In 1914 among Christian believers of the Northeast Indian state of Mizoram, a new method of giving to the church emerged. The simple practice swept through the area and is still practiced amongst Christians today as a means of giving when there is no money to give. The women who cook family meals make it a practice to save out one handful of rice each time they cook a meal. The rice is stored in a container and then taken to church as a gift. The rice is sold to pay for the needs of the church. The saying went, “As long as we have something to eat every day, we have something to give to God every day.”
Roger and I have personally witnessed the poor bringing their rice offering to church services. They bring it in bags, on paper plates and sometimes young children bring a few grains of rice in their hands to drop into a wooden offering box. I’ve heard that women all over India save out a handful of rice to give to the poor. It’s a tangible way of measuring out love and care for those less fortunate.
When we began our Teams India work and our One Handful of Rice blog, the idea was the same: if people everywhere took out just a little, just a handful, and gave it to those in need, our projects in India could be accomplished. We still believe that.
Roger leaves for India on October 17th. Our partners there have basic needs– food, medicines, shelter, clean water and education so the next generation can move out of poverty. We work with those who share the gospel of Jesus in both traditional churches and in house church models. They care for the handicapped, the elderly, those with HIV/aids, orphans and those who don’t have enough for even one meal a day.
Let’s go back to basics. Can you spare a handful of rice a day? If you can, then you can say with the believing poor of Mizoram, “We have something to give to God.” It’s easy to support Teams India by clicking the donate button on the home page. Your gifts can be small, just a handful.