Ecuador (MNN) — Every 3.6 seconds, someone in the world dies of hunger. One in twelve people worldwide and 60 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished.
International Mission Board missionaries use gifts from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund to provide food for people or help them grow it. World Hunger funds are used for agricultural projects that help people find long-term solutions in times of crisis, and in places like Ecuador, it also gives missionaries a gateway to share the Gospel.
"There are a lot of communities we can't get into because of persecution [of Christians], so we use agriculture to get into those places to show them we care," said IMB missionary Darrell Musick.
Four years ago, Darrell and his wife Rogene began working with the Quichua people in Ecuador. Using the agricultural skills they learned while operating a ranch in New Mexico, the missionaries gained entrance into Quichua communities. The Musicks checked and treated livestock for parasites or disease, and trained the farmers how to take better care of their livestock and raise their own crops. Once the farmers complete their training, they signed an agreement to teach others what they have learned.
"We make sure everything we do is reproducible," said Darrell. "Like the old adage, it is better to teach them to fish than to give them a fish."
Agricultural projects also give the Musicks an opportunity to share the Gospel with the Quichua, most of whom put their faith in animism — a mix of beliefs in spirits and superstitions.
"They ask, ‘Why do you care about us?' We use that discussion as the gateway to share…that God cares for them, and as a result, we care for them."
Since the Musicks began their work among the Quicua, they have seen 42 house churches start, and more people have become accepting of the Gospel. In recent months, the Musicks left the field for a stateside assignment, but they plan to begin similar work in Bolivia.
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