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“But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” –Psalm 9:18
Syria’s civil war has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Since the conflict began, more than 11 million people have been killed or forced to flee their homes, according to MercyCorps.
The U.N. predicts there could be 4.7 million registered Syrian refugees by the end of this year.
Feed My Starving Children has sent food to more than 70 countries around the world. We work in countries where we have existing partnerships, and it is through these amazing partners that our food gets distributed to those in desperate need.
At FMSC, our hearts break for Syrian refugees, but we currently don’t have any existing partnerships in these regions.
God Finds a Way
But God does not forget the cry of the afflicted. He finds a way. Often, that way is through YOU — the hands and feet of Christ.
This March, a dozen young people stuffed bags of MannaPack Rice™ in their suitcases. The group was headed to Macedonia to serve Syrian refugees with Reign Ministries.
Mission trip leader Matt Halseth challenged the team to bring fewer personal items so they could pack more MannaPack meals.
“I think we had 21 total bags that we packed with just food and some food packed in with hygiene products, books, crayons, coloring books, toys and sports equipment,” he said.
The focus of the trip was to provide food and supplies to young mothers and their children inside a refugee camp situated on the border of Macedonia and Serbia.
Reign Ministries worked in partnership with SEND International.
The group provided New Testaments and medicine, fixed broken glasses, played sports and shared countless cups of tea — all while listening to refugees share tragic, courageous stories.
More than 1,300 refugees were fed bread, fruit and eggs in the eight-day trip. They provided 6,500 additional meals by bringing MannaPack Rice.
This was an extremely unique case. Normally, organizations overseas fill out an FMSC food aid request that gets reviewed by our department of international programs.
Reign Ministries is headed out for another trip to the region in July! This trip will focus on working directly with refugees at the camp located on the border of Macedonia and Serbia, building relationships with adults, teenagers and children. The group will distribute clothes, games and more. They will also work at a shelter for unaccompanied minor refugees. Sign up HERE.
Please continue to pray for those affected by the Syrian refugee crisis and for the work of Reign Ministries and SEND International.
Wrinkled skin draped off of Lauza’s frail body. Ribs protruded from her chest. Her belly was bloated and her hair turned orange from extreme nutrient deficiency.
She weighed just 13 pounds—at two years old.
Tiny Lauza struggled to keep the scraps of clothing she wore from falling off her skeletal frame. Because she was so intensely malnourished, Lauza suffered a severe case of scabies, a skin infection that causes intense itching. She constantly scratched her arms until they bled.
Lauza never smiled.
Her father died of AIDS. Her mother abandoned her at the funeral. Lauza’s grandmother couldn’t care for her and the three other grandchildren she was already housing.
The kids had to search for whatever food they could find. Lauza’s older cousins often took all of the food they found, leaving her with nothing. She was too weak to protest.
FMSC’s partner Rakai Orphans Development Initiative (RODI) heard about Lauza and rushed to find her. When they located her, she could barely stand for a few seconds at a time.
RODI began feeding Lauza MannaPack Rice. Day after day, through eating these meals, she slowly gained strength. After three weeks, she was able to stand for a few minutes.
In two months Lauza gained almost five pounds. Her skin infection cleared up. She even began to walk!
Before, Lauza wouldn’t smile. She couldn’t find a reason to. Now there are hints of a smile. You’ve helped us rewrite Lauza’s story. Hope truly does start with food.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
11-year-old Luisa’s mother was losing heart. Her daughter didn’t like going to school and wasn’t obeying. The family lives in a very dangerous community in the northern region of Nicaragua plagued by gangs, theft and bullying.
Luisa became interested in God after attending a local church. She began to understand that God has plans for her future. At one of the evangelistic campaigns held at the church, she accepted Christ into her heart.
Luisa now attends school each day and goes to church for a nourishing FMSC lunch provided through our partner ORPHANetwork. She also became a member of the worship band!
Her parents have even followed her example and have accepted Christ and are committed servants of the church.
Luisa hopes to get baptized and continue going to school.
The pastor of Luisa’s church spends time with the gangs in an effort to share the gospel. He shares food and drinks with them and sometimes he joins in a game of soccer or baseball.
“My goal is to show them that there is a different life with God, away from crime,” he said. “This is a very poor community, and it is amazing how a program like this is working here.”
“People notice that there are people interested in feeding their children and working to give them a better life. Everyone is excited about what is happening in the community through the local Church,” he said.
Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in Nicaragua and providing HOPE for Luisa and her family!
I just returned from a trip to Haiti with Feed My Starving Children where our team of marketing staff and donors met our in-country food distribution partners.
We helped distribute FMSC meals packed by volunteers in the United States to kids in desperate need, saw the impact of how that food has created jobs and sustainable communities and loved on kiddos who just desperately needed affection.
Below are my observations and reflections from this precious time in Haiti:
There is trash everywhere – Haiti doesn’t have a sanitation system in place. But, there was an overwhelming smell of the beautiful flowers from the tropical trees in bloom.
Vendors line every inch of the street selling personal care items, clothing, shoes or produce out of tin shacks, or on scraps of cloth on the ground – yet each item is so carefully and meticulously placed to make a beautiful arrangement of goods.
There are chickens and goats with babies scurrying all over – new life.
There are views of the turquoise ocean water and lush mountain-sides. Children in tattered clothing know we’re foreign, but flash beautiful smiles and wave with excitement as we pass by.
Bible verses and passages are painted on abandoned buildings. Half-built homes made with beautiful masonry and stonework are abandoned after the money-supply ran out.
Tap Taps with ornate, brightly painted designs and metal details buzzed up and down the streets jam-packed with locals. Every advertisement and logo is perfectly hand-painted on cinder block walls that create enclosed compounds hiding beautiful places inside.
Every night it stormed fiercely (which is a blessing with the drought they’ve been facing there) and in the morning it was sunny and beautiful.
Haiti is beautiful mess.
I can’t help but see a lot of similarities in myself. The truth is, I am a beautiful mess. I am beautifully and wonderfully made in God’s own image and likeness. Yet, on the inside, I’m a jumble of faults, shortcomings and chaos. But, recognizing my shortcomings magnifies the abundant grace that God provides – and it gives me hope.
On the surface of Haiti, you see a vicious cycle of poverty and economic helplessness. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Close to 12 percent of children under 5 years old are underweight. Haiti has made progress since the earthquake of 2010, but struggles remain.
Haitians are a creative and entrepreneurial people. There is so much potential. They just need hope and a little help.
Just as God provides what I so desperately need – His grace, He provides what His children in Haiti so desperately need – hope.
Hope starts with food. That’s where FMSC comes in.
We visited Feed My Starving Children partners who are doing the most amazing things to help. They’re providing hope that starts with getting food into the hands of the thousands who are hungry.
FMSC meals are the foundation of starting the cycle of sustainability and break the cycle of poverty, all while feeding kids starving in body and spirit. Our partners are making a real difference.
It is so evident that God is at work in Haiti.
This song by Gungor is a perfect picture of God’s work in and through us:
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
Kristen Tersteeg is a graphic designer at Feed My Starving Children. Follow her on Instagram @kristentersteeg.