Christ at the center

It’s not often that I hear someone ask whether they should have flown west instead of east to visit our office. But when you live on the opposite side of the world, it’s a valid question.

Cross Catholic partner Ruth Callanta stopped in this week to promote her Christ-centered approach to promoting economic development among the poor in the Philippines, and to thank us for our support.

Ruth is the founder and president of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), an ecumenical Christian organization that helps poor families build small businesses through micro-loans, training, and group accountability.

Cross Catholic partner Ruth Callanta

Cross Catholic partner Ruth Callanta

The micro-loan program has been amazingly successful at turning people’s lives around, but don’t expect Ruth to take credit for it. She gives all the glory to God. The secret to CCT’s success is that it combines economic support with pastoral care. Ruth considers the gospel so important to her work that she has turned down large grants from agencies that have asked her to tone down her Christ-centered focus.

“Without the Lord Jesus in the equation, there cannot be true transformation,” Ruth said. “When the Spirit of God enters (the poor), they begin to have hope… They begin to know the Lord who loves them and will never forsake them.”

When Ruth says prayer, Bible study, and evangelism make a difference, she knows what she’s talking about. She spent years in the secular development sector, watching well-intentioned projects fail because they lacked the spiritual element. Not until she anchored her work in the message and life-changing power of Christ did she begin to see real progress – men and women saved from destitution and given a heart to love their neighbors as themselves.

-Tony M.