Today’s guest blogger is by April Morgan, who experienced restoration in her own life when she joined Albuquerque’s Mountain Christian Church on a short-term mission trip with Food for the Hungry. In 2014 she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University and currently works in mental health. She loves tacos, tea, baking and adult coloring books.
A Short-Term Mission Trip Changed April’s Life
I sat in a wooden chair in Bolivia with a lump in my throat. I didn’t expect to see parallels from my own life when I took a Food for the Hungry (FH) mission trip to Bolivia. It changed my life.
April Morgan with new friends during a short-term mission trip to Bolivia
When we first arrived, staff said that one of the biggest problems in the community we visited was parents abandoning their children. The parents hoped to find work in another community but had to leave their children behind. The lump formed in my throat when I thought of how devastating this would be for the children, when I recalled the devastation to my own life after my father left.
Restored From Brokenness
Traveling to Bolivia five years ago, I not only saw the desolation of the small community called Horno Ckasa and heard stories of the brokenness, but I also saw God’s faithfulness in pursuing the community’s restoration for His glory and for their good. I saw the desperate need for healing in the depths of poverty: an overcrowded family sleeping on mats in a one bedroom home, a father sacrificing crops to lifeless gods instead of feeding the family, a thirteen year old girl caring for her siblings because their mom left them and their father was wrestling with alcoholism.
Before Food for the Hungry entered the community, parents regularly abandoned their children to find work in urban areas.
The brokenness isn’t confined to what we Americans call a third world country—money doesn’t heal brokenness.
Our own brokenness accompanied us on the plane from Albuquerque to Bolivia. Food for the Hungry asked that someone from our group speak at a teen retreat in Bolivia about how God restores. In His redeeming love, He had me volunteer, despite being so aware of my own brokenness and feelings of shame.
Telling my story to teens that had also experienced abandonment, abuse and the damaging effects of sin that constantly plague us, I began to realize how we are all much more alike than we are different. I began to also see how God was a good and faithful Father for me but also for the fatherless in Bolivia.
We are all marred by sin and its effects and in need of His grace, no matter where we are, whether that’s in America or in Sucre, Bolivia. Their hospitality towards our group displayed something I wanted to see more of in myself; they gave with more joy than I had ever seen.
Charlotte Smith teaching women in Sucre how to sew.
God is in the business of restoring us and our broken pieces. He used an obedient and faithful woman from Albuquerque, a woman who I met on the trip named Charlotte Smith, to teach the women in Sucre how to sew. They were empowered with a trade to be able to help provide for their families. I saw His plan of restoration in Food for the Hungry working with the community through child sponsorship, and through engaging the children in dance and soccer, which brought the community together. God was healing the people through faithful pastors and local churches who preached the good news to a hurting community.
Healing also came through Food for the Hungry working with the community to help them find sustainability. We saw a group of young women who had hopes and dreams of selling baked goods. FH didn’t just hand them a cookie but gave them the tools and hopes to someday start their own bakery.
His plan of healing for Horno Ckasa involved relationships, a relationship with Food for Hungry, a relationship with Mountain Christian Church and a relationship with Him. He is a relational God who desires to heal, restore and redeem.
God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”
– Psalm 9:17-18
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