Recently, we touched base with a few of our regular donors asking if they would mind sharing why they support Living Bread. This is from one of our faithful supporters Paul. He and his wife Crystal are in Forest, VA.
Crystal and I started contributing to Living Bread Ministries primarily because we were impressed with how dedicated Patrick and Barbara were to their cause. I cannot honestly say that at that time we really understood exactly what LBM did. Over time, as I got to know Patrick and Barbara more, I gained a better understanding of what LBM does and how they were ministering to impoverished people in Brazil while being very careful to not create just another American humanitarian organization. I think their goals to build self-sustained churches in these areas is incredible.
Still, I cannot say that LBM was on the forefront of my mind until I traveled to Brazil to see exactly what LBM does and how they do it. What I found were small groups of incredibly dedicated people (many of whom were living in poverty themselves) providing real hope for hundreds of others living in circumstances that Americans would consider unbearable. Planting churches in these communities creates a safe haven where initially women and children come and listen to the Word of God being taught and they worship. Many accept salvation through these church plants. God’s promise of our life on this earth being only temporal and a life beyond this, that is eternally with him, gives these people the hope and joy that they must desperately need. The joy, hope and grace God gives with salvation allows many living under such miserable circumstances to not only survive, but thrive and flourish.
While packing for Brazil, I threw a few hundred hand-made rubber band bracelets in my bag (you can see some of these in this picture). My kids and their friends made these to give to some of the children I would meet while I was there. I had no idea what an excited and joyous reaction such a simple and inexpensive gift would bring to many of these kids. Many of the children had so little that this small gift I had considered insignificant seemed to mean as much as a full array of expensive Christmas gifts means to American children. It was hard to imagine how it must feel for those kids to wake up each day and face the seemingly insurmountable odds of escaping poverty. I saw first-hand the results of the attempts at survival from childhood to adolescence in these situations: teenage boys turning to selling drugs or using drugs and alcohol in an attempt to escape, teenage girls turning to prostitution and having children of their own at ages as young 13 or 14.
As many times as I have leaned on the promises of God for hope and inspiration to endure some circumstance, I simply cannot imagine circumstances as dire as those in which I saw wonderful human beings enduring on my trip to Brazil. LBM provides the opportunity for these people to learn about God’s promise of salvation, which undoubtedly gives them the strength to endure their present circumstances knowing that someday these circumstances will pass away, and we will enjoy an eternal life in heaven….I want to be part of that!