What has been weighing heavily on my heart over the last couple of months (the cause of my writer's block) are two comments that were made to me and about me by two separate people who are also in ministry here in El Salvador. The first comment was that I am producing rice Christians. I'm guessing the comment meant that our children only come to hear about God because they can get a free meal; that if we didn't give food out they wouldn't be interested in learning about the love of Christ. The second comment made to me was that all I do is hand out boxes of food to children. I took offense to both of those comments. Even though I was offended I took a hard look at our work here. Is what these two people had said true? Are we doing enough to teach the love of Christ and help these children stand on their own in their faith...with or without food. After a long period of praying and some fasting this is what God revealed to me. First, the words of another person came to mind. This person is the head of a very large ministry. It is known around the world and they help millions of children each year. You may know them, they give out shoe boxes at Christmas time among other great works. He said to me "We always feed the children before we share Christ's love. If a child is hungry while you are sharing Christ with them, they are focused on their hunger. You can tell a Child that God loves them, but if they haven't eaten in 2 days the automatically think 'if God loves me why am I starving?' Feed them first and then share the word and they are focused on the Word of God and God's love becomes tangible to them." It made sense to me. I mean how often have I been in church and my stomach started to growl? Suddenly I am focused on my hunger and not so much on what the pastor is saying. Secondly God revealed to me that even Jesus fed people before he preached or shared with them. So what is wrong with serving these children food? Nothing. We give out food to our sponsor children each month so that they can grow and live healthy lives. So that their infant like faith can see God's love for them first hand. We give the children who come to our Kids Klass lunch before we send them home. It may be true that they come more for the food than to hear the word of God it might not be true. My thinking is whatever the reason they are there is not important. What is important is that they are there. They are learning about God and His love for them. They are growing both physically and spiritually. They are connecting with a group other than a gang. That they are sharing what they have learned with their families. To minimize what we do is unfair. To criticize us for taking care of physical needs as well as spiritual needs is not just. Oscar and I strive to hear God's voice and to be obedient to God. As long as we keep that as our goal, to me, that's what is most important.
To learn more about Beth and Oscar Alegria, visit their website by clicking here!