I would like to share the story of Claudio, the man in the center. He is one of our new up and coming leaders that God has given us to work with. He is also like most of the people I work with, very poor. It is hard for most of us to understand real poverty, third world poverty, until you have looked it square in the face. In our ministry we bing the Good News to the poor, and call the poor into ministry. The challenge I face is how equip these desperately poor believers for a ministry that they can not pay for. It is a constant point of tension in my life, and a very personal issue for me.
Claudio is the leader of a team that comes out most Saturdays for kids club. I have to give him money to hold from week to week so he can pay for the bus and boat fair to get the team out to the island. It is only $16 but for him it is a lot of money. Last week his daughter got sick and he could not come out on the team and sent others out in his stead. This put a glitch in the money system and he had to hold those $16 for another week. His pastor commented to me that he is a faithful man, because he did not have money on hand to buy medicine for his sick child and did not use the $16 but saved it for the next week instead. In the pastor’s mind this is the marking of a man of great faith.
Can you image having to make the decision of whether to hold money for the missionary or use it for your sick child. I work with people that make these decision on a regular basis. At times like this my heart breaks! Yet this is the ministry Jesus has call us into, equipping the poor for a ministry totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Pray for Claudio that the Holy Spirit will strengthen him. Pray for me that the Holy Spirit gives me wisdom in working with Claudio.