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Hunger ministries show God’s love

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oct. 11 is World Hunger Sunday for Southern Baptist churches across North America. Since 1974, Southern Baptists have fought the problem of hunger through their World Hunger Fund. One hundred percent of every dollar given to the fund is used to provide food to undernourished people all over the world — 80 percent through the International Mission Board and 20 percent through the North American Mission Board. For more information on the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, including resources for promotion of World Hunger Sunday in your church, go to worldhungerfund.com.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In countries where missionary work is difficult, Southern Baptists still are able to demonstrate God’s love for all people through ministries made possible in part by the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.

For example, widows and poor women with no work or literacy skills are learning to sew in order to sell goods at a local market and, in turn, provide food for their families. Since they are unable to work while taking the classes, the women are provided a small food stipend — at a cost of just $.82 a day. According to project directors, about 50 women have come to faith through this ministry.

Since the early 1970s, donations to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund have funded about 7,500 human needs projects that give Southern Baptist overseas workers the opportunity to meet both physical and spiritual needs. Their efforts reflect the heart of Jesus, who told His followers to “… love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 HCSB)

Human needs ministries offer Southern Baptist missionaries the opportunity to love God and their neighbor by combining spiritual and physical assistance. Resources provided by the World Hunger Fund make possible a wide range of ministries that meet food-related needs, such as assisting people with receiving food, buying food, growing food and/or using food properly.

Those projects have an intentional spiritual strategy and share the Gospel (loving God) and involve Southern Baptist personnel who are a part of the community or remain in contact with the community being served (loving neighbor). They make use of local input and expertise to help personnel assess needs and establish goals that make sense culturally, economically and efficiently. They also have built-in accountability measures to be sure funds are used wisely and efficiently.

Because Southern Baptists already cover the costs of administration through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, 100 percent of all donations to the World Hunger Fund can be used to minister directly to people in need.

Overseas projects supported by the World Hunger Fund meet a wide range of needs:

— More than 200 impoverished children involved in tutoring sessions are provided one nutritious meal a day, five days a week at a cost of 41 cents per day. The children have gained weight and teachers have noted improved health, ability to pay attention, study habits and grades. Children also are taught responsibility, and parents have reported that the children are taking on more responsibilities at home. The Gospel has been shared with more than 1,000 people, and a weekly house worship service has started.

— In one area of Europe, about 60,000 rural villagers whose ethnicity blocks them from receiving government assistance are being taught how to use sheep to support their families. Many villagers are opening their doors to allow field personnel to also teach them Bible stories.

— In Central Asia, World Hunger Funds provided for the drilling, completion and hand pump installation of 10 water wells in several villages. Field personnel developed good relationships with village elders, who shared additional water needs in nearby locations. These water projects, conducted at a cost of approximately $3,400 per well, resulted in the Lord leading five men to profess their faith in Jesus.

Generous donations to the World Hunger Fund allow Southern Baptist overseas workers to minister and meet human needs as they occur — often allowing them to respond immediately in times of crisis. But the most important way to help Southern Baptist missionaries meet human needs is prayer. Please pray that through these ministries, many will receive physical assistance and also seek and find our Lord.
Adapted from information available at imb.org.

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