On October 13 at 2 pm, I was 4/5 of the way through a half Ironman event, but had no gas left in the tank and was running on fumes. With my energy ebbing away, I had to will my body to keep going. The words in my head kept cadence with the sounds of my running: Just keep running, just keep running, just keep….
And then I remembered what I had written to people who had sponsored me to do this event: “…what better way to do my first triathlon than to dedicate it to the boys and girls of Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala, the Philippines and a host of other developing countries where Food for the Hungry works. Oh, and I’m raising funds for these children, too. By racing for them, my hope and prayer is that they will get an education, have better health care, and get more to eat. Won’t you join me in helping them?”
So now, it was time to deliver on that promise to those children. If they can run miles and miles to and from school every day on empty stomachs, then surely I can finish this race with a Gatorade stand waiting for me at every other mile marker!
By God’s grace, I was able to muster enough strength to push through to the finish line within the time allowed. It was a grueling 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running. One of the toughest physical challenges I’ve ever faced.
But it was nowhere nearly as difficult as the life that many people around the world face each day just to survive. Today is World Food, a day to reemember the people facing hunger, and my hat is off to them.
Hats Off to Larry
My hat also goes off to Food for the Hungry (FH) founder, Larry Ward. He faced so many obstacles and challenges in starting up FH in 1971. He was a giant among humanitarians, with a vision to rid the world of hunger.
In the very first letter that he wrote to his friends upon founding this ministry, Larry wrote, “I am here in obedience to what I have to take as the clear call of God. Never have I sensed His presence more; never have I been more sure of His leading. I am burdened, terribly burdened, about the 10,000 people who die of starvation every day.”
With those words, Dr. Ward launched a ministry that I am now privileged and honored to co-lead. It is a ministry that has grown a thousandfold since those early years. And many of you reading this have been and continue to be faithful partners in our fight to end hunger in the name of Jesus. We have made a lot of progress in this fight in the past 40 years. Yet much remains to be done.
In Larry’s appeal letter, he wrote, “Through these years, I have looked directly into the haunting face of hunger. I have seen its pleading eyes and outstretched hand. I have held it in my arms. I have watched it die. All I can do is to say, ‘Here I am, Lord, send me!’ I’ll go. But I count on you to pray.”
As we remember today those who are hungry in the world, I count on you to pray and to give. We have been blessed with so much. Let’s take every opportunity we can to bless others who need help. And my prayer is that one day, you and I will celebrate the end of hunger in this world. Just like God promised. Just like Larry Ward envisioned.