Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Worship through Giving

They worshiped in their giving. They gave three separate times during the service. The first offering appeared to be their regular, weekly offering. They have the church divided into 6 sections. Each section had a big, round, blue plastic bowl on a table positioned front and center. The whole congregation walked through in a single file line from where they were sitting (the families do not sit together, the women's ministry all sit together, the men sit together, etc.). Everyone could see every person pass by and put money into their respective tub. We did not see anyone pass by without giving something.

The second offering was a harvest offering that they give once a year. The pastor and his family started by coming together as a family and literally dragging a bag of grain (probably around 50 lbs) to a the front. The pastor and his wife and an elder then stood at the front as other families came and gave. Many of them brought sacks of grain or nuts. Some gave money. Some gave both. Some gave other things in bags. One woman brought some pots and pans. This offering is used to give to the poor during the coming months. When they were finished the front of the church was full of bags of offerings.

The last offering was given in one bowl in the front. We learned at the end of our lunch that it was a love offering for us. We were very humbled that those who had so little would give out of what they had to us. We knew that you graciously accept any gift given. We later gave that offering to the ALARM ministry in Zambia.