I’m always inspired by what the impoverished can teach us. They can teach us so much, like being grateful.
The line was especially long at Costco as my wife and I joined the throng of shopping carts overflowing with groceries stacked like mountainous peaks. We could hear a growing chorus of fellow shoppers complaining because the pace of the checkers did not meet their expectations.
I couldn’t help but contrast that moment from just a few days earlier when I had watched hungry children from the Kenya’s Mathare Valley slums joyfully waiting for a bowl of soup. I can assure you they did not complain if their soup did not arrive quickly.
The poor can teach us the simplest things. There are countless times I’ve been fortunate enough to witness many instances just like the one in the Mathare Valley. The poor are humble and grateful that we are working tirelessly to bring them a healthy meal. You can see it in children’s faces as they hold up an empty bowl to be filled with food. Whether they are in the Philippines, Central America or Haiti where we’re feeding thousands, it’s important to keep in mind the lessons these incredible individuals can teach us.
Although recent reports in Liberia are encouraging, world health officials say thousands of West Africans have already been infected with Ebola. And they warn that the social and economic impact of the epidemic is far-reaching and long lasting. Healthcare, agriculture, education and employment have already been crippled by the disease.
Ebola has also led to massive food shortages in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone. In recent weeks, Convoy of Hope and our partners have shipped and distributed 4 million meals there. Medical supplies and water purification units have also been distributed. More shipments are slated for the next few months.
Because borders are essentially closed, Convoy of Hope is partnering with a multi-denominational coalition of 1,700 churches in West Africa that are ensuring that the food and supplies are being delivered to families and children that have the greatest needs.
“The relief initiative has reached into the depths of the jungle, as well as the capitol city of Monrovia,” says Gaylord Brown, Assemblies of God missionary to Liberia. “Distributing millions of meals has given hope to the hopeless and food for the hungry. Many prayers have been answered.”
Kwame Wumbe, our field coordinator for the Ebola initiative in West Africa, adds, “This is one of the greatest human need crises in West African history. But Convoy of Hope’s timely intervention with food, medical supplies and best practice protocols will long be remembered by thousands of grateful Liberian and Sierra Leone recipients who received hope when it appeared there was none.”
Please know that giving to Convoy of Hope is saving lives in places like West Africa. On behalf of the thousands of children and their families across the United States and around the world receiving life-giving food and supplies, thank you for your kindness and compassion.
In 1969 my parents’ automobile was hit by a drunken driver. My father was killed and my mother was seriously injured. Suddenly, my mother became a single parent and began looking for a job to support the family.
She did not have a college education or formal training. She wanted to care for her children but she found it difficult to find employment that provided adequate compensation. Although I was just a boy, I remember her leaving the house day after day to search for a job. She was determined that her family would not stay on welfare forever.
Finally, she was offered a temporary position which eventually led to full-time employment. That was one of the greatest moments of her life.
In countries like Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which teaches women skills to earn and save money through job training, is giving women an opportunity to earn an income that enables them to feed their children. In essence, they are accomplishing what my mother did many years ago.
Many of these women have been abandoned and abused their entire lives. But finally, through Women’s Empowerment, they are being given a chance at a better life.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the businesses these women have started. I wish you could see their smiles and hear their words of gratitude.
Because the women are being taught how to save a portion of their earnings, no longer will they be living in the streets or struggling to make ends meet. They have new skills and a greater understanding of business principles. As a result, their future is bright.
Thank you for caring and giving so Convoy of Hope can continue to meet the needs of women in places like Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and more.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, my family and I have so much to be grateful for. I wanted to share the story of some very special members of my family that remind me every day how important it is to be thankful.
The story begins in 1969 when a car accident killed my father and debilitated my mother. My brothers and sister and I were hurting and the biggest question remaining was who would possibly be willing to take four young children into their home.
It was a family named the Davis’ who raised their hand and said they would take us in.
The Davis’ didn’t have a big home; they lived in a small trailer with two children of their own. They didn’t have a big bank account but they had big hearts. I recall that day when we arrived at their trailer and nervously walked up to the front door asking ourselves,
“Do they really want us, will they keep us?” As we approached the front door of the trailer, it swung open and there stood Bill Davis with a warm and inviting smile.
As we shuffled inside, Bill and LouVada gave us big hugs and assured us,
“You are with family and this is your home.”
The Davis’ were not only willing to share their home but also willing to share in our sorrow and pain. They modeled discipline and tough love at times but also true “compassion” which literally means to “suffer with.” To us they modeled what it meant to live life with hope.
And that has been a core value of Convoy of Hope. To be with families after a disaster when they have lost everything. To be with children and their families at our citywide outreaches who are struggling to make it. To be with children that are going hungry and to believe they will one day be the hope for their nation.
When Convoy of Hope was about to cross the threshold of serving 50 million people, we decided to host a celebration in Concord, Calif., —
the town where we grew up but also the place where it seemed hope had been lost one tragic day. Concord also represents where the dream for Convoy of Hope was born. So we called the event, “Celebration of Hope.”
It was an unforgettable evening to see so many friends who encouraged us and supported Convoy of Hope from the very beginning. As the evening was about to conclude there was this family seated off to the right who thought they were there to just share in the celebration but they were the finale — The Davis’ more than 40 years after they changed our lives.
There are many Bill & LouVada Davis’ here who have faithfully supported Convoy of Hope and other worthy organizations.
We are grateful for past, present and new partners that will join this movement of hope by giving generously.
When we combine hope and compassion and live generously I believe God smiles.
Thank you so much for all you are doing to help us feed children around the world. Undernourishment is worth fighting because it negatively affects people’s health, security and ability to think and be productive. It also steals their hope.
Here’s a sobering fact: If you add the number of children who died this week because they lack nutritious food, they would fill one of the largest stadiums in America — Michigan Stadium, which has a seating capacity for 107,501 fans — twice.
Nutritious food, the kind Convoy of Hope distributes, can derail the realities of malnourishment. We know well-nourished children perform better in school, grow into healthy adults and in turn, give their children a better start in life. That means we can change generations of families for the better. That’s worth fighting for, and I am so thankful you have chosen to partner with Convoy of Hope in this battle.
Thanks for fighting with us. Lisbon Joseline, a child in our Children’s Feeding Initiative, is one of nearly 150,000 reasons that we are fighting malnutrition.
At her school in Honduras, the eight-year-old pulls out an art tablet from her bright pink backpack and starts flipping through drawings she’s obviously proud of.
“This one is for my mother,” she says, pointing to a drawing of apple trees. “I know she’ll like this one.”
Lisbon Joseline lives with her mother and three siblings in an impoverished region of Honduras. Her mother struggles daily to put food on the table for her family.
“My father does not live with us, so it is very hard for my mother,” says Lisbon Joseline, her eyes welling up with tears. “That’s why I am so happy I can come to school to eat.”
Lisbon Joseline is fed every day at her remote school because she is enrolled in the Children’s Feeding Initiative. In fact, at a number of feeding sites in Honduras, nearly 3,000 children in 29 program centers are being fed every school day thanks to the incredible support of our children’s feeding partners.
“I like to come here to eat and spend time with my friends,” adds Lisbon Joseline. “They serve me good meals.”