Community Covenant Church’s World Hunger Project

Post a Comment » Written on June 22nd, 2010     
Filed under: Community Development
-Scotts Valley, CA

It all began in January 2004, when Pastor Mike mentioned that 15,000 children die EVERY DAY in developing nations, and for the amount of money the U.S. and Europe spend every year on pet food—slightly over 13 billion dollars—the health and nutrition needs of these nations could be met. (Statistics from Bread for the World)

And we asked ourselves, “So what can we DO about this?”  It seemed, not much, but we decided to launch out and try to make a difference.  Initially we thought we would select a particular area and send donations for about six months, then selecting another area in need.

We began supporting a CWR project in the Central African Republic where we sent money for tree saplings and seeds for an agriculture project.  We next supported relief for refugees from the violence in Darfur in Western Sudan, also through CWR.  From 2004 – 2006, my son was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger in West Africa, and we became aware of drought and famine there.  Our donations were funneled through CWR to the United Nations World Food Program for this effort.

Then in August 2006, CWR asked us to help fund an agriculture project in the South Sudan.  Our donations helped this group of Sudanese Covenanters, many just returned refugees from the 20-year civil war, to begin a new life.  Donations helped them rent farm land, a tractor, tools and seed. Church leaders and workers were paid with corn grown on the land.  Over the years, the project became very successful.  When there was flooding in other areas of South Sudan, people working on this agriculture project were able to share out of their plenty.  We then set the goal to help them purchase land of their own close to their own homes.

October 2006, a revelation!
Pastor James Tang paid us a visit.  Pastor Tang, a Covenant missionary pastor, is Sudanese and experienced first-hand some of the tragedy on his country by the civil war that began around 1980, although he said it had been building up for many years before.  We listened in fascination to his stories as he showed us pictures of the folks we had been helping out.  The most amazing thing was that he had wanted to come and meet this congregation who had made the agriculture project a reality.  He expected a very large congregation…I suppose we have perhaps 150 to 200 in attendance each Sunday; we’re a family-size church where everyone tries to know everyone else….so we seemed like a rather small group to him.  But what truly amazed us was the fact that it was our little congregation, pretty much all by itself, that supported this project.  We had no idea! We had thought our donations became part of a large fund that supported the project.

That revelation really changed us!  We became aware that God was truly working through us to help our brothers and sisters in the Sudan.  We also began to feel a greater responsibility for them.

Since that time, the land purchase has recently become a reality.  Our next goal is to help them put in a well.  In the meantime, war has never really been far off; attacks by Arabs supported by the northern government happen sporadically. Covenanters along with other villagers, have lost their lives.  There has also been severe drought and famine.  People are starving.  We feel these things more personally now.  We know those folks over there, in that community in Africa, are our brothers and sisters, in plenty and in want.

I would challenge other churches to contact CWR and see if there is a project they could support.  We challenge our members to be involved in these ways:

1)    Regular prayer, individual and congregational, for God’s direction in how to be of help, for the CWR workers and the Sudanese involved in the agriculture project, and for a lasting peace in the area

2)    Fasting as a symbolic way of acknowledging world hunger—skipping one meal a week or fasting one day a month, for example

3)    Donations, perhaps of an equal amount spent on pet food or the amount spent on a meal in a restaurant.

These seem like small acts, but God has put our small acts together to make a difference in a community far away; but really, not so different in God’s eyes from ours.  We challenge other congregations to do the same.

Written by Judy Hedstrom, member Scotts Valley Community Covenant Church, California

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