by Claude Good, Souderton congregation
The Hidden Agenda Behind the Worm Project
Recently I had a visit from a friend. Our conversation turned to the pain of the world. Much to my surprise he broke out weeping; his weeping was caused by his deep concern for the people still living in the pain of darkness. He asked for a tissue. The next day I found the crunched up tissue and was about to chuck it in the garbage. But I suddenly thought, “I can’t throw this away because it holds tears that I believe are sacred to God.” So I put it in a special place to remind me of how much God wants us to care for those living in darkness as well as the poor who are hungry and sick.
While living in Mexico, we sometimes took our small children to visit zoos or museums. There were so many people around us we had to keep alert to see that we stayed together. But little Ceci made it easier. She would anxiously watch to see that none of her siblings got out of our sight; she really wanted us to stay together!
So how does that story relate to the hidden agenda behind the Worm Project?
In the beginning it appeared the Worm Project might never get off the ground. We couldn’t find people interested in distributing the tablets. I was nearly ready to give up. But I had another reason to keep trying. Just like our daughter’s deep concern for her biological family, I really wanted all of us as Mennonites to be together forever just like we want our families to be with us for eternity. All of us are part of a larger family; my prayer is that as many of us as absolutely possible will be together throughout eternity along with all the redeemed ones from every tribe and nation. And if we are to be together forever, we must know God.
So what could be done that might encourage us lukewarm Christians to be hungry to know God? In Jer.22:10, God told the son of Josiah in strong terms that he was only thinking of himself by building a fancy palace and making people work for nothing. But his father Josiah, God said, had defended the cause of the poor and needy. AND THEN GOD MAKESTHE VERY CRUCIAL STATEMENT, “Is that not what it means to know me?” Caring for the poor is one way to know God.
Many Mennonites are frugal. Combine that with the fact that $100 will treat 7,000 sickly children, ridding them of worms (1.4 cents each tablet)–that is bargain basement prices for those who know how to pinch pennies. We like to say: “Little is much if God is in it.” And we know God IS in it because he says, “Spend yourself/pour yourself out on behalf of the hungry.” For those who obey, he promises that we will become like “a well-watered garden…. or a spring that never fails” (Isa.58:10 -12). The Spirit of God tends to build a real compassion within us as we realize how many can be helped with our resources. Lukewarm American Christians need an increased awareness of the pain and darkness in the world. Knowing God intimately is the key to having God’s caring heart within us for those living in that pain and darkness.
Thankfully, God, the “Divine Coordinator,” supernaturally inspired many of our people to respond with love and care for the children with worms. God, the Divine Multiplier, has multiplied our gifts in a marvelous way. Well over 100 million tablets have gone out. He has also brought together a highly motivated Board and a team of Partners who are overseeing the distributions in many countries. The passion of both these groups of red-hot Christians insures that the program will continue.