Poverty. War. Slave trading. Global Warming.
There are a number of global crises affecting our planet today. Regardless of what you think the most important is, I hope hunger is on your list. Every day thousands die from a lack of food. In my lifetime, the food crisis has only gotten worse. Since 2005 global food prices have risen 80 percent! In the last year the prices of popular foods such as rice, beans and wheat has doubled. Much of the world faces an unprecedented challenge to feed itself; more and more often it is failing.
I hope I don’t have to convince you of the urgency to address the hunger crisis afflicting our planet. As Christians we should take seriously Jesus’ call for us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To me this obviously includes meeting peoples’ basic needs when they cannot do so on their own. What might take some convincing is that this problem will take radical change in our lives to fix. We won’t end world hunger by donating $5 worth of food to the local food pantry every month. To ensure children in Africa, Asia, South America, Texas, Tennessee and everywhere else have food, we need to re-prioritize our spending habits. This has to happen in our own families and in our government.
According to a variety of sources, the war in Iraq will possibly cost the U.S. up to 3 trillion dollars (that’s $3,000,000,000,000) once you account for the actual cost of troop deployment, rebuilding Iraq, and the ripple effects the war has had on the global economy (think gas and food prices). For an up to the second estimation of the current cost, head to www.costofwar.com and watch the ticker rise at an incredible rate. My point here is not whether war is right or wrong, but that feeding hungry people IS right. In fact, it is MORE right than war. I fear that in the end we’ll look back and our priorities, as a “Christian” nation, will have been 1) retaliate against our aggressors, 2) consume whatever we want, and 3) help the downtrodden. To me that seems backwards.
June 25th, 2008 was set aside by Compassion International as a day of prayer and fasting for the global food crisis. If you missed it, that’s okay. I want to challenge all of our readers to dedicate time to praying and fasting for this crisis. I want to challenge you to re-evaluate your personal priorities and your view of this nation’s priorities. I want to challenge you to do whatever necessary to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25). I’ve been challenged to this recently and I hope you feel that tug inside yourself as well. I hope you hear the call in your life to sacrifice for others. A cup of expensive coffee, the next new movie in the theatre, a new CD on iTunes, an iPhone 3G. Let’s meet the challenge together.
An interesting site I’d like you to check out is www.freerice.com which facilitates the donation of rice to the hungry through the United Nations World Food Program. When you visit the site and play their word game every right answer triggers a donation of 20 grains of rice. They raise these funds through unobtrusive advertising and 100% of funds raised goes towards food donations. If you are bored and online, why not go play for a few minutes? Your idle time turns into full bellies. Check out the stats on the FAQ page or their totals of donated rice. The numbers are impressive but the need is even greater.
As we prepare to move to Arequipa I am forced to come to terms with these facts. Many of my neighbors will be poor. Many of them will be malnourished and hungry. Most of the residents of the outlying areas live on one good meal a day. I have a hard time reconciling their hunger with my comfort. Even now as I type this my stomach is full. I had a good cheap lunch at Taco Bell and I’m looking forward to another good meal tonight. Pray for us as we prepare to jump into a culture far different than our own and attempt to live as Peruvians. Pray for us as we attempt to live a life of love and service to our neighbors and new friends. We’re praying for you.
Other sites that you should check out:
- www.one.org - join the movement seeking to end global poverty and hunger
- www.poverty.com - check out the “International Aid” page
- www.costofwar.com - see where your tax money is going, and what it could do
- www.freerice.com - increase your vocabulary, fill empty stomachs
- www.compassion.com - sponsor a child
While every newspaper has their biases, this article from the Washington Post was very interesting.