In 2019, Let’s Keep Fighting Hunger in Jesus’ Name

By Rob Schwarzwalder Published on January 8, 2019

Of the 7.5 billion people in the world, up to 925 million are hungry. All the time. More than 40 million of them are children under the age of five.

There’s enough food for every person now, according to the World Economic Forum.

Why are people still hungry?

Why Are So Many Hungry?

One of the main reasons is conflict: warfare, violence, unrest. For example, in Nigeria, “conflict with Boko Haram” — an African arm of ISIS — “has left 1.8 million people still displaced, farmers unable to grow crops, and 4.8 million people in need of food assistance.” 

Children, women, and the elderly — the most vulnerable — suffer most.

Another reason is failed economic systems. Venezuela — a nation rich in natural resources — is the most obvious case in point. And one of the most tragic. The cruelty of dictatorship combined with socialism is clear.

“Venezuela has the largest known oil reserves in the world, but under the leadership of Nicolas Maduro, its hospitals lack equipment, medicines, food, anesthetics and even pens,” reports journalist Jens Glusing. “Hunger has stalked Venezuela for years. Now, it is killing the nation’s children at an alarming rate,” says the New York Times starkly. 

A third key reason is that in much of the developing world, there is great indifference to the needs of the poor. Uncaring politicians, and the plutocrats who keep them in power, disregard human need. “Huge tracts of land in developing countries are being bought in ‘land grabs’, pushing local people off their land,” says Barry Coates of Oxfam, a large international coalition of anti-hunger groups. “Hungry people, including low paid farm workers, are forced to watch as food is shipped overseas, or used as subsidized biofuels.”

This all paints a grim picture, with hues of grey and black the prominent colors.

Sunlight Piercing the Darkness

Yet there are some bright streaks of sunlight in that picture, nonetheless. Christians have, for decades, sought to bring hope to the hungry, the ill, and the rejected in those parts of the world where these sufferers live.

Many Christian relief agencies bring food to the world’s neediest. And not only food. They bring medicine and other practical aid. And they do even more than that: They work to provide the global poor with the means of becoming self-sufficient. Here are a few encouraging examples:

Food for the Hungry (FH) has what it calls its “exit plan.” After going into a community in great need, the FH team leaves when “extreme poverty no longer has a seat at the table.” After working with local leaders and ordinary citizens to help them become “self-sustainable” and find “God’s purpose for their lives,” FH doesn’t stay to create long-term dependence. Instead, “We celebrate with them and then we intentionally seek out the next community suffering under the heavy weight of poverty.” 

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In many poor countries, clean water is a luxury — when they can get it at all.

That’s why, starting in 2000, Stream founder James Robison and his wife, Betty, began the “Water for Life” ministry as part of the larger relief ministry they started, LIFE Outreach International. Over its nearly two decades, Water for Life has helped build 5,800 wells in areas of the world that need it most. 

Another great ministry, World Vision, has heard the same call. “Women and children are worst affected —  children because they are more vulnerable to diseases of dirty water and women and girls because they often bear the burden of carrying water for their families for an estimated 200 million hours each day.” So, World Vision, now in 97 countries, is working diligently to bring clean water to countries from Honduras to Rwanda. 

Operation Blessing provides medical aid. More importantly, it “trains Community Health Workers in Latin America and Africa to serve their communities. With the combination of our training and a backpack filled with supplies essential to basic medical care, these men and women are able to detect health concerns early.” 

These are just small snapshots of the many, many things Christian relief ministries do in scores of countries.

Food, Medicine, Development — and the Gospel

Yet there’s one more thing that makes them unique. Unlike their secular counterparts, they offer a hope that’s more than temporal — it’s eternal. They are committed to bringing Christ, in word and deed, to those to whom they minister.

Unlike their secular counterparts, they offer a hope that’s more than temporal — it’s eternal.

You can find out more about the hundreds of large, mid-sized, and small Christian ministries like those mentioned by going to ServantMatch, an online “one stop shop” for Christian ministries of all kinds. Sponsored by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, all the ministries listed have to pass exacting standards of financial reporting.

In 2019, I plan to lose weight. Really. This time. For real. I think …

But I also plan to give and pray for those whose well-being, in this life and the next, need the hope Jesus Christ alone provides. And that’s a resolution I intend to keep. Please join me in it.

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