“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Part of the purpose of Food for the Hungry (FH) is to graduate communities. What does that mean though? It means to walk alongside the most vulnerable teaching them to be self-sufficient in every sense of the word. Our goal is to not only to spread the love of Jesus and the Gospel, but to educate the people we serve about their rights to a healthy and justified life.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless, maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4, New Living Translation)
Now, where does that all start? It doesn’t start at the first well built, or the handing out of school supplies. It starts before that. With a conversation. How we think, what we value, why we value what we value begins with the exchange of words. We are taught from the moment we are born until our last breath. For most people in America, teaching and learning means a classroom, but FH believes education is not constrained to four walls. It is limitless.
What does it mean to be a teacher?
It means countless hours of grading, lesson planning, and extracurricular activities that have little to no monetary or recognition rewards. When I was younger, it did not occur to me my teachers were actually human beings. They served one purpose: to teach me. I did not consider who they were or what they did after the bell rang. I remember distinctly seeing my first grade teacher in the supermarket one Saturday morning when I was six. It was quite alarming, but also something new I learned. Teachers are humans too. Sometimes I forget this momentarily when I have a project to finish, or need to talk to my professor about an assignment. I figure they can stay until 7pm at night while I finish video editing, or have time to talk to me between the 8 classes they teach, grade and plan for.
Teaching though, does not end after the last period for the instructor or the pupil. It never ends. It is a continuous and demanding job. One that our Heavenly Father took on.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Ps. 32:8)
And when the Father came down in the form of man, his disciples frequently called him ‘Rabbi’ meaning teacher.
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him’.” (John 3:1-2)
So, what does it really mean to be a teacher?
It means countless lives changed, guided, and inspired that have endless possibilities. There are so many teachers in my life who have shaped who I am. Teachers who have inspired me to pursue writing, to be kind, to believe in the seemingly impossible. From entering my poetry in contests to sitting with me while I cried over my first ‘F’ to push me on the soccer field; I have known several teachers who have gone what I would call the extra mile. In reality, though, they are just following God’s call to love our neighbors as we would ourselves.
We depend on one another to further God’s Kingdom. Here at FH we especially appreciate teachers who help to carry out FH programs such as the Care Groups, the CFCT model, and the savings groups. In the fight to end poverty, we couldn’t do it if there were not people – teachers, who were willing to share their knowledge to follow God’s call to respond to human suffering and graduate communities from extreme poverty.
May 8th is Teacher Appreciation Day. How can you show your gratitude locally? Around the world? Click here to donate to Food for the Hungry to transform the lives of the most vulnerable through education and training.