The photo at right is of a father and his two children scavenging for small live shells along the coast of Nicaragua. They had no choice that they were all born in the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The father has no employment, and so they make soup from the little shells they scavenge from the sand. The little girl’s eyes are both crossed. Fortunately, as I helped them scavenge for a minute, I “found” a twenty-dollar bill in the sand that became theirs. That would be about a month’s average income in their part of Nicaragua. Just a short reminder of how blessed we are.
Perhaps the best way to help very poor people in the Third World is to extend low-interest “micro-loans” of a few hundred dollars to those who have no capital and no collateral. With just a little money and some hard work, people are able to start small businesses that often double their standard of living in a short time. A two hundred-dollar loan can be the catalyst to a sustainable lifetime income. I hope that Shepherd Serve can eventually be involved in helping poor believers in that way. For now, we can give small gifts that help for a short time. Thanks for helping make the day for one poor Nicaraguan family.
I’ve just returned from six days in Nicaragua, where I helped minister to about 160 pastors in a four-day conference sponsored by Global Connections. They represented many denominations and came from all over the country. I had the privilege of teaching five plenary sessions and six workshops, and the Lord poured out tons of blessings.
My interpreter told me that his life was turned around at our conference last year. Since then he has taken many teams of young Nicaraguans (500 in all) from many churches to do door-to-door evangelism in neighboring Honduras and has started three medical clinics in very poor Nicaraguan villages. Not bad for a four-year-old Christian who lived on the streets for much of his childhood, carried an AK-47 rifle from age 13 to 20 fighting in a civil war, and who is a former cocaine addict and murderer. God is still in the redemption business!
I can’t resist telling you one of the most unusual stories I have ever heard. When our primary Nicaraguan organizer, Arturo Castro, was eighteen, his fiancée took him to meet her mother and stepfather. When her stepfather asked Arturo about his family background and Arturo gave him the details, the man said, “I’m your father!” It was the first time in his life that Arturo had seen his father. Arturo confessed that his first thought was, “Oh no! I’ve fallen in love with my sister!” But he quickly realized that the man was his fiancée’s stepfather, not her actual father.
As always, thanks for your help. If you could hear the comments of the Nicaraguan pastors about the impact of what they learned last week, I can assure you that you would be blessed to know that you helped. There is no way that I can fully express the significance of the spiritual blessings that are the result of your help. But in heaven, we’ll fully understand.
P.S. I would also ask that you would pray for the believers in Kaduna, Nigeria, where we have held two large pastors’ conferences this year and last. Religious rioting began again two weeks ago, and at least 215 people have died, Christian and Muslim. It is reported that twenty-two churches and nine mosques have been destroyed. I’ve told at least 1,500 pastors in Kaduna that revenge is wrong, and my comments started an uproar each time.