The past few years have been difficult for Malawi in many ways, not least of which has been the poor rainfall resulting in poor harvests. When visiting the homes of the 10 families receiving support, we asked, "How can Bright Vision help you?" In each one of these 10 stops the first thing mentioned: "There isn't enough food for our children." "We are hungry." "We have almost no maize left." These families' homes are in poor condition, they have very few clothes, they sleep on the floor. But for each of these families the most urgent need is food. They literally FEEL it every day. This trip to homes to do a "needs assessment" quickly became as clear as day: we need to help people with food.
I wish I could say that Bright Vision was able to provide enough food for every family and child in Chamadenga, though I'm not sure this would actually help long-term. It would most likely create unhealthy dependency with lingering consequences that would end up hurting more than it helped. It's not that simple of a solution. But wow did that walk around the village help me to understand the importance of food in what Bright Vision must do.
Two weeks ago we finished our feeding program for 2016-2017 (we will continue to feed our 100 or so nursery school kids every weekday until June). When this all started in 2005, Stanley (Bright Vision's founder) was feeding 50 kids once every couple weeks when he and his friends could scrape together enough food. Over the past 12 years the Feeding Program has been a vital part of Bright Vision's work. It's not the most sustainable program we have, but when I see hundreds of hungry kids coming for what may be their only meal of the day, how can we stop?
Two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter at Bright Vision with a special meal and special program. It is a time of double thanksgiving. The harvest is ready and people have food in their homes again. The feeding program is closing and it marks yet another year that God has provided the means to offer over 14,000 meals in the six months we run the feeding program (November to April). And to then couple that with our celebration of Easter, remembering so clearly the death and resurrection of Jesus: God's gracious provision for our utmost need. There is a certain depth and richness to these two celebrations coinciding: God's faithfulness to satisfy our most urgent need for a Savior and a most urgent need for food.
One of our ABC students, Sam, preached that Saturday, about the purpose behind Christ's death and resurrection. This day was a snapshot that captures what Bright Vision is about: meeting tangible needs while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.