How a bunk bed can bring the Gospel of Jesus

This is a post from our Instagram account. I wanted to add a personal note to it so you can understand why we are pushing so hard to raise funds for Agape in Action on this campaign.

This is one of the families that I personally was able to build a bed for along with the Agape in Action staff member, Andres.

As we were painting the bed with the family, Andres asked them if they go to church. When they said "no", Andres asked why. At that point, Andres handed me his paint and proceeded to share the Gospel with this family and invited them to begin following Jesus. I don't think they said yes at that time, but I know the Agape in Action team will be following up along with the local pastor.

The building and providing of a bed was a solution to a physical need, but it also allowed the Gospel to enter into a home that was previously resistant.

This is why we are partnering with Agape in Action to purchase a new ultrasound machine. The medical clinics established previously in this community allowed an opening for family's to learn of Jesus. #Gospel

It isn’t just a piece of medical equipment. It is a tool that leads to full healing; body and spirit. Please consider giving at https://give.the25group.org.

Have I wasted all this time?
Sun setting over a mosque

Our current Biblical Justice Intern wanted to share this story about her work with our partner ESL program. Your partnership with The 25 Group allows this servant to bring the Gospel to many who have never heard it before.

* Names changed to protect identities


One of my favorite experiences I have had in this internship has been getting to know my friends and neighbors who have moved to the United States from other countries. We’ll sit around the living room, drink tea, eat cookies and share stories with each other. One of the most memorable of these times was spent with a Persian friend, Mariam, who might be one of the most genuine and authentic people I have ever met.

A friend and I were given the opportunity to read the Bible with Mariam as she shared a desire to learn more about Jesus. Mariam has followed the religion of Islam since she was a child. But now, as a mother and a grandmother, Mariam is questioning whether what she has believed her whole life is actually the truth. She decided several months ago that Islam is not the truth, but she is not sure if Christianity is truth either. During our last time with her, she shared with us how lost and scared she felt. “Why is this happening at this time in my life? Have I wasted all this time?”

We read the story in Mark 2 of Jesus healing the paralytic who was lowered through the roof by his friends. We discussed how Jesus heard the prayers of the four friends and He answered them. Jesus saw the pain and suffering of His people and He heard their desires. This was something that Mariam already knew to be true before we even talked about it. With tears filling her eyes, she told us how she knows that God sees her and she loves being able to talk to Him because she knows He is listening to her. Even though she had prayed many, many times in her religion, she had never had an experience where she felt like God was actually listening to her. She shared with us how she has been able to clearly see a difference in her thinking since she has begun learning how to pray to the God of the Bible. She feels peace when she reads Scripture and when she talks to God. She knows something real is going on here.

Mariam is slowly learning the truth about who God is and how He feels about her. God was already been working in Mariam’s heart and pursuing her a long time before my friend and I ever met her. Nothing super miraculous happened during our time together. No decisions were made in this moment. However, our friend is taking a small step toward God. One thing I have learned over the past few months is that it doesn’t matter how close or far we are from God or how big or small the step is, any step towards God is a huge step. Any step toward God is worth celebrating.

Goldfish
An abundance of goldfish

A story from Titus Benton, our founder and president.

On January 12, 2010, at 4:53 p.m. a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the brittle foundation of the nation of Haiti. It demolished buildings and toppled the already fragile hope of the inhabitants of the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Thirty-three aftershocks followed, each of which registered at least a 4.2 on the Richter scale. Three million people were instantly in need of emergency aid. Over 225,000 are estimated to have died. An additional 300,000-plus were injured.

My wife and I were discussing the tragedy at home one night when my five-year-old daughter overheard us talking. She started asking questions about Haiti and we tried to explain how it was a poor country where people didn’t have everything they needed. As my little girl heard stories about what they were dealing with in that country, she was moved to action. She also had a lot of questions.

Finally, she just came out and stated the obvious. It didn’t make any sense to her that people in Haiti would have so little when we had so much. “Much” is a relative term, I know. At the time my family lived in about a 1,100 square foot house. I was a student pastor. My wife was a nurse. We had what we needed, but not much else. To some, we didn’t have “much.” To the residents of Haiti, we may as well have been Bill and Melinda Gates.

We’d been discussing what we could give. Our church had a relationship with a missionary couple there, and we were taking up a special offering for the recovery work. I don’t know if it confused her why we had to take up an offering or what, but she was not okay with the fact that the people in Haiti were suffering. As we went into the kitchen to retrieve a snack one night she articulated one of the questions she was having trouble answering most.

 “Why doesn’t God just give the people what they need?”

It was a valid question, one most people have asked at one point or another. She wasn’t asking out of a position of doubt. She knew God was powerful. She knew He had blessed us with more than we needed. What she didn’t understand was why He hadn’t done the same for everyone. Even now, several years later, her innocent question resonates with me. It probably does with you, too. Why does God allow that kind of inequity?

My daughter and I sat down at our dining room table to eat a snack, and I opened up a bag of those goldfish crackers, dropping an enormous handful in front of her eager little fingers. I mean I had never been so generous as I was that evening. Then I gave myself a single cracker. She stared at my minuscule snack but paid me little attention. She began to eat and after one bite I quickly ran out.

I sat there for a while and then I started asking some questions of my own.

“Why do you think God let me have one cracker when you have so many?” I asked.

She just looked at me. You would love my daughter if you knew her. Beautiful eyes like her mom. She really is a treat to be around. On this night, her charm was irrelevant to me. I had an important lesson to teach.

 “Do you think it’s unfair that you have so many crackers and I don’t have any?”

I could see on her face that she was making a loose connection. Still, she munched away. I sat in silence for a while.

“I wish I had more to eat,” I mumbled under my breath to no one in particular.

 “Just get more out of the bag,” she suggested, pointing at the bag on the table. Smart kid. She must’ve been hungry or something. When I shook the empty bag in front of her face she knew her solution would not work, however.

I was quiet a little longer so my daughter could think. Then I started to lay it on thick.

“I’m just so hungry. If there were only some more crackers somewhere I could have more. God is so unjust to only give me one cracker. How could God do this to me?”

I knew a five year old probably didn’t know what “unjust” meant, but she was learning as the seconds ticked by. I kept my foot on the gas.

“If God really loved me, I would have more crackers. I don’t have what I need. I need more to eat. It’s God’s fault! It’s God’s fault I don’t have any more to eat!”

To this day I don’t know if my daughter was just tired of hearing me whine or if she was starting to get the point, but I did see a little flicker in her eye. She stared at her mound of goldfish. She had started with so many that she had barely put a dent in the pile at this stage.

Then she looked at me. I thought I saw a trace of sympathetic recognition in her flat smile.

“What?” I asked, feigning ignorance. I wasn’t going to make her do anything.

Slowly, she reached down and grabbed a single goldfish. She pressed it between her index finger and the table and slowly scooted it in front of me. She repeated the gesture several times. Then, as she realized how much I appreciated her generosity, she scooped up a small handful of goldfish crackers in her chubby palms and dumped them in front of me. I don’t even like those things that much, but I ate every one of them that night.

My daughter learned an important lesson that night, and I did too. Perhaps for the first time, I realized I was holding a fistful of crackers--and there was a whole mess of people around the world who were hungry for a snack. Most of my life I had just expected them to reach in and get more out of the bag while I chomped away at my abundance.

The problem was not God’s injustice. The problem was my clenched fist.

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