On Saturday, we met in the hotel lobby at 4:30am to start the journey back home. We were exhausted and bouncing between many emotions. We were missing our families and friends and excited to see them. At the same time we were very sad to say goodbye to the people from Food For The Hungry. We couldn’t be more impressed with FH and their mission and approach. I had a rudimentary understanding of their mission and approach before we arrived in Bolivia, but I leave extremely impressed. They are extremely organized and deliberate in their approach. In this sense they are like a machine. But I think we were most impressed with the staff and how they serve. After all, a great plan and approach is nothing without people that have a heart to serve people with love.
I was very impressed with the strategic plans or project plans that they would share. But what I will remember most is:
- How community members and leaders, unprompted, spoke of FH and how integral they are to their community.
- How we would run across kids by the side of the road that would run and throw their arms around an FH staff member and hug them with everything they had.
- How the mothers we met with in the nutrition centers would pull a FH member aside and ask for guidance on some issue they were facing.
- How the staff was so humble…there are amazing stories of extraordinary things that the staff was doing that wasn’t part of any job description but yet hit the bulls eye of holding their plans loosely and loving people the way Jesus modeled.
I now fully understand why Blackhawk partnered with FH in Bolivia. They match our ethos, have a great plan, a methodical approach, and have awesome staff. A big focus of these trips is to build relationships. In this instance we were able to build relationships with the staff. Each FH staff member has relationships with 200 families. We had the opportunity to build relationships with these people and mutually share and grow together. One of the most emotional moments is when the staff thanked us for helping and recharging their batteries. They are thanking us? They are telling us that we recharged their batteries? Are you kidding me?
We got to see the hands of feet of Jesus in action a very real way, in conditions and with obstacles that can and would overwhelm anyone. The most common question I expect I will get in the coming weeks is “So what did you guys do?”. If I sense the person wants the short answer I will say we worked alongside an amazing organization called FH that is attacking poverty in a variety of ways and I will share some things that we did with them. If I sense the person wants and will understand more, I might say we built relationships with staff who each impact 200 families. If I sense that they want more, I will tell them I saw two teams encouraging and helping each other in a way that would please Christ.
If you have been moved at all by hearing about FH this week, we encourage you to sponsor a child. This is FH’s primary source of funding and allows the amazing staff to call continue the incredible work they are doing. If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Food for the Hungry, email Maddie Blanchard at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to sponsor a child of a specific gender, be sure to include that in the email. Maddie will get in touch with you about next steps.
Want to hear more stories about our time in Bolivia? Consider attending our Show & Tell on Sunday, December 10th at 10:30am! We’ll be meeting in room 205B at Brader Way and would love to see you there!