Business or economy class? This is a very relevant question in relief and development work around the world.
I recently hosted a friend who flew business class to the United Kingdom per his organization’s policy on international flights. The price difference from business to economy for his five-hour return flight was about $8,000, so naturally I joked with him about the Kingdom ministry Food for the Hungry could do for the price of his several hours of business class travel.
Humor aside—our conversation highlighted a challenge that organizations like FH face in places like South Sudan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Guatemala or Bolivia. How do you ask people to live away from their family and in challenging conditions to help the poor? How do you ask people—who are qualified for jobs that will set them up with a very comfortable lifestyle—give it up for field work?
It is truly God’s question to these great people. And FH staff are full of men and women who have chosen a less comfortable lifestyle to bring God’s truth to the hurting.
Let me state that God often does call his servants to answer his call in places of influence and refinement where the benefits are more generous. Scripture and history are full of examples of such servants (Joseph, Daniel, Lydia, Thomas More, William Wilberforce, Abraham Kuyper, etc.) But scripture and history also highlight examples of top talent living with less refined benefits (Jeremiah, Paul, Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, John Stott, etc.)
One such man called to live in less refined surroundings is Yves Habumugisha, Country Director for FH/South Sudan.
He epitomizes the kind of Kingdom excellence that is recognized in secular and Kingdom circles alike – whether by other ministries or talent competitors like the World Bank, the U.S. State Department or the United Nations.
Yves is leading a team of men and women who are sacrificing time away from their families to help the people of South Sudan have access to better education, health and food security.
Yves has advanced degrees from prestigious universities in Africa and the U.S. He has a broad range of global experience that opens many doors of opportunity – the kind that would include business class travel and the benefits that come from high-level corporate positions.
So I am humbled and grateful, returning from South Sudan, where Yves serves selflessly in the hot and often dusty environment of the field, that God called some of his top talent to serve with FH despite the siren calls of business class travel and more comfortable benefits elsewhere.
So my prayer today is that FH will steward well the talented men and women God has called to serve with us. And to say thank you as a donor for making the sacrifices that you do to support these men and women in the field. May we pray God’s protection, favor and joy on them for choosing an economy over business class lifestyle.