I have my packing list and have collected most of what I will need--most important are sturdy waterproof boots and good socks. I have learned if you take good care of your feet, there is little you cannot accomplish.I will be taking a few extra things with me this time. I will be carrying a check for $250 that someone gave me to give to ministry there. This faithful New York Baptist could not go this year. The past year was a difficult one financially for this generous soul, but they wanted to do as much as they could. They unexpectedly received this money, and their first thought was to give it to the Parajons’ ministry.
I will also be taking a box with a pediatric stethoscope, gauze bandages, band aids, and assorted hand tools. We published among our churches a list of things the ministry was requesting. The First Baptist Church of South New Berlin collected these items and brought them to the office to go with us to Nicaragua.
Neither of these acts of generosity will make the news; practically no one will notice them. In a nation where everything needs to be grander and louder and more shocking than ever before to get attention, this kind of thing goes unnoticed. Even in the church, acts like these get little mention. I receive mail every day from ministries and conferences and religious promotions that is hard to tell from the launch of the latest IPhone. Pastors push and shove to get themselves behind some pubic official for a good photo op. Many individual Christian lobbying groups raise tens of millions of dollars apiece each year promoting some agenda. One could get the feeling that a modest check or a box of supplies don’t really matter much. One would be wrong.Jesus was sitting in the Temple one day watching well-off people give their offerings, and a widow came by and deposited the smallest of coins in the offering urn (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus observes: Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on. The Kingdom of God has always moved forward principally by small acts of faithfulness by ordinary people. As an army travels on its stomach, so the Kingdom is built by people who never make the news or rent stadiums to promote their organizations or get buildings named after them or their faces splashed on brochures. These Kingdom-building people pass through their lives mostly without being noticed, much like the widow in the Temple. One person notices them: God.
All things considered, I think that is sufficient.Jim Kelsey-Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of New York State