Church staffer gets a shock when anonymous giver leaves $52,000 check in Christmas card

The Africa Lighthouse Baptist Temple has received an early Christmas blessing.

An anonymous donor wrote a big check for the church located in Albemarle County, Virginia, a gift that enabled the congregation to pay off the mortgage on the property.

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Peter Chege, the church's pastor, recounted how a church spokeswoman opened the envelope containing the check. He said he was shocked when he was shown the contents.

"She opened it up, thinking it was just a regular Christmas card, and in the middle she found a check. And it was not just a check for $1,000 or $2,000, but a check for $52,000," the pastor said.

Chenge said it would have taken his church a decade to raise that amount of money.

Services on Sunday saw the Africa Lighthouse Baptist Temple congregation celebrating and giving thanks for the generous donation they have been given.

"One year ago, we moved to this property with nothing but faith and $5,000 we had put down for the down payment for the property," Chenge said according to

The church of African refugees needed $120,000 more, so they began raising money to pay off the property.

Now, thanks to the substantial donation, the property is paid for in full a year after the church members started their fundraising efforts.

Laura Kesavuka, a church member, said, "We now have our own piece of land. We pray in peace and in our own language, and we are truly grateful."

Chenge, who emigrated from Kenya nine years ago, said the money will help the church support African immigrants in central Virginia.

"We help them with their first cellphone, we help them even get cars, learn to drive, learn English lessons, apply for a job," said the pastor. "Now we have a home, we have [a] base from where we can operate and grow and launch more into the community."

As for the future, the church, whose goal is to "reach the world for Jesus through evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and church-planting endeavors," has big plans.

"The future is exciting. We want to have a homeless shelter, we want to have a lot of things that we want to do just for the community," shared Chenge.