This ebook by Howard Culbertson was originally published by what is now The Foundry for the NMI mission book series under ISBN number 083-411-4186.
One Saturday afternoon, I was huffing and puffing my way up a mountain trail in southern Haiti. I was following District Superintendent Evens Grammont. The trail led toward two new churches we planned to visit Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Occasionally, the trail widened into a primitive road. Noticing that, I asked Rev. Grammont about it. He explained that the two churches we were going to visit had organized volunteer road-building gangs. One morning a week, villagers along that trail turned out to hack a road into that mountainside. About all they had, he said, were machetes. Could we help them buy a few shovels and maybe even a wheelbarrow? Fortunately, I could say yes.
Even when they've finished, those villagers won't have much of a road. It'll just be a dirt trail chopped into a mountainside. Still, four-wheel-drive vehicles can soon get to those villages. A road will make it possible for those rural Haitians to get farm products to market and sick people to hospitals. They'll be able to get building materials back to their village. An access road also increases the chance that the government will be able to serve that village's education and health needs.
I've never said much about buying those shovels and that wheelbarrow. That's unfortunate. I'm convinced that the more Nazarenes know what theirmissions dollars are doing, the better off we'll be. Unfortunately, our publicity machine often meanders along in low gear.
Occasionally, I meet Nazarenes who are having second thoughts about having sent money to some relief organization about which thoy knew very little. Slick advertising caught their attention. Wanting to help, they dug deep into their pocketbooks. Later, they wondered if they'd been wise in their giving.
Pictures of starving children can tug at your heartstrings. Living conditions in third-world countries can be wretched. Every three days, hunger kills as many people as would a small nuclear bomb. Maybe you've sent money somewhere because such a need touched you. Even while mailing your check, however, you wished that your church was doing something to meet that need.
What services should Nazarene Compassionate Ministries be providing? Food for the hungry? Public health? Sanitation? Clean drinking water? Economic development? Road building? Agriculture? Good news. We're doing all that.
In more than 160 world areas, evangelism is our primary thrust. As we herald the Good News, we find ourselves compelled by Christ's love to reach out to people with physical needs. That's part of our Wesleyan heritage. As a result, we Nazarenes are probably\ involved in almost anything you might want to support. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries money has even gone into places like Ethiopia, Poland, and Armenia before we even had established congregations there.
Many groups pleading for your relief dollars have high fund-raising costs. Those have to come out of your gift. These costs, plus their administrative expenses, reduce the amount of your gift actually going to the need. The Church of the Nazarene is different. Many of our special offerings go 100 percent to the need. These include Alabaster, Radio, Work and Witness, Missionary Health Care, Missionary Christmas Fund, and Approved Specials items. All fund-raising costs and administrative expenses for these come from the World Evangelism Fund.
Our Compassionate Ministries funds are handled a little differently. Some administrative costs are taken out of these offerings. Even then, our fund-raising costs are minimal. For one thing, most fund-raising is done by volunteers from local NMI groups. More than that, World Evangelism Fund pays many of the administrative expenses of running Nazarene programs. Missionary salaries are just one example of this. Why pay those costs again? Funnel your giving through the Church of the Nazarene. Don't pay administrative costs twice!
One of the newest elements of our balanced attack is the Nazarene Hunger and Disaster Fund. Money raised for it lessens immediate suffering from disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Hours after such tragedies strike, Nazarene Hunger and Disaster funds can be there.
Yet, natural disasters aren't the only things causing human misery. There are also places in this world where people cling to the very margin of existence. Hurricanes or earthquakes aren't their main problems. Victims of a distorted global economy, they're stranded in the backwaters of a world rolling toward the 21st century. Just day-to-day living is, for them, one continuous disaster. By helping eliminate chronic malnutrition and pervasive poverty, the Hunger and Disaster Fund aims to make a significant, permanent difference in those people's lives.
Haiti is a good example. It is likely the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. While Hunger and Disaster money has intervened during famine times, it also finances hog-raising projects. We've started vocational schools in India. These hog-raising projects and vocational schools seek to wipe out chronic poverty and hunger by tearing at their roots. In a recent year Hunger and Disaster money provided help in 300 relief and development efforts worldwide.
Where does this money come from? Individuals sometimes make one-time gifts to the Hunger and Disaster Fund. Some churches give offerings to the Hunger and Disaster Fund. Hunger and Disaster money extends and amplifies the evangelism and compassionate ministries funded by the World Evangelism Fund.
In its first four years, Nazarene child sponsorship plans attracted 6,000 sponsors. Several child sponsorship plans form a family of programs under the Compassionate Ministries umbrella. They are helping Nazarene children in more than three dozen world areas. Benefiting are war orphans in Guatemala, malnourished children in Haiti, Native American children, and pastors' children around the world. The children are Nazarene children. The programs are run by Nazarene missionaries and national workers.
Child sponsorship or other compassionate ministries offerings should never, of course, replace World Evangelism Fund support. They are, however, another source of funds for our balanced attack. . . . [ continue reading ]
Prev | 1.
Football and missions
2. Budget: A bad word doing good
3. We called it general, but it's
very specific |
4. Peanut butter and
5. The Nazarene Construction Company
7. Giving more with less pain
8. Doubling and tripling our investments
9. Cleaning out attics and garages
-- Howard Culbertson
|Giving one or two big offerings per year is difficult for people whose income is a weekly paycheck. Giving to mission out of every paycheck has helped lots of families make significant Kingdom investments. . . . [ read more ]