The Mike Grooms Scholarship Fund started out as a special gift from the most unlikely of places. Hippo Valley Christian Mission has taken that initial financial gift and plans to use it to train preachers in Zimbabwe in honor of Mike Grooms, a man who dedicated his life to ministry and preaching. We will start by giving a full-ride scholarship for Zimbabwe Christian College to one exceptional young man where he will be trained as a preacher of the Gospel. Our hope is that this fund would not be depleted after years of scholarships to bright, young preachers, but rather that it would grow through the continued donations of others who also have a heart for training ambassadors of God's word! Read the story below to learn more about Mike Grooms and how this unique scholarship opportunity got started.
A WIDOWS MITE
By: Al Serhal
Two years ago I had the privilege of taking a couple of men with me to Zimbabwe to tour the mission and conduct our annual Preaching conference. One of those men was a preacher from Georgia named Mike. Mike was a unique guy. He and his wife had served very well and effectively in urban ministries in the states as well as Eastern Europe. Because of the nature of his ministries, he did not receive much in the way of salary over the years. He and his wife always lived modestly and trusted in the Lord to provide. And He always did.
5 years ago, Mike and his wife accepted another urban challenge to lead a congregation in metro Atlanta. They were a perfect fit for this community and small neighborhood congregation. For the first time in their lives they actually had health insurance (A Christian health sharing program) and Mike got a small life insurance policy. The church thrived over those 5 years and began reaching people of all ethnicities that made up this inner-city type community. Sadly, about the time the ministry began taking off, it was discovered that Mike had advanced cancer. He continued to work tirelessly over the next 4 years and never missed a day of work or the privilege of teaching and preaching.
Last month Mike lost the long battle with cancer and died at the age of 62. His last 2 Sundays on this earth were the only two he was unable to preach.
This past week I had the opportunity to preach at his former church. The congregation misses him terribly, but is thankful for all he brought to them in his 5 years. It was a mixed joy for me to see how a dying preacher brought such life to a declining church and community. But he certainly did!
After the service Mike’s wife, only 59 years old, handed me a check made out to Hippo Valley Christian Mission. It was for $10,000! She wanted it to be used for whatever the mission most needed.
I was moved to tears!
I was moved because I know how little they had in terms of earthly possessions. They had never owned a home and have always driven old used cars……..when they had them.
I was moved because I knew how much the life insurance policy was for, and the gift she gave well exceeded even a tithe.
I was moved because I know that this woman was not even eligible to receive social security for him or herself because at 59 she is not yet old enough.
I was moved because her financial future is so uncertain right now. For the past 40 years, she had viewed her full time job as a partner in their ministry. She did not work “outside the home”. She worked for the Kingdom. She would now have to find a job.
I was moved, because this woman……this widow…..is my sister Enise.
I asked her to reconsider. I said that perhaps she is making this decision too hastily. But she was determined to give it. She just said “I know God will provide for me. He always has and I trust that he always will”.
HVCM is so blessed to receive regular support and special gifts from churches and caring donors. We appreciate each one so much. .Sometimes it just comes out of nowhere, and usually at the perfect time. I am continually amazed at how God provides for this great mission and it constantly affirms to me that He has big plans for HVCM going forward!
But this gift was special!
To me, it is as special as the widow in the Bible who Jesus observed giving a “mite” (the smallest valued coin), yet He declared that it was the most valued. And indeed it was! Literally millions of people have been inspired to give sacrificially over the past 2,000 years because of that one little widow who “gave all that she had”.
In a similar way, we hope that this gift will be multiplied a million times over!
We are going to use this $10,000 to give a full tuition scholarship to a preaching student at Zimbabwe Christian College. Tuition, room/board at ZCC is about $100 per month. Our plan is to begin with one deserving young man who desires to preach the gospel and trust God to keep adding to this scholarship fund. There is no telling how many preachers we can train for the field with this money. Our prayer is that others will be moved and inspired to also give sacrificially to this fund so we can train hundreds of young men and women for the ministry through our Living Proof program in the future.
We are calling it the MIKE GROOMS PREACHING SCHOLARSHIP. If you or your congregation are moved to give to this most worthwhile effort, you can send a check for any amount to the mission office and label it, “Mike Grooms Preaching Scholarship” and we will add it to the account. You can also go straight to our website and donate online. Just click the “support” tab and the link will appear.
There is no telling how far this widow’s mite…….might go!