Early on Larry Craighead wondered – “what will it take to provide for these kids?” He may have thought that for his biological children, but this particular thought wasn’t for them. After an important, transformative experience at Camp Life 2016, he realized that the 12 children he wanted to help through sponsorship, were going to need security. He’s a details guy, so he put his excel spreadsheet skills to work to figure it out.
Ultimately, we realized that he and his wife have the means to fund their education, but the only way to ensure his Zambian kids were supported for the long haul was to start a separate bank account dedicated to them. This simple move to set aside funds for his Zambian children made it clear – he and his wife were partners in the potential for these kids. He shares four important outcomes to starting this account:
- It is a tangible, visible way to let go of the money for an important purpose.
- It was emotionally freeing to know that the financial future of their children’s education was secure.
- Making a financial investment in God’s Kingdom is comforting in knowing that they could honor His word, specifically in caring for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:45).
- Should anything happen to him or his wife, his kids know where the money in that account goes. Building a culture of philanthropy is an important component of parenting.
Since then, Craig and his wife, know they are hundreds of miles away from Zambia, but they are connected – simply a prayer or receiving a letter is a gift beyond measure. By setting this money aside, they have put their faith forward, knowing that the Lord blesses them and their 12 Zambian children.
Why did you decide to set up a separate bank account for your sponsored children?
That decision grew out of a basic stewardship principle that I learned from a Christian business partner (Raymond Harris). If God blesses you with material assets, be a faithful steward (Matthew 25). Biblical principles suggest that we should not take possession of what has been entrusted to us; God desires for us to invest in his Kingdom (to be “a good and faithful servant”). I participated in my first Camp Life in 2016 with my daughter. Upon our return, we had 12 children that needed sponsors. I’m a detail guy, so I prepared a spreadsheet to understand what would be required to provide for our kids through grade 12.
We recognized that we had the financial resources to invest in our 12 kids. I opened a separate account at the bank and moved the entirety of the funds needed. There were several benefits in doing this:
1) It is a tangible, visible way for us to let go of the money.
2) It is very “freeing” emotionally, meaning that no matter what ups and downs we have financially, the money for our kids is set aside — we don’t think about it, we don’t worry about it.
3) It’s a financial investment in God’s Kingdom. It’s an investment in “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45).
4) Should anything happen to me and/or our wife, our adult children understand that the money in our Zambia fund is not to be touched.
Also, I will add that my wife and I are always mindful that our children are watching. We want to show them what stewardship looks like in God’s economy.
What has Zambia and the children of Zambia meant to you?
It has been a blessing to watch our kids grow. We have seven girls and five boys (all ages), our son sponsors a child, my nephew sponsors two children, and we have friends that sponsor two children. In total, we have a connection with 17 children. We returned to Camp Life in 2017 and again in 2019. We’ve been able to witness the transformation in our kids physically, spiritually, in their education, and in their health.
Over the years, what have your sponsored children meant to you?
Even though we are hundreds of miles away, it’s a blessing to know that we have this connection to Zambia. The bond that is built with the kids is really special. To receive a letter and hear that they are praying for you is a blessing that can’t be described.
Have you developed a strong relationship with your sponsored kids individually? Tell us about it!
Yes, we do have a special bond. It takes a while for the kids to open up, but as you spend time with them and they begin to share their individual stories you connect with each child in a unique way. One of the children we met in 2016 was, Sarah. Sarah was a 17 year old at the Tree of Life and she did not have a sponsor. We’ve corresponded with Sarah regularly and spent special time with her when we’ve returned for Camp Life. It was exciting this year to know that she has graduated grade 12 and is transitioning into the internship program. But, as I said, each of our kids has a special story and a unique personality; it’s easy to let them into your heart.
Would you recommend others to set up separate accounts as well, if they are able? If yes, tell us why?
As I have shared, having a separate account has been a blessing. To have the peace that our kids will be supported takes away any anxiety relating to their education. Essentially, our decision was made in 2016, the money is set aside, and we now focus on new opportunities. Not to mention, there is a very practical side to the separate account as it makes it very easy to see the distributions for our Zambia kids in the monthly account bank statement.