White Fields partners generously donate to support pastors reaching impoverished communities. That first act of generosity causes the new believers, who received the hope of Jesus Christ, to become generous to their destitute neighbors. Their expression of thanksgiving results in further acts of generosity.
One example of this expression of thanksgiving stands out to me. I want to explain the goat pictured on the front of our newsletter. The church in Kagashe, Uganda, has been growing with many new believers. Pastor Nicholas is reaching out, proclaiming the gospel throughout the community. New believers have come from all sorts of backgrounds. Some came from extremely evil backgrounds; they were drunkards and servants to the demons of witch doctors. A church in San Diego saw the growth of the Kagashe church, and they were motivated to take a special offering to advance the ministry. The offering provided enough to purchase a special piece of land in a good place on the main path through the village for the church to grow.
I was present with the Kagashe church on a recent trip to Uganda. They repeatedly expressed how excited they were that the believers in a church thousands of miles away helped them purchase the property so their church could give more excellent ministry to their community. Their response was to gather from among their members an offering to give a thank-you gift to their generous friends.
The church members wanted to do more than say thank you with words. Drawing from their African culture, they chose to give a goat in thanksgiving, not just any goat, but a healthy female goat (a goat that keeps giving). This would be very natural in the African culture, even though we do not generally offer a goat as an expression of thanksgiving in our American culture. The point is that the church members responded to the generosity with a magnified expression of thanksgiving.
We had a wonderful celebration together. I heard testimonies of new believers who shared the wicked life from which God had redeemed them. They worshipped and celebrated the love of God. We walked around the whole property, and the church leaders showed me where they would provide housing for the pastor’s family, where the children’s Sunday School classrooms would be, and even where there was space for a preschool and kindergarten to provide education until students could attend Graceland School.
Then they presented the goat to me. Now I had an idea this gift was coming and had given Pastor Onesimus the go-ahead to let them share their gift. They all knew I could not fit the goat in my duffel bag and bring it home, but in their culture, this was a profound gift to say thank you. I made a few jokes about getting the goat in my baggage and then expressed what I believed all the church members in San Diego, who gave the original gift, would want me to do—I re-gifted the goat to Pastor Nicholas’ son, Blessed. All the Kagashe church members were delighted.
This response by the members of the Kagashe church is not always expected. When impoverished people are often given a donation, they demonstrate a spirit of greed and ask, “When will the next donation come?” People with that attitude do not become involved in taking care of themselves. Their bad habits are enabled, and they become dependent upon the welfare offered by the program. Too often, we have observed that when agencies come into an impoverished community and give out food packages or offer sponsorship, the people sit back and ask for more. They expect a continual flow of distributions but are not taught that to get out of poverty, they need to become workers.
In contrast to that response, White Fields pursues a different approach. In our churches, biblical training takes place regularly through our Poverty Solutions. The faithful members of the church, starting with the widows, are given a micro-enterprise grant to get them started raising animals or planting a crop they can harvest and sell. The young men are given training and jobs in our mechanical, construction, and welding businesses.
The White Fields Approach
The White Fields approach is different because our national pastors are teaching the members of their churches to become biblical role models to their neighbors. They are teaching them that God blesses them so they can be a blessing. The new believers give glory to God for the generous gift they received, and the pastors teach them that they now become responsible to God to use the proceeds wisely. There is an element of work for them to harvest the donation results. They must take care of the goats to birth kids (baby goats); they must plant the seeds before they harvest the crop. There is the effort required on their part.
Our pastors are diligently teaching the biblical wisdom about working and stewardship. This makes the difference when we present donations to help them advance their churches beyond what they could accomplish through their local means. They do not sit back waiting for more gifts. Instead, they diligently jump in to do the ministry better and give sacrificially in their offerings so they can be faithful to God’s church entrusted to them.
You have a place in the partnership when you give generously. Your gift brings joy to your heart and transforms the community that receives it. Ultimately, God receives all the glory.
We also teach another important biblical principle; that God blesses the generous. We teach the members of our churches in impoverished communities to be generous with the produce they harvest from our poverty solution grants. They might be poor, but God still wants them to practice generosity. When they complete their harvest, we teach them to share some with their struggling neighbor.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.Galatians 6:9-10
As our church members practice the biblical application of proper stewardship, they recognize that their harvest at the next crop is better than expected because God blessed them for being generous to their less fortunate neighbors. They have more piglets, and all the piglets are healthy—or the crop grows better, and their harvest is more extensive, so they praise God because he blessed them for practicing generosity.
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed. (Proverbs 19:17, NASB). What a marvelous thought that when we give to the poor, we have not lost our gift; instead, we have loaned it to God, who repays us with interest. We also instruct our church members that they are serving the Lord Jesus when they give to those in need as Christ teaches: The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NASB)
Additionally, we encourage the church member to practice generosity from their harvest to their neighbor. When the generosity comes from the hand of the local church member instead of from a program coordinated by an organization or an official church handout, the generosity becomes personal. The neighbor recognizes that the poor friend is choosing to share some of their produce even though they are not wealthy. The neighbor who received the gift becomes curious about the motivation of their neighbor to be generous, and doors are opened to share the gospel. The local church has an excellent opportunity to spread the gospel when they are being generous to their neighbors. As a result, the local believers become a part of the biblical solution to their poverty and benefit from the blessings of God.
You still have a place in the partnership because joy results in the heart of the generous.
Joy and happiness come into one’s life when one demonstrates kindness and compassion to the poor. White Fields is diligent in making sure your donations are used to support pastors reaching the remote villages and that new believers are given the opportunity to transform their community. Our local churches help people escape poverty by learning how to work and apply biblical principles. They distribute our Poverty Solution grants to genuine believers who faithfully attend church. The Poverty Solution managers guide and train the recipients to improve their micro-enterprise for a better harvest.
In God’s economy, wealth and poverty are not viewed the same as in our physical world. Paul knew how to live with much and how to be satisfied with little. His most significant concern for those who were generous and provided for his needs while on the mission was not that his needs were met but that fruit was accounted to the helpful members of the supporting church.
Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.Philippians 4:17
The circle of generosity your donations create in obedience to God’s Word is paramount in proclaiming the gospel throughout remote villages. Believers blessed by God with material possessions using those to care for impoverished believers create a beautiful response of thanksgiving that honors and glorifies God. God is further honored when the recipient of generosity responds with exuberant thanksgiving and the whole community experiences transformation.
To all who participated in the generous donation for purchasing property for the church in Uganda, your goat is doing well!