Pastor Bussman Establishes a Non-profit Organization

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CULLMAN – Pastor John Bussman at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church has just started a nonprofit organization called The Ends of the Earth Foundation. It is in its very early stages with plans of growth in the near future. “It’s based on Acts chapter 1, verse 8; spreading the gospel beginning in Jerusalem, then to Judea, then to Samaria, then to the ends of the earth,” Bussman said.

He said the idea started with another Lutheran pastor originally from the Cullman area. He and a couple other pastors got connected with a tribe in south Sudan Africa. Prior to their visit, this tribe was converted from Islam to Christianity and were left with Bibles, but had many unanswered questions about the Christian lifestyle. As a result, they got in contact with the Lutheran church and called for missionaries. Bussman said, “They just wanted people to teach them the scriptures, so some guys went over there and stayed for three weeks and taught the scriptures for 8 hours a day.” He said that there were people in their seventies walking 6 hours one way just to hear what they had to say.

Within a couple days of the missionaries coming home after teaching, the civil war in Sudan once again broke out and the village was destroyed. Bussman said, “Everything was destroyed. The tribe was dispersed. We were trying to figure out a way that we could help them.” He said that last year at this time they helped them build back buildings, but now it has progressed into completely rebuilding the village.

Bussman said, “I started The Ends of the Earth Foundation where we could help support them in whatever they need. Hopefully once we get off the ground a little more we’ll be able to help build them a school. Priority is building them places to live and getting them to where they’re able to work. That’s what they want. They want to be able to work.”

Bussman said that the biggest problem in their school right now is that they cannot pay their teachers. The teachers work long enough to find another job and then leave, so they do not have teachers who are consistent. “We can get them a principal who will also teach, an assistant principal who will teach, three or four more teachers, a night security person, and somebody to bring the water back and forth because they don’t have wells in their village. So eight people we can fund for right at $24,000 a year. The plan is to tell them not to worry about their teachers,” Bussman said.

“Eventually we’re going to get our schools connected. We’ll get video sent back and forth where our first graders can grow up with their first graders.” Bussman said that it is better than opening up a geography book and pointing out where Africa is. Instead the children will actually know other children in Africa and see them face-to-face. He added that since St. Paul’s is a Christian school, they can also worship together.

Bussman foresees consistent fundraisers being established for The Ends of the Earth Foundation to be able to fund the needs of its mission, and wants it to be bigger than just St. Paul’s. “There are other churches who can give to this thing because it’s a completely separate entity from St. Paul’s,” Bussman said. He added that they are still looking for immediate needs and the relationship is still being built with the people in Africa. As people are still coming back into their village, new needs are being made known. Bussman said that The Ends of the Earth Foundation is meant and built to be a forever thing. He said that hopefully once the people are on their feet, they can continue to use the resources given to them to reach out to others.

“Ends of the Earth is brand new and we’re excited about it,” Bussman said. Eventually there will be a website set up where the public can make donations. “We’re very young, but when we get more established, pamphlets can be made because the more people we have helping, the better.” With this foundation, Bussman hopes to get people to notice that there is a bigger world out there and that there are people in need. He said that just Christianizing people is not enough and that the goal is not to turn people Christian and leave. “The work’s not done,” he said. He said that relationships and trust must be built. Then, they will continue to proclaim the gospel themselves.