57 Cents

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 he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkept
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 touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the
children who have no place to worship The Lord.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement
buildings and the 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 purse was
found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.  Inside
was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish 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 Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth
many thousands.  When told that the church could not pay so much, he
offered it 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

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with
a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of
students are trained.  Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and
at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so
that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school
time.  In one of the rooms of this building may 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. Russel
H. Conwell, author of the book, "acres of Diamonds"---a true story.
57 Cents