A pastor and lay workers in Baja, Mexico recently visited the home of a family with an eight-year-old boy, Alonzo, who can’t speak or walk. The boy has daily seizures. The team received a warm greeting from the family. They gave Alonzo a beanie baby to enjoy, and shared the Gospel with his parents. They also left behind a Food Pak supplied through the work of Children’s Hunger Fund.
For more than twenty years, Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) has provided food and other aid to the homes of children in need across America and around the world. Their distribution is carried out through local pastors and church volunteers trained in compassion ministry. This Gospel-centered organization sees hunger relief as a means to offer much more. Their partnership with The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach helps them to do that.
At a conference several years ago, Bill Walsh met some Children’s Hunger Fund board members. Later, in 2010, he contacted Mike Busch, Ministry Development Director of CHF’s Midwest region, to discuss an outreach project for Haiti.
International Outreach had worked to publish a Creole-language version of John Piper’s evangelistic booklet, For Your Joy. In the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, IO supplied humanitarian groups—including CHF—with cases of the book to distribute in Haiti during relief work there.
In 2011 Walsh visited Mike Busch in CHF’s Chicago office to develop a further partnership between their organizations. That meeting is now bearing fruit through the distribution of much needed theological resources for pastors in poor areas of the world.
“Mike had a huge request this past summer,” says Walsh. “He requested books—55 cases of Spanish and English resources for CHF’s packing warehouses in San Antonio and Southern California.”
Mike Busch says that CHF has a kindred spirit with TGC-International Outreach. Both organizations work to train and provide resources to equip pastors in third world countries. And both look for like-minded ministries to partner with.
International Outreach (IO) provided CHF with cases of resources that include eight different books. CHF plans to take books to ten countries: Zimbabwe, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Mexico, Guatemala, Nepal, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Peru.
Busch says that CHF will probably distribute the resources within 6 months. They’ll also do follow-up with pastors receiving the resources. He says, “The pastors appreciate things we take for granted. They are very grateful to receive resources they could never afford to purchase.”
CHF receives the books from IO and adds them to food shipments. It makes for a good relationship to further the gospel. Mike Busch says that foreign language resources are hard to find.
“Some other groups donate resources but usually have handling fees that make it difficult,” Busch says. “International Outreach provides without cost to us. That’s a mutual benefit since we provide the shipping. We already have the shipping containers going out.”
Church network in Baja, Mexico
CHF now distributes IO resources through pastors in a “mercy network” of eight churches they formed in Baja, Mexico. CHF trains and provides books to pastors and church leaders in that area who have no access to healthy biblical resources. They recently handed out 70 sets of IO resources. Each leader received two Spanish-version books: This Momentary Marriage, by John Piper and Now, That’s a Good Question! by R. C. Sproul.
Mario Rubi works in CHF’s headquarters in southern California. He oversees the west region, including the relationship with the Baja churches. He says all the Baja pastors were excited to get the books, so he took more books to distribute during a November visit.
“Our food boxes go monthly. We like to invest in the pastors and leaders in that ministry network as much as possible,” Rubi says. “Seeing how difficult it is for them to invest in themselves financially, it’s exciting to get these [theological] resources into their hands. We think about all of those being reached. The pastors grow in the Lord and are able to better serve families.
Armando Macias is one of the pastors in the Baja network working with CHF to distribute the food boxes to families in great need, like Alonzo’s family. This allows the Baja churches to reach out to their communities and build relationships.
“We see this as a complete picture,” Rubi says. “We can best serve families by getting them connected to Gospel-centered ministries.”
Mike Busch adds: “I think it means more to these men of God than we’ll ever know.”