Do you ever see or read such a tear-jerking news story that you couldn’t wait to respond? Our hearts are torn by pictures and stories of suffering, especially when they involve a young child.
Recently, my friend and colleague, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Michael Mutale, the general secretary of the Baptist Convention in Zambia, shared with me such a story.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Baptist World Aid had been sending funds to the Zambia convention to help with the purchase and distribution of food. Early last month, Michael set off to join colleagues on another distribution effort. Arriving at the village he saw the mothers and children lining up to eat.
Suddenly there was a cry from a mother, who had started to throw herself to the ground while holding her child. The baby had starved to death in her arms as the mother stood in line for food!
After conducting a funeral service the next day, Michael prepared to leave the village. The mothers cried out, “When are you coming back to save our children?”
Michael had no idea, and so he asked the mothers to pray that others, such as BWAid, might find the resources to help them.
Returning to his office, Michael opened his email to find a message I had written with the promise of further funding.
“Maybe I can rest with the hope that another child shall live because Jesus lives,” Michael said.
With the passing of October–when our Canadian neighbors celebrated their Thanksgiving, when many churches took up special hunger offerings and when we marked World Food Day–our minds focus on the wide disparity of food availability in our world. For some of us there is always too much. For others, there is never enough.
BWAid helps in emergency situations such as in Zambia, but would much rather spend its limited funds on working with Baptist conventions and unions as they help local communities produce their own food, so that more and more people can develop their own food security.
All of this costs money, though. Please do not forget to be generous in your gift to help to alleviate hunger in our world.
Remember that people are not just hungry when we take up a special offering, but all year long, 24/7.
Gifts to help the hungry through BWAid should be designated to BWAid’s Hunger Ministry and sent to: BWAid’s Hunger Ministry, 405 North Washington Street, Falls Church, VA 22046.
Paul Montacute is director of Baptist World Aid.