International Ministries

Meeting Hunger and Thirst

July 26, 2011 Journal
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You may have seen the International Ministries news item this week on the way IM is joining with others in the Body of Christ to respond to the terrible drought conditions in East Africa.  I am especially grateful for efforts to meet these needs, because "East Africa" now has names and faces for me.  Sisters and brothers.  Friends who are serving the Lord and their neighbors in East Africa.

Though most of my life and service to the Lord has been in other places, over the last five years I've had the opportunity to play a small role in God's work in East Africa.  My part is not to give physical water and food directly.  I respond to those needs the same way you do:  through contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing.  My friend--and my MPT Coordinator--Lisa Rothenberger, is the World Relief Officer for American Baptist Churches.  She also serves as a member of the Church World Service board of directors.  She works closely with CWS staff and IM's own area directors to ensure that our contributions to efforts like those in East Africa are well used.  I am glad to work through them and grateful for their dedicated service.

My direct involvement in the overall effort to serve the peoples of East Africa is focused not on physical, but spiritual hunger and thirst.  Last month, I led a group of pastors, congregational leaders and student ministry workers in a very intensive study of Scripture.  Together we explored the message and model of Jesus as we honed our skills in understanding and communicating the Living Water that Jesus provides. 

We were part of the fifth annual "Berean Safari," which included participants from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Norway and the U.S.  It was a joy to share teaching responsibilities with friends from Kenya and Ethiopia and to hear the participants share their excitement over new insights.  A Kenyan missionary to Tanzania was in my group and exclaimed, "This has been a transforming experience for me, and I am eager to take it to those I work with!"

I am grateful to be part of a holistic witness to the fullness of God's love in Jesus Christ.  Physical food and water, spiritual food and water, skills development and capacity building, encouragement and inspiration--all are important channels of what Peter called "the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). 

Thanks for the prayers and gifts through which you help to make this ministry possible!