What an incredible year!
While the presidential election consumed much of America’s energy and attention in 2016, I found myself in the middle of a daily flood of humanitarian relief projects. From where I sit, 2016 will go on record as the busiest year ever since Gleaning began in 1998.
It all started with refugees fleeing war-torn Syria – migrating to other Middle Eastern countries and even into Europe. These middle class families had to run for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
They basically left everything behind.
Some had enough money to rent cars or travel in caravans, but most had to walk 1,400 miles to a safe area in Hungry, Germany or some other country open to helping these desperate people.
We placed 42,000 hot meals in the first few weeks, had New Testaments printed and we shared the love of God. It was one of the greatest miracles I have witnessed as hundreds came to Christ, others received the only food they had in weeks and many found places to temporarily live.
We had several man-made disasters in 2016, but it was also a year of natural disasters.
Devastating tornadoes struck Dallas, TX, flooding in Newton, TX, tornadoes in Appomattox, and Tappahannock, VA, flooding in West Virginia, a one-thousand-year storm in Louisiana, and massive flooding in the Carolinas caused by a hurricane. There were days I could barely keep up with the requests for help.
We worked with other relief organizations and local churches to minister to the homeless, distributing blankets, helping remove black mold and other toxic materials, replacing destroyed furniture, providing basic rebuilding supplies and so much more. And, as you know, we were often the first on the scene — providing food and water as well.
It’s been a miraculous year.
As a point of reference, in 2015, Gleaning shipped 121 tractor-trailer loads of life saving supplies. In 2016, we will exceed 260. That’s more than double the volume of last year and we still have four weeks to go!
We have more shipments heading to Louisiana and North Carolina. We’ve been asked to support the rebuilding of hospitals and clinics in Sierra Leone. The civil war has destroyed every health care facility in that country. For twelve years we have supported an orphanage run by Catholic Nuns that cares for 2,000 HIV orphans. That work must continue.
As I write to you, I’m remembering that last Christmas Eve a tornado hit Dallas and I spent much of the night coordinating a relief effort. I’m praying this month will not be as intense! However, I’m ready and we are prepared to do what is necessary to alleviate suffering.
I’m so thankful for our staff. I am thankful for our volunteers. I’m thankful for you. Together, we have provided hope in 2016.
And, now as we come to the end of another year of ministry together, several donors have sacrificed to provide an $88,000 Matching Challenge this month. That means when you give by December 31st, your gift will basically double in value!
I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity. I hope you will take advantage of it so we can finish the year strong and be ready to move into 2017 with confidence that we can provided necessary relief as the needs arise.
Gleaning For The World, Inc. is the most unique ministry in the world. Thank you for being my arms and legs so we can do what God has called us to do. We are making a real difference!