[ If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace and be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? – James 2:15-16 ]
Increasing hunger and food insecurity are two very real concepts. From 2014 to 2016 13.8 million Filipinos were considered undernourished (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017). In the Philippines, among 0-5 year olds nearly 19.9% of children were underweight, 30.3% were stunted and 7.9% were wasted (National Nutrition Survey, 2013). Now listen, I get it. These are just numbers on the screen. How awful, you might be thinking. Let me remind you that these numbers are real. Hunger and food insecurity can dwell anywhere and everywhere. It’s in the Philippines and it’s right here in small town Mechanic Falls, Maine.
These were just numbers to me too, something I only ever read about – until numbers became faces. Faces became brothers and sisters in Christ. Brothers and sisters who despite the hunger in their bellies were filled more than most. Filled with indescribable joy and indispensable hope.
At Kids International Ministry many people come together to feed surrounding communities. Each day, Monday through Saturday two feedings take place, one at 9 am and another at 4 pm. Each feeding block is a different community but each week the same community is visited on the same day. Lugaw, a rice porridge, is cooked early in the mornings for these feedings. Many hands go into preparation for this food, and a whole lot of love as well.
I had the greatest privilege of assisting in feedings. As the weeks passed by I was being able to see familiar faces in the communities. Often times with a child on my hip and another holding my hand I’d make my way through the dusty roads yelling out, “Feeding po!” for all to hear. Sweet kiddos would grab their bowels and come running. As kids would take a seat on the ground we’d begin to share a bible story. Then we would close our eyes, fold our hands, bow our heads and give great thanks to Papa Jesus for everything He does for us. This isn’t meant to be a long sappy post about world hunger and how you should be donating your money to feeding programs, or maybe it is. Either way my eyes were opened wide to circumstances others live in that I selfishly never cared to truly think much about. But He convicted me with the sweetest touch reminding me that these communities are living in raw poverty but living in the richest favor of Him.
I wrote something in my journal one night after a day filled with feedings. I wrote,
“What doesn’t break my heart is shackled houses and poor communities. Children without diapers or families living in one room houses. What breaks my heart is the chains of addiction that bind people. The lies that the enemy screams at so many. Lies that they’re not worthy, unloved, insignificant. The darkness of sin that is still working in this world, the idols we put on Your throne. The attention we give our bad habits. I long to be made poor, stripped of everything to be made rich in Christ. The enemy wants us to sulk in the weight of sin – to feel sorry for others while watching from afar leads to faith without works. So Papa let my heart break for those around me not because of physical circumstances only but because the enemy is tricking them into thinking they’re not loved. Let me love in truth and speak freedom over my brothers and sisters who carry a joy so lively. Let me stomp out the lies of the enemy through deeds of love. Would every scoop of lugaw I pour into a child’s cup be more than food to their bellies, but food to the soul. Would every silly song I sing to the kids be shedding light on who You are. Would every hand I touch be a hand that blesses others because of You living in me. Lord take away all I have, strip me of everything, just so I can know you more.”
Papa taught me so much about being intentional with my relationships, about what breaks my heart, about how He so delights in His children. Feedings go deeper than simply feeding, it’s a way to share the love of Jesus over a cup of lugaw. It’s a tender way to love brothers and sisters in the Philippines. You can donate by clicking this link making a donation under feedings and helping to spread the goodness of Jesus in the streets. Remember Papa loves a cheerful giver! Until next time.