Even in Lockdown “I Was Hungry and You Fed Me”
The world is in crisis. While governments say lockdown, Jesus says, “look up.”
“So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
– Jesus (Luke 21:28)
When we look up, Jesus shows us how to take kingdom-focused action. One of our African YWAM-FM leaders wrote:
“My dear friend, If someone had told me the beginning of the year that I will be coordinating donations for food parcels, coaching people setting up soup kitchens, drawing up menus and shopping lists, I would have said, ‘No way!’ But here I am doing exactly that. It brings so much joy to my heart…knowing that those people and children will go to bed with something in their stomachs.”
Millions In Need
Some places are harder hit by the lockdown than others. In India, the government gave only a 4-hour public notice before their lockdown.
Millions of impoverished Indians depend on daily wages that are barely enough for meager food and shelter for themselves and their families. These people had to stop work immediately. The lockdown included shutting down all public transportation: trains & buses. Many packed up a few belongings and started walking to their villages. For some, this was a walk of hundreds of miles.
People in other countries of South Asia are also desperate. In this region, YWAM disciple-making teams, along with disciples in the fellowships they started, looked up.
“Lord Jesus what shall we do?” These are national workers, not foreign missionaries. They needed to look with a fresh perspective at ways to love their neighbors. How could they help meet the needs of those around them?
They Took Action
Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you fed me.”
They took action and began to distribute food to the hungry. To avoid dependence on outside help, they used their own limited funds to buy supplies. Yet with the size of the crisis, they soon came to an end of local resources.
In the midst of an emergency, temporary outside assistance is often required. A fellow YWAM from a distant country knew of their work and she offered to help. For her part, she would share the need within her own family, circle of friends, and churches. The response was far beyond her expectations. Through generous, sacrificial giving the work continued to grow.
What Happened Next?
There are so many stories from our teams working in multiple locations across different countries. Here are a few:
“Our friends and co-workers in South Asia feed the desperately needy that were right in their neighborhoods. We are so grateful. Hundreds of people were provided with food, fuel, and other necessities.”
“Helping the poor through food distribution is giving us good credibility in the communities. Our FM workers use this to also meet people’s spiritual needs.”
“One leader in a very unreached area has been giving food to the local children almost every day. The believers in this region were often persecuted by local, radical Hindus. This brother’s testimony of serving the poor and needy made such a good impact. They all were very happy and blessed by the help. Some of the Hindus now think differently and are thanking him for taking such initiative.”
“Just today I got this note from a team leader in a very difficult location: ‘One of our YWAM sisters had distributed 10 packets among 10 widows woman. She was saying that many people was very happy. These ladies was crying and giving blessings with theirs good words.’”
Widow With 4 Children
“…there is one widow women she lives with 4 children. She works in somebody house as maid but they fully close the door for her and they didn’t help her with anything. So we help them and they are now new baby believers. They are so thankful to God.”
“There are some family members that are very old. When our co-workers gave them things, it gave them relief. Their eyes were full with tears. They felt how much God cared them in their time of difficulty and they shared their joy with me by phone.”
“Yesterday’s distribution most of the families were from slums. Believers pray with their neighbors for provision and healing. All private clinics are closed, they are not able to get treatment. This has given believers more opportunities to pray and share the gospel. This distribution has given more credibility to believers. We are praying that new fellowships would start through these initiatives. All the families are very thankful for the groceries. Most of them are laborers and housemaids.”
8 Days With Nothing to Eat
“One woman is a widow and has one son. She does the job of a maid and lives in a rented house. In the last eight days, there was nothing for them to eat. In the morning we called her and told her that she will get a food bag today. At that moment she said nothing to us, but when she got the food bag she started crying. Really God’s big mercy has been upon our people. They went happily to their home. We helped nineteen families.”
“A local Pastor is partnering with us. He and his extended network of believers found out about a village that had been completely sealed off during the lockdown. They made arrangements with the local police and were escorted door to door to give out provisions in that village. The police have come to them to tell of other needy people to help.”
“A local leader helped eight families through food distribution. Six of the families started coming to her house to hear the Gospel and to receive prayer for physical healing. They are all healed now! Six people are meeting regularly and two want to be baptized.”
Repenting of Burning Bibles
“Our church planting team was distributing food items. One lady was standing a bit away, hoping to get a food bag but didn’t dare ask. Last year she had burnt three bibles and tried to stop ministry in that community. The team knew about it. During distribution one team member called her and gave a food bag. The lady shared how her family is suffering without food and she has been struggling with a skin problem from last year. The YWAMer ask her to repent for what she did. The lady responded and invited her into house to pray for her family. She will be doing follow up with this family. God is using our small effort to make a big difference.”
New Disciples, New Churches
“Our FM team leader and local leaders provided food for three different communities. They have many opportunities to share the gospel. Two days back, after food distribution, four people came to him.
They shared that a long time back they had heard about Jesus but didn’t really have any interest to know more. But as the team has been going regularly and watching them how they are serving food, they said, ‘Earlier we had only heard. Now we see Jesus love in you.’
They asked him, ‘What we need to do to follow Jesus?’ He shared the gospel and asked them to pray the sinner’s prayer. Now he is doing follow up with them. He is planning to start three new churches. Thank God for the wonderful work! Thank you for your prayers support and encouragement.” [Story update: In each community, people here have committed to follow Jesus–around 110 so far.]
Obey the Great Commandment and the Great Commission
Loving our neighbor is a command. We do it unconditionally, without expecting people to decide to follow Jesus. He said, “Let your light shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
Good things result from good works. Often the fruit of good works is people turning to follow Jesus. Over these weeks we have seen this happening in amazing ways among Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim people. We celebrate!
Please pray for the needy throughout the world during this crisis. Pray their needs would be met: body, soul, mind and spirit. Pray also for wisdom for our workers and for the local believers to balance food distribution along with helping the new believers become obedient to Jesus.
“’Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?’ …’I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.”