Dale Walker has been a pastor since he was 20 years old, almost 40 years. During his time as a pastor in El Paso he met a man from the Philippines who talked about the “plight of a lot of people without food and in great need.”
That plight challenged Walker to action.
“In 1987 I went to visit [the Philippines] and became extremely challenged by the rest of the world being so underserved, especially orphans and others that had great need,” he said. “They lacked so much, and I would say that up until that time, I certainly lived in a box.”
He said he cared about his people and his church, but he heard a call to become more generous and more effective in helping people who were doing good work in other countries.
As Heart for the World grew, Walker felt called to move to Las cruces with the idea that he could do more good by mobilizing people to find their gifts and ways of helping the underprivileged.
“So that became the calling card of this church – giving our best to those who have the least, being a neighborhood church on a worldwide mission,” he said. “It’s that feeling of God saying to me that if I would care for the needs of these people, he would always take care of our needs. I think that I have proven that.”
He has written a book, “Plenty Too Much: Making Your Biggest Difference,” which is about the mindset of generosity, he said.
“I believe it [the generosity mindset] allows God to work in many ways,” Walker said “We limit him because of the size of our faith or the fear that we have. My hope was through my story and what this church has been able to do, just to prove a principal that is true, giving more than you can ask is happiness. The happiness was just sort of my story.”
Walker believes people want the permission to be generous. People have experienced the “givers high,” and want to keep giving.
Part of the Heart for the World mission is to identify the “hidden heroes,” Walker said. These are people who live in the small towns and villages in remote places where people are in high need. They would never send out a mailing list, or create social media posts, he said, “but they are doing heroic community work.”
For example, he said, Vicky Ponce has been working just across the border near Ciudad Juarez, where she not only started a church but also feeds children and makes sure they can be in school and mentors them. She has faced all kinds of opposition and is right in the middle of the cartel operations.
“We helped her build a fence around her place,” he said. “Now, for 20 years, she has helped a whole generation of kids from broken families.”
Other hidden heroes include a pastor helping with the refugees in Palomas, Mexico, since the asylum seekers have been turned back – they created a shelter and a schoolhouse. In the Philippines, two social workers started a clinic among the Bajau, sea gypsies, who had no access to any kind of health care.
“These kinds of people are incredible in their faith and generosity,” Walker said. “We have about 30 different ones [hidden heroes] who we help including in Mexico, the Philippines and Zambia. It doesn’t make sense to not care about those who are at extreme risk and on the edge of survival.”
Heart for the World parishioner and former Bulletin Editor Marty Racine offered to help edit the book when he heard Walker was working on it. Racine said he was one of several helping with the project.
“I think it’s basically what Christians do is help people less fortunate than themselves, turn people on to Christianity,” Racine said. “[Walker] is kind an average guy. He doesn’t hold himself up as special. He’s just a regular guy like the rest of us. He teaches you to appreciate what you have and not pine after what you don’t – you already have plenty too much.”
To get a copy of the book and/or contribute to the global causes of the Heart for the World, visit hftw.global.