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Connect With Alumni – News

Sparrow Family Update

News Overview

sparrowfamily_jpeg2020.jpgOver the course of one year, Caleb and Amanda Sparrow’s world appeared to be turning upside down. Their hearts were broken at the unexpected loss of their two-and-a-half-month-old son. The family experienced two car accidents with one totaling the family van and leaving Amanda with a broken leg. Things were bleak and they needed encouragement. 

Caleb then found himself in the hospital for three days with chest pains that turned out to be stress-induced. He had to transition out of a ministry due to decline in attendance and applied to or was a candidate at 36 churches seeking to fill pastoral roles. It was evident that God was doing a work in their lives. 

“That year was a time of great trials, but we want to be quick to say that it was also the time of greatest spiritual growth and reliance on God in the midst of a time when we ‘walked through the valley of the shadow of death.,’” Caleb shared from the experience. “We never cling to God more tightly than when we have nothing else to cling to. God drew near us during this time and provided us with great comfort. He taught us more about Himself.” 

The BJU Alumni Relations department learned of the Sparrow family’s need as part of the annual Alumni Christmas Giving Tree. Each year the alumni community comes together to decorate a tree with money that is then presented to an alumni family facing challenges such as Caleb and Amanda. Over $4000 was raised. 

The support of the alumni community went beyond the financial gift. “We were very grateful for receiving the gift from the giving tree,” Caleb said. “In addition to the money, we received countless cards and messages expressing love, sympathy, and prayers, and these were a great blessing to us.” 

And it made a difference. 

“The money that we received was primarily used to sustain our family over the months that we were between churches,” he shared. “Because of this gift, I was able to have the flexibility to travel to churches and care for my family while my wife’s leg was broken, instead of having to take a temporary job.” 

In February, Caleb accepted a call to minister at First Baptist Church in Colchester, Illinois. He started preaching all services on the first day of March. He began his ministry just in time to face the challenges of leading his congregation in the uncertainties of the COVID pandemic.  

However, he takes strength from lessons learned from trials. “God never allowed us to be tried to the point of failure or destruction; He just refined us, and He walked with us through the flames.” God has used trials — and the actions of his people to bring the Sparrows to a place of greater service. 

“We would like to express gratitude to everyone who prayed, sent cards, sent messages, and donated money to help us in our time of need. You all were truly used by the Lord to minister to our family. It was through your love and support that we are where we are today, continuing to serve the Lord.” 

To learn more about the 2020 Alumni Giving Tree recipients, click here.

 

Alumni Relations
1-800-320-4383
BJU Advancement
888.252.6363
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