April showers bring May flowers and May flowers bring…Bees!
Nothing causes a group of people to scatter like the phrase, “There’s a bee behind you.” Too busy running to safety, rarely do you stop to look at this bee and take a moment to appreciate what his short life must be like. There’s a lot to learn from a bee. Even though he is tiny, he has the ability to transform lives by becoming a source of sustainable income.
Community-oriented, bees rely on one another to thrive.
Together. A simple word, but one with rich meaning at Food for the Hungry. During Gary Edmonds’ years with FH, he has often quoted the African Proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
A hive of bees swarms their honeycomb. I’d be running!
FH’s missional Purpose begins with this 8-lettered word. We go to the hard places. We seek to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our world. Despite the challenges we must face, we choose to go into the darkest areas. Yet, we go with the understanding that by going together–FH employees, donors, sponsors, community members, and community leaders–we can overcome poverty and establish thriving communities.
A promise for a life-giving future.
Bees allow us to enjoy the sweet, sticky prize of their hard work – honey. Throughout scripture, honey is used as a sign of hope. It is an indicator of richness and abundance of life. In Proverbs 24:13-14, Solomon counsels us:
“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” -Proverbs 24:13-14 ESV
With wisdom comes hope. Acquiring knowledge and training offers the means to find joy and the fullness of life Christ offers. Another example can be found in Exodus when the Lord brought the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. Through His promise of a land waiting for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, he gave them hope. Many of us are blessed to be able to open our refrigerator and pour a glass of milk. We can walk over to the kitchen pantry and find honey to sweeten our tea. To the Israelites, milk and honey meant more. They were not just a common grocery item, but they were a symbol. It was a sign of abundance and joy, of the future the Lord would provide.
Poak Sokkhom’s Story
But, bees and their honey are not only a sign of hope in the Bible! These tiny creatures and their honeycomb provide the opportunity for an abundant future for the most vulnerable. They are transforming lives by providing a source of sustainable income for families in FH communities.
Through FH’s training about sustainable livelihoods like beekeeping, Paok Sokkhom and her husband Some Thai are able to enjoy the abundance of life!
In one village in Cambodia, Paok Sokkhom, female pastor and local community leader, shared with FH that beekeeping has changed her life. Bees are incredibly small, one bee weighing a mere .00025 pounds. Yet, combined with the other workers in the hive, that busy bee provides a livelihood and a source of hope for an entire family! Because of FH’s training and encouragement, Poak Sokkhom has acquired new skills in beekeeping. She has built her own business which provides a sustainable income for her family by selling the honey from the bees. As a result, FH’s influence in the village has increased her capacity to lead. The entire community has an example in Paok Sokkhom and now has been given the opportunity to engage in income generating activities.
Setting an example of ultimate sustainable income.
Now, through these new businesses and sources for sustainable income, there is hope in the hard places. Like the Israelites, this village in Cambodia is tasting the abundance and joy the Lord promises. Because FH is walking with their church, Paok Sokkhom has been able to build relationships within the church family. She now shares her blessings with others, “I get the benefit from beekeeping, because God blessed me.” Her wish for other community members is that they would “follow God based on their own belief and flourish so that if people will see them, they can see God in them and they, too, will believe in Him.”
Paok Sokkhom and Some Thai learning beekeeping techniques and putting them to practice.
Paok Sokkhom’s story is just one example of the impact made when we go to the hard places – together. As you run in the opposite direction next time you encounter a bee, you might see him differently. May you take joy in recognizing the hope and fullness of life he can symbolize for so many families.
Feeling the buzz? If you’d like to partner with FH in helping to provide sustainable income by donating beehives for beekeepers like Paok Sokkhom, click here!
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