached the church board about approving a 1 million dollar fund-raising project to support the Alliance mission of the Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children in Mali, West Africa, board members were skeptical about the exorbitant amount but approved the project.  
     The missions team had been investigating the possibility of partnering with an overseas mission. “Although we focus on missions once a year,” Ramirez says, “we have never supported a specific project. Then we met Jeff and Carrie Amstutz.”  
     The Amstutzes recently were assigned to the Malian hospital where Jeff, a dentist, is assisting in other medical-related tasks as well. Meeting Jeff and Carrie and learning about the needs of the hospital gave Ramirez and her missions team the vision they had been seeking for partnering with a specific mission.  
     After six months of donations for the Mali Project, only $245,000 had been raised. It was then that an anonymous donor came forward with an idea that would engage not only the 4,000-member congregation but the city at-large. Twenty thousand dollars was divided among 335 congregants in $20, $50, and $100 increments with a Kingdom assignment to use their money in a way that would bring a return on their investment. All profits would benefit the hospital construction in Mali. 
     From car washes to raffles to dog shows, “the creativity of this large group reaped a harvest beyond our wildest expectations,” says Ramirez. One man, acting on a challenge by Pastor Ashton during the campaign to “go out and sell something,” sold his house and gave the profit to the Mali Project. “The Lord is challenging us to truly give,” says Ramirez.  
     Local news media were present when Pastor Mark Ashton held a service highlighting the venture. “It was like the parable of the talents,” says Ramirez. “Everyone involved brought their portion forward.” In the end, the original $20,000 investment had multiplied by twelve. “Giving toward the project also increased during that time, bringing the total contribution to $865,000 in just two months,” Ramirez says.  
     The Kingdom assignment had a significant impact on the greater Omaha community as well. People who had heard about the Mali Project through friends, relatives, or the media wanted to participate. “It wasn’t about making money,” says Ramirez. “It was about the transformation of our people as well as Malians.” 
     Christ Community Church has grown by 1,000 people in the past year, and recently, 225 were baptized in a two-and-a-half-hour testimony of changed lives. What began as one church’s fund-raiser for a missions project has brought about a partnership that goes beyond the church doors. “God is way bigger than we can fathom,” says Ramirez, “or than we can give.”


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