…we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord JesusIn August, I said I would write more about giving so this is another story about it. It happened a lifetime ago, in 1998. I’d never forgotten it. When you find out the story, you’ll understand why. We were then living in the Philippines as missionaries. Specifically, we worked in Bucana, a poor, Muslim fishing village in Davao City. I was a teacher in the pre-school that our team founded. Eng used to work with fishermen in a deep sea fishing project. Life was so different then. We had financial challenges because we spent more than the money we received from our supporters. It wasn’t hard to spend more than what we got because we hardly got any support at that time. Why we were in that predicament could be best left to another posting. Suffice it to say that in spite the little that we received, we survived, by the grace of God.
himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Our life abruptly became exciting when the pastor of our church announced that a special collection was going to be taken for the Muslims who were suffering from hunger. El Nino (an abnormal weather pattern which causes drought) hit the country and nothing was growing for them. We were asked to pray for how much we were to give the following week. Although we worked with the fishermen and not the Muslim farmers, we felt led to give. I suggested to Eng that we prayed separately to find out how much. I reasoned that the Holy Spirit should give us the same answer. He did. By week’s end, we determined that we were to give P2,000. We were relieved to get the same amount. A big concern though, was the fact that because we were living mostly from our savings, the amount was five times more than what we were used to giving! Still, we reasoned that there was no point in spending a week asking God how much to give and then not following through. It was hard but we gave the amount indicated in the collection that Sunday.
The day after, Eng left with the pastor and the other elders of the church. They bought rice, coffee, sugar, and other food and bagged them. Then, they distributed it to several families in the village that was badly affected by the drought. We wonder how any of those who received the food then are doing now. What we did know was that they were able to eat until the next season’s harvest came. The name of the Lord was glorified and we did what we could.
Two days later, Eng came back from the outreach so we went out for coffee and talked about his trip. When we got home, our helper greeted us happily while waving a cheque. She said someone dropped it off while we were out. She couldn’t even remember who it was. We looked at the cheque and were shocked. It was for P20,000! I honestly never saw that many zeroes in one cheque until that time. It was worth $800 US. It’s still a big amount in today’s standards but even more so for us who needed it badly. James Dobson said we could never out give God. We certainly didn’t! =)
Days later, as we thanked our donor, she apologized(?) for giving us the cheque too late. She said she’d been meaning to give it to us at the beginning of the year (it was late February). She said it was to help us with our support. I told her that her timing was just perfect. =) We saw that the Lord quickly and dramatically multiplied what we gave. How could we ever forget that?