Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Change the World Wednesday

Today's Change the World Wednesday is brought to you by my friend Sarah.  Her and her husband felt moved to do something to help combat this huge famine crisis in the horn of Africa.  She had an idea, but God's idea was bigger.  Perfect example of someone reaching out to do what Jesus said and then God stepping in to provide everything needed.

A Good Day

Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to be involved in a massive service project at our church.  We had been hoping for months to partner with Numana, an international hunger relief organization, to host a meal-packing event at our church, with the food to be directed to a refugee camp in Kenya.  We thought we could pull off a 25,000 meal event, and we were so excited to play a part (even a small one) in providing emergency help to people involved in the dire drought and famine situation in eastern Africa. 

However, our church staff encouraged (as they always do) that if Heartland was going to do this event, we were going to aim to do it really well.  They set a goal to package 100,000 meals (which would take about 600 volunteers and $30,000).  In order to accomplish this feat, we would be forced to wait until after the first of the year…we didn’t have an extra $30K in the 2011 budget.  We were excited by the prospect of being able to make a greater impact but were simultaneously heart-broken at having to wait (it is estimated that 2,000 people per day are dying of starvation in the Horn of Africa). 

Then, God moved.

A generous family from our church, approached our pastor about making an anonymous end-of-year gift of…you guessed it…$30,000.  They knew nothing about our hopeful intentions for this Numana event.  Our pastor prayed with this couple and offered some options about ways they might invest this gift.

So, we got the call a couple days before Thanksgiving.  Our pastor said, “We’re gonna to do the Numana event.  We want to pack 100,000 meals, and we want to pack them on December 17.” (That was three weeks away and happened to be the weekend before Christmas). 

With such short notice, during the busiest time of the year, we were hopeful that we could scrape together the 600 volunteers we would need to package 100,000 meals.  Suffice it to say, God had other plans for this event. 

When the dust settled, 1,100 people had signed up to volunteer.  People from our church were inviting their neighbors, Cub Scout packs, and basketball teams to be involved.  People who had never been to a church before were planning to come help pack meals.  What a fantastic outreach opportunity and a way for our church to exhibit the true heart of Christmas. 

 We had not anticipated this “problem,” and we really didn’t want to turn people away who wanted to serve. Logistics were reworked, more money showed up, and arrangements were made for extra food to package. 

Bottom line, 141,288 meals are heading for the Horn of Africa.  It was a good day.

The atrium of our church full of workstations
 The boys with Grandpa and Mema
 Sarah visiting with friends who came to serve
 Ryan doing some "heavy" lifting

 Fun with hairnets

After this day, not only were thousands of hungry people fed, but I imagine possibly a thousand well-fed people were changed.  I can't imagine packing high protein meals for starving people a week before Christmas and not being changed.  Thank you Sarah for being an beautiful example of how we can all do something - it might be big or it might be small - but we should all strive to find our something.  (p.s.  This is the first time I've heard of Numana.  Anyone else know about them or worked with them before?)

               Pin It


  1. That was an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing it. I work for Numana, and we heard nothing be great things about the community at Heartland! Like one of our volunteers from Dodge City said, "It only takes a spark to start a fire." Great job, y'all changed the world!

  2. Wow! I loved the line "After this day, not only were thousands of hungry people fed, but I imagine possibly a thousand well-fed people were changed."  
    It reminded me of what Robert Egger, author of "Begging for a Change" told me the last time we met in D.C.:  "We're not only feeding the physical hunger of people we are helping, we're filling the hunger for community and caring in the people who are helping." Thanks for this great blog!

  3. It was an experience that encouraged, inspired and challenged me... another Numana employee to stay the course because churches are seeing the vision to help the poor. 141,000 meals will find their way to Dadaab refugee camp and the thousands of desperate people praying for a meal. Mothers praying for provision for their family, children going to bed hungry and communities mourning the deaths of even more starving neighbors will find hope because of Heartland's willingness boldly do something to save the starving. Great job Heartland! Thanks Sarah for the beautiful words!

  4. I also work for Numana, and love hearing these stories of how the Lord provided above and beyond! Thank you for sharing!

  5. I have to agree with Jay Lewis.  Your event was so encouraging and it inspired me so much!  It was an amazing event!!  I am blessed to work for Numana and to be able to attend events like Heartland!!

  6. This just made me teary.  (Okay, I'm a little emotional already, but still!)  Our God is so BIG.  So much bigger than anything we can hope for or plan for.  What a beautiful illustration of God's people being the body, serving His people.  Thanks, Sarah!  And thanks, Captain, for being faithful to change the world one Wednesday at a time. :)  xoxo

  7. I love the "other plans" that our God has for us....if we are willing to lay down our own and be open to His!  We appreciate you and your vision for living beyond the American Dream of a life of leisure and excess for the sake of those who go without on a hourly basis.  Captain Murdock,
    may God continue to guide and direct your ship, and all that precious cargo!  I work for Numana and never tire of God's people being His hands and feet.  Blessings to you-overflowing!

  8. Great story and even better event. The People at Heartland were AWESOME and I look forward to working with you guys again!

  9. I'm a little late to the party here, but I too work with Numana - I wasn't able to attend this event, but as one who helps out with social media on Facebook and Twitter among other things, I love seeing people blog about their experiences at our events, especially with pics - it's so fun to see the stories from your angle! Thanks for sharing! :)