September 4, 2015

Steve & Ruth Lancaster

“On our way home, Pastor Shadrach asked us to visit him because he wanted to give us a gift. We arrived in his village, and were ushered into a small room which was no bigger than your average garden shed, and which had a huge ‘Jesus’ picture stuck to the coarsely plastered wall. Even though it was only 10am we were then served a lunch of rice and beans, which had been cooked in a makeshift kitchen outside. Just before we left, Shadrach went into his store and pulled out a big bag of rice, which he then presented to us as a gift. Talk about humbling! These Africa Inland Church (AIC) pastors and evangelists don’t get a regular salary but receive a percentage of the Sunday morning offering. Whereas this might provide you with a reasonable income if you work at a large church, it’s a different matter if you happen to be pastoring a small church out in the sticks with only a handful of folks attending.

Pastor Shadrach falls into the latter category and would probably count it a good week if the percentage he received from the offering enabled him to buy the equivalent of five or six 1st class stamps in UK! And that’s the reason why you’ll see the likes of Shadrach wearing a ‘health & beauty’ T-shirt which he purchased at a second-hand clothes stall, but was probably a free promotional gift at a UK trade fair! That’s also the reason why he’s only got a small house to live in, and the reason that the walls are left unpainted. And you would think that would be a good enough reason to keep hold of a 10kg bag of rice! Not at all. This was the gift we were presented with as we got up to leave; a token of his thanks for the teaching that I had done during the week. Needless to say we felt humbled and blessed, but we also found ourselves wondering if we would be as extravagantly generous if we owned so little.”

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