Sometimes it is difficult to communicate how much difference partnership can make in people’s lives! Our FTH partners are constantly encouraged by the many different ways their partnership impacts, not only individual people, but entire cities and nations.
For example, I heard a testimony this week about George Gonzales, our partner ministry in the Amazon. He tells of a young Peruvian pastor who is ministering in Islandia, Peru. What is most notable about Islandia is that about 85-90% of the residents belong to a very pervasive cult. When the founding leader of this cult died, the people waited 3 months for him to rise from the dead. Obviously he did not. Plan B was to then make his son the successor, actually referring to him as “Jesus”. Today they use the Holy Bible as their Scriptures, but their deity is this deceased man and his son. It was very difficult for the pastor to make any headway with the true Gospel, since everyone would agree with all his teaching from the Word – only applying it to their false gods. In fact, the cult makes the following demands on its adherents: 4 days of wages belong to the cult headquarters, 2 days are for the family, and 1 day can go to the church. So, even by including the church in its restrictions, it made it difficult to distinguish truth from lies. (Not to mention that there was not enough for the people or the pastor to survive on!) As a result, this pastor became extremely discouraged by his lack of fruit and left the city….left ministry altogether.
However, try as he might to go a different direction, he could get no peace and knew God was asking him to return to this fallow place. He argued with God over the unfair and impossible conditions, but finally gave in and agreed to return to Islandia.
On his first day back this pastor met George Gonzales. Pastor George talked to him about starting a school and feeding program through Feed the Hungry’s Every Child Every Day initiative. He immediately started this and today he is teaching and feeding needy children, and his church has already tripled in size. He is no longer discouraged, but is re-energized in purpose, relationship, and results. Isn’t God amazing?!
When I hear stories like this it doesn’t seem so hard to give up that Starbuck’s latte or to eat at home instead of going out to a restaurant. In fact, it’s a downright moment of joy!