While the answer may differ for everyone, for Steve Wille in Phoenix, Arizona, answering God’s call to help a community in need meant immersing himself fully in another country. It also meant remembering to bring his work gloves!
A Desire to Help the Most Vulnerable
Steve and his family had been on other mission trips before. But something changed after he learned more about Food for the Hungry’s (FH) vision of responding to God’s call to end poverty for the most vulnerable worldwide by helping communities become self-supporting.
He felt called to do more … and making a lasting impact.
What It Takes to Help a Community in Need
With this call to do more, Steve, his wife, and their 18-year-old daughter decided they wanted to really immerse themselves in a meaningful cause. So they jumped at the chance to join FH for a week in the Dominican Republic.
They spent two days in the community of Sierra Prieta, where their church had been involved for years. The rest of the week was spent in Hoyo Oscuro, where FH programs were just beginning to take root.
Steve Wille and his daughter, Caeli, visiting a community in the Dominican Republic.
In only just a few days, Steve began to learn what it really takes to help a community in need. Some of his takeaways came as quite a surprise… in his own words:
The Power of Work Gloves
“While we were only in Sierra Prieta for two days, I was working at the community center. Four-year-old Elnon was working with me and wanted to use my work gloves. We worked side-by-side for two days and developed a relationship with him and his family that continues to this day. We visit with them every year and have watched them grow — a very special family to us. Thank God for work gloves!”
Returning Home With Fuller Hearts
“We were told we may receive more than we give. Oh my, we learned so much from the beautiful people of Hoyo Oscuro! They are generally very happy with very little, very reliant, faithful to God, and family-focused. It was a great perspective check about how to love unconditionally and with no strings attached!”
The Value of Time Over “Stuff”
“Our projects in the community included water trenches, latrines, and the community center, but we were really there to spend time with people and be Jesus with skin on. A big responsibility, but awesome to feel their love back in return, to see their appreciation… and to give all the glory to God. We are a part of reconfirming their faith in Him!”
Once a Year Is Not Enough!
“Every year, our daughter, Caeli, states that we ARE returning, adding: ‘Once a year is not enough.’ So just recently we took another trip, just the two of us, and loved on our sponsored kids while hanging out with our local FH friends!”
Visiting two different communities in the same week became an unexpected blessing and an opportunity to see the incredible impact child sponsors have on the families and communities they support.
“God blessed us by showing us Sierra Prieta six to seven years into a program, and then we were immediately able to compare it to Hoyo Oscuro, one to two years in,” Steve concluded. “We would not be involved if this was simply a charity that gave the community things and tried to fix them,” Steve concludes. “The concept of helping them become self-sufficient is KEY. Don’t give them a fish … teach them to fish!”
Are you interested in learning how you can transform a community in need?
If you’ve had the privilege of serving a community in need firsthand, you can most likely relate to Steve’s experience in the Dominican Republic. At Food for the Hungry, it gives us great joy to know lives are being transformed from the inside out when work, feed, teach, and love children and families around the world — together. And we don’t stop there! We know when it’s time to leave. We develop exit plans so that communities can invest in their own future.
If you’re interested in becoming more involved or you’d like to sponsor a child, click here to learn more.
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