Adult Team Blog

Hunger Destroys Families

There’s an online video that depicts a mother walking her daughter to a train station, handing her a bagged lunch, seating her on the train, and then walking away. The family had run out of food and did not have the resources to continue caring for the girl and her sister. The parents made the agonizing choice to send one daughter away.

As a parent, my heart squeezes each time I watch the video. I know the images are recreations with actors, but the story is true. According to the video’s ending, UNICEF estimated in 2007 there were 25 million orphaned children in India. Thousands of families each day face starvation and poverty. Parents make the impossible choice of who gets to eat and who starves.

I have four children and am beyond blessed to have an overflowing pantry. I cannot imagine, though, having to say goodbye to a child because of unending hunger and exhausted resources.

Identity Crisis

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6–7).

During the summer of 2014, I walked the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a campus ministry. As a very recent college graduate, I was worried about the next phase of a new post-graduate life. What was I doing in the middle of Thailand? Where would I be after this summer?

One of the challenges I faced was asking complete strangers if they knew the name of Jesus. I saw the statistics. I knew Thailand was considered unreached. But surely someone on the street would recognize His name!

Not one soul I asked knew about Jesus. Surprised by the anger welling inside me, I escaped to a coffee shop to pray. Why did I know Him, but they did not?

Upon my return to the United States, I delayed my entrance to graduate school. I felt confused and guilty. I felt selfish for pursuing a goal that didn’t immediately put me back on the missions field.

Hungry Versus Hunger

“I’m hungry,” remarks my grown son. He opens the refrigerator door, studies the contents, and then declares, “There’s nothing in here to eat!” and walks away. Vegetables, milk, eggs, and a casserole sit on the shelves.

Contrast this scenario with refugees living with no food in war torn Syria or elsewhere. This is the reality of the hunger crisis plaguing our world on a daily basis. What can you and I do? 

Start by praying. Pray for those in this situation. Pray for creative ways to make your church aware of Global Hunger Relief and Global Hunger Sunday on October 9, 2016. In the past our church sold tickets for a secret meal. Imagine the surprise of the attendees when they received only a bowl of rice.

Sacrificial Giving

Earlier this year my pastor challenged church members to sacrifice something so they could give to ministries that help the needy. The point was to give something of value, not something left over or unneeded.

One family sold a valuable collectible. Another family canceled their cable and donated whatever they would have spent on their cable bill. Our children sold their favorite doll and toys and gave the proceeds.

Ultimately, several hundred dollars was raised to clothe and feed people both locally and globally. Can you imagine the impact such sacrificial giving would have if every Southern Baptist gave deeply to care for the hungry and poor?

The Global Hunger Relief Fund ministers to the needy in North America and around the world by offering help to those suffering from disasters, as well as those who struggle with chronic hunger. October 9 is Global Hunger Sunday. Ask God how He would have you help end hunger for the most vulnerable around the world.

Feed the Hungry

Rather than just a once-a-year emphasis like Global Hunger Sunday, some churches maintain a year-round global hunger missions plan that involves all age groups and missions organizations. Some events are churchwide, some specific to a particular age or life stage, and some sponsored by one organization but open to all. Events might include the following:

Churchwide

• Host a community Thanksgiving meal. Invite participants to bring nonperishable items for the church or community food pantry or an offering for Global Hunger Relief

• Schedule regular offerings for global hunger, the local food pantry, or the church benevolence fund—after Lord’s Supper services, one Sunday per quarter, or other times the church chooses.

• Invite a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary to share how funds given to the offering for Global Hunger Relief have been used to meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

Senior Adults

Mission: Involvement

Get involved.

This was my mission going into my freshman year. I can remember everyone telling me the college experience is what you make it, so I was determined to give it everything I had by getting involved in anything I could. I just knew that “involvement” was the key to having a successful college career.

So when the very first week of college arrived, I hit the ground running with my mission. I registered for a full load of classes, signed up for student government, pledged a sorority, joined a small group, volunteered, and planned on attending multiple campus ministry services throughout the week. My schedule was packed, and I was pumped for the amazing college life I was about to experience through all of my involvement. Mission accomplished.

Or so I thought.

Although my schedule left very little time to be alone, I felt incredibly lonely. The positions I held were draining and I wasn’t passionate about any of them. Despite the multiple Bible studies and worship services throughout the week, I felt spiritually parched and useless to God. Somehow, my mission failed.

Who Am I?

Daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend?

Student, teacher, medical professional, sales representative?

Missionary, church staff, volunteer, leader, advocate?

We constantly need to ask ourselves, Is who I am defined by my group of friends or family? Is it defined by my status, job, or leadership position?

The Christian answer is simple: be defined by who we are in Christ. Our identity is in Him—saved, adopted, and loved forever. But is it that simple? What gets in our way?

Temptation, as in the Garden of Eden and with Jesus in the wilderness, comes at us with words that attempt to repaint reality and cast doubt on the truth we know.

In the Garden of Eden, God made man in His own image and His likeness. It was good, and everything was whole. There was freedom, choice, meaningful work, togetherness, and the absence of shame.

Finding Refreshment in Prayer

In Luke 5:15–17, we see Jesus’ source of strength sandwiched between His ministry: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” (Bold added.)

Jesus was busy about ministry. He was healing and teaching large crowds all the time. So how did He refuel? Where did His strength come from? He regularly stepped away from the demands on Him to pray, to talk with and listen to His Father.

Whatever It Takes to Spread the Gospel

Some of you live in big cities, with the nations surrounding you on every street corner. But some of you are like me—you live in small towns and smaller cities, with neighbors who, for the most part, look, act, and think as you do. So how do we put the principles found in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 into practice in our daily lives, doing whatever it takes to spread the gospel to all people?

I have learned to be the first to bend—the first to be flexible, the first to apologize, the first to compromise. No, that doesn’t mean I compromise on the gospel. Jesus was, is, and will always be the only way to God. His death, burial, and resurrection are the foundations of our faith, and the Word of God is true. Those things don’t change.

Reaching Others “by All Means”

We live in a world defined by boundaries. We talk of setting boundaries with people, with our jobs, and even with our churches. We want “space” and “me time.”

Quite simply, we think of ourselves a lot.

WMU’s emphasis theme for 2016–2018 encourages us to do something else—to think of reaching others with the gospel “by all means.”

In 1 Corinthians 9:22b, Paul tells us how he is willing to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means [he] might save some.” Rather than talking about the ways that he is excluding people, Paul encourages us by his example to include others, regardless of socioeconomic divisions.

Why is Paul willing to do this? “ I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (v. 23).

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