Sunday, June 17, 2007

Open Conference for Korean Pastors

Open Conference for Korean Pastors in New York City

Presentation on CitiHope International: Food aid for Malawi

Ahn-nyung ha-she-yoh! [Hello]:

I would like to share with you what I shared with pastors in Korea in April of this year. After lecturing at Hyupsung University, my wife and I led a 4-day pastors retreat on the spirituality of Henri Nouwen who was my teacher. During dinner conversation, I shared with Pastor Kwon my ministry in Malawi feeding AIDS orphans and abandoned children. After I shared this message, Rev. Kwon, told me God spoke to him very clearly to begin supporting Citihope every month with a $1,000 offering from his church to feed hungry orphans in Malawi.

I shared the same message of how AIDS and famine were affecting the lives of one million orphans in Malawi, and what we could do to help them with Rev. and Mrs. Jongbok Kim, pastor of Yeonsoo Methodist Church, and Rev. and Mrs. Jong Soo Kim, Pastor of Sheshin Methodist Church. Tey too said they wanted to help us feed orphans in Malawi. And so, there is now a mission connection between some churches in Korea and CitiHope International in Malawi. I hope the same kind of relationship can be developed here tonight with many of you.

Here’s the Gospel message I shared with pastors and Methodist Women in Seoul (John 6: 1-13)

How Did Jesus Feed Hungry People?

The Feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four Gospels. Among other truths, it illustrates the principle of spiritual multiplication: “little is much when God is in it.” There always enough resources to meet needs when God is involved.

As the Jewish Passover Feast drew near, Jesus was going about doing what he did for a living. He was an itinerant evangelist, prophet, teacher and healer. He performed miracles as signs of his spiritual authority and mission as Messiah. He wasn’t in the business of humanitarian assistance or food aid. He did not run an NGO. He was just a teacher, like I am at Drew, or you are at your local church.

Great crowds came to hear Jesus preach. The crowd stayed so late one day, they were hungry. “Where shall we buy food for these people to eat?” Jesus asked his disciples. Philip answered him: “It would take eight months wages.” Although he did not have the means to feed them, Jesus had compassion on the crowd. To perform the miracle of feeding such a crowd, he called forth the resources from the crowd. Andrew said: “Here is a boy with five small loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Oh-Byung-Yee-Uh [loaves and fish] for relief and development!

Remember the principle of spiritual multiplication: “Little is much when God is in it.”
5 loaves + 2 fish = 7 food products. Seven is God’s perfect number. It would be enough.

Although he did not do professional relief and development work (as CitiHope and other NGO’s do), Jesus had the people sit down in rows and fed them (similar to what is done in the refugee camps, feeding stations and orphan care centers in Africa).

Then Jesus took the bread the boy had offered, gave thanks, and distributed to those that were seated on the grass. He did the same with the fish. There were about 5,000 men who were fed, and there was enough food left over to fill 12 baskets (6:11-13).

CitiHope currently is providing a million meals, enough to feed 3,000 orphans a day, as well as other and other hungry Malawian families who have come to rely on our food aid. But we need to feed hungry people the way Jesus did: by calling forth their resources, not just focusing on their obvious needs. The miracle he performed that day was not just the magic of multiplication, but the example of sharing and offering to God what little you think you have so that God can leverage the resources to meet the need with plenty to spare.

This is exactly want we are doing through our growing partnership between local churches in Malawi and local churches here in the USA and Korea. CitiHope seeks to connect resources with needs. They grow as much corn as they can, but we have to help provide the nutritional supplements so that everybody gets to eat food. We are helping Christian families in Malawi take in orphans, widows and abandoned children who cannot fend for themselves or afford to go to school. We are supplying their school supplies and paying their tuition. Together we are developing a Hope Home which eventually will be self-sustaining. Don’t call it food aid. That’s not our vocation. We’re feeding hungry people the way Jesus did as a Teacher. By calling forth the resources in the crowd and leveraging what is offered and shared. “Little is much when God is in it.”

We have an opportunity tonight, at this conference, to make a difference in the world through sponsoring nutritional food for hungry orphans.

Recently, we were offered a huge donation of Rice--2,200 metric tones of rice from the Government of Taiwan. Feed the Children, Inc. has agreed to pay for the shipping of 135 sea containers on two ships from Taiwan to Malawi, if we can manage the warehouse it safely and distribute it. We need 135 church sponsors in order to do this—one church for each of the 135 sea containers of rice product. A church offering of $3,500 per container will make it possible for us to feed a total of 135,000 orphans and school children every day for two years! Please help us.

Pledge cards are available at the CitiHope Display table. I hope you will prayerfully consider what you as a church leader can do.

You saw and face and heard the voice of Rev. Maurice Munthali, who was senior pastor of St. Andrews Church 5,000 members, and now Deputy General Secretary of the Synod of Livingstonia (CitiHope’s primary partner in ministry): He said: “In Malawi
• 270 people are dying every day from AIDS
• every family has a widow
• every home has orphans
• in every home a patient is suffering
• funerals happen every week
• before the sun sets, someone is going to choose this box for a casket
• there's no point in teaching people morals unless you also give them medicine, and no point in giving them medicine unless you also give them meals
• Jesus preached everyday, but by the end of the day, He gave them food.
• Why can't we?”

Well, together we can!