Hundreds of students in a western suburb of Chicago, IL, USA, have experienced the power of prayer in the last several years. After committing to help families in Zambia deal with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, high-schoolers at Wheaton Academy realized that without the Lord’s intervention, they would not even reach their 2002/2003 goal of raising $53,000 to build a schoolhouse. It was only when the students reassessed their situation that first year that they knew one extremely important component was missing—prayer. When prayer was included as a central element in their campaign, they found they were able to raise above and beyond their initial goal and to date have raised more than $250,000 for a school, medical clinic and other much-needed daily items.
“I can’t trace back $100,000 of the $250,000 we have raised,” said Chip Huber, Wheaton Academy chaplain. “It was random collections here and there. It was only when we began praying daily for the people of Africa and for God to provide for our goal that we really saw God move.”
Huber found that although the school participated in many fundraising efforts, it was only when God began touching individual hearts that money began coming in for the project. Students began to drop money in collection boxes and before long, the group had raised $27,000 more than their initial goal.
“This is nothing we’ve created or can tangibly highlight,” Huber said. “We all have to become persistent in prayer for those around the world. We have developed a bond to the people in Zambia and have a heart for them. We are across the world but we are still called to feel their hurt and pain.”
Reflecting on the first few months when the group at Wheaton Academy tried to raise the money themselves, Huber believes that too often, a self-reliant mindset interferes with reliance and dependency upon God to provide our needs.
“We live in a society where there’s an emphasis on doing more and greater things,” Huber said. “We think we can do this alone, but we can’t. God can do amazing things when we pray. That faith component is absolutely essential.”
For the past few years, the school has partnered with World Vision in providing humanitarian needs such as medicine, food and education for the people of Zambia. Through these outreaches, many students in the school have also become involved on an even more personal level by sponsoring children or families suffering the effects of HIV/AIDS in Zambia. This year, Huber hopes to incorporate more of an evangelistic thrust in the outreach efforts.
“We have to become passionate about those we seek to help,” Huber said. “We have been so blessed and we are to use our blessings to help others. We can help others we never thought we could and God wants to use each of us.”
The students are currently deciding what to do for year’s project. www.aidsstudentnetwork.org.