A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was "too crowded."
"I can't go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the pastor as
walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the
pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her
inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.
The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she
went to bed that night thinking of the children who have
no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor
tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kind-hearted pastor
who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.
As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red
purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged
from some trash dump.
Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in
a child's handwriting, which read:
"This is to help build the little church bigger so more children
can go to Sunday School."
For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the
Pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do.
Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the
pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.
He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise
enough money for the larger building.
But the story does
not end there...
A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a
wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands of dollars.
When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered
to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations.
Checks came from far and wide.
Within five years the little
girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00....
a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century).
Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist
Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300. And be sure to visit
Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.
Have a look too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children,
built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left
outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms can
be seen the picture of the sweet face of the
little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such
remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor,
Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds."
This is a true story, which goes to show
WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH 57 CENTS.
I received the
above story from
an email friend just this week and was
so touched by what I read, that I decided to learn more about
Hattie May Wiatt.
Whilst the above version of fifty seven
cents is not completely
accurate, it does portray the love and devotion a
little girl held in her heart.
To read the correct full
story of Hattie May Wiatt
please visit Temple University Libraries
May today there be peace
within... May you trust
your highest power that you are exactly where
you are meant to be.... May you not forget the
infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you...
May you be content knowing you are a child of God....
Let this presence settle into your bones and
allow your soul the freedom to sing and dance;
it is there for each and every one of us.
Hattie May Wiatt,
a little girl whose heart was full of love,
faith, devotion and a vision, went home to heaven
in 1886, leaving a priceless gift of a
fifty seven cent legacy of love and devotion.
Portrait used on this page is Hattie May Wiatt.
Portrait is the property of the current Baptist Temple
congregation which is located in Blue Bell, PA.