Here is how we meet needs:
First, we decide if the need is urgent or not, like emergencies. If this is the case, we don’t hesitate to help. If it’s not urgent, we ask ‘who’ is this person and who is asking us to help. Are they saints? Unbeliever? Our priority is the believer, “the least of these my brethren.” The biblical sequence is to help the ‘needy’ saints first, then, if we have extra, we help the unbelieving ‘poor.’ See, we don’t ‘call’ those believing poor ‘poor.’ We call them ‘needy.’ Because if we follow the biblical principle of meeting needs, the result would be that “there will be no poor among them because they own everything.” They share not only the spiritual blessings but also the material blessings. It’s like if there are sick among us we heal them, but if symptoms persist we buy them medicines. Got it?
More questions: Is the person able to work or not? If so, then what’s his/her need? Is it important ‘and’ urgent? Or is it just important but not urgent? If so then we let him/her work in our ‘common’ garden (everything is in common except for a few stuff like our wives, etc), or paint something, or plant something, or we ask him/her to wash some widow’s clothing. That is ‘serving’ Jesus’ family. ‘Force’ him to do this? Sure, why not? I am even ‘forcing’ myself to do something I do not like. My brethren, we hardly ‘dole out’ help to someone who is ‘able’ to work. “He who doesn’t work does not eat.”
Is he/she a widow over age 60-65? The Bible tells us to give aid to widows over 65 years old. Does he/she have children to take care of her? If so, are the children able to take care of him/her?
These questions have become ‘normal’ to me/us here. I don’t even have to ask for a ‘meeting’ to find out. If we have to ‘have’ a meeting then that is ‘meeting a need.’ This is the kind of meetings that we have – instead do a meeting in a coffee shop, why not do it instead in someone’s else’s house fixing a families yard? And yeah, have your coffee-talk-about-Zoe-Life while doing things together? That’s what we are just doing this whole week!
I simply know them by name and their situations. It’s what church is all about anyway: relationships. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. These guiding questions we learn simply because we ‘keep on’ helping needy saints and the unbelieving poor. You just have to become wiser and wiser normally as you go do the work of meeting needs ‘everyday.’ That’s helping fulfill Christ’s law by ‘carrying each other’s burden.’ My good friend, Mike Peter’s, shares about this, saying, “if a mother needs milk, go buy her milk. That’s how you help carry each other’s burden.” Guess ‘mere’ prayers can’t get the job done right? ‘We’ ‘you’ ‘me’ are just the ‘answers’ to the prayers of these needy saints. Simple, hey?
God gives us the work, and the work has taught us how to do it. We hardly say “no” to someone who has a need, but we find ways to help meet that need. Even if one is on drugs we help give money. Yes? Yes! How? Simple, I let him write down 50 verses from the bible then he report to me and then I give him 50 pesos. Crazy ideas? Yes. No wonder only the ‘crazy’ people can change the world. A person who refuses to help, or refuses to find ways to help just makes an alibi for him not to – or I should say the real deal is that he just doesn’t have the ‘desire’ to help? Where is Christ’s ‘passion’ for the ‘lost’ and the ‘least’ in you?
If we know what the person’s need is, then we can decide how to help – should we help him with the ‘full’ amount he needed? Maybe ‘half’ the amount but let him ‘work’ for the other half ‘with his own hands’ working in the garden. Or, maybe just provide 20 percent of the need, or nothing’ at all, simply because the need is non-sense since he wants money to pay his electricity yet he does nothing except watching tv?
Now let’s go to some examples we do here:
1. Jomie’s brother came one night and needed 300 peso as his boat fare to another island ‘next night.’ So, he still has one day vacant. Should we give him 300 directly? No. He has one day vacant. We let him work for a day. His need is important but not urgent.
2. Three guys in school we provide them 30 chickens, 10 chicks each to raise. Later I would buy the chickens from them per kilo. But they can feed them, no money, they’re high school students. What did we do? I hired them to work here two days a week (sat-sun) and paid them to buy feed for their chicks. Dole out? Don’t think so.
3. Peter came to ask help, a father of two kids. He came at 9 in the evening. He had just lost his work. He came because he wanted his wife to be admitted at hospital due to suffering of asthma for three weeks already! Did we wait to let him work first before helping? We send him directly to the hospital using what was left in our account. Did I let him repay? No. It’s a help for a needy brother.
4. A widow in her 60’s asked help for medicines. She lives in a slum area. I knew her for 20 years. She’s still poor and her family is still poor. Her children are working but still poor. I gave her a nebulizer machine and vitamins and medicines.
5. I saw a child suffering a leg burn who had a fever. He keeps crying. I called up a bunch of guys to take care of him. They live in another island. He was admitted for a week, they have no money to even pay for their own food at the hospital, not even a jeepney fare for $6/person back and forth, fare from island to the city. Yes, it’s that much, too much already for a normal Filipino! We provided everything, and all went well. Paid about $350 in hospital bills but ended up not paying the doctor’s fee. He’s a Christian. He’s the one who even thanked me for taking the child in. It was my first time to be thanked by a doctor who didn’t charge me.
6. Went to another island to drop house supplies worth $500 for typhoon victims. On our way to the pier going back home and while on a jeepney, we saw a lady whose shoulder was deformed due to some wood dropping on her during typhoon incident. I left with not much so we handed her some 500 peso. She’s a Christian? No. But should I have to witness to her first? No. But she needed immediate assistance. We came back after a week to do a mission- to fix her shoulder. I sent two people spending $250. They found the lady, took them to hospital for check ups and laboratories. She needed a quick fix for $300. I told Albert we have no money yet. But Albert says he’s got money in his account from his hammock business sale and said he could use it. You can guess the kind of people we have around here.
6. Peter came again and said a child needs to be taken to hospital. It was already delayed. I hand him 700 peso, but my wife says “no, give him 900.” And that’s all money we’ve got that day. “Next time that something like this happens,” I said to Peter, “don’t hesitate to ask me to help. Ok? Now you know who to go to. Go.” Are exactly the words I said to him to make a point that emergency problem needs to be taken care of directly.
7. Another widow came taking with her a girl named Juliet. I knew them or years. I took Juliet to the hospital when she was two years old. She won’t eat and she keeps laying down and weak. She has a hole in her heart. Four holes actually. She came to visit me sometime here and I visited her sometime to bring what I can. She came to receive from me food, milk, toys, dress, and shoes ,and yes, prayers for her dear heart.
Needy saints come with different needs and we do different approaches.
Another story, recently just last week. A mother with children, one was bitten by a dog, had asked help for anti-rabbis injections, etc. What did we do? Surely prayers would work, hey? But any mom would like to make sure that her child is ok.
By the way, this mom had her two kids ‘accidentally.’ Why? Because she herself has a brain problem. Her mom also had a brain problem and ‘accidentally’ (or was taken advantage by it?) got pregnant. She’s the result of it. Yes, you might ask “how about her two kids?” Obviously, they had it also.
So, my sister has taken the three of them into her care. They’re living with her. And the ecclesia here has been helping whatever needs would arise, such as this. Not all the time can we help, but we do our best, as always, to each other as ‘brethren.’
We don’t build orphanages to ‘support’ orphans or needy children such as this woman. We ‘help’ put them into a family. We don’t ‘support’ a sister, we ‘help’ a sister.
See, God is not an orphanage ‘director’ or a ‘supporter.’ He’s a Father who adopted us as His own children. We, as an ecclesia here, do likewise.
Orphans are not ‘projects’ to raise support. They’re humans like you and me.
A child in the orphanage is an orphan. But an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we provide families for the fatherless. Literally. We encourage Christian families to adopt an orphan or foster a child, even ‘temporarily,’ without documentation, with only an agreements between families.
Imagine, if only—-I must say this again, IF ONLY 50 families would do this, that’s fifty fatherless children that we are providing a family.
However, if indeed you have a hard time doing it on your own, then help a family who’s doing the job like this. That’s two families, then, working hand in hand: one does the actual raising, and one does the financial assistance. The only predicament for this to the latter family is that the first family, who literally took care of the child, can’t provide you with a ‘tax deductible’ receipt! Again, in the kingdom it’s all about relationships and trust. If you can’t trust the person, forget it. People need receipts for what they give because they have no relationship to the person. And, they don’t normally give from their heart to reach the needy. Imagine, you want a ‘refund’ in some way to what you’ve been given? Whatever the reason is, it is not ‘real’ giving in a biblical sense. Personally, people who ‘ask’ me for a receipt, photos, or a report are the ones who don’t really know us and what we do. To those whom we know, however, we normally just communicate what’s going on here. The documentation stuff becomes natural.
My friend, for goodness sake, do something different in your life and to other people. I wrote something that’s suppose to be posted on my Facebook wall, but I didn’t. I will put it down below, then, as I see it fits! Here it is:
“Are you a Christian, and a disciple even? What did you do? Read your Bible and a book? And then what? Take a walk with your dog and drop him to a clinic and spend $300? What a sloppy commitment. It looks like your life doesn’t depend on who you are. Being a disciple, our life depends on it. If we could sign our own name to everything that we do, could we be trusted?
The life we have is the only life we get here on earth, and it’s not a dress rehearsal. Every minute we waste is gone forever. We can either choose to take responsibility for what we do with it, or make excuses.”