The women were at the church on Saturday night painting the floor red. You can't see it in the photo, but they also made streamers from toilet paper and red dye. We were their honored guests for this church service. After participating in it, I certainly did feel honored that I was able to witness the joyful way these people worship and the way they love God's word. The church service was held in a room of the Wiphan school.
After a very spirit filled time of worship, this man spoke on giving. In a room full of people who live at a level of poverty you and I could NEVER imagine, he passionately shared what God says about possessions. He taught us all that giving is really about releasing what we have to God. He preached to these women and children about their responsibility to care for widows and orphans. "You can't wait for someone else to do it," he said. It was all I could do to keep breathing when he said, "If you have 3 chickens - you have a chicken to give away!". 3 chickens may be ALL some of these people have. And I wanted to crawl under my chair when I heard the poorest of the poor - people who measure their wealth in chickens - respond to this challenge to give sacrificially with applause and cheering. They get it. Because they live it. They get why God asks us to care for orphans and widows. They know orphans and widows. They are orphans and widows and they know how they rely on Him.
When it was time to collect an offering for the work of their church - everyone gave something. And when that was finished they took up a special collection for Wiphan. It was important to them that they show that they are invested in Wiphan's work too. They're not interested in being receivers only.
They sing about what Jesus has done for them - all the wonderful things God has done for them. And here we sit in our extreme wealth - asking for just a little bit more. Praying that God will bless us. That He'll bless our country. That He'll bless our families. We ask Him for things and positions and comforts and health. I'm not saying that's all wrong all the time. I am saying that in all of their poverty I only saw them being thankful for the ways He has already has blessed them. And you know what? Their gratitude leaves them SO full of joy and hope. I just wanna be more like that.