When you work in human rights, whether that’s professionally or as an occasional volunteer, it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that we are responsible for changing lives. This can breech into the dangerous territory of the savior mentality: that we can provide miraculous change to communities who need us there.
This beneficiary family in Ethiopia has looked starvation in the eyes, but that didn’t stop them from inviting some FH staff members into their home for coffee and injera bread made.
Food for the Hungry (FH) is doing a lot to ensure we never think of our communities this way. We work with communities. Their ideas and goals inform ours. We seek to help them change their own lives, rather than doing it for them. We create personal relationships with the people in these communities and pray for and with each other. Most importantly, we rely on God more than anything. No one needs us there, they need Christ there and we are just happy to be a part of His plan as often as possible.
Another great reminder that only Christ is Savior, and not us, is this: the generosity of our fields toward us. A lot of times, the generosity of beneficiaries in FH communities far surpasses my generosity.
When the field serves us
Recently, I received a story from a staff member named Leena in Ethiopia who told me of a beneficiary she went out to interview for a story. This family ended up inviting her over for coffee and cooking her an entire meal.
Leena said, “I never cease to be amazed by the incredible generosity of those we seek to serve.”
And how right she is. Despite that many of these people have looked starvation in the face, they are still quick to be generous and to allow us to commune with them.
Rania brought my colleagues and me Turkish coffee when we interviewed her in Lebanon. She is a refugee from Syria.
This was my experience too, in Lebanon, which you can read more about here. I was invited in to talk with and interview a family about their experience with FH and immediately they brought my colleagues and me Turkish coffee.
It reminds me of the story in Mark about the widow’s offering. After watching many people give in large amounts to temple treasury, a poor widow came and put in two small coins.
“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” –Mark 12:43-44.
How humbling is that? Our beneficiaries serve us so often! Many of our partners who visit the field would agree: the generosity of these communities is so immense.
What a true blessing it is that the Lord allows us to serve them! He is the Savior, and we are just trying to be part of His mighty plan.