USA (MNN) — 18 years ago, the United
States Congress eliminated the House Select Committee on Hunger, and Congressman
Tony Hall responded by fasting for 22 days, calling on the nation to reflect
upon the condition of poor and hungry people.
HungerFast, as it became known, was to raise awareness of the plight of
the poor. This year, with the threat of 40%
budget cuts to foreign aid, over 40,000
people joined in the HungerFast, including over 30 members of the U.S.
Food for the Hungry U.S. president Dave Evans says, "When the
HungerFast came to a close, we were celebrating the fact that God
really did move on behalf of the poorest and saved this resource that's so
critical to help them."
Specifically, God answered prayer. "God really did a
miracle. When we actually saw the budget, the final cuts to foreign aid that affect
the poorest were very tiny and will have no material effect on those
programs for the remainder of this fiscal year, which has another four and a
half months to go."
Even better, there was even a $20M increase
in funding to assist disaster victims through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The victory was thrilling, but also
short-lived. Evans says, "In Fiscal Year 12, starting in October, (right
now the process is going through Congress), there is talk about some of these same cuts that were
removed from this current budget being put back in."
So, it's back to the trenches. Food For the Hungry teams are trying to make sure that the
resources they have don't get whittled away. Evans says they're also trying to be part of the solution. "We are very supportive
of a balanced budget; at the same time, we
believe that there are savings that can be made in a whole bunch of areas so
that foreign assistance doesn't have to bear the brunt."
Food for the Hungry has large programs in 20 countries
around the world. They partner with the
local church in order to increase the ministry of the local body of Christ in a
culturally-sensitive context. As a result, God opens more doors. "We see
change in both areas, so we believe that bringing the holistic Gospel is
critical to meeting people's physical and spiritual needs together and seeing that
hope of a new day in Christ becomes a reality in our program."
Evans urges vigilance as the negotiations over FY12 take
place. "Pray for wisdom on behalf of those in Congress. Pray that they wouldn't forget the poor as they
go through this process, that it wouldn't just be numbers."