Today’s meal was from an unexpected place

Yesterday was a fabulous day, hanging out with our granddaughter after church and just enjoying her positive little heart. We love her, what a gift from God!

After inquiring with her what she might want for lunch, she thought french fries and a cheeseburger would be good, plus it came with a book, she loves to read and yogurt and apple juice.

We brought her food home and she sat down to eat her cheeseburger happy meal. She ate most of her fries and nibbled away at her burger. Then she was done eating after finishing up her yogurt.

We put her leftover burger in the fridge, I don’t want to see food wasted and she was coming to our house today.

Today she came and I reminded her that the rest of her burger was in the fridge and I asked her if she wanted it. She happily said yes and ate more of her burger, and left what she didn’t want on the counter.

I was working away on things and my wife cleaned up in the living room and put the leftover pieces of burger in a box to be put in the garbage. At supper time I was thinking what I would have to eat and was cleaning up the counter. I was about to toss the box in the garbage when I saw the little bit of burger left.

I ate it! I ate it!

When I did, I had the feeling of what it could possibly feel like to eat someone else’s garbage. It was very humbling!

I hesitated to share this story, but I think hunger makes us look for creative solutions.

Maybe those solutions for some people are digging through someone else’s waste, someone else’s “garbage”.

I love my granddaughter and can’t wait to treat her to something special again, not so I can eat her leftovers, simply because she is an incredible little girl that is constantly teaching me how to be a better person!

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I could begin to feel the pain a bit more

Walking the aisles of the grocery store for 30 minutes, was exhausting, you want to know why?

The battle in my mind was in two areas:

What could I buy for 1.75? I encourage you to take walk though any supermarket and the reality is there is almost nothing available for that price, that can sustain a person more than one day.

Second debate in my mind! Should I spend the 1.75 today if I found something to fill the above need? If I was willing to wait and I received a dollar from someone in the next two or three days I could then buy eggs, which is what I really want, because I feel it would be a great long term purchase.

I began to really think about those who do without many days, maybe it is because they need to not spend money for a few days in order to try and purchase something that will sustain them.

But when you are really hungry, sometimes you can’t wait. You have to take care of the immediate need, at the expense of the long term.

I wish some foods were much more cheaper to buy. Why do things that are best for us appear most expensive? Why are things that are cheap to purchase not healthy to eat?

I am learning again that those who cannot eat well or often, they likely suffer from more than hunger pains. Hunger impacts a person financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

So I decided to spend my 1.75 on a can of chick peas that I can add to rice, and a tomato because I needed something healthy and something long term.

I will need to wait til Friday likely to get my eggs! Maybe I can wait, but that will mean I can’t buy anything else. Hard hard choices!

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What it is like to be hungry, and at the same time full!

The aroma of the food caught my attention right away. I was in a place where people were cooking and oh did the food smell wonderful.

At that moment I was reminded again why I am doing this 40 days. It is not so I can not have food, it’s because I want to understand.

I want to understand what it must be like to be imprisoned for your faith and put in a shipping container and be fed only tea and stale bread each day for days, months and sadly even years. The world around you carries on and you are unable to eat a simple meal. You can smell others food and see them eating, but it is not an option for you!

I want to understand how it would impact someone, to not be able to eat when those all around them are eating what they want at anytime and yet all you can do is wonder what it tastes like.

I am trying to understand what it must be like daily to decide between paying for housing or food for your child.

I can tell you this, when you are hungry, truly hungry, you have to find a way to take care of that need. Without that it must be impossible to think about other things.

So tonight, again I was thankful that I couldn’t eat, because the lessons are so valuable and the perspective I am gaining is priceless!

Day 5 and eating a pancake was incredible. I am hungry, but very very full!

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Why do people hide food under their bed?

With great hopes I entered the grocery store, I had my $4 with me! It was going to be a beautiful day.

Yesterday afternoon I had a friend give me $3 towards food, all I could say was “thank you” because it meant I could go and buy some food! To say I was happy would be a definite understatement.

I had also found the little bit of money yesterday, so I was ready to go on a shopping spree, with $4.20 in my pocket.

I walked through Walmart, looking to see what I could buy with my bounty! Hmm…this was going to be tougher than I had planned, because everything was too expensive. Many things looked good, but I either didn’t have the money or I didn’t want a short term solution, I needed food that could last for three or four days in case I don’t receive money again soon.

I wondered how long could I could make the food stretch if I only ate a little bit of what I purchased each day.

I was taken back to another place in my mind.

I was reminded of the experiences we have had in the past, visiting children in orphanages and other vulnerable situations. The children, when they were fed, would often hide food under their clothes or bed if they had one. They would eat a little bit from the food they were given, but like squirrels would stash away the extra.

I didn’t understand what they were doing until someone told me that they wanted to have food for later in case there was no food the next day.

That’s what living in poverty and lacking food can cause people to do. If you don’t know when you can eat food again, you learn to adjust your consumption, simply because you never know when you can eat again.

