Josette Sheeran, World Food Programme Executive Director, at a speech in New Delhi, India in December 2008
FEEDING BODY AND SOUL
In Touch Monthly Newsletter, February 2009
A few days before Christmas 2008, ITMI sent some much needed financial relief to our Project Partner, John Jere, in Zambia as he put together two special “feeding programs” for orphaned children in the townships that surround the capital city Lusaka. These special programs attract hundreds of children who are lovingly fed a hot meal and told the story of the Savior Who came to rescue boys and girls like them. And that last part – about a rescuing Savior – is the stark difference between the failed UN agency fighting global hunger (World Food Programme), and a caring, outward-focused church.
In the same December speech quoted above, Josette Sheeran called for 5.2 billion dollars (US) in aid for the food program her organization administers on behalf of the 932 million underfed and undernourished people of the world. According to her, the “bold signal of hope” must come from governments who are willing to allocate a portion of the funds earmarked for financial bailout packages to address this crisis. As the population of planet Earth – at 6.7 billion – continues to grow exponentially, so does the price tag for a man-centered salvation according to the UN.
Erik, a starving Zambian boy, stands in sharp contrast to the well-fed politicians and policy makers of global decision-making. One of the orphans the Reverend John Jere was able to minister to during the Christmas season, 11-year old Erik is learning to put all his hope in God rather than in the UN. Asked why he would say, “Better to die of a bullet than to die of hunger,” Erik explained: “Because hunger is painful and takes a long time for one to die while a bullet kills a person instantly.”
Growing up in his grandmother’s house, with thirteen siblings and cousins, made fighting for scraps of food commonplace. With mom and dad gone from their lives, the children would drink water and go to bed to fool their stomachs before drifting into fitful sleep. Grandmother crushed rocks for a living and wept at the daily responsibilities with no help except from caring Christians. Erik said that when help came, the children would dance and sing as grandmother cooked for them.
Ten of the children are now in Luyando Open Orphanage, in Old Kanyama Township, under the care of Mrs. Kapindi who helped Erik’s grandmother when she could. Erik is now in grade 4 and working very hard. He says, “I always pray to God to help me.” This is the hope that will never disappoint. John and Joyce Jere were also involved in handing out Christmas gifts to orphans, because of the generous gift giving of ITMI supporters. And while the food and gifts were a special way to show the orphans that someone cares for and loves them, John knows that without the gospel message of the rescuing Savior Jesus all other “rescue” efforts are in vain. This poor country of AIDS orphans cannot grow up to maturity unless the Sovereign Lord says, “Live!” This is the hope that the Jeres share with others as they point to a “human rescue package” that was already paid for in full on the Cross of Golgotha 2000 years ago.
Thank you for your part in helping ITMI reach across continents to join hands together with the Jeres. Thank you for helping us offer the gift of life freely to those who are suffering under the harsh realities of life. And thank you for helping us bring hope to a nation of “Eriks” – whose hope is in the Bread of Life instead of a hopeless bullet.
Jeff Black – Tempe, AZ
Source: ITM Newsletter, 02/09