A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…. or as some would say, “In the beginning…”
In 2006, as Vicki Cooper was completing a degree from Vineyard Leadership Institute, she was asked to develop a program for giving to Africa by her home church Harmony Vineyard (located in Kansas City, Missouri). She first investigated a source from South Africa. It was discovered that this was “not all it seemed to be.” Love how the LORD reveals things! After further discernment, it was decided to help Bishop Benson Chiwoma of Calvary Christian Church in Mufulira, Zambia to provide support through sponsorship of 60 orphans. Not unlike most of Africa, Zambia was dealing with the effects of the AIDS epidemic leaving thousands of children orphans.
Benson had been to the US as a friend of Pat and Gary Horner, former Harmony Vineyard members. He had been introduced at Harmony Vineyard, and had left behind a notebook containing pictures of some of the vulnerable children. Vicki adopted this as her leadership project and began finding sponsors for these children.
In 2008, Vicki, her husband, Leon, and the administrative pastor from Harmony Vineyard, Deborah Shanks, traveled to Zambia to “see” the work. We are from the “show me” state. Sending your own money is different than sending others’ donations; there has to be accountability. While the team was there, most of the sponsored orphans were interviewed and assessments of needs were made.
In Africa, it can seem like the needs are literally endless….it can overwhelm, but we soon found out our God has cattle on a thousand Hills, His treasury has no shortage. There were needs at the farm, educational needs, structural needs, and the list went on.
In 2009, Benson visited the US again and stayed with the Coopers (and other members at Harmony Vineyard). The leadership team at Harmony Vineyard recognized that the ministry in Africa was expanding and that it required it’s own organizational structure to facilitate the growth of the work and to invite support and participation beyond our local church. This resulted in the formulation of All God’s Children, by Vicki Cooper. In 2009, we were incorporated in the state of Missouri and were granted tax exempt status with the IRS in July of 2011. All God’s Children now functions under the 501(c)(3) code for public charities.
In 2010, a group of eight from Harmony, led by Vicki and Leon went to Mufulira to further establish relationship with Benson and Calvary Christian Church. We met with the mayor, the local magistrate, Calvary’s board and others in the community. A two day medical clinic was planned. It lasted five days and over 500 patients were seen. The line was never ending. We treated a man dying from tetanus; saw many with malaria, and TB. Everyone had worms and bad eyes. It changed us. The medical clinic vision was created. Upon arrival in the US another from Harmony said, “No one should die of tetanus. I want to help raise funds for a medical clinic.”
Benson returned to the US in 2011. He preached at Harmony Vineyard, and made many new connections. A water well has been dug at the church from which the community at large is able to provide their families with clean water. 60 orphans have been sponsored, 21 pastors families have been sponsored, our annual AWANA walk-a-thon has raised $10,000 which helps three clubs in Zambia and several children are enabled to attend school.
In 2015, Rachel and Gary Chaney moved with their children, Leah and Luke, to Mufulira, Zambia to complete the Clinic of Hope. The needs in surrounding areas of Murundu and Minimbe were desperate. The decision was made to move in that direction. We start our new year 2016, with “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5
Our history has just begun and we welcome you to be a part of All God’s Children!
Many times I have said “I’m hanging onto God’s shirttail…” I will continue as He leads.