In a Christmas letter we received in the mail yesterday, my friend wrote of a new kitten whom their family had adopted. She said, “A new stray came to our door around Halloween. She was so emaciated that we just couldn’t let her go.”
Ah, I thought…THAT IS IT! If we could possibly imagine what it’s like to live in Africa, where little emaciated children come looking for help, I think we might all respond like she did to the kitten.
I don’t begrudge her caring for the kitten…I would have done just the same! God made animals for our pleasure, and he also made us…in HIS image! As much as we can’t turn away hungry animals, we should be filled with compassion for feeding hungry people.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd…I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32
In Matthew 25, Jesus says that when we don’t feed the hungry, it’s as if we have ignored HIM.
There is an incredible urgency–150,000,000 orphans world-wide. More than 40,000 children will die TODAY from starvation. Statistics are so easy to read…and then forget. But, what if MY child were one of the 40,000? John wants to be pro-active. Let’s not grow food when it’s too late…when another child has died. Let’s start a farm TODAY.
A few days ago John wrote:
It seems we are getting more needy families every day that need help from us in terms of food and medicine. Herbert’s family, Lydia Nambi’s family and Alice all need our special care. ..today our deacons asked all Christians at our church who have things they can donate to do so. I am happy some Christians have responded.“
John is also campaigning with large numbers of people in surrounding communities, encouraging them to grow food so children can be fed. He’s asking not just us westerners, but Ugandan families as well.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Apparently this timeless adage is well-known in Uganda, too! In another e-mail, John wrote:
God has called us to a very challenging mission. Imagine the challenge of giving out what you want most. If I had the ability to feed all the hungry children of the world, I would do so. I am on fire for this.
I have come to realize that prevention is better than cure. You see the food program fits our crime prevention ministry. The kids we shall be able to access I am sure will be saved from stealing food. And of course our prison ministry will then also have enough to help those that are sick with AIDS. This programme is wider than what you can imagine.
Most of our entire Ministry budget (76%) is allocated to food. May I please kindly ask you to help us so we can invest in food as well? I think that with about 20 acres, we could start a good farm. Or else we are going to end up asking for food everyday. Most of the families to whom we give a hand, their most important need is daily food, and they will help me plant it and weed it. I have ex-prisoners who will help us to start a real big farm. Please help me so that food will not be a problem all the time.
They’ve found 20 acres of land (about 40 km away) for just under $25,000. On it, they will grow maize, beans and matooke. They will raise chickens, cows, goats and ducks.
Big problems require big solutions. Jesus tells us to sell our possessions and give to the poor, that we may have treasure in heaven! We will probably have to sell (downsize) our homes and our cars. He tells us if we have two shirts to share one with someone who has none. We will probably have to change our lifestyles. He asks us how we can have the love of God in us if we have worldly goods and close our hearts against those who are in need. We will probably have to give away money we have saved. But it’s so incredibly worth it!
I’ll never forget the day in 2006, when I met Vincent. He looked to be about 9 and in desperate need of food, but I later found out he was 14. He walked in to John’s office, head bowed, mumbling some barely whispered plea. He wanted us to pay his school fees (which would also provide him with food).
In that moment, tears welling up in my eyes, everything inside me began to change. I began to understand. It is not possible to look another human in the eyes, to hear their desperate plea for help, and to not do something…everything. Do I still have more worldly goods? There’s more I can do. And what a joy to participate in sharing the love and truth of Jesus. There is nothing greater.