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Best Gift Ever!

It happened just over six years ago. Our team was 19 hours out into the bush of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were there to share the Gospel, provide leadership training, and conduct a medical clinic for an orphanage (children’s rescue home) and surrounding villages.

Early one morning, I was walking over to the thatched-roof church when I met two children digging in the dirt. I stopped to greet them with a happy face and big smile since I did not speak Kikongo. I wanted to encourage their play, but quickly realized they were not playing at all. A Congolese man who spoke English walked up and explained that they were digging for their daily food, subterranean crickets. I noticed a couple of large crickets in a yellow cup sitting next to their feet as they continued to dig for more.

To my surprise, they picked up the yellow cup and held it out towards me, beckoning me with their big brown eyes and smile to take it. My interpreter said, “They want you to have their food for your breakfast.” I was deeply moved, but replied, “No thank you. You need to eat your breakfast.” Their faces registered disappointment as they put the cup back on the ground and continued digging. “See you later,” I said. They looked up with a smile and laughed a bit. I walked away pondering what had just happened, thinking that was the end of it - but it wasn’t!

The team worked hard that day, sharing the gospel, teaching leadership principles, and providing medical attention to children and families. As the sun was setting, we wrapped up the work, headed back to a nearby home, and washed up for dinner. Our team sat down around the table eager to share about events of the day - you could feel the energy filling the room.

Dinner was served that included rice, fufu, chicken, and greens. Then, our wonderful cook, Elizabeth, came directly to me with dish in hand. She offered a small bowl with a food item I didn't recognize. She said, “It’s crickets. The children brought them to me and asked that they be fried for you to have for your dinner." I was stunned. I was humbled. I was, for a moment, speechless. I explained to the team how I had met the children early that morning, and how they had offered their meager find of crickets to me.

I ate crickets that night for the first time. Regardless of what the actual taste was, they were delicious! Do you know what I mean? A meal of appreciation is the very best, and I have never had a meal that I appreciated more!

The names of these two little children have faded but their big smiles, their sweet laughter and their compassionate eyes remain as clear as if it were yesterday. Even more so, the lesson of generosity they taught me. To give with joy. To give generously, no–sacrificially. To give with a simple trust that their own needs would be met. To find other ways to get their gift to the desired recipient. The lack of a need to be recognized or thanked, was the best embodiment of the teaching of Christ. “It is better to give than to receive.” That one moment made a lifetime impression. Now, I want to continue to grow in my capacity to give and help others catch a glimpse of the beauty of such giving.

We at Global Missions 365 truly appreciate your generous and sacrificial gifts of love throughout the year. Your giving changes lives–thank you for making an impact in this world for the cause of Christ!

With love and appreciation,

Pastor Gary Crawford

Executive Director, Global Missions 365

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