Fuel crisis marks points of impact around the world

By August 7, 2008

International (MNN) – The United
Nations is warning that the high cost of food and fuel may be more than a
trend. The combination of high oil
prices, increased consumption, climate change, and growing use of agricultural
produce for fuel might actually mean cheap global grain supplies are a thing of the

Helyn Luisi-Mills with Intervarsity Christian
agrees. She says the food and fuel crisis hit their Global Project with a
one-two punch. 

First came the jump in travel
costs and a stumbling economy. Luisi-Mills says as plane tickets and fuel
surcharges skyrocketed, the American economy weakened. The translation: more students were having
trouble fundraising for the Global Urban Trek trips. Luisi-Mills says this year, many of the
students began fundraising as a team. She
notes that impact of vision from the team seems to be more effective in
communicating the need to potential donors.

That's one problem addressed. Then, the food crisis hit. "This
became an issue for us, thinking about the ethics of finances for short-term
projects overseas, and how we can balance the amount of money that we spend–particularly because our hosts were being more directly impacted for costs of
food, and then the cost of living, which is then the second point of

For example, Luisi-Mills explains
that beans–a main staple in Honduras–nearly tripled in price over the last
year. A host family now needs to feed an
extra mouth, so they feel the increased cost almost immediately. The students see firsthand how the crisis
affects families. 

Ironically, the food and fuel
crises may be exactly what was needed to clarify the Trek students' vision. The
Trek itself is about opening an opportunity for God to call some to spend their
lives among the poor as His couriers of hope.

Seeing the devastation of crises and feeling the impact personally, Luisi-Mills says of the students: "They
begin to understand the place of calling, that it's beyond meeting the
needs. People are still depressed.
People are still addicted to drugs. People are still turning to alcohol and
abandoning their families. How do they bring the hope of Christ into that
situation? It's really by being there and modeling the love of Jesus."

According to InterVarsity, each
summer about 30 – 40% of the Global Urban Trek participants respond by pledging
at least two years to serve the urban poor. Click here if you'd like more details.

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