I met my friend, Celestin, in Kigali. He is the founder and President of Africa Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), an organization funded in part by my former church, Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas.
Celestin’s mother was barren for nine years. In the culture of Rwanda, that means that a curse was upon her from either her own actions or the actions of her parents. When Celestin, a son, was finally born to her, it meant that the curse had finally been lifted. In return, Celestin became a tribal priest, offering blood sacrifices to the spirits worshiped by his people.
As a young boy, Celestin found Christ. He understood about a loving God and the one sacrifice that covered all sins. He decision, though, meant that he was effectively disowned by his family. Celestin describes it as becoming an orphan. He was an orphan of the streets, scavenging for food, looking for bananas that had fallen from the trees.
Through the Church, Celestin came to the attention of Mary, an elderly lady in Cleveland, Ohio. Mary was not a person of great means. Mary never actually met Celestin, but she faithfully collected cardboard and cans every day and cashed them in so that Celestin could have $6 each month for school fees.
Many years later, Celestin received a ThM and Doctorate from Dallas Seminary and now runs a major ministry with significant operations in sixteen African countries. He has audience with presidents and ambassadors, bishops and ministry presidents.
The widow’s mite changed his life. $6 per month made the difference between being an orphan without hope and being placed on a course that resulted in great achievement and influence.
Having personally felt the anguish of being like an orphan, Celestin now champions their cause as part of his ministry. We are partnering. Church-based orphan homes are to be built through Celestin’s relationships. Many more ‘Celestins’ will be rescued, loved and trained as a result.
In God’s economy, $6 can go very far indeed.