How $100 Turned Into a Church Plant in Africa

by | Feb 3, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What if we told you that we have more in common with our brothers and sisters in Africa than you might realize?

Dawn, a woman in her thirties who lives in the United States, and Dimitu, a young woman living in a remote village in Africa, found themselves in similar predicaments. The Lord used their circumstances to draw them closer together, eventually changing the entire village’s future.

Keep reading to see how God used $100 to plant a church in Africa.

Two women, two worlds, and one church plant in Africa

In 2010, Ray and Linda took their first church planting exploration trip to East Africa. During their trip update to Portland Christian Center, where they were lead pastors, they shared a story about Dimitu, a young woman who was excommunicated by her Muslim husband for accepting Jesus. Her husband was married to several women, but because Dimitu became a Christian, he put Dimitu, and her five children out of their home, leaving them destitute. Without the provision of a husband, Dimitu was left with no way to provide for her or her children. 

Thankfully, by God’s provision, Dimitu and her children were taken in by the only Christians in the community. The couple allowed the family to stay in an outbuilding used for cooking. Dimitu was hired to cook for the Christian family and provided a monthly stipend. What a blessing! In a culture unfriendly to single women, the Christian couple extended God’s love to this new believer and her children and restored dignity to a fellow sister in Christ.

After hearing the cost Dimitu paid for following Jesus, Dawn—an American woman in her thirties suddenly widowed and destitute, with a small child to feed—talked to Ray. She explained how God softened her heart to Dimitu. She could relate to her, a woman in another world also suddenly destitute and unable to provide for her family. Two women, two worlds, both experiencing similar difficult circumstances.

Dawn wanted to do something to help Dimitu, but she had no ability to do so. Penniless, and facing eviction from her home, she had an exceedingly bleak financial future. As she struggled to provide for her own family, she couldn’t imagine providing help for another family all the way in Africa.

How God provided for a church plant in Africa with $100

One night at a midweek discipleship program, Dawn came up to Ray crying. Through her tears, she said she unexpectedly had come upon $100 and wanted to give it to help Dimitu and her five kids.

Dawn thought it wouldn’t be enough to make a difference, but Ray assured her that her gift of $100 would be equal to half a year’s wages in East Africa. Dawn walked away comforted by this information.  She could make a difference!

Two weeks later, Dawn mentioned to Ray that God provided another $100. She recognized this as a miraculous provision and wanted to also give this money to Dimitu in East Africa.

After another two weeks Dawn met with Ray again, this time with $300, which had surprisingly come through an insurance adjustment. With this money, Dawn wanted to build a house for Dimitu and her children so they could have a home of their own and build a future for themselves.

This generous $300 donation from Dawn made it possible for Dimitu, a displaced mother of five, to move from the temporary living situation into a permanent home, changing the family’s future.

Dawn was so excited after hearing about the fruit from her seemingly “meager” gifts, and began donating monthly to send a church planter to Dimitu’s village in East Africa. Because of God’s faithfulness, she was able to do this.

Soon Dimitu’s community began to notice a transformation in their village because of the gift this stranger from America provided, and the young church plant began to grow.  Within weeks, the church had to expand its building—which Dawn graciously funded by God’s amazing provision!

The Gospel Changes Everything

As a result of a widow’s mite, the Gospel came to this poor, unreached village in East Africa and changed everything. God took what Dawn had placed in her hand and multiplied it into an unexpected harvest. As Ray and Linda talked about the community transformation that happened as a result of Dawn’s generosity, Dawn exclaimed to them, “You don’t understand what this has done for me. I thought I was too poor and too insignificant to do anything for God.  Now I’m changing the world—one life, one family, one village at a time—by just stepping out in faith.  This has given me a purpose in life.  My life counts. I now have a story!” 

God uses us —even when we feel we have nothing to give—because we are His creation, created for His purpose. We just need to be willing to act. When we do, God changes lives and transforms communities!

Give generously, and watch God do the rest

Fast forward to 2023. In a follow-up report from our Petros Network Ethiopia Director, Dimitu’s village church  which Dawn helped start with her $100 offering, continues to grow. As of today, it has 60 members, and a whole lot of children! The church is now self-governing, self-supporting, and growing so much they are expanding their building. Even more exciting, is they are starting new churches in the surrounding villages!

Pastor of Dawn's sponsored church in East Africa appearing in the photo with a red suit vest, suit pants, with a white button up shirt holding a Bible and standing at the church.

It is beyond amazing what God can do through a widow’s mite, All because a young, poor widow in America decided to help…to use what she had to take care of the things God cares about.

Oh, and Dawn? Now living in another state, after hearing this recent update, she said, “Let me know how I can start more churches.”

Dawn has discovered that when you take care of the things God cares about—reaching lost people—God will take care of the things you care about.

When Dawn willingly gave the $100 God provided, God used her to create a beautiful life for Dimtu in East Africa and blessed Dawn with a beautiful life of purpose in return.

Give generously, and watch God transform communities in East Africa

The East Africa village home to Dimitu’s family is just one example of God’s faithfulness to provide when His people give generously. Of course, we know that God doesn’t need our money in order to bring about his mission, but he invites us to be part of the work he is doing when we give so we can share in the joy of transforming lives. Why wouldn’t you want to accept that invitation?

Become a monthly donor today and help us continue to partner with and equip indigenous missionaries to plant churches and meet urgent needs in unreached and underserved communities.

Like Dawn, become a conduit of Redemptive Lift when you become a monthly donor for as little as $36 a month.

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