Generous children are nothing shy of a miracle.
This article is part of an ongoing blog series called Stories of Generosity.
Today’s guest story comes from Kaitlyn Cressley. She is the Director of Children’s Ministry at One Life Church, where I pastor. She has an incredible story to tell of how her Vacation Bible School kids were wildly generous.
Generosity. When I think of generosity, I think of the people who give above and beyond what anyone expects.
They give of their time, talents, and money with a cheerful heart.
They are the ones who spend their days at work and their evenings helping those in need.
They don’t think twice before sacrificing their own comfort to help others.
They don’t expect anything in return and are just happy to help out.
As I picture a generous person, I think about people like my grandparents, my parents, the family at church who spends their summer vacation serving in a third world country, or the couple who gives to others in need in secret so no one will make a big deal out of it.
Those are the people I picture of when I think of generosity.
A New Face of Generosity
Recently, however, I was blown away by the generosity of a group of people that most wouldn’t expect to be generous: children.
This year at our church’s vacation Bible school, we asked the kids to bring in money to help purchase groceries for families in Guatemala. These families frequently take turns eating to ensure that everyone receives some food, go days without eating, and go to bed hungry at night.
We had around 60 kids attend our VBS ranging in age from 3 years old through 6th grade. My prayer for this food project was for the kids to bring in at least $200.
I didn’t really share this goal with anyone because I wanted to be thankful for whatever the kids were able to bring, and I knew that no matter how much it was, God would use it for his glory.
Do you set giving goals?
During the first night of VBS, we introduced the the project to the kids. We set up a table to show how much food we could buy with every $50 that was given.
To make it fun and show the kids that generous giving can be enjoyable, we created a little contest. Each night as the kids brought in money, they could place their offering in one of the leaders’ containers. Whichever leader had the most money in their bucket at the end of the week would get pied in the face. THE KIDS WERE PUMPED!
Now my expectations were still low. I was still praying that somehow we could collect $200 to be able to give some food to these families in Guatemala.
God Had Bigger Plans
After night 2 at VBS we had almost reached my original goal. I was blown away! These kids wanted to help others, and they were having fun while doing it.
Each night the money kept coming in. Kids would bring bags of money to dump into buckets. And it kept adding up.
When the final numbers came in on the last night, I could not believe how much our kids had given.
FIVE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS!!!
These kids as young as 3 years old worked hard to bring in their offering.
Not only did it make my heart full knowing how much they had brought but also the attitude in which they brought it. Our kids were EXCITED to give their money to help these families.
What an example a child can be to adults.
We so often get caught up in the “what if I don’t have enough for myself” mindset that we forget that with God, we don’t have to worry. If we trust him and give back to him what is already his, he is going to bless us richly.
Seeing the Giver, the Gift, and the Blessing
Just a few short weeks after VBS, the Moving Mountains Mission group headed off to Guatemala. The early team arrived and began to purchase food with the money our kids had given. I knew $500 was a lot of money, but how God used it still stops me in my tracks (and yes, makes me teary-eyed).
Our kids gave almost enough money to feed 50 families for 3 weeks.
Our little VBS of sixty kids provided food for all of those people.
The generosity of a child and the blessing of our God is nothing shy of a miracle.
I was lucky enough to get to go to Guatemala this year. At the end of the week we were able to distribute all of the food to the families in need. But before I left for the trip, one of my kiddos at church, who had been part of VBS, looked at me and said, “I can’t wait to see pictures of the smiles when those people get their food.”
This 6-year-old boy got it.
It wasn’t about seeing a leader get pied in the face. It wasn’t out of guilt that they brought money.
These kids understood that they had the resources to help others in need.
They had generous hearts and God used them to make a difference in the lives of 50 families in a country thousands of miles away.
Moving Mountains Mission to Guatemala
This incredible act of generosity was achieved along with a mission team for Moving Mountains Mission to Guatemala.
Moving Mountains is a Christian organization comprised primarily of members from several local churches in Western Pennsylvania, and also includes volunteers from across the US. Their team of forty to fifty individuals commit a week out of their summers to travel to Guatemala to serve children and their families living in extreme poverty.
They work in the village of Santa Maria de Jesus, in the Sacatepéquez region of Guatemala. A city of approximately 18,000, it ranks as one of the highest in chronic malnutrition, stunted growth, infant mortality, and illiteracy in Central America.
Is God leading you to further generosity?
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