The Gift of a Desk: An Advent Conspiracy Project

Every first grader has her or his own set of challenges. Mine involved things like struggling to beat the best tetherball player at recess or coping with the fact that everyone else seemed to have better items in their lunch box than I did (like snack packs and spicy Cheetos). But there’s one question that never entered my little first grade mind: I wonder if I’ll have a desk to sit at today.

at-desk-1A desk is essential to a good education. It provides a concrete place to sit, write, read, think, learn, ask questions, and socialize. Psychologically speaking, a desk also plays an affirming role in the mind of a child. It’s a strong and implicit way of telling a student, “You belong here. You have a place in this classroom. You and your presence here matter.” These are messages every child needs to hear. And this includes the students in Njuruta, Kenya, which is the community our church has been partnering with for about eight years now.

carrying-desk-1The sad reality is that Njuruta Primary School does not have enough desks for its students. Our team was reminded of this fact during our trip this summer. We saw children carrying desks from one classroom to another. We saw four even five students trying to cram into a desk built for two. And what we couldn’t see but undoubtedly felt was the subtle message, “You’re not welcome here,” that a desk shortage communicates to students who already have so much stacked against them. This is a problem, especially since investing into childhood education is the community’s primary, longterm strategy for combating systemic poverty. They need desks. And we can help.

Every year during the season of Advent, we challenge ourselves as a church family to prayerfully consider spending less and giving more. We call it Advent Conspiracy. This year we have the opportunity to provide desks for every student in Njuruta. What a privilege! Our goal is 80 desks. The cost is $5,000. Will you join us this year by investing into the education of these children?

In the next post, we’ll hear a team member share about her firsthand experience with some of these students and the indelible imprint one short week with them left on her heart. So stay tuned!

*If you’d like to give, you may do so online by entering the gift amount next to where it says “Advent.” Or you may give using one of our giving envelopes at our Sunday morning Gathering. Be sure to designate your gift by writing “Advent Conspiracy” next to the amount.

Michael Carlson

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