For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food

by Ethan Mandel

Carpenters KidsAdvent is a time where we as Christians take it upon ourselves to await both the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on Earth. Contrary to popular opinion, however, waiting for Christmas or the arrival of God’s reign is not a passive activity, like waiting for your nails or laundry to dry. Christian waiting is by nature an active practice—it is a state of active waiting whereby we are called to transform the world around us by doing our part to bring God’s kingdom one step closer. This is an important Advent lesson that, as we continue to move into a new exciting era for our parish, I think we can apply in a general sense to our ministry efforts here at Ascension, both local and global.

In particular, the Carpenter’s Kids program represents a very profound opportunity for us to harness our energies and resources in the service of the Lord’s kingdom. For a modest financial commitment, Ascension is radically transforming the lives of each of the sixty-five children we sponsor, as well as their caretakers and local communities. Though simple in principle, the program’s impact has been immeasurable: through the gift of education, we have opened the door to hope and opportunity in one of the most impoverished places on earth.

Gawaye, TanzaniaAs we enter our third year of supporting our sister parishes of Gawaye and Itumbi, I invite you to reflect upon what the Carpenter’s Kids program means to you on a personal level.

You have heard much about the Carpenter’s Kids over the past year, including my voyage to Tanzania in April. Without a doubt, pilgrimage is one of the program’s most crucial components. Beyond enabling us to strengthen Ascension’s relationship with our sister parishes—or, as I like to call them, our “parishes away from home”—pilgrimage offers those who go a chance to truly gain a first-hand glimpse of God’s hand at work in the world. This is a very powerful experience, and one that I hope you will consider taking part in as we prepare for our upcoming mission trip next July.