So today I bought, spaghetti (no sauce), pancake mix and a loaf of French bread from the marked down section because it’s best before date is tomorrow. Total cost $4.19

I ate a small amount of the bread and never opened the spaghetti or pancake mix. I couldn’t because I don’t know what tomorrow brings.

I will continue to pray for my daily bread!

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Desperately searching for something

I dug in the side of my couch and found a dime, yes .10 cents!

I need to find it. The frantic search began. I lifted up cushions, looking in places I haven’t looked in a very long time, maybe never.

Day 3 of my 40 day challenge has begun, and after eating less than a cup of rice for the past two days I am feeling hungry. I would like to buy a little bit of food but after two days no money has come to me, so I need to think of other ways to earn my $1/day.

I am truly thankful for the learning I am already receiving because it has caused me to already think differently. Here are a few of these ways:

  1. I began my day by praying for my daily bread. It takes on a whole new meaning when you can’t spend money you don’t have.
  2. I have begun to think and pray about others, who through no fault of their own are in this same position daily, not being able to buy anything.
  3. I knew I had to somehow find a way to earn some money. What could I do to earn it? How would I be able to even ask people for an opportunity to earn a bit of money. I understand that when people are truly desperate to provide food for themselves or for their family, that they may be forced to do things they normally wouldn’t, even if the consequences are negative.
  4. If I couldn’t see a way to earn money, I needed to search for money. I dug in the side of my couch and found a dime. Yes .10 cents and I rejoiced. Later I found another dime hidden under some furniture. Now I had .20 but what could I buy. Not much, but I became very grateful for this wonderful and unexpected gift. I also found another $1.25 in an old cup holder, what a blessing!

So today I am a blessed man, because I found $1.45. I am going to give 10% of that back to God for today, he heard my prayer and will allow me to have something to eat.

I am so grateful for this experience, and am praying as well for another $2, so I can catch up on two days with nothing coming in financially, but I have gained so much more and that I cannot put a price on.

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What if nobody knows or sees?

Have you ever felt that nobody really sees you and the struggle you are facing? Do you want people to know? Do you want people to see you? How will they know if you don’t share?

Last night I headed to bed early to get a good nights rest, I have a bed to lay on….that’s something I can easily take for granted.

I was wide awake at 3:00 and thoughts began to invade my mind. The thoughts began to race through this simple mind of mine. I will come back to those thoughts…

I was now 27 hours into my 40 days challenge. I can only spend $1 on food per day for the next 40 days, that is if I have that $1 to spend. I can’t spend my own money for this, I am depending on others to help, ultimately I am depending on God.

The hunger pains had started a bit, but more than those pains was the thoughts. What if no one helps? Can you really do this? Have you just made a stupid decision to put yourself in this situation? What if….

And then I was reminded that this exactly why I am doing this 40 days. I was reminded that so many people we serve face these thoughts, or ones like these every night. They are likely woken up in the night with these same hunger pains and thoughts that immobilize them and cause great fear.

I am sure they want to share their real need and do not want to be seen as begging for help. I am sure it is very very hard to ask for help. It takes great strength to ask for help, and it is a humbling experience.

I think they must wonder does anyone notice? Maybe they are hoping for one person to notice and one person to help, because their need is very real and scary and one person, just one could change their situation.

As I sit here writing this post, now 35 hours into this important discovery, I am hoping and praying that one person would help me today, because even that one dollar will make a difference.

I think it will mean that I am noticed!

I think it will mean someone cares!

I pray for His provision.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

I thank Him in advance for His provision.

And….I TRUST GOD

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Three years ago I did this, now in 2019…

A little over three years ago I embarked on a journey to discover what it was like to be to live on less than $2/ day for food. I learned so much and for 49 days I was able to live on less than $2/day, closer to $1.65/ day.

I find myself in a new place in my life, and feeling like a number of things are converging for me to take a new step into discovering how other people may live.

Here is the backdrop:

1. The rising inflation costs in Haiti and so many other nations has meant that families are paying almost double for food, making food insecurity even more real.

2. I have been talking with incredible people that have suffered greatly for their faith and it has caused these people and so many others to lose family, home, the ability to provide for loved ones including food and even death.

3. I have been challenged to set my eyes on heavenly things and not on earthly things and to change my perspective on things. This is going to require a new way to think and act.

So to this end, for the next 40 days beginning today, I will be:

  1. Spending $1/day or less for food
  2. I will not spend money ahead of time to purchase food in advance, I can however choose to not spend my $1 for that particular day and save it to make a bigger purchase in the future for food. So, for instance if I wanted to buy a dozen eggs for $3 I would need to not buy any other food for those three days.
  3. The money I spend cannot come from my personal money, it needs to be something that someone gives to me or hire me for something to do.
  4. Any money that comes to me over and above that $1/day will be used to help others who struggle with food insecurity, being persecuted for their faith or to give to a vision we have to help others.
  5. If I am offered food outside of these boundaries, I will ask that person to give the food to someone else in need or donate the amount of that food to help those listed above.
  6. I will start this process with a bag of rice!

I will also be posting each day my thoughts and what I am learning if you want to follow along.

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