Forgiveness and Sacrifice
Envision NYC – Tabitha Fund
I arrived at ESL classes on Ash Wednesday with ashes on my forehead. What would the students think, I wondered? Marieme asked what was on my head. She was concerned I was injured. What an opportunity!
As another teacher and I talked about the sacrifice of Jesus, she listened intently and interjected that she recently saw the JESUS film. She told us she was moved to tears when Jesus forgave the man beside him on the cross. She could not fathom that type of forgiveness or kindness.
After a long pause, she started quietly singing a beautiful French song which tells of the sacrifice of Jesus for all our sins. We were amazed. We joined in, and after it was over, we asked her where she had learned the song.
She recounted that over 50 years ago as a young schoolgirl in a West African country she attended a program at a Catholic charity for several months. She learned the song there and
remembered it all these years later and realized it fit perfectly into the discussion we were having.
We again explained that we all are like those men next to Jesus on the cross and in need of the forgiveness of Jesus. We challenged her to continue to press into the faith and offered to
send her the JESUS film in her language to her phone.
We invite you to partner with what God is doing among these West African women in NYC by contributing to the “Tabitha Fund” through your gifts to Alliance Women. You can give an online gift HERE.
Project Profile: Tabitha Fund
In the New York City (NYC) metro area, the birthplace of The Alliance, there are at least 80 unreached people groups represented and 800-plus languages spoken. NYC has more foreign-born immigrants than the whole population of Chicago! We are seeing how God has moved many of these peoples here so they can find Him.
This is an amazing time in history: Our King of Kings hasn’t returned yet, and we get to be His ambassadors among unreached people who are more accessible than ever.
When people come to NYC, many are looking for opportunities—education, improved income, a better future for their children. They share these opportunities with their families and friends. When they encounter Jesus, they share Him as well.
Upon initial arrival here, it is challenging to find housing, secure a job, and learn how to navigate a vastly different cultural context. Women are especially vulnerable during this transition. We have met numbers of them who have heartbreaking stories and live in very challenging circumstances.
Bintu is one of them. When she first came to our ESL class, Bintu didn’t laugh when the other ladies joked and shared stories. She was exhausted and dejected. In the weeks that followed, Bintu shared how she worked extremely long hours in a restaurant, and was getting paid under the table at an alarmingly low rate. She desperately wanted to send money back to her West African home country so her two elementary school-age children could attend school. Bintu was completely overwhelmed with life and felt stuck in her circumstances.
THE TABITHA FUND
Women like Bintu are why Envision New York City has started the Tabitha Fund. Named after Tabitha—a disciple in the early Church who was “always doing good and helping the poor” (see Acts 9:36)—this fund seeks to help West African women transitioning to U.S. culture by meeting their critical needs.
One of those needs is providing curriculum, books, and supplies for ESL classes. Currently, more than 25 West African women attend the ESL classes we teach twice a week. These beautiful women desperately want to learn English so they can find decent jobs in NYC, communicate with their children’s teachers, and pass immigration tests to obtain green cards or U.S. citizenship.
The Tabitha Fund is also set up to provide scholarships for job-training programs, immigrant advocacy resources, and children’s support services such as tutoring. The cost to provide these critical needs for 50 West African women is approximately $11,300.
Envision New York City also dreams of providing transitional housing in which Christians live alongside new immigrants to incarnate Christ and disciple them at this key moment in their lives. This is a significant investment—$850,000—yet so worth the stability and hope this facility will provide dozens of vulnerable women each year, who are overwhelmed by the city’s high cost of living.
Alliance Women has set a total goal of raising $56,500 for the Tabitha Fund—enough to cover the critical needs of immigrant women and invest in transitional housing. We invite you to partner with what God is doing among West African women in NYC by contributing to the Tabitha Fund through your gifts to Alliance Women. For more information, visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.