From The Field

What FMSC’s Partners in West Africa Are Doing About Ebola

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

“These days we feel like the disciples of the Lord in the midst of the storm, in the midst of a constant fear of being infected with the Ebola epidemic, which has spread rapidly throughout the country,” wrote our distribution partner Salesian Missions to FMSC of their work in Sierra Leone. “In the market places, the price of food is rising and some cannot be found.”

Feed My Starving Children has many feeding partners in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the location of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Millions of FMSC meals were already on the ground and working in communities at the time of the outbreak. As the need grows, our partners are working closely together.

International Children's Fund using FMSC meals in Liberia

Here’s how our partners are fighting Ebola together:

  • On August 13 and 20, our partners in Liberia met to pray and discuss their experiences with the Ebola outbreak. This coalition of partners called CROPPS Liberia (Coalition of Relief Organizations Promoting Practical Solutions) is a cooperative approach that can dramatically enhance relief and development activities. They report, “We discussed the need to educate people regarding Ebola. Many are overly fearful because of lack of information and instruction. Our hearts are passionate about sharing the Gospel in the midst of this critical time in Liberia.” CROPPS Liberia also discussed the best strategies for sharing supplies from one central point.
  • Last week, FMSC was able to ship an additional 10 boxes of MannaPack Potato-D formula to our partner GAiN (Global Aid Network). These meals have been specifically requested by their partners in Liberia and will be placed on an emergency shipment along with other medical supplies to help assist in the Ebola outbreak.
  • Our partners are working diligently to meet the food and medical needs of the communities where they work. Our partner ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) reports, “Our health workers need prayer covering as they cater to Ebola patients. Please pray that our radio programs will be a source encouragement and hope during this time.”

These organizations are working in extremely difficult conditions, but there is still hope.

Salesian Missions continues, “But in the mist of this situation there are also profound moments and experiences of God. In the parish, every day about 230 young hearts come together. They have involved themselves in classes and recreational experiences. They educate the smallest ones in the assimilation of habits and action that can prevent the spread of the epidemic among them. During the experience the children receive a good plate of food every day, and in some cases lunch and supper.

“Also with great joy we shared of the experience of people who have survived the disease, it is good to know that not all is death. Our dinners are longer. They are good time for sharing our joys, fears and sorrows in a nice atmosphere of fraternal life.”

“Please continue to pray for us and for all those who are in the battle against this terrible epidemic.”

Children in Liberia eating FMSC meals

FMSC will continue to support our partners in West Africa. To make a donation, please visit www.fmsc.org/donate.

Getting There

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.

Northwest Haiti from the sky

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.

Child in northwest Haiti

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.

Haitian school where the kids eat FMSC meals

“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

You Helped Save Their Lives!

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

Success Story: Nelson

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.

Nelson after eating FMSC meals

To help feed kids like Nelson, visit www.fmsc.org/donate

FMSC MarketPlace: Timbali Crafts

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