Acts 20:35 says “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
It’s a verse we all know, yet the practical application of living it out is something each and every Christian has to be intentional about putting into practice on a daily basis. There comes a time in the life of everyone, when you have to turn around and start pouring out that love onto others, otherwise we risk becoming spiritually stagnant.
So many of the children that come into our care hail from troubled situations, they are fractured and broken at heart. Fundaninos is blessed to have so many staff and volunteers who give their hearts and lives to serving and caring for them and we are so blessed to see the fruit of that in the lives of the children.
At the orphanage Fundaninos, where we have served for the past 8 years, we have worked hard to do our part to help meet the spiritual and physical needs of the children as best we are were able.
So many of the children that come into our care hail from troubled situations. They are fractured and broken at heart. Fundaninos is blessed to have so many staff and volunteers who give their hearts and lives to serving and caring for them and we are so blessed to see the fruit of that in the lives of the children.
For many years people have worked hard at the orphanage to build a better life for the children, meet their needs and improve their care. Are our children loved? Yes! Do they have their needs met? Absolutely! Are they at the point where their love cup is full enough to start pouring it out on others? We thought so.
Since identifying the need to do so at the beginning of the year, we have been intentional about teaching, talking and guiding our children towards a greater understanding of the Gospel message spelled out so clearly in 2 Corinthians 1:4 “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
That which God has given freely to us, we now to give freely to others. We decided to walk that out with our children by having them participate in monthly service trips outside the home.
Our first visit this year was to a retirement center in San Jose Pinula. The mission’s coordinator from our local church arranged the visit; staff at the orphanage took time teaching about serving others during the daily Bible classes; and we worked with the teenagers to plan the visit and make cards for with Bible verses written on them for the residents.
When the day of the visit came, I could tell that many of them were quite nervous. Our team included; Sandrie, the Executive Director, Vera Missions Coordinator, Jason, Assistant Director, me and Sharie.
We arrived at lunch time, after introducing ourselves, the teenagers helped to serve lunch and then sat down with the residents to talk.
While at first they were shy, the ice was quickly broken thanks to some music and the help of hats and costumes brought for everyone to dress up and take photos with. Sharie brought nail polish as well and the girls paired up with the old ladies and painted their nails. It was a beautiful thing to see them ever so gently, hold hands crippled by arthritis, and delicately paint their nails vibrant pinks, purples and fuchsias. To see the young men put on pirate and cowboy hats and pose with gentlemen 4 times their age, smiling from ear to ear made my heart leap with joy.
The cards given out became treasured gifts carefully stored away in purses and coat pockets and more than one tear was seen in the eyes of the residents as they received them.
The highlight for me came at the end. An old gentleman picked up a beaten guitar, and with withered hands and a beautiful voice, sang songs of worship and praise to God. He was joined by two other precious souls, serenading us, their voices belted out notes made all the more beautiful by the sincere smiles beaming out from wrinkled faces.
Before leaving we offered to pray for the new friends we had made. The youths went around, asked them what they needed prayer for, closed their eyes and sincerely interceded before God.
The impact on our teenagers was profound. During our debrief they shared about the experience. Gone was the worry and shyness they had before. In its place was a greater understanding of the blessings they have in life, an appreciation for the time spent with these “viejitos” and a desire to return and visit again. What they had received through giving, was far greater than they had given.
Never underestimate the power that giving to others will have in changing your own life.
Blessings in Christ,
Timothy and Sharie Martiny
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About Tim and Sharie Martiny.
We are missionaries in Guatemala with our six children, Julia-now is college- (19), Audrey (16), Vanessa (14) Jessica (12), Alex (10) and Alison (8). We both come from missionary families and were raised overseas, Timothy in Europe, and Sharie in South East Asia and Mexico.
We work primarily in orphan care and prevention. The Biblical call in James 1:27 to care for the orphaned and vulnerable is our calling. Our ministry works with vulnerable children and their families in their communities through programs we run at two community centers in Colina Santa Fe and San Jose Pinula.