Blog: November 2013

November 5, 2013

Jimmy McQuilkin is one of my new heroes. 

Jimmy graduated from Wake Forest University, spent a summer as an intern with UrbanPromise Honduras, taught for a few years with Teach for America, and then was hired as a middle school Spanish teacher in Charlotte, NC. 

Two years ago Jimmy shared his interest in starting an UrbanPromise in Charlotte. 

“I love teaching,” he confided, “but these kids need programs after school, during the summer months.” 

He went on to share some of the challenges facing youth growing up in the inner city of Charlotte.  Jimmy shared how there was a dire need for Christian-based programs like the UrbanPromise sites in Camden and Honduras.  “We need these kinds of programs in this city.”

So Jimmy started to talk to people in his community.  He talked to pastors, friends, parents, youth, and potential donors.  He shared his vision for an UrbanPromise.  He shared stories about what he had experienced in Honduras.    Community members got excited. 

This past August Jimmy left the security of his job as a teacher.  Gone is the regular paycheck, gone are the benefits, gone is the security.  Jimmy is now a missionary, raising his own support and raising money to underwrite program costs.  A big step of faith.

“Jim,” I shared.  “I have to be honest.  There will be no guarantees.  If you haven’t raised the money, there will be no paycheck.  Are you sure you want to move forward?”

Fortunately Jimmy said, “Yes!”  Yes to the call of God on his life.  Yes to the insecurities and the uncertainties.  Yes to a journey of faith.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that God’s work and witness is birthed in the world when ordinary people like Jimmy say “Yes” to God.  Ordinary people end up doing extraordinary things with their lives because they willingly put aside their fears, their insecurities, their egos, and their need to control.  In the act of saying “Yes!” God is given permission to move. 

I have a favorite quote.  It goes like this:  “Faith is putting ourselves in situations where, if God doesn’t show up, we’re in trouble.”  I think the quote captures the essence of the biblical story from Abraham to Moses, from Mary to the disciples.  It’s a story about ordinary people, willing to respond to God’s prompting and put themselves in situations where, if God doesn’t show up, they are in trouble.   When this happens, amazing things can happen.

November 1, 2013

I need your help to create a miracle this Thanksgiving season.

Within the next three months, economists predict a severe shortage of maize in Malawi.

Maize (corn) is the staple food in a Malawian diet. The dried kernels are ground into flour. The flour, with water, is turned into nsima, a dough-like substance providing nutrition and calories for families and children. Nsima is eaten at every meal.

A 100 lb. bag of maize feeds a family of 4 for a month—or 250 children in one of
UrbanPromise International’s AfterSchool Programs.

“It’s the only meal many of our children will eat during the course of a day,” shared Zamumtima Chijere, director of RiseMalawi. “We’re very concerned about the impending crisis.”

Prices of maize are expected to double in the coming months because of the drought. Malawi is an agrarian society that has to depend on its unpredictable weather. Plentiful rain during growing season translates into bountiful crops. When rains are scarce, crops are depleted. The basic forces of supply and demand kick in. Prices spike. Families cannot afford food. Children suffer.

But children don’t have to suffer if we act—if we participate in the miracle of maize this Thanksgiving season by purchasing bags of maize today, before there is a shortage.

Currently the cost of a 100 lb. sack of maize is $19.

To celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving, how about buying a bag of maize…or two?

By purchasing bags of maize today, you can ensure that children in our programs will eat nutritious meals in November, December, January, and February. Not only will the children in our programs get a nutritious meal, but they will continue to receive tutoring, recreation, and spiritual guidance in a loving Christian environment.

Thanksgiving for us here at home is a warm and generous time for sharing. And I know you will agree that there is no better way to share the gift of love and compassion than by feeding a hungry child.

My goal is to purchase 500 bags of maize by Thanksgiving. That translates to about 125,000 meals for children at the incredibly low cost of $9000. We can do it!

Bruce Main

PS. Double your efforts! To get us to our goal of 500 bags of maize, challenge a friend to save a $1 a day for 19 days and put it in the sack!


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