Tag Archives: Lynchburg

only when necessary

st francis of assisi:

One of the messages scrolling across the digital signboard of Forest Road United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia proclaims:

“Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read.”

Hopefully, the message those people read is one of faithfulness and love, where the grace and compassion of Christ is freely given and available to all.

a joy I find nowhere else

It’s almost 5:00pm and I am on my way home from India and Nicaragua. I am feeling a little ragged around the edges, but it will definitely be good to sleep in my own bed tonight.

I am currently in Atlanta. My flight gets into RDU after 9:00. By the time I get my car and get on the road it will probably be around midnight before I see Lynchburg. Since we left the hotel just a little after 5am that makes for yet another long day, but nothing a good night’s sleep won’t take care of.

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time in Bangalore. But, the time in Nicaragua was