Encouraging Elly to Encourage Others…


A few weeks ago I had shared a story about my daughter. Elly had seen some loose change on my desk at home and had grabbed it. I said, “What are you doing? That’s my money?” Elly explained to me that the money should be given to help kids that aren’t able to get enough food or that need some extra help.

How could I argue with her determination? She was right.

I told her that I had more coins in a box in the corner of my desk (about $15 or so)… She got very excited and decided she wanted to collect change to give to Feed My Starving Children. So together we found a glass jar, placed it in a central place in our kitchen, and started throwing any of our loose change in the jar. The next time we went to serve at FMSC, Elly brought the money and donated it.

This story hit the heart of one of my students, Stephanie, who, in turn, shared it with her roommates. Unknown to me, they began collecting their own glass jars of loose change. One student who works as a barista, saved her tip $$ and added that to the jars. And during class on Wednesday this week, Stephanie brought to me two jars, absolutely filled with coins and dollar bills. She told me to give this money to Elly so that Elly could give it to other kids who were in need.

Elly$$2I brought the coins home in the jars and showed them to Elly. She took a deep excited breath when she saw the jars and then looked at me for an explanation. I told her what the Crown students had done. Smiling and humble, with deep hope, she asked, “And we can give ALL this away!?” I answered, “Absolutely. The only thing we need is for you to decide who is going to receive it.”

Quickly Elly ran to the kitchen and wrote on a piece of paper. “One jar is for Feed My Starving Children – because there are lots of kids that need to eat,” she said. “One jar is for JabuAfrica – because there are lots of kids that need a home,” she explained.

The thoughtfulness of my students richly encouraged Elly to keep encouraging others. And her compassionate heart taught me once again about growing down into the heart of Jesus.

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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