This year we did an African Safari theme for VBS. Along with all the fun and games we took time out to talk about Africa and the needs there - particularly the need for clean, safe water.
I felt a little guilty taking up an offering from the Lakota children who live in poverty themselves and are some of America's poorest children. In fact, I felt even guiltier after hauling water to a family that had no water in their home. Many of the people in the village we visit do not have water or electrictiy in their homes. I wondered at the wisdom of taking money from these people to give to build wells in Africa and yet, it seemed the right thing to do - the God thing to do. So we did. I knew I would be humbled but I was not prepared for what happened.
On the last day after the offering was taken Fred and I were emptying out the bucket that served as our "well". I noticed a small red plastic thing in the bottom and assumed it was a toy of some kind. I almost overlooked it until Fred said, "Amber, look at this". I pulled it from the bucket and found a child's piggy bank full of coins. One of the children had given their piggy bank - all the money they had. I cried as I showed it to our team.
And I cried again just a few moments ago when I broke it open. I didn't want to break it. It was precious. It was holy. I wanted to save it as a reminder but the only way to get the money out was to break the piggy bank. I was reminded that we all have to be broken if we are going to follow Jesus. The Lakota people measure generosity not by how much they give, but by how much they have left. As a follower of Jesus, I have to be willing to be broken and to give all I have. I have a long way to go to live up the example of this small child.
The piggy bank contained $3.21 - enough to provide 3 African people with clean water for one year. I wonder if that child knows what a gift she gave. Unfortunately we do not know which child gave it, but I trust that God knows and that He will reward.