Last night, to kick off our semi-annual missions weekend at our church, the missions committee hosted a dinner with a twist. Instead of doing the usual themed potluck, this year, the focus was on world hunger/malnutrition. Representatives from local missions affiliated with our church (food pantry, crisis pregnancy center, soup kitchen, prison ministry) spoke to us about their work and their needs.
We ate rice and beans with water.
Although the point was taken for the most part, I had to observe the following:
- There was more than enough for everyone to fill their stomachs.
- There were seven different flavorful varieties of beans to choose from, and none of them were plain.
- Several people added a ton of butter and salt to their rice.
- A few people who didn't want to eat rice and beans left early so they could grab something else on the way home.
- Someone actually asked if there was dessert, because that's the "American way." (There was, by the way. We received bananas to share with at least one other person.)
Personally, it was a good reminder for me about what poverty means. I just shared in our community group on Thursday night that it grieves my heart how easily I have forgotten what hunger and poverty really looks like after having lived here almost ten years.
I need these reminders to keep me focused on using the gifts God gives me wisely so that I am better able to give generously to others in need.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner