I returned last week from a trip to Haiti with Feed My Starving Children to see their “food in action.”
I have travelled internationally a fair amount, but this was the first time I have experienced a significant language barrier. And I quickly learned that love and touch are universal languages.
Over the past seven years, we have joined our church in hosting FMSC MobilePack events. MobilePacks combine units of food sent to your site where you can pack bags of vitamins, soy, veggies, and rice to be shipped around the world. This year our church packed our 1,000,000th meal! A few months after we packed, four of us embarked with a team of 18 to see what happens to our boxes of food after they are shipped.
Anytime you experience an international or domestic mission project, it is inevitable you will be changed. But this experience was like no other. What we saw, heard, experienced was hard. And we truly knew we were standing on holy ground this week.
In this first post, I want to talk about connection and relationships.
You Can Show Up for Kids & Teens
I train our kids and youth small group leaders every year, and every year, I say,
The most important thing you can do is show up.
Not only did we encounter children who were truly starving (for food), they were also starving for love. When you can’t speak or understand words between two individuals, the power of connection comes in other forms.
As we started the week, I experienced power through connection. Kids wanted to touch my skin, my hair, hold my hand, stare at me. That was how we engaged. Just being there with these kids was enough. We didn’t need words.
Because I showed up, kids began to engage.
Because leaders show up for kids and youth, ministry begins.
SportDisciple is Showing Up for Kids and Teens in Haiti
We had the opportunity to visit a futbol program, SportDisciple. Barrett, the director of this ministry, has a story to tell that’s worth hearing.
Barrett shared with our team that he has over 1,500 kids every week. The organization is only a year and a half old! They will open another site soon that feeds kids daily in the Word of God and feeds them with MannaPack rice provided by FMSC.
But here is the most striking thing I heard from Barrett. He has kids coming to know Christ as their personal Savior. He says a lot of times it takes a year or more.
The length of time didn’t phase me. It was his next comment:
They [the kids] had to see the relationships are real.
Relationships. Connection. Engagement. Ministry. When you show up for kids, it matters.
“The best way to help kids know God is to connect them with someone who knows God” (Creating A Lead Small Culture).
Through connection and relationships, trust is built, and God is revealed.
Showing up matters.
When you show up, you are the given the opportunity for connection.
Connection builds relationships.
Relationships lead to influence.
Barrett and his staff have influence because they show up day after day for kids and teens. The most important thing you can do for a kid is show up.