What If? Part 2

What if Columbia didn’t exist?

Columbia has a long, rich history that has shaped us as a church and a community. The contribution each generation has made for the next cannot be forgotten. The legacy each generation has built is what has led us to open our new front door.  

This week, we look at the deep impact our Spend Yourself Ministry has had in our local community, throughout Virginia and around the world.

About Spend Yourself® Food Pantry

The Spend Yourself® Food Pantry provides food to hungry people in our community. Our goal is to help the hungry and build relationships in a warm and welcoming environment.  2016 was another year of growth in the ministry.  59 countries of origin were represented throughout the 9,772 households that came through our doors. This translates to nearly 200 families each week.


Columbia's Spend Yourself® Ministry is not only responding to hunger in Northern Virginia, but beyond our borders in Haiti and India.  From four child development centers in India to a village in Haiti transformed by Columbia's partnership with World Vision, long-term development opportunities in these regions have been a blessing to all those involved.  

About Spend Yourself® Haiti

The goal of long-term development is that community become self-sustaining, self-sufficient, self-supporting.  In Savane Plate, the measures of food security, clean water, sanitation/hygiene, and economic development are changing the community dramatically.  The continued march and positive cycle of "projects-hope-transformation, projects-hope-transformation" is evident, especially now as the community residents are beginning to conduct projects themselves. 


Project History 

Phase I (2010-2011): Goats, chickens, oxen, plows, and home drinking water filtration systems. Construction of a 10-acre lake, for irrigation and fish farming, stocked with 5,000 fish. Cost: $250,000 (funded and completed).

Phase II (2012-2013): Construction of a farm tool depot. Additional drinking water purification systems and construction of 50 latrines. Training in hygiene and latrine care. Cost: $300,000 (funded and completed).

Phase III (2014-2015): Construction of a hand pump drinking water well, 50 more latrines and a sugar cane processing unit. Cost: $165,000 (funded and completed).

Phase IV (2016-2017): Additional well, 50 more latrines, equipment/training for fish breeding in the Lake, additional drinking water filtration systems, soil conservation plantings, sanitation/hygiene training. Cost: $285,000 (funded and in progress)

Phase V (Anticipated 2018): Two additional wells, more latrines.  Cost:  $150,000-$200,000

About Spend Yourself® India

Now in our 9th year, Spend Yourself® supports 4 Children’s Development Centers in the city of Vijayawada, India.  With Dr. BVR Rao overseeing the ministry, the Centers provide tutoring, meals, recreation, and Biblical instruction to 250+ students.  The Centers were established in 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2016.  Each day after school (six days per week), children come to the Centers for tutoring, Bible stories and songs, and a meal.


The Centers

The Centers, each located in a slum, operate every evening that school is in session, Monday through Saturday.  Parents enroll their children (both girls and boys) and agree that they will keep their kids in school until at least age 14.  Daily activities include help with their school work, creative individual and group activities such as Bible stories, games, and songs, along with a nutritious evening meal.  In addition, occasional special events gather all the children for programs and celebration.   Many Center alumni report that their years in the Centers were especially beneficial, as now they are pursuing studies and careers in biology, botany, economics, commerce, and electrical contracting.  They also thank Dr. Rao and the staff “for teaching me about Jesus.”

Ramavarrappadu (Pearly Gates)
The first Center was established in 2009.  There are 100 children enrolled.

The second Center was established in 2012.  There are 50 children enrolled.

The third Center was opened in June 2014. Today, there are 50 girls enrolled from the Beggars Tribe, in which girls are especially at risk of being forced into prostitution and trafficking.  Added education and nutrition at the Center is helping to provide a better future.

Baucom (Raja Rajeswari Pet)
The fourth Center opened in June 2016, in one of the largest slums of the city.  The Center was name by the people there in honor of Columbia’s senior pastor.   There are 50 children enrolled.

Join Us For Go Sunday!


Join us on October 15 for Go Sunday - an all congregation worship & baptism service to experience what Columbia is today and to rejoice in our future. After the service, we will gather for a church wide luncheon and celebrate the progress we’ve made towards opening our new front door! Columbia has always had the theme of opening their doors to the community and world around them.

With G2G2, we continue that tradition.