Yesterday my mother decided that she was going to make a turkey. So she put the turkey in the over around 1pm thinking it was going to take at least 3-4 hours to cook. Around 4pm she called Dad and I to come for supper. Now, I am still adjusting to meal times. In Kenya I would never eat supper before 8pm so to be eating any earlier than that has sort of thrown me off a bit. 4 in the afternoon was a little on the early side even for my parents but the turkey was ready so we sat down anyways and had a wonderful meal.
At around 10pm last night, I started rolling around in my bed. I could not fall asleep. For those who know me well, they know that I have a very early bedtime. It is rare to find me awake past 10pm. But last night I just couldn't fall asleep. I rolled around till about 11:30pm and then realized why I couldn't sleep. I was so hungry because it had been 7 hours since we had supper. I tried to go to sleep with the hunger pains but I just couldn't. So I decided to get up and go join my dad on the couch to watch tv. My dad had just returned from playing tennis so he was chomping down on some nice cheese and left over turkey from our 4 o'clock supper. He offered me some of it and I gobbled it down so fast. I sat there for about 10 minutes and snacked on a few other things until I decided to head back into my bed.
Once my head hit the pillow, I immediately started to doze. I guess it was my hungry tummy that was keeping me up.
As I laid in my bed, I started to think of all the people in the world who were going to bed hungry tonight. Not because they had an early supper, but because they simply could not afford to eat.
I started thinking of some of my friends in Kenya who I knew struggled to put food on the table and wondered what they had had for supper or if they had to forgo supper and just head to bed.
I remember one friend of mine who told me that when there was no food in the house for supper, her father would either make them laugh so hard with jokes or yell at them so loud so that they would forget they were hungry and go to sleep without supper. How hard would that be for a father who couldn't provide food for his family?!
I just silently prayed last night for all those that I know and that I do not know who are not eating tonight. I am so thankful that I am not one of them. I now have a better understand of why we 'say grace' before we eat. As much as we ask God to bless the food before us, we must stop and thank Him that He has indeed put food before us.
I looked up some stats on World Hunger from the the World food programme website and here are just some of the hard stats that I found:
- 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the death
- 925 million people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union
- Women make up a little over half of the world's population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry.
- 5 percent of the world's hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia
-It is estimated that 684,000 child deaths worldwide could be prevented by increasing access to vitamin A and zinc
-Lack of Vitamin A kills a million infants a year
I have a really hard time believing that God put all these people on this planet and went, "Oops, sorry there is not enough food for everyone." So why are people starving?
I know there are those who accuse God saying, "If God is so powerful and wonderful, then why is He letting people die of hunger?" But God is looking at us and saying, " YOU are My hands and My feet! You are My body! You tell me why My body isn't feeding the hungry?"
Doesn't it seem ironic that in developing countries, kids are dying because there is not enough food on their tables and in the West, kids are dying because there is too much food on their tables???? Obesity is a major problem in the West. Kids are eating too much junk. However, in Asia and Africa we have kids who never get to eat. Something is a little backwards.
But last night I got a little taste of what millions of people feel when they go to bed hungry. It was humbling. My heart aches for them even though I don't know who they are.
So what do we do? What do I do?
Live simply so others may simply live. This phrase has repeated itself over and over in my head so many times in the past year as I am constantly challenged to give up my own comforts so I can share with others. There are so many biblical examples of this. If you have two tunics and some one doesn't have one, give on of yours to them. When you see someone hungry and don't feed them you will be accountable to God one day who will say, "when I was hungry, you didn't feed me." Or that wonderful proverb that promises us that those who give to the poor will lack nothing. What about the rich young ruler who came to God and said, "Ok, I have pretty much done everything right and followed all your commands carefully, now what do I do?" God tells him to sell his possessions and give them to the poor. He walks away with his head hung low.
I read this verse in Proverbs yesterday that I really loved. Proverbs 15:17, "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred."
Sometimes after church in Kenya, I would like to treat some friends to lunch. I never had enough money to take them all out for pizza or steak or some fancy meal. We had to make do with cheap kenyan food. But I can't count how many awesome times we had sitting and laughing and fellowshipping around that cheap kenyan (bland) food. I would trade that for eating pizza alone any day. What a blessing it is to live simple and share with others. Not only share money, but share our lives with each other.
Empowering Lives International is doing an interesting challenge right now where they are asking people to live on less that $2 a day. They not only are asking for your money to help empower the people that they are working with in East Africa, but they are asking you to join in and feel, experience, learn what its like for our friends on the other side of the world. They are walking along side there struggles. It's such a cool challenge. If you want to learn about it go to Love in Action.
When you sit today with food before you, thank God that He has chosen that food to be placed in front of you even though you really don't deserve it more than anyone else. It's just His amazing grace.