My husband and I had the rare opportunity to visit three different churches in Costa Rica today. Our ministry partner there wanted us to meet the pastors and get a feel for the heart and vision of these churches.
One church has been blessed and has a children’s home and a Christian school. It was impressive to see how they are reaching their community. The second church was celebrating their anniversary and had various activities planned throughout the week. They seemed to be doing well.
But the church that impressed me the most was, by all practical standards, the least impressive. We visited this small church in the evening for my husband to speak in their midweek service. As we followed our local ministry partner, we drove through a visibly impoverished neighborhood and arrived at a dilapidated building – the church. Inside, we found a congregation and pastor who left a lasting impression on my heart. I discovered a church that gave out of their poverty.
As the pastor gave us a tour of their “unfinished” property, my husband and I looked at each other in amazement that this small congregation had such a beautiful and compassionate vision to help those who are in need. We were shown a few “apartments” that were being prepared for retired pastors who had no place to live. This project had been started because the pastor had found his former mentor on the streets begging after the mentor had been retired by his church.
I also learned that this church feeds 80 impoverished neighborhood children every Saturday. Again, they give out of their poverty. The pastor refused to accept a salary from the church because he said if he did, they wouldn’t be able to feed the 80 children. He took a job instead.
Although no one asked for money or help, I left that night with a desire to help feed those 80 children. I am so touched by the heart of this church- by the heart of this pastor. May God bless them and meet their needs as they continue to be faithful in giving – out of their poverty. If they can do that, how much can we give – out of our abundance?
I am calling this my “Feed the 80” project. I couldn’t walk away from that experience and do nothing. God laid it on my heart to help them. If you would like to help them also, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss how to make this possible
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 (NIV)
As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth”, he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Like 20:1-4 (NIV)