International Ministries

Feed the Hungry!

November 20, 2009 Journal
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Dear friends,

"Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?'  He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'"  - John 21:15
Well, it's the end of November again, and as Thanksgiving time rolls around, many of us start looking forward to the big meal.  But not only to the meal - we also look forward to that time we've set aside to remember our blessings, and to share the bounty with the precious people God has provided us as companions along our way.
You often see mission agencies and other non-profit organizations putting out special appeals beginning around this time of year.  Many of us have seen so many hungry faces of children on posters, flyers and on the television that we've become a bit hardened - no longer deeply affected by those images of need.  But these too, are our companions, and we have obligations to care for others - and to feed them - if we want to become travelers with Jesus on his Way of Love.
But are people in developing countries the only ones that are hungry?  I don't think so - so I've included a picture of some "hungry" people I know with this short note.
We should bear in mind that Jesus' command to Peter was to offer spiritual food to the human spirit - the most important kind of nourishment.  If we want to be faithful to Jesus' command, we need to be faithful to dispense this spiritual food to the spiritually needy, at the same time that we're attending to people's physical needs.  Japan is not plagued with economic problems propelling large portions of its population into cycles of poverty, but it's nonetheless a land - just like the USA - where many people find themselves spiritually malnourished.
Every week, I deal with students who are trying to find ways to fill their spiritual bellies.  Two nights ago, I had a 40 minute talk with a student about her future and her struggle about whether or not to marry a non-Christian boyfriend.  This week I got a thank you present from a 20 year old who, two years ago, struggled with depression so badly that he couldn't leave his room.  He's now one of the attendees at the weekly Chaplain's Lunch at KGU's College of Humanities campus.  Over the past two years, he's made a dramatic turn-around, and has recently decided to become a Christian - he's preparing for baptism next Easter.  Last week, I was approached by a leader of the Fellowship student group, who asked me to spend some time with him each week studying the Bible one-on-one.  Last month, a 26 year old girl who has attended our Koinonia Bible Study on Wednesdays at Kanto Gakuin Church, made a public profession of her faith and journey, and found a new church home. These are just a few of the sheep I know - all in need of spiritual sustenance.
I want to thank all of you who've generously contributed to our support throughout this year - you've made it possible for us to stay in Japan to share the Good News of new life in Jesus - I hope you know how important you've been to our ministry.  It's because of you that each week, scores of students get to participate in Christian student groups at Kanto Gakuin University.  It's because of you that hundreds of students each week get to take classes in Christian thought as part of their curriculum.  It's because of you that we can open the Chaplain's room to students in need each week, so that they can share their journeys in a safe and non-judgmental place.  Thank you for all you've done.
But please keep in mind, especially during this Thanksgiving season, that feeding the needy doesn't simply involve giving canned goods to the food pantry or sending checks overseas to developing countries, important as those ministries are.  Giving to the needy also means attending to the "lambs" right in front of us, and being able to offer them "meat indeed" and true, living water...
God's blessings to you all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Dwight & Kari Davidson

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