Giving

“The temple was big and beautiful. Many people came there to worship God. Inside the temple were some big money boxes. People put money in them. The money was for the temple and all that was used in worship to God. One day Jesus sat across from the money boxes. He saw many rich people put in lots of money. Then one poor woman, a widow, walked up to the boxes. She put in two small copper coins worth less than a penny.
Jesus looked at his friends. “This poor woman put in more than the rich people did,” he said. “Here’s why: the rich people still have much money left. But this woman only had two coins. She did not have any more money. The rich people only gave part of what they had. She gave all of what she had.” – Mark 12:41-43
Today we went to the “home” of a woman that Bethany has worked with. Her home was cement and 8×10. She lived there with her 10 year old son. door was a door way and a window, but the “door” was a piece of fabric and the win was as well. She has a double bed, a dresser, 2 arm chairs and the roof was a tarp. This was one of about 12 homes In a small fenced area off a busy street. The cement homes were all connected to each other in an L shape and had a dirt common area where wood was pile, laundry hung and the cow lived.

She was so hospitable to let us come to her so we brought bags of birtukans (oranges) and bananas ( bananas) as well as some school supplies and chocolate. She was waiting for us outside with bunna and fandisha (coffee and popcorn). We sat on small stools and talked for a while.

We had also brought a bag of school supplies for the 10 year old boy. One of our co-workers daughters saved money she made by selling cookies to buy school supplies for a child in Ethiopia. She wrote a note to him as well. We left and a few minutes later the phone rang, it was the woman she needed to give us something. She met us on the road with a woven straw basket. The kind Ethiopians use to hold fandisha. The 10 year old had also written a note of thanks for his benefactor, an 8 year old girl from West Michigan.

This woman and her son have nothing. The have 1 light bulb hanging from their tarp ceiling. They are HIV positive. They gave us coffee, they gave a child in America a gift. As Jesus said “this woman only had 2 coins, she gave all that she had”. They taught me about giving.

Jill said one day in the car “Jesus lives in Ethiopia” and she is right. He is so obviously here. When I am here, nothing gets in the way of my worship. Every moment I feel I am in a community of believers and there is no time for pettiness and judgement and anger and hate. There is only time to help and to give and to praise. When I am at church, I see million dollar budgets and huge flower arrangements and state of the art technology. It is so hard for me to really experience worship surrounded by these silly, inconsequential thingS. But when I can be a part of a community full of authentic Christ like qualities… I am at peace.

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