First, as I'm sure most of you have heard by now, Chris and Erica's beautiful twin boys, Jalen Opiyew and Jordan Uchan are home from Ethiopia!
I've been processing a lot too. Last Saturday, David and I helped with a food distribution project at our county fairgrounds. Every month a local Christian hope center combines with a regional food bank to distribute free groceries and services to families who fall within 200% of the poverty level. This was our first time helping, but we definitely plan on being involved in the future. The two of us were taking families through the food line, piling their groceries in a wagon, and hauling everything to their vehicles, where we helped load the food. In approximately 3 1/2 hours, we helped to distribute 30,000 pounds of food to 597 households (representing over 1800 people), many of whom waited in the cold for over 3 hours. It was heartbreaking and so good for me to see. I mean, this is my fairly prosperous midwestern county! Yes, they got a very nice amount of food, but as a friend of mine said, "I really don't think I would ever wait this long just to get this amount of groceries." I definitely wouldn't...but then, I've never known that kind of need, either. Most of the people were so grateful: we received lots of hugs and so many fervent "thank yous" and "God bless yous." One grandma came through with three young grandchildren. They were incredibly well behaved and had so much fun helping to push the wagon. Several times, they turned wide eyes up to their grandma and asked, "Is all of this really for US?" It made me cry. It's made me more thoughtful and more grateful this week. I've been praying for lots of new faces: Mary and Barbara and Rosaleen and so many others. I've been asking myself new versions of the same questions that I've been asking for the last couple of years since we returned from our own journey to Ethiopia: why have I been blessed with so much, and what does that mean as far as my responsiblity? What changes can I continue to make in my own life so that others don't suffer as much need? Why was I born into a wonderful nuclear family and taught the truth of the Gospel for as far back as I can remember, while so many others are trapped in Satan's morass of lies and broken homes and poverty?How can I be more effective in bringing light into the darkness?
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48
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