For almost seven years now I have, without apology, called you to give to the church / the work of the Kingdom; and you have responded generously time and again. We might sometimes wonder, does it matter, does it make a difference?
Just this week we put some of your generosity to work by supporting the relief efforts in the Solomon Islands, where our mission partners, Paul and Cathy Unger serve. In email from Paul, we find the answer to the question as to whether or not our giving makes a difference.
The Lengo translators all have families that they support. Their gardens were largely washed away during the flooding (up to chest deep water on the plains). What wasn't washed away was soaked and covered with mud and has begun to rot in the ground. Even if they could plant tomorrow, they wouldn't be able to harvest anything for about six months. They need cash to buy food. What you gave will go a fair distance.
Joseph was in the capital, Honiara, selling food at the market with his family when the flooding happened. Initial reports from their village were that the water was lapping at the edge of their house, but that it didn't take it away. We did what we could to help them get back to their village as soon as they could safely return, to see for themselves. Unfortunately, the initial reports were too optimistic. Their kitchen--a separate building--was washed away, along with much that was in their house. He, his wife, and eldest daughter came to town yesterday to start to rebuild. With the money you gave they bought a foam mattress and a pillow, a thermos, some utensils / pots / pans, some clothing and toiletries... I was surprised with how little they thought they needed. When they got back to their village yesterday evening Joseph called to let me know they had arrived. And then he broke down and wept... "Grateful" doesn't really tell just how he felt.
We will keep looking for opportunities to help. The needs seem overwhelming, but we feel that we doing our part by helping specific people in significant ways. Thank you for trusting us to do so on your behalf.
Your gifts, your generosity are making a difference! When I think of these friends and co-workers of the Paul and Cathy receiving the kind a practical assistance that is helping them to feed their families and to rebuild their homes my heart is encouraged. Though it may seem like a small gift, it is making a lasting impact!
I think back to many times you have responded to bless others; helping a new church get established in P.E.I., contributing to the camel water station and responding to the need for famine relief in Ethiopia and helping Ken and Nancy purchase a vehicle to use on the Mission field. I think Nicolasas and her family and the way you lavishly blessed as we sent a team to build a home for them. And I think of the many that have been blessed with groceries or a small gift of kindness at a time when a little encouragement made all the difference.
In all this I am reminded that we serve a God who is generous / lavish toward us! He is able to take our gifts and multiply them and therefore multiply the blessing. So again, without apology, I call you, invite you and encourage you to give! Because, we cannot out give God!
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)