LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–When 11-year-old Antoine Currenton walked into the storefront church, he planned just to “hang out” and get a free snack. He had no idea of the changes God was preparing for his life.
Just a few months before, pharmaceutical salesman Antoine Scruggs had sensed God’s call to resign his job to start a church in this impoverished neighborhood in Little Rock, Ark. Under the motto, “Meet a Need – Plant a Seed,” Promiseland Church members recognized the importance of touching lives like those of young Antoine.
With help from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, Promiseland members realized they could provide neighborhood children a nutritious snack and help with their homework.
As the ministry outreach grew, so did Antoine’s interest in the Promiseland Church. He wondered why they showed such concern for their neighbors, such as delivering food baskets to the more needy residents in the community at Thanksgiving. Soon Antoine was visiting the storefront church not to “hang out” but to volunteer in the hunger ministry. Eventually he came to realize his need for a Savior and invited Christ into his life.
Antoine Currenton’s life is one of many impacted by the ministries of Promiseland Church. Since its 1991 beginning, the church has grown from five members to more than 300, baptizing 220-plus new believers. They have found that meeting people at the point of their greatest felt need demonstrates Christ’s love for them in a way that is believable and understandable.
The Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund — supplied solely by church members’ donations from across the country — provides the means for many congregations and missionaries to minister to hunger needs, some like Promiseland in urban areas across the United States and others in isolated villages on the other side of the world.
In 2000, Southern Baptists provided more than 3 million meals in the United States through the World Hunger Fund and reported more than 13,600 professions of faith directly related to hunger ministry. During the same year, the World Hunger Fund was used to touch more than 20 million lives in 50-plus other countries. In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, for example, more than 100 new churches in Honduras were started as a result of hunger ministries.
Whether in inner-city Little Rock, a remote region of northern Kenya or the war-torn Balkans, hunger ministries open doors for sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund has an unusual record for efficiency in its use of gifts for the hungry. Because SBC missionaries and volunteers are already in place, the World Hunger Fund is the only hunger ministry known to utilize 100 percent of all contributions for hunger, with nothing taken out for administration or promotion.
Such stewardship stretches contributions further than one might imagine. As an example, the average cost of meals in the United States provided through the World Hunger Fund is 49 cents each. In Uganda, meals are being provided to homeless women and children at a cost of 12 cents each.
Since the early 1970s, contributors to the World Hunger Fund have faithfully supported this outreach through various means. More and more Christians are applying the discipline of gleaning in their lives as described in Leviticus 19:9-10. By making small contributions on a regular basis, Christians discover that God uses this discipline to grow greater sensitivity to the needs of others in the hearts of his people. Some people periodically give by setting aside and designating their spare change for the World Hunger Fund; others go high-tech in giving by monthly electronic bank draft. World Hunger Fund rice bowls and the larger reusable change canisters remain popular ways to help families develop a discipline of giving to the SBC fund.
By whatever means, God is using the faithfulness of thousands of Christians through regular giving to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund to touch the world with his good news. Through faithful support of the SBC World Hunger Fund, many are discovering the truth of Proverbs 14:21: “… he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.”
(BP) low res photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http:/www.bpnews.net. Photo title: 11-YEAR-OLD BELIEVER. For more information on how you can support the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, contact the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission at 901 Commerce, Suite 550, Nashville, TN 37203 or call toll-free 1-888-375-2461.