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Kingdom Impact Through Openhandedness

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Over the past five years, I have been privileged to lead a generous team of volunteers—the regional leaders of Alliance Women. These ladies give selflessly of their time and efforts without receiving a salary. They connect women in our Alliance family to Jesus, the work of The Alliance, and each other through meaningful events and impactful projects.

Early in 2020, Alliance Women surpassed the milestone of $13 million given through its designated projects. The generosity of the women who give to these projects has supported missions for more than 50 years. Financial records have been kept since 1963–64, a year when $14,496.32 was given to support Alliance international workers.

Through the years, giving to these projects has grown exponentially and continued to further missions around the world. In 2017–2018, many lives were impacted as $160,529.26 was divided evenly among four dynamic ministries. Hands of Honor, a ministry to young domestic workers in West Africa; Casa Elizabeth, a home for pregnant teens in Ecuador; Ina-Inakay, a ministry to women prisoners in Manila, Philippines; and a sex-trafficking rescue and rehabilitation ministry in Cambodia each received $40,132.31 from Alliance Women.

In 2018–2019, $141,981.18 was made available to Alliance workers sharing the love of Jesus with orphans in Vietnam, widows in Burkina Faso, at-risk women in Mexico, and pregnant immigrant women in north and central Asia.

Generosity achieves Kingdom impact. When God opens our eyes to see opportunities and softens our hearts to respond in obedience, He receives the glory and we experience joy as we read reports from those who have received what God has faithfully supplied through His people.

Caring for At-Risk Women

In 2019–2020, Alliance Women adopted a theme, “Set Free,” in which we celebrated the liberating power of the gospel. We chose four Alliance Missions ministries to support through our prayers and financial gifts. One of our partnerships focused on women in a country in eastern Europe.

We began to pray for Ella*, Jane*, Dana*, and others working with women facing a variety of challenges in life. Alliance Women prayed that these women would ultimately be introduced to Jesus so that they could be set free from fear, heroin addiction, and other significant obstacles.
While we prayed and raised money, Ella, Jane, and Dana persevered in ministry. In the prisons, they provided hygiene supplies and other essentials not available through the prison system. Once women were released from prison, this team assisted in finding housing and employment.

Meanwhile, at the ministry center, they helped women learn more about healthy living, healthy relationships, and how to build physically and emotionally safe home environments for them and their children. In her church, Dana continued a ministry for the tween and teen girls, including both group and one-on-one mentoring. Ella has started joining this group on hikes.

Petula, an Alliance worker connected to these women, requested $5,000 for a car and an additional $10,000–$15,000 for ministry expenses at the center. In July 2020, I had the privilege of informing her that Alliance Women had contributed more than $27,000 toward these needs. Petula reported:

Ella, Janet, and Dana are so excited about the opportunities they will have to expand their ministries due to the funds the women have raised.

Ella is planning to use some of the funds you’ve raised so she can finally have a reliable car. She drives about 100–150 miles a week doing ministry in four different cities. She and Janet have been doing work among women in rural communities.

Dana continues to help with these ministries as well as church ministries and is mentoring the young teens.

We’ve planned that the money will be distributed to them monthly for the next four to five years, and each year I’ll have a two-day planning retreat with them. They are also planning to take some of the women and teens on two separate two-day retreats to give them a chance to step outside of their day-to-day struggles. They are planning at least one monthly event with three or four groups they are now ministering to in various cities.

We are so excited to see what God is going to do through the generosity of Alliance Women and the Set Free project. These funds have already freed these three women from the burden of finding the funds to do consistent, effective ministry.

Closer to Home

Every year, a percentage of Alliance Women national project funds are set aside to bless Alliance ministries within the United States. In August 2020, $45,000 was released to encourage pastors serving churches in our nine Alliance ethnic associations. Each association received $5,000 in cash relief. These funds will assist pastors who are currently experiencing significant loss of income because of COVID-19’s effect on church giving. Lay-offs and job losses experienced by the congregants within these churches have severely limited their ability to care for their pastors.

These funds have been a great comfort and blessing to these pastors during this difficult season. Bong Collado, president of the Association of Filipino Churches, thanked Alliance Women, saying,

I received the money you sent to bless our pastors during this pandemic. We have divided the money among the 22 pastors in our association, and everyone is very thankful for this surprise blessing. Some have declined to receive and requested that their share be reallocated to another pastor in our association who is in more need than they are.

All these acts of generosity have been a real blessing to me. On behalf of our association and myself, thank you very much.
As each heartfelt letter of thanks is received, we rejoice, recognizing that God gives us the opportunity to bless people both locally and globally.

Stewarding God’s Gifts

Generosity expands opportunities, sustains ministry, and benefits others. Throughout Scripture, we read of God’s generosity. Most recently, I marveled at God’s enthusiastic “yes” to Solomon’s request for a discerning heart in 1 Kings 3:1–14. Solomon’s unparalleled wisdom, a gift from God summarized in 1 Kings 4:29–34, was not given simply to benefit him—it also had an impact on others. Solomon was not flawless in his conduct, but he did steward God’s gift well.

In contrast, consider Jesus’ parable of the rich fool recorded in Luke 12:16–21. Unlike Solomon, this man displays no awareness that his crop is a gift from God and gives no thought to sharing his wealth with those in need. Instead, he dialogues with himself, without the counsel of others, about what to do with “my crops,” “my barns,” “my grain,” and “my goods.”

He concludes in a statement to himself: “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” Generosity received and enjoyed in isolation is tragic.

God has been generous to us so that we can “abound in every good work” He has prepared in advance for us to do (see 2 Corinthians 9:8). The Lord blesses us according to His generosity, not according to our merit.

To be generous, we need the Holy Spirit to reshape our perspective, giving us eyes to see opportunities and the people around us, and to transform our decisions, giving us both the desire and power to do what pleases God.

Be generous! In response to God’s mercy, offer your whole self—body, mind, and spirit—to God. Offer your unique self—your personality and spiritual giftings—to others. Surround yourself with generous people, including those who volunteer their time and can be easily overlooked. Read the Gospels with a fresh set of eyes and notice Jesus’ generosity of spirit. Although He became poor, He was rich in compassion, mercy, and kindness.

In an increasingly individualized culture that devotes an inordinate amount of attention to selfies and personal social media accounts, to personal opinions and perceived rights, we can seize the opportunity to no longer conform to this pattern in our world. Our inner lives can be continuously and increasingly transformed so that our attitudes and actions more consistently reflect the generosity of God—for His glory and for the good of others.

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