Rice bags, loose change, and the Great Commission

By January 20, 2011

India (MNN) — Many Christians in
India are so poor that they are forced to spend most of their money on food.
Despite their poverty, they have found a way to give generously to the Lord.

Lindsay Ackerman is with Grand
Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.
She explains, "Christians will take a
small scoop of rice during every meal, and they'll set that aside as their
giving, and then they'll take that to the church." When the rice bag is full, it is taken to
the church as the family's tithe.

Ackerman says their team thought
the concept was an easily-adaptable one to teach not only tithing, but also
missional thinking. "We've taken that
concept of a rice bag and made a smaller version of that. A family can put their small offerings, their
coins or dollar bills into that, and then that can be used for supporting
missions in India," specifically the Children's Bible Clubs.

Children's Bible Clubs are introduced
in a community through a 10-day program. In the clubs, children enjoy songs,
skits, and games, listen to Bible stories, memorize Scripture, learn how to
pray, and most importantly, discover a loving Savior.

Many children in Children's Bible Clubs
make a decision to follow Jesus. Often,
these children introduce their parents to Christ. Every year, new churches grow out of
Children's Bible Clubs. 

For four weeks, children are
encouraged to find creative ways to earn money and to put the extra coins
laying around aside into the Rice Bags for the Clubs in India. It's enough time for the children to be able
to fill the Rice Bag one or two times. "When they're supporting Children's Bible
Clubs, it only costs $1 to reach a boy or a girl. So four quarters that go into
that bag reaches a kid in India. It's something that's easy for a kid to

Mission India provides a small,
informative insert with each Rice Bag to help explain the challenge to parents. The excitement is contagious. Ackerman says, "It's an amazing way not only for the kids in
India to be transformed, but our kids here in the U.S. get transformed, as well.
They discover an area of the world that they may not know much about at all, and
they get really excited about it. They know that they can serve the Lord right
now; they're almost missionaries themselves."

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