There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:11 (NIV)
The command is God’s design to collectively help alleviate poverty. “…All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had…And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” Acts 4: 32-34 (NIV). This conviction led the corporate members of the Center for Community Transformation (a Christian NGO) to put in millions of pesos as equity to help establish the Cooperative ministering to micro-entrepreneurs through soft loans. Each corporate member signed a waiver claiming nothing in return, entrusting the management to CCT to sustain microfinance for the poor. The Coop has been able to serve more than 500,000 financially-struggling families for around 30 years now.
The Coop also helped fund the feeding program for hundreds among the poorest. One assisted, 50-year old Carlo, unshaven and unkempt, found solace joining the other street-dwellers scavenging restaurant garbage every night. CCT ministry workers spotted them, gave them regular meals, invited them to their Center and eventually found jobs for them. Teary-eyed, Carlo reflected, “They are the hands and feet of Jesus.” Eventually he saw hope out of his terrible misery.
This is the third in the “End Extreme Material Poverty” series of blog posts on our Journey to Palpable Kingdom Presence. It is submitted to Elizabeth Veñegas from our Filipino partner, The Center for Community Transformation.