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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Me or The Money?
By Charlene Reid


Me or The Money?

“Come on we’re going to be late” I said as I rushed around marking things off on my “To Do List”.

“Calm down! We’re going to get there in plenty of time!” my husband assured me.

I knew he was right but my nerves were on edge. I had hoped that speaking out loud would help to relieve some of the inner pressure.

‘Am I doing the right thing? Should I really be going? What am I doing?’ All these questions were going through my mind along with the one that really haunted me; “Wouldn’t it be better to send the money than for me to go?” I had voiced this to my Pastor as well as others. They assured me that the experience was worth more than the cost. This appeased me for a time but I felt selfish for wanting to go.

“Please Lord!” I whispered “Help me to get out the door before I go crazy.”

Now I was on the plane headed for Brazil. We would arrive early the next morning. Everyone settled into sleep but my mind was going a mile a minute again. I decided to do a little journaling and prayed that somehow I would get an answer to ease my conscience. Finally I slept.

When I awoke the sun was just coming up on the horizon. It was a beautiful sight. Watching day break while in the air is something to see. The colors of the first sunrays streaked across the sky and slowly began to illuminate the scenery below. The light reflecting off the wings added its own magic to the experience. Then watching the landscape unfolding below was incredible. I saw my first palm trees in these enchanting moments.

We landed in Sao Paulo, population 20 million, one of the largest cities in Brazil, certainly the largest I had ever seen. Our final destination was Ilha Des Pescas, a small island off the coast, population 500. This island had electricity for three years now and ONE phone, in the middle of the village.

After our first day working on the new church building, we were invited to service in the current building to welcome us. Many of the villagers got up and shared about how God had answered their prayers by our coming. We were treated like royalty.

My guilt drove me to my feet. “I have been feeling so guilty about spending so much money to come down here. I’m sure that you could have used the money more than another unskilled person coming to ‘help’ you! Wouldn’t it have been better to send the money?”

A young man stood up and shared. Years of persecution had caused them to be introverted Christians. Then an evangelist came and challenged them to live out their faith. They put up a building for a church that was burnt and they rebuilt. They lived out ‘Loving Their Neighbors’ and gained tolerance and even respect. Their congregation began to grow and they even got a pastor. Soon they needed a larger facility. They began with great enthusiasm and even got the foundation up. But the momentum subsided when their pastor left. They prayed and prayed for God to send them help. Some well meaning people sent materials but they remained untouched. Then they were told that we Canadians were coming to help them and they began to know that God had heard their prayers. But until we had actually arrived and began to help it still did not seem real. “If you had just sent the money or more material we would not have gone any farther. You are what we needed. God showed us that he cared by sending you to us.” he concluded and came to give me a hug.

God had answered my prayer and I finally felt that I had made the better choice - Me not The Money made the difference.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane02/14/09
I like the way that your MC grapples with a very real issue in missionary support, one that's often overlooked. I serve as a missionary in Africa and I think that certainly on some occasions people would have been better off sending the money they spent on air fares and staying at home. In this way they could have given employment to local skilled men and women and got the same job done at a fraction of the cost. But this is not universally true - it stands or falls on the attitude of the individual. Where a foreign visitor will embrace the local culture and share his heart and soul with the local people, then that sense of oneness in Christ is worth more than any money. And this is of course the outcome that you have sought to express in your story.
Jan Ackerson 02/14/09
Very interesting--I'd never considered that question. I thought the first part of this, with the rushing around and the doubt, was very well written.
Deborah Porter 02/20/09
Hi Charlene. Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry "Me or The Money?" actually did very well in the South America Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 11th in Level 1. Competition in this level is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

You definitely deserve a pat on the back. Well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)