There are times when the work of Gleaning For The World becomes just a bit more personal. For example, last week my mother fell and broke her hip.
Fortunately, we have a local hospital here that has provided excellent care. The orthopedic surgeon was beyond belief and I’m happy to report to you that my mom is now in physical therapy.
I was reminded again of the privilege you and I share. We live in America. We have access to the best doctors and the best facilities. For me, I had to ask the question: What if my mother lived outside the U.S. – perhaps in one of the countries where Gleaning is providing help and support?
I know firsthand that she would not have received the level of care she experienced here and would likely be bedridden in pain for the rest of her life. I have visited hospitals in some of these poor countries, and many of them have waiting lists exceeding three years. Yes, three years!
It’s not unusual for some of these hospitals to require patients to purchase the sutures and bandages before they will perform the surgery. The expense of these basic medical supplies alone may cost patients several years of income. The families are then faced with unbearable decisions. Do they allow a family member to suffer and possibly die without surgery or do they basically starve their children in order to save the necessary funds. This is a decision no one should have to make.
Meanwhile, as we have been dealing with my mom’s situation, I have also been working closely with my staff to help people impacted by recent tornadoes. When the Category 3 tornado struck Appomattox, Virginia, I was just five miles down the road attending a meeting. I was able to personally perform a quick assessment of this natural disaster and within an hour of the event, we had basic supplies on the ground for the first responders and homeowners to utilize.
It was heart-wrenching to see the shock on the faces of extended family and neighbors as they tried to process what had just happened. I have visited many tornado sites in the last 17 years and it’s impossible to forget that hollow look in people’s eyes as they try to collect their family pictures, legal documents and treasured heirlooms – realizing much of what was so important to them was lost forever.
Although I have visited many other sites across the United States, this was the first time I was on the scene in less than 20 minutes. It was shocking and overwhelming. I witnessed people looking for their pets and frantically searching for missing relatives, not knowing if they were killed during the tornado. It is something I pray you never have to experience.
Why is Gleaning normally the first nonprofit ministry to place water and other supplies at disaster sites? The answer is that I have seen the pain and we will never allow people to stand-alone and suffer when we have the ability to help them.
Growing up on a farm in the country, I always follow the Farmer’s Almanac. I find it to be more accurate than the Weather Channel! With the movement of low-pressure fronts so early in the season, it appears to me that this tornado season is going to be rough. We are restocking supplies now for the next big storm. We will do everything we can to save lives and relieve suffering when the next storm hits.
Your partnership with Gleaning makes all the difference. There is no way we could respond as quickly as we do without your ongoing support.
Experience has taught us that life is not fair. For example, the poor suffer more than people with wealth. In one state that had a Category 3 tornado and now has massive flooding, that state government never responded. The tornado destroyed over 200 mobile homes and the state government just did not seem to care. When the massive flooding placed six counties underwater, the state still did not respond.
Gleaning did respond…and will continue to be there to help alleviate suffering during the most challenging times of life. We love everyone equally.
I’m glad I can count on you to join with us in this awesome mission. Every dollar you give is always used efficiently to do the most good.
Thanks for praying for my mom’s recovery. It means so much to my family and me. But, let us also never forget those moms, daughters and sons in other countries who need our help today. Let’s sacrifice a little right now so others can have hope.
God bless you and your family. May the Lord make His face to shine on you, and be gracious to you.