A young boy stepped to the front of the narrow room. He took a blue velvet bag with brown wooden handles from the pastor leading the meeting. Standing before the room full of youth, boys and girls seated on the tile floor, he held the small empty bag, ready for the offerings of the worshippers.
Music played as one or two came forward to drop gifts from tightly closed fists into the bag. Children began to pull orange and green fruit from pockets, standing up and coming forward to with fruit and food gifts. With giggles and hand holding like any children moving from childhood to teenage years, they filed forward together. At the front of the room, they piled offerings of oranges and apples on the bench beside the boy with the velvet bag. Another slim boy with a wide smile delivered a yellow package of cookies, placing it beside the produce mound. He was closely watched by the group who sent him as their representative. The bag—holding boy stood dutifully by, though the gifts were too much and too many to stuff in his handled holder. Why these gifts from these children?
Months earlier, leaders of the church planting movement had been serving the rescued children of the Red Light District. At one time, they housed the children in a place of refuge, before deciding to work with others focusing their resources on the recovery of the youth coming out of this particular darkness. The children stayed for different amounts of time, until the government often returned them to the villages and homes they came from. Many came from neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh. The leaders and their churches purposed to nurture the spiritual needs of the wounded children, creating a place of healing in a unique congregation called Freedom Church.
Youth come to this place of worship on their own initiative, accompanied by house parents. They come together to sit on tile floors, girls on the left and boys on the right. They listen to stories explaining God’s truth and the true love offered to them through His Son Jesus Christ. At first, they stood at a distance from the gentle men who taught the truth, but they slowly began to trust and learn and receive. As they did, they found new reasons for joy and new desires to worship. With hearts in a place of healing, they learned to sing with the energy and gladness that comes from finding hope where there was none.
The pastor to the congregation of healing children took one month to teach them about how the Heavenly Father is the giver of all good things and how they can show their love for Him by giving something back. But they had no work, no possessions, no anything. They had nothing to give back to the Heavenly Father.
When it was time to take an offering, only one or two came. Only one or two had something to give. How do those with so little give anything at all?
That week, the children talked among themselves. Now that they knew about the Heavenly Father of Hope, they wanted to give Him something. On Sunday afternoons, before they came up the dark stairs to the Freedom Church gathering, they receive a snack—a fruit, a package of crackers, or biscuits. If they saved the Sunday snack, they agreed, they could have something to offer.
When Sunday came and night drew near, the children brought their gifts. So began the rhythm of weekly offering up the snack they receive, until it creates a mound from all they give. The pastor takes the heap of gifts, selling it to members and friends of the churches, putting the money into the Freedom Church account. Since the young congregation began to give, their sacrifices have fully paid for the costs of gathering together.
The children and youth of Freedom give sacrificially to the Heavenly Father who gave them hope. Precious personal possessions create their weekly heap, offered up by the hungry who have little, but are grateful for so much.
Please pray for the leaders of this unique congregation as they serve and teach the youth of Freedom Church. If you'd like to give your own offering to help support this church of children, you can give a gift at the link below.