I am deeply indebted to their sacrifice and generosity.
However, as a youth, I was skeptical of mission work. I couldn’t understand why complete strangers would do good things for me and my family – sometimes even at a high risk for their safety.
What was in it for them?
In one of the trips that I took with Food for the Hungry (FH), I heard the echo of my own old thoughts.
“Why you come here from far away to see us?”
The question came from a Cambodian mother who was the leader of a savings group composed mostly of women.
Through the ministry of FH, these women were learning that they were created by a loving God who gave them talents and gifts. They had been meeting regularly to study God’s Word and how to apply God’s principles to the basics of life – such as parenting, health care, money management and livelihood development.
These women were discovering their true worth and identity in Christ.
That they could now publicly voice their thoughts testified to God’s powerful work of setting people free from bondage.
“Women now have the right to decide for their families,” the group leader said. “Before, only men could do that.”
So why does FH serve in Cambodia? For the same reason we serve in Burundi, Peru, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Philippines and in many other poverty-stricken countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
God called – and FH responded.
Today in Cambodia, more than 100 wells have been built and nearly 700 households have installed sand filters to remove contaminants in water. Farmers receive training in effective agricultural practices and now produce better crops. Parents support their children’s education. Local leaders take responsibility for the development of their own communities.
You may be oceans away from a country in need. But when you partner with FH to end poverty, you’re really doing mission work that transforms a life, physically and spiritually.
It’s real, and it’s personal.
Rez Gopez-Sindac is an Austin-based writer and editor covering faith, church management and global development.