2017 - A year in review

February 9, 2018
Dave Blundell
10 min
Year-end Review
2017 - A year in review

I am ever more convinced that words don’t actually speak. Words come easy. It’s easy to talk about compassion, generosity, sacrifice and empathy. We all love those ideas. I don’t know of anyone, faith-motivated or not, who would argue with the importance of compassion and the need for generosity and sacrificial living. While everyone would agree with those concepts, not everyone lives them. For Christ-followers, our first gift to the world is not our words (no matter how true they may be), but our actions. As James wrote, “… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17 NIV). Basically… actions speak. Our passion is to facilitate action; but why?

This past summer I traveled to Kenya, with a video team, to shoot what we’ve been calling our “Why” video—a message that gets to the core of why we exist. The purpose of the video is not information, it is inspiration. Our prayer is that it will inspire people to act. We invite you to watch the video, hear our “why” and share it with your network. We are excited to reach more people and grow our impact.

You are receiving this because, in some way, you have been part of this vision. We know it is God who changes lives, and He chooses to use us as we act together. As you read through this, our prayer is that not only would you see HFL as a great investment of your time and resources, but more importantly, that you will smile with the overwhelming wonder of what God has done.

Thank you for being part of the vision.

Initiating Change

Svetlana’s family loved God, but she wanted to carve her own path. Forgetting the past, she did what she thought she should do. She got married, found a job, and had children. But, life wasn’t easy in Eastern Ukraine.

The problems started when her children were young. Their father went to prison and Svetlana was left alone to provide their care. But sadly, their roles would soon be reversed. When the kids were seven years old, their mother became completely bedridden. Her health had radically deteriorated. Without the support of an adequate social system, the children took on her responsibilities.

A few years later, some members of a neighboring church started helping their family. Because of their actions of kindness, Svetlana rededicated her life to God. It was the spark that moved her forward. Despite her situation, Svetlana wanted to pass on the grace she had been given. She called other ailing people to read the Bible and pray together. She invited care groups into her home. Svetlana took on any ministry opportunity she could handle. Clearly, God wasn’t done with her yet.

In 2006, a few members from the Eden Mennonite team (facilitated by Hungry For Life) visited Svetlana’s home and the seriousness of her situation quickly became apparent. They realized she hadn’t had a shower in seven years; she hadn’t even been outside. The narrow doorways were preventing her from using her wheelchair. So, they went to work making her house more accessible.

A year later, her life was much different. Svetlana had the freedom to get around her house, make meals with her kids, and enjoy the fresh air from outside. She describes her experience like this, “Since the teams from Canada started to visit us here, our lives have gotten so much better. The conditions we live in are so much better. We eat better and have access to medication. But this is not the most important thing we get from their visits. It’s just to have someone come and give you a hug, someone to hear your story, to pray with you—someone to smile at you and show you that you and your children matter.”

Joining the team

Adam Hansen — Communications Designer

What was your first experience with Hungry For Life?

Hillside Church had been working with Hungry For Life (HFL) in Kenya for years. So, I got invited to go on a mission’s trip. My parents—they asked me to come. I didn’t really know much about HFL during those first few trips. But then, over the years, I realized this organization is doing some amazing things. They do all the leg work. Just seeing how much HFL did was absolutely amazing.

How did your time in Kenya change you?

Well, on my first trip to Kenya, I wasn’t a Christian. I didn’t care about Christian ideas; I didn’t want anything to do with God. But, just seeing the poverty, seeing kids without shoes, seeing guys working construction in bare feet—it really put a tug on my heart.

After that first trip, I started a fundraiser to raise money for shoes for the kids in Kenya. Experiencing the joy that kids get from next to nothing and seeing how much people love God even though they have nothing—it really weakened my heart. God got His opportunity to get into my life. It changed my look on life and opened my heart to accepting Christ and being more open to what He has in store for me.

How did you decide to join the Hungry For Life team?

Being so involved with HFL over the years, seeing what they do, seeing the impact that they’ve made around the world—it made me want to enquire and see if I was right for HFL. The biggest thing that moved me toward it, was experiencing it. Going to Kenya—seeing a world being changed—it changed me.

Why do you believe in their vision?

Lots of people want to see transformation—they want to see a change but don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to start. An organization like HFL is the way to get involved. It is the way to change.

Who wouldn’t support that?