Arizona Church Responds to Poverty in Bolivia

Church partnership to respond to poverty in BoliviaArizona Community Church (ACC) is located in Tempe, Arizona, just miles away from the Food for the Hungry (FH) Global Service Center in Phoenix. ACC has had a heart for missions and has supported missionaries around the world for many years. So when Gary Edmonds, the President and CEO of FH, joined the church, Executive Pastor Dan Knuff wanted to learn how FH partners with churches.

“Gary heard me give a message on missions and invited me to lunch,” Dan said. “I got to hear his heart for the poor, and he shared his vision and passion. It was exactly what our church was looking for.”

Learning About Poverty in Bolivia

Gary told Dan about the needs that God is meeting through FH in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As the leaders of ACC prayed about where God might have them partner, they learned about the community of Belen, Bolivia.

“Belen is an urban neighborhood,” explained Juan Pablo Belmonte, Field Liaison Manager at FH. “People there are mainly immigrants from rural areas. They come to find more resources in the city but they are only able to work in temporary jobs. They live with no basic services such as power, running water and sewage, and children struggle to make it to school.”

Many of the world’s poor emigrate from rural areas to urban centers. Residents of Belen quickly discovered that their limited work skills and language abilities prevented them from achieving the goals that brought them to the city.

ACC responded to the need by partnering with FH in Belen.

How the Partnership Works

Church partnership to respond to poverty in Bolivia

“It was a defining moment,” Dan said. “(Our church) got the message and responded!”

For ACC and Belen, partnership happens all year, not only when church members visit Bolivia. By sponsoring children, ACC members are able to develop personal relationships with Belen’s children and families.

“Our launch weekend was amazing,” Dan shared. “Gary Edmonds and I did a combo message. I preached the first half about the vision for the church in 2017, and Gary challenged our congregation about how child sponsorship would impact the entire community in Belen.”

The congregation sponsored over 100 children on the launch weekend!

“It was a defining moment,” Dan said. “(Our church) got the message and responded!”

Planning a Mission Trip

ACC is finalizing details for their first trip to Belen, which will occur in September.  

“I know one family of four who will be using that trip as their family vacation,” Dan said. “They have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old who are pumped to go on this trip and meet their sponsored child.”  

Juan Pablo shared that one of the most exciting elements of the partnership is that ACC will partner with a local Bolivian church to address poverty in Bolivia. “We will facilitate experiences for both this church and ACC to learn from each other,” he said.

“We’re just getting started, but there is a very positive vibe on our campus about our partnership with FH,” Dan said.
Are you ready to explore a partnership to address poverty in Bolivia or another country? Contact our Church Engagement team to get started today!