Somewhere on the Asia-Pacific Region:  I remember the first time something like this happened, it was at a District Advisory Board (DAB) meeting. After the reports and troubleshooting were done and the aroma of food being cooked by church ladies downstairs filled the air, there was whispering… then, the question directed at us, the cross-cultural workers…

“Can we do what we want with our money?” one asked.

An odd question, when had they ever before asked for such a permission?

“Of course, why do you ask?” we responded.

Whispers…

“We have to do something about Japan, the tsunami!  We have to…we know Koki!”

Koki* is a Japanese cross-cultural worker who had previously come to our country to teach a course many of them had attended. And they knew him.

CSC_0069More whispers… and finally,  “We want to send $500 to help Japan.”

That was an impressive sum for our people. The District Superintendent’s entire salary was only 1/5th that amount.

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“Are you sure?” we asked.

“We’re sure,” they all nodded in agreement regarding the intention of the sacrificial gift.

That was in 2011. Now again in 2015, after an earthquake in Nepal they were once again at a DAB meeting. They didn’t know any Nepalese teachers, had never in fact met anyone from Nepal. But the hearts of compassion in these leaders were once again stirred and a sacrificial gift of $500 was gathered.

Through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada they were able to give through the Canadian Food Grains Bank and have those shekels, matched 4 to 1 by the Canadian government, providing basic meals for hundreds in the earthquake-struck land.

Sometimes, as a cross-cultural worker, we wonder about “when helping hurts,” and there is reason to be deeply concerned about the issues of accountability, dependency and all that goes with efforts that require monetary response.

100_0629As the cross-cultural worker to this group of leaders, when we see the annual report we realize, it doesn’t reflect these gifts, nor the bags of rice they deliver to impoverished families around a couple of wards in the city, the ministry to the squatter kids, the church ladies who sew uniforms so neighborhood kids would be able to go to school, church boards who cover school fees, the faithful pooling their funds to meet an immediate need from someone within or without the church walls… the pastor who has climbed a precarious 12 meters into the air to gather wild honey so he would have an offering… This is far from an exhaustive list and the greatest thing I witness is that like our Lord instructed in Matt. 6:3, their left hands don’t seem to know what their right hands are doing.

They seek no recognition, while I have been wondering how to “count  their compassions.” When we see our people with hearts so immediately generous, so ready to sacrifice, without recognition, when they hear of great need… we are the ones learning… we are indeed the ones receiving…

— Story submitted by a Cross Cultural Worker somewhere on the Asia-Pacific Region

 * Name Changed