Since the posting of this article on August 29, 2013. Please review the following corrections and updates today, August 31, 2013:
•Grand Staff Ministries has actually educated 96 children, not 83 which was the count in 2012 (so the ministry is growing).
•Becky and Tracy Spencer actually met the missionaries to Swaziland at a garage sale, not an antique shop.
•They are not quite “empty-nesters”, they have a 17-year old birth daughter still liviing at home with mommy and daddy.
•100% of the sponsorship donations go “to meet the needs of children”; not to the children directly. Other free-will offerings and financial donations meet the needs of the children to go to school as well as any administrative needs of Grand Staff Ministries.
•Book bags “unfilled” are okay to send (please contact the ministry); When the Spencers go in January to Swaziland they will fill the bags at that time.
August 29, 2013
I first met Rebecca “Becky” Spencer at a writer’s conference* in 2009. As one of the conference’s worship leaders, Becky sang and led worship to the Lord during the morning and evening sessions. I could not have met a sweeter person, though she is known as “the Fight Lady” (because she loves Jesus and believes that life with Christ and others is “worth fighting for”) From the first hug in the conference hallway and since, I am getting to know the love of Christ flowing from the heart of a woman who wants to serve the Lord. Recently, I learned that besides being an author and singer, she and her husband Tracy Spencer are the co-founders of Grand Staff Ministries (http://www.grandstaffministries.com/grandstaffministries.php, GSM, Inc.), a missions outreach to help children in Swaziland (Africa) go to school. Grand Staff Ministries is “grandly” revealing the love of the Good Shepherd (who is Jesus Christ, God’s Son) to these African children struggling with poverty, homelessness and AIDS by providing school supplies, uniforms and tuition for boys and girls. Since 2006 Grand Staff has:
• Educated 96 children who also get to eat at school
• Fed over 200 children at Hope House
• Led a team of five for a month of ministry in Swaziland and Mozambique
• Visited homesteads of widows, grandmothers, and children living alone, taking food, encouragement, and prayer
• Shared the Good News (the salvation message of Jesus Christ) in sharing the Bible and through song in many services including three (1) hour radio broadcasts into Swaziland, Mozambique, and South Africa.
The heart of this ministry is expressed in its mission statement: “Abandoned, orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa are lost lambs. The Good Shepherd’s staff is grand enough to care for each one—through you.” Grand Staff knows the pain of an orphaned child. In Swaziland, more than 200,000 children are without parents. 20% of the homesteads are “governed” by orphaned children who are living without parents to feed or care for their basic needs. Can you imagine what these unsupervised children are going through to survive daily? Being a homeless child, “parenting yourself” to try to find food, shelter and safety everyday? Without the help of Christian Pastors, churches, and people to sponsor the education, some of these children would not have an opportunity to go to school, which in turn, provides the education children need to get a job.
I talked to Becky this year as she described how God called her and her husband to this work of love to African children. Amazingly, seven of their children were gone from the home (their 17-year old birth daughter is still at home) and they were praying to God about what to do next. One Saturday afternoon, the Spencer’s decided to go to an antique shop and there they met a husband and wife who were serving as missionaries in Swaziland. After prayer and a mission trip to the villages there, God moved on their heart and they have been faithfully working with the local pastors in the three main geographical locations: Motshane – Hope House, Squatter’s Camp –Manzani, and the Village of Bhunya. The local churches in these areas are assisted by the sponsorships they receive for the children in these villages as well as other financial support. The churches are also providing a boy’s home, Pre-school and other services to the orphans. Tracy Spencer, Director of Grand Staff says, “We could see God’s heart…by looking into their eyes”. Becky adds, “these children don’t fuss about doing homework…they know this is their ticket out.” Many other world outreach missions organizations are not reaching these children, says Becky.
Here in the U.S., children are returning to school – all over the country. So many of our children are more than blessed than these children, even in the poorest of U.S. neighborhoods, children here have a right to education and protection under federal laws. However, this is an opportunity for you, friend, to help some children in a distant land that have no parents, no food, no shelter…and need an education to survive. More than an education, the children also get to know The One who cares so much for them – Jesus Christ. His love and life-changing message of salvation and hope meets the spiritual needs of these children who are met by His “shepherd’s staff” through Grand Staff Ministries and people like you, who are willing to sponsor a child to go “back-to-school”. With Christ, these children can have both an abundant life and an eternal future.
I believe the Lord is in this work and God may be touching your heart to help GSM, Inc. serve the children of Swaziland. Will you help fight for the life of one of these children to go to school? Will you consider sponsoring a child? Will you help fill up 100 bags of school supplies for needy children in Swaziland? 100% of the sponsorship donations go to meet the needs of the children! Other financial donations go the children and to meet the administrative needs of the ministry. You can help by contacting this ministry and making a free-will donation of love to: Grand Staff Ministries, Inc., 406 West Avenue A, Buhler, KS, 67522. You can also email the ministry at http://www.grandstaffministries.com/contactgsm.php or by calling to speak to the ministry staff at (620) 543-6518.
Thank you in the name of Jesus Christ.
About Becky Spencer: Rebecca “Becky” J. Spencer is an anointed singer for the Lord, wife, mother and woman of God. Her music is about “eternity” and not entertainment. She is the author of “When Prince Charming Falls off His Horse . . . and you’ve become his nag!” and “Bigger Than Me: Finding a Strong Enough Reason to Eat Right for Life” is her 30-day devotional to encourage believers to engage in the battle of the bulge again, even if they’ve tried and failed many times before. She and Tracy Spencer are the parents of eight children (4 born to them, and 4 adopted) and 19 grandchildren…and counting. You can check out what God is doing through Becky at www.beckyspencerministries.com to order music, invite her as a speaker at a Women’s conference or to stay at the Bed and Breakfast she and Tracy manage in Buhler, Kansas.
*The conference I met Becky and served with her is the Greater Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, founded by Marlene Bagnull, Litt.D., also the founder of Write His Answer Ministries (www.writehisanswer.com). Check out this website for information on this year’s 2013 conference.
Verinda M. Birdsong, Columnist
Baltimore Christianity and Homeless Examiner
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