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Big Cypress churches get divine donations

Church Donation01BIG CYPRESS — Former Tribal President Richard Bowers Jr. delivered two hefty checks to churches on the Big Cypress Reservation on May 5 – but all the thanks went to God.

“We know that when things are done Godly then it is God who gets the glory,” said Pastor Salaw Hummingbird, of Big Cypress First Baptist Church.

Bowers, the vice president of non-Tribal Go Kids Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, capped the Sunday morning services by first donating $5,000 from the foundation to Pastor Hummingbird’s congregation. He then drove down the street to Big Cypress New Testament Baptist Church to give another $5,000 foundation check to Pastor Arlen Payne.

The foundation, also called Fundación Patria Inc., helps improve the lives of inner-city and rural children by funding youth programs and causes. Bowers said most donations support child-centered organizations in hardscrabble sections of Miami and the Dominican Republic.

Pastor Hummingbird said the donation to Big Cypress First Baptist Church will go toward building costs for a new youth center currently under construction on the church grounds. The center will include rooms for homework, Bible study, meals, computer games and counseling.

Church member Moses Jumper Jr.,  who is helping organize the grassroots construction effort, said congregants, family, friends and other Tribal members are pooling trade skills and labor to build the center – for as long as it takes.

“It’s God’s work to reach out and help each other,” Jumper said.

As of May 5, the center’s concrete slab had been poured and several feet of cinderblock walls had been erected. A massive work day featuring men and women from many reservations and construction trades will be scheduled for mid-summer.

Pastor Payne said the money provided to New Testament Baptist Church will advance three children’s ministry projects:  books, games and furniture for a special kid’s corner in an old classroom turned The Prophet’s Chamber; supplies and materials for the next Vacation Bible School; and an audio library of taped Christian children’s stories for broadcast on the church radio station.

Bowers said he hopes next to garner a Go Kids Foundation for Immokalee Reservation little league baseball uniforms.

“It’s always better to give than to receive, and it’s nice to give what people need,” Bowers said. “If anyone wants to help out the foundation, their tax-deductible donations are welcome.”

Still, thanks went to God.

“We thank God for the foundation,” Pastor Hummingbird said.

Janice Osceola, a member of New Testament Baptist, said, “No one can out give God.  The more we give humbly and faithfully, the more He keeps giving.”