Story #10 - My Favorite Dime Story

    It was exciting in the spring of 2003 to fly back to Raleigh, North Carolina to conduct a Faith Promise Convention with my friends, John and Angie Whitsett, the pastors.    I was to speak two times: once in their Sunday morning service and then at their international banquet on Sunday night.  They would have all of their multi-cultural congregations together that night, so I was really looking forward to it.  One of the groups was an Ethiopian congregation of about 25 people.  They were also going to take up their Alabaster offering that Sunday night and, in fact, my assignment that evening was to give some historical background to the Alabaster offering phenomenon.  We had our dinner, I shared, and they took up their Alabaster offering.  In the afternoon, I had told John and Angie about how God was using “dimes” to help feed His starving children in Africa, and so toward the end of our evening service, John re-introduced me and asked me to share some of the same stories I had shared with him earlier.  When I began sharing about Ethiopia, I could tell that this small Ethiopian congregation, through an interpreter, was being moved to tears.  One of the men, dressed smartly in a black suit, white shirt and red tie stood up.  In fairly good English, he shared a story.  He had grown up in Ethiopia but had migrated to America six years ago.  He had spoken with a friend still in Ethiopia earlier that very week, and had found out that 17 of his relatives had died from starvation in just one month.  By this time, he was crying as he spoke.  He thanked me for collecting these dimes that would help his other relatives to live.  I could not speak when he had finished.  Here was a firsthand witness to the need, and through his tears, he was thanking us.  It was an amazing moment! 

     He had come in late so had not yet emptied his Alabaster box.  After we were finished, he came forward and we hugged and cried, and he ended up giving me his Alabaster box.  I held onto it as I greeted the kind people after the service.  John and I went over to empty it when most of the folks had gone, and when I opened it, it was full of dimes...only dimes.  John said, “This is of God.  You keep those dimes for Africa.”  I did, and they have done their work now, feeding the starving people of Ethiopia.