Are We Macedonians?
The past year in Panama has been one of the most rewarding of my 26 years in Panama. Despite economic hard times, God has touched the hearts of generous individuals and congregations of the Lord's church who have responded to the continuing financial needs of the "Clinic of Hope" in Sanson.
During personal hard times, when I have considered cutting my contribution to some good work, I remember the Macedonians who standout in scripture as an example of liberality − giving willingly, not from abundance, but rather from their own poverty (2 Cor. 8:1-6).
The Macedonians did not use their poverty stricken state for an excuse for not giving as many of us do. They gave out of the abundance of their joy. If the Macedonians were in our places today, would they delay the purchase of a new car or cancel a vacation to maintain their level of charitable giving during an economic downturn?
As I travel around the country speaking concerning the mission work in Panama, I hear many stories as to why churches cannot help financially at that particular time. "One day we will need to replace our roof," one said. Another said they had to put money back to replace the air conditioner, "when the time comes."
Perhaps we need to go back and look at the Biblical mission of the church. Jesus defined His purpose: "to seek and save the lost." To accomplish His mission, Jesus reached out to the down trodden of this world. It touched Him deeply to see people wandering about as sheep having no shepherd.
The disciples were much like many of us. They could not envision how they could accomplish what Jesus wanted to do. There were not enough resources. Jesus had the answer for doubters: "Oh ye of little faith." Jesus did not send people away hungry.
In fulfilling the great commission we must look beyond the present and have vision as to what can be done. Building the clinic in Sanson was a leap of faith. We began with a few dollars and a handful of volunteers from the Sanson community, mixing and pouring concrete by hand.
Then God touched the heart of three experienced Christian builders (see "In the Spotlight," p. 1) and a beautiful structure rose above everything else around it. Like most businessmen, these men were feeling the "downturn" in the U.S., but they said, "Don't worry about the money right now. Let's get the building done." Like Jesus, they were moved by the needs of suffering people.
Churches and individuals have continued to respond to this project. A large generator was needed, and now it is paid for and delivered. Monthly funds to staff and operate the clinic year round were needed − and are presently covered for the first year.
The clinic facility is serving in so many ways as you will learn by reading other articles. Our current campaign is to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of many evangelistic and humanitarian needs in Panama during 2010, including continued needs at the clinic.
I am counting on modern day Macedonians to respond. Are you a Macedonian? God bless all who have been touched, and will continue to be touched by this opportunity to heal both body and soul in Panama.