Advent Revolution is TFUMC’s attempt to celebrate Christmas in a way that truly honors Jesus. While the world around us grows increasingly more commercialized and consumer-oriented, we choose something different. What if we refused to get caught up in the holiday frenzy and truly worshipped Jesus? What if we focused on His presence, not our presents?
For the last 13 years we have been spending less on ourselves each Christmas in order to bless others and honor Jesus on his birthday. Over the years, this refocusing has resulted in 8 homes for orphans, a co-op for widows, feeding programs, 2 new churches, and other exciting projects funded in Thomasville, Rwanda, China and Pakistan.
$10,000 will help provide plane tickets & anticipated visa fees for 5 friends from Rwanda to come visit us at TFUMC, basically the reverse of what we do every year by sending our people to Rwanda. The hope is that this will allow those in our congregation that are not able to go to Rwanda a chance to be a part of these relationships. Our Rwandan friends have stories, talents, faith, and fellowship to share with us, and we feel this will help our partnership to grow and mature into something that is mutually transformative — giving to and receiving from one another.
$2,000 will go toward a Guatemala team’s construction project with Mission Guatemala. This will include supplies and materials we will use on the construction site as well as hiring local construction workers who will be working alongside our team that will provide jobs and an opportunity for the team to build relationships and get to know the culture. This is the first step in discerning a new partnership in a different region of the world.
$3,000 will go toward inviting others to our Wednesday night meal and use it as a tool to bless 600 people in our community at our CNS over the coming year, transforming it into a Community Night Supper. We want to challenge our 11 Sunday School Classes & people who do not have a Sunday school class to invite 5 new people to CNS every month for the next 10 months and pick one month to volunteer at CNS. We also would like to form a new welcome team for CNS to help our visitors feel comfortable and help encourage our church to reach out and build relationships at this weekly meal. Finally, we don’t want this opportunity to end with Advent Revolution, any extra money we raise will go toward more CNS invitations and people will have the opportunity to purchase as many invitations as they would like to hand out personally throughout the year. The person (or Sunday school class) that delivers the invitation will be responsible to RSVP for their guests the Monday before AND help host their guests and make them feel comfortable at CNS. We would like to encourage people to invite anyone they think could use the community whether that is a client at the food bank, a new family to town, a friend that has been feeling lonely or going through a hard time, someone who lives in a nursing home, etc. Throughout advent, members of our group would like to share during CNS about ways we can help create an environment that is more welcoming to guests that we will be inviting beginning in January 2020.
- Commit to a Jesus-focused Christmas. Give him more attention than the loud voices of consumerism.
- Give time to those you love. Your presence is more valuable than your presents.
- Look for opportunities to serve those who are forgotten during the holidays such as working our Food Bank Christmas parties, baking a cake for our Christmas Prison Ministry, etc.
- Agree as a family to spend at least $50 less per person on gifts you don’t need. Let’s put that together so we can bless others. Make your check’s payable to TFUMC with “advent revolution” in the memo.
- Drop your contribution in the offering plate or bring to the Office by December 23 so we can celebrate our goal being met when we gather on Christmas Eve
Christmas 2008 – After our second year of Advent Revolution we raised enough funds to build four additional homes housing 16 orphans at Star School in Rwanda. Plus we had other churches from Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania join us in the revolution.
Christmas 2009 – For our third year of Advent Revolution we raised money to build a water well at Star School so the 500 students there will have access to clean drinking water. This year, while giving globally, we also encouraged each of our church members to serve locally, giving them specific opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ in our own community this Christmas. This included hosting 11 Christmas parties for almost 1000 clients at the local food bank.
Christmas 2010 — Advent Revolution focused on two projects this year. We built a roof on the Church of the Blessed Mango Tree which has literally risen from the ashes after the 1994 genocide and is now one of our ministry partners serving the poorest of the poor in Rwanda, including many children they have brought in from the streets and introduced to Jesus. The other half of what we collected provided scholarship money to help the children in our Homes of Hope to complete their education.
Christmas 2011 — This year, Advent Revolution had both a local and a global component. In addition to providing more scholarship aid so that the children in our Rwandan Homes of Hope could finish their education, we also be funded the start of a new ministry in Thomasville, GA. The Back Pack Buddies Foundation was established to help other area churches feed hungry children in our community whose primary source of nutrition is the school cafeteria.
Christmas 2012 — Once again, Advent Revolution had both a global and a local component. In Rwanda, we funded the establishment of a Widow’s Co-op so the poor widows at The Church of the Blessed Mango Tree could receive vocational training and then get micro-loans to start their own small businesses. In Thomasville, we funded the make-over of the Rec Room at Vashti Children’s Home, as a warm and friendly place where abused and neglected children could spend time with their mentors.
Christmas 2013 — The Bugarama Valley is one of the neediest areas of Rwanda, sometimes called the forgotten district. This year we provided building materials for a congregation to build a new church which will serve as a hub of outreach and training for the whole valley. The church members built the church themselves. We also provided building materials for the Thomasville Rescue Mission, our local soup kitchen, to move to and renovate it’s new location near First Methodist.
Christmas 2014 — We took on three great projects: 1) We provided all of the equipment, beds and supplies to open the maternity ward at the Anglican Clinic in Cyangugu, Rwanda. 2) We funded the Mustard Seed Project – a coalition of Chinese church leaders joining together to send missionaries into some of the most unreached parts of the Muslim world. 3) We funded the Back Pack Buddy Foundation’s first ever summer feeding program for hungry children right here in our own community.
Christmas 2015 — This year we established a feeding program for 500 hungry children on Ishwa Island, located in Lake Kivu between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.