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It was 4:30 AM Sunday morning when we arrived at the Minneapolis airport. Junior Obrand, FMSC Regional Program Coordinator for the Caribbean, Jon Zaugg, FMSC’s professional videographer, and I were embarking on a trip to Haiti. It always surprises me to see how many people are at the airport this time of the day. All going somewhere, getting from here to wherever “there” is for each of them.
Our first “there” in remote Northwestern Haiti to visit a longtime FMSC Distribution Partner Living Water Ministry (LWM). To get to LWM’s compound just north of Anse Rouge, we flew in a single engine plane operated by Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF). The flight lasted about 45 minutes and we were greeted at the very short dirt and rock airstrip by LWM staff. The next 10 miles took over an hour, one bump, muddy path and steep hill at a time before were arrived to our first “there.” LWM is situated directly on the Caribbean coast and is as beautiful as it is remote.
LWM started ministry efforts in this previously unreached area of Haiti in 1986. They serve over twenty small villages but concentrate the bulk of their work in six villages. LWM’s primary mission is to reach those who have never heard the Gospel and display God’s compassion by caring for their physical needs. LWM spends considerable resources on feeding programs and sustainable development activities that stimulate the local economy.
The village of Ti Anse is a small fishing village of about 250 people. LWM had done an informal survey of the village in the past and discovered that over 60% of the families had experienced the death of a child before the age of five. Malnutrition was thought to be the major contributor to that sad statistic.
The good news is that after utilizing FMSC MannaPack Rice and MannaPack Potato-W, the situation has, as far as LWM can determine, been remedied with no known deaths due to malnutrition. LWM, supported by FMSC donations, has accomplished this in this village and at least one other.
I often marvel at how those boxes of donor-funded, staff-lead, and volunteer-packed FMSC meals get to each of the “there” places. Northwest Haiti is one of the most remote locations on the island but each box arrives just where it is supposed to. I believe that each person in this eternal compassion chain has been called to be at their special “there” to accomplish the works that enable LWM and other organizations around the globe to eliminate the devastating effects of not having enough to eat.
In it all, His love and promises to His children are fulfilled creating that wonderful thing called hope. Not the hope that wards off dread, but the hope that fuels dreams and provides the necessary energy to get to the next place in this life’s journey.
“There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If it were not true, I would have told you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be there where I am.” John 14:2-3
During July, we told you about the orphan-headed household in Swaziland that was in desperate need of help (Read the story HERE.).
We are now thrilled to give you an update—the children are doing extremely well! Their skin looks healthy, their hair is turning black again and they are putting on weight. Their grandmother is still caring for them, and good news—their mother was released from prison in July as well!
Our distribution partner, Janine Maxwell of Heart for Africa, says, “Gogo (Grandmother) says ‘Siyabonga’ (SiSwati for ‘thank you’) from the bottom of her heart. You have fed her starving children and most certainly saved their lives.”
This photo was taken with two of Janine’s children as they brought the family more FMSC MannaPack meals and distributed dolls to the children.
Thank you for saying “YES!” As a direct result of your generosity, these gorgeous kids now have a bright future ahead of them. God is so faithful!
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2
In the impoverished village of Old Letant, Haiti, Nelson’s mother was unable to feed all four of her children. With no other options, she would place him outside to sit among the pigs every day, where he was alone and exposed to the elements without food or water.
In November 2013, FMSC CEO Mark Crea and Sherry Burnette from Love A Child visited Nelson’s village. When they found him, he was extremely malnourished and too weak to walk, eating dirt to quiet his hunger pains. Nelson’s frail arms and legs protruded from a very swollen belly. They knew something needed to be done immediately.
“When I picked him up,” said Sherry, “I could feel every bone in his body.”
Nelson’s mother gave permission for Sherry to bring the boy to the Love A Child orphanage, where he began the slow, long process of being weaned onto FMSC MannaPack Rice.
Due to his severe malnutrition, Nelson had developed a serious case of rickets, which distorted his bones and made standing and walking painful and very difficult. After one month on MannaPack Rice, Nelson was getting stronger and showing signs of improvement—he was trying to stand! He was given a tricycle so he could move around more easily and strengthen his muscles, and soon was racing around the orphanage.
Now after more than eight months of love, attention and nutritious FMSC MannaPack meals, Nelson is healthy and thriving! He charms everyone with his beautiful smile and adorable personality. He loves to run around, laugh and play. Good news—he will start school in September!
(if video does not load, CLICK HERE.)
“We cannot thank the Lord and Feed My Starving Children enough for this wonderful food—a gift of life—you have given to the poorest of the poor!” –Bobby and Sherry Burnette, Love A Child
We don’t take these stories lightly. They are the very reason we do what we do. Nelson and so many other precious kids have a future because of your generosity.
To help feed kids like Nelson, visit www.fmsc.org/donate
Purchase a unique, back-to-school bag and support an income generating project for rural women in Swaziland! Start your year off with a great fashion statement. Your new school bag provides 50 FMSC meals to a student in need and supports the women of Timbali Crafts.
Watch to find out more:
(if video does not load, CLICK HERE.)
To buy a beautiful Timbali bag from Swaziland, please visit fmscMarketPlace.org
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14
In the tiny country of Swaziland, where unemployment is rampant and food is scarce, a father and mother desperately seek to provide for their children. Nine pairs of brown eyes look to their parents anxiously, each child’s stomach growling as they wonder when they will receive their next meal. The youngest baby is sick and needs food quickly.
With no one else to turn to and no help in sight, the father leaves in search of food. He is promptly arrested for stealing and thrown in jail for ten years. Just weeks later, the mother is also arrested as she tries to steal food and basic items in an attempt to ensure the survival of her children—she finds herself staring at a three-year prison sentence.
Before serving out her prison term, the mother was placed in the hospital due to the severe malnourishment of her newborn baby. That’s where our partner, Heart for Africa, met her—and she pleaded with them to help her eight children who were now left alone to fend for themselves.
Frightened and starving, these children were barely surviving. A filthy mattress was their only place to sleep. They attempted to cook grass in a dirty black pot over a poorly-lit fire in the middle of a dusty old building.
“There are approximately 15,000 orphan-headed households in Swaziland.” – Heart for Africa
Heart for Africa began bringing MannaPack™ meals to the orphaned household, and a neighbor helped cook the food for the children. As a direct result of your faithful giving, these beautiful children now receive meals consistently. Their grandmother, who left the home because she had no way to provide for her grandchildren and couldn’t bear to watch them starve, has returned. Now the kids have someone to care for them and nutritious food to help them grow healthy and strong. This is amazing!
On the first return visit to the orphaned household, it was discovered that 14 children now live there. Other children who were also living without parents had drifted to a reliable source of food.
Children like these are the reason Feed My Starving Children exists. They are desperate and without hope, but your care and intentional giving literally hands them hope in the form of a simple nutritious meal. You bring them immense encouragement, shine the great love of Jesus and show them they are not forgotten.
To give, visit fmsc.org/donate.