EDITOR’S NOTE: October 13 is Global Hunger Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.
SOUTH AFRICA – Mr. Kumalo* was a thin, fragile man who lived in a small, modest home. His house was empty, devoid of wife and children. It was sparsely furnished with only the barest of necessities, but he welcomed visitors inside as if he lived in a castle.
In his dimly lit abode, the one possession he treasured most wasn’t a family heirloom or a religious icon. It was a homemade bed. Knowing outsiders would not understand its value, he explained its significance: He had lain down to die there several months earlier.
Kumalo had been diagnosed with AIDS. Many of his neighbors in the community were HIV positive, but few had their disease develop into a full-blown case of AIDS. Kumalo was one of the unfortunate ones.
First came the stigma of the disease. Then came the fear and shunning from his neighbors. Finally came the day when his wife packed up their four children with their things and left. Everyone had abandoned him. To make matters worse, his health had failed so badly he couldn’t work his fields. That’s when he lay down to die.
But God saw Kumalo in his need and sent help.
Workers from a local ministry came to visit. They found Kumalo lying in bed, waiting for the inevitable. He was dehydrated and weak from hunger. He could not take his medication because he didn’t have the strength. Without food and nutrition, the medicine would do little good anyway.
The local case workers began to help him. They brought him nutritious food provided by Global Hunger Relief (GHR) funds from the Southern Baptist Convention. They taught him to prepare and eat good, nutritious food every day and encouraged him to take his medication.
An amazing transformation came over Kumalo. After a few months of quality care and good nutrition, he regained his strength. Soon, he could prepare his own food, donated through GHR funds. Ultimately, he wanted to return to farming and produce his own food so he would not be dependent on others.
Eventually, he reached his goal. A local ministry supported by GHR provided the seeds and materials to grow crops on the land surrounding his home. He proudly smiled as he looked at the plots of green leafy vegetables – squash, beans, and corn. His bed had been a sign of impending death; the vegetables were a sign of abundant life.
The change in his physical health wasn’t the only transformation in Kumalo’s life. As the local workers shared food and seeds with him, they also told him about the One who gives life eternal. Kumalo enjoys a healthy and abundant life now and will enjoy abundant life for eternity.
On October 13, churches in the U.S. will highlight Global Hunger Relief and take up a special offering to help people like Kumalo. The money you give – even if it’s a small amount – makes a difference in countless lives. Only God knows the ripple effect created when you relieve hunger pangs and give people hope for a better future. Allow Him to use your resources to help those in desperate need.
Global Hunger Relief
Global Hunger Relief is a partnership of seven Southern Baptist entities that collaborate to address hunger needs in the United States and around the world. The Cooperative Program’s support of SBC entities enables 100 percent of the gifts received by GHR to be used in hunger projects carried out by Southern Baptist missionaries and partners. Many churches give attention to the work of GHR, formerly known as the World Hunger Fund, on Global Hunger Sunday in October each year.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.