It was 1998. After 27 years of pastoring churches throughout Virginia, my wife and I decided that we needed to do something to make life easier for the poor, homeless and suffering. Little did we know the small nonprofit we started that year would become a major first-class organization that today impacts hurting people all over the globe.
Yes, Gleaning For The World has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid over the past couple decades and, while doing so, has been recognized multiple times as “the most efficient large charity in America” by Forbes Magazine.
What you and I have done together is simply miraculous, and I am thankful to God for His blessings on our efforts.
Because of the nature of our work, we have often had to live day-to-day. While we have planned and done our work in good order, I had never been afforded the time to dream much beyond the next 12 months.
Well, not too long ago, I was asked what I wanted Gleaning to be in five years. I had no idea!! While we were coming to work asking God to bless the ministry and allow us reach as many hurting people as possible, I had not taken the time to map out the future.
Understanding the wisdom of that, I began a time of focused prayer – pleading with God for a clear answer. What did He want to do through this ministry in the years ahead? And, how could we wisely and efficiently prepare for it?
I believe God answered my prayer. I am not a Theologian, but the study of Matthew 24-25 says there will come a time when the innocent will suffer because of their faith. I believe we are beginning to see that today.
God made it clear to me that Gleaning For The World must stand in the gap — helping the growing number of suffering people at home and around the world. He made it clear to me that we needed to dramatically increase our production so that we could triple the number of people we help each year – moving from six million people to 18 million by Gleaning’s 20th Anniversary (June 2018).
Wow! What a mountain to climb! Yet, when I look around at the growing need combined with so few nonprofit organizations that have maintained a high level of integrity, I know Gleaning must step up.
Take for example the growing number of refugees in Europe and the Middle East, where Christians and Jews continue to be the most persecuted people in our world. Moderate Muslims are also being threatened and mistreated. We have the largest number of refugees the world has seen and it is increasing every day.
In America, we are faced with the stark reality that the number of homeless people is at an all-time high, and half are under 15 years of age. Did you know that 20% of our children have no idea where their next meal will come from? And, 17% of the elderly do not know if they will eat today. The middle class is decreasing and the number of poor is multiplying.
How can our society and way of life survive this kind of situation?
Yet, God has provided Gleaning as a way to make a difference — to meet the immediate need and to light the path for those who find themselves in these very hard situations.
No child, no elderly, no one in America needs to be hungry. It is a logistics issue and we are the best at solving that problem. We can provide tens of millions of pounds of food, tens of millions of dollars of new clothing, medications to prevent diseases, support for free clinics, and many other practical solutions to help people have a better life.
When I felt confident that this was the path Gleaning would take, I told our Board Chairman that I would commit the next ten years of my life to fulfilling this vision. However, I can’t do it alone.
I need you. Many have supported Gleaning in many different ways. Some have given volunteer hours. Others have donated products. Still others have prayed for us and shared our stories with their friends and neighbors. All of that means so much to me and has been critical in our growth.
However, today, I come to you asking you to commit to helping me financially each month. I ask you to consider making your largest gift ever this month!
For some, $25 will be major sacrifice. Others can give $10,000 or $25,000. Regardless the amount and frequency, I believe each one of us can do something.
Please pray about it and consider a gift to help us help the homeless and meet the needs of the persecuted. I am confident God will reward you for your sacrifice.