“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25: 34-36 (NLT)
I had the privilege in 2007 of visiting Zimbabwe with a mission team. Our task was to help complete construction on a Bible College building, and lead several seminars with the pastor-students. We were many miles from Harare, Zimbabwe’s capitol city.
It was all-consuming for 10 days; just being there, soaking-in that culture was overwhelming. But working in the 100+ degree temperatures carting water and cement with a makeshift wheelbarrow took some of the shine off my cultural appreciation!
Near the end of our stay I took a walk, hoping to learn a little more about the people and their ways. While I walked on that clear, hot afternoon, I heard a distinct, rhythmic “clinking” sound…clink/pause, clink/pause, clink…
Moving towards the noise revealed that the source was a young man sitting at the entrance to his home. He was preparing his meal for that day.
Meal – singular! One meal…for the day. Just one!
The clinking noise was the sound of the young man using an old cylinder-head from a truck motor as a pestle, and bringing it down on a small nut-like pod on a rock. It was maize, a grain that is the largest diet portion of poverty-stricken Zimbabwean people. When hulled, the grain is smaller than a pea. The nutritional value of maize is a little like eating dirt, and about as tasty. It only fills the belly.
The young man had been working all morning at getting enough grains to fill half the palm of his hand. He would mix it with water, form it into a biscuit and bake it over the open fire in his front yard. This was his meal…a small biscuit…singular….just one…only one meal.
When it was time for our team of 12 people to leave a day later, we left the $400 we had in our pockets to buy food for the students. (That $400 would feed all 80 students for the next three months…try that at Whole Foods).
We also left most of our clothes and shoes. We brought our tears back home with us.
I found it increasingly more difficult to stay in touch with those folks who had touched my heart and life. Communication is not easy between North Carolina and Zimbabwe. Besides the lack of technology available to the students, there is political corruption and incredible hardship.
But I recall their resilience and joyful spirit; I remember the depth of faith as they gathered for worship on our last night together. It is imprinted on my mind forever how reverently they shared the Bread and Cup of Christ.
These are my forever family. They are the face of poverty, hunger and need. And when we feed them, we feed Christ.
Joshua and Renee Moose have deep ties to one of the churches I serve, Pleasant Hill United Methodist. They are missionaries to Tanzania, on the same Eastern side of the African continent as Zimbabwe. Their mission is to teach sustainable farming to impoverished people while spreading the Gospel. You know the saying – give a man a fish you feed him for a day; teach him to fish you’ve fed him for a lifetime.
Add the spiritual dimension of doing things God’s way – and you’ve fed the soul for eternity!
For You, Today…
Check out Josh & Renee at their website:
You can give online there too…just sayin’.