I have often heard from long-term missionary friends, how they have received “care packages” from back-home supporters. Sometimes well meaning individuals would gather articles like tea bags, shirts, blankets, etc. and forward them to their overseas missionaries. The intention was that these items would be an encouragement, minister to a need or just bring an extra bit of comfort to those overseas. Unfortunately, can you imagine what it would be like to receive a package of “used tea bags” or white shirts whose collars were so thread barren that they were unusable? Sometimes we give away what is of no use to us, and it is actually of no use to anyone. In our hearts we may think that we are very generous, but in reality, we are just forwarding junk to others. In the markets of Uganda, one can see vendors who have receive large bails of used clothing, which is still in very good usable condition. This clothing has been donated by people in North America and is then shipped to immerging countries, bought in the large bails by merchants, and then sold cheaply on the streets to the local people. It still is expensive for the local people but much cheaper than buying new. Our North American eagerness to get newer, trendier clothing, while putting our slightly worn clothing into used clothing bins may sometimes even benefit those overseas. However in many cases it would be more efficient to forward the money and let the missionary buy their own cheap clothing then to pay for the cost of shipping our used clothing overseas.
Yesterday at a rural church, a young Muslim man stood up and shared how this was his first church service and that he wanted to become a Christian. He was a friend of one of the church members, but 9 months ago the church and some Canadians had distributed free mosquito nets to everyone in the community. He was eager to get something free. When he got home and opened the package, he was amazed at the mosquito net. The nets purchased in the markets or obtained from the government were stiff, course and difficult to use. But this net was well made and of higher quality than he had seen before. He thought, “Truly these Christians must love us, look what a quality gift they gave us!” the thought of this quality gift did not leave his mind. Now 9 months later, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and confessed Jesus as His Lord and Saviour.
What did it take to bring about this conversion? First it took a friendship with a Christian which started to open the door so that this young Muslim was willing to see Christianity in a new way and so that he knew he would be accepted in the Christian fellowship. Then it took a quality gift. Last year Church of the Rock members donated money to buy 750 mosquito nets which we distributed in that community, they ended up costing us 10,000 shillings each, or 7,500,000 shillings for all of them (this includes the shipping and handling to get them to the community). Thank you to those that contributed to Church of the Rock’s “buy a mosquito net project” your 10,000 shillings and the quality net made a difference. By-the-way, 10,000 shillings is about $4.00 US. Luke 16:9 says, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” (NLT)
Heavenly Father, You gave Your Best that we might have life, Thank You. Help us to wisely develop friendships with those who do not know you. Help us to give generously in finances and quality items to your kingdom, that people will be drawn unto you.