I remember many years ago when I first heard the concept of paying it forward. I was reminded of it today as I was thinking of asking a pastor in Peru for a love offering… let me start at the beginning.
A few weeks ago I received an invitation from pastor Abel in Cajamarca, Peru to come for a Vacation Bible School (VBS). It’s not possible for me to travel on short notice, and especially if I don’t know the conditions, due to my handicap in walking. But my assistant Cristina could go, and her father would love to go and teach a group of children.
Cristina contacted pastor Abel and found out that it was an 18-hour trip from Lima by bus and then walking in mountainous terrain. This would not be possible for her father, especially since he has problems with his knees. We thought that maybe they could go by plane, but who would pay the tickets?
It would also be like a two-week break from work for Cristina, not very appropriate since we are in the middle of a series about God’s servant Moses. Children are expecting their weekly story!
Sorry to say we could not accept the invitation, but maybe we could help them with teaching tools. Cristina talked with pastor Abel and after some discussion it was decided that they would use the stories of Queen Esther.
Last weekend Cristina devoted to preparing the stories and activities for them. She had to buy ink for the printer, which was a task in itself. To venture out in the heavy traffic of Lima is quite a story, and to find ink that is not altered is another story. She did it and took copies of most of the things we offer.
Check out about Queen Esther here: La reina Ester
It’s in Spanish but it can give you an idea of all the components we offer.
Here is a picture from a VBS that Cristina’s parents had a couple of years ago.
Now we come to “paying it forward.” Last month, the pastor’s wife from the church where they had the VBS sent me an offering of 500 nuevos soles, which is about 150 dollars. It was very exciting for me, because I’m not used to receiving offerings. Once before I received an offering from a Sunday school in Mexico. I’m doing all my service for free. Like the offerings and sacrifices the people of Israel presented, I want it to be a “pleasant aroma” to my Lord. But I should probably start thinking about setting up an account for those who want to help with the expenses.
This offering was sent to Cristina’s account and I discounted it from her paycheck last month. I felt like helping pastor Abel would be like paying it forward. I also thought of asking him and the church for a love-offering. We “talked” on Messenger this morning and that’s when I felt in my heart to write him about this concept. So, I asked him to help a needy family in my name, and to ask that family to do something for somebody else. That’s what paying it forward is… it’s a beautiful chain reaction of kind acts.
I spent 50 dollars in supplying materials for this church in northern Peru. They will have to make photocopies of the activity pages for the children.
During the coming week pastor Abel and his wife Flor, together with two teachers, Daila and Lilian, will travel to a nearby village to hold the VBS. They will be leaving their children in Bambamarca, I suppose with some trustworthy relatives. Please pray for them and for the children that will be attending the VBS all next week.
Paying it forward… While writing this, Sarah and her brother David came to stay with me for a while. She had never heard the concept, so I had the chance to explain. Isn’t it something beautiful? Pastor Abel will now have the opportunity to practice it and make the people at his church aware of what it means to pay forward.
I do an act of kindness… instead of accepting a remuneration for it, I ask you to do something kind for someone else… you do an act of kindness and ask the person to pay it forward… this pattern continues and becomes a chain reaction of kindness…
This is what I wanted to write about today.
Paying it forward is an awesome concept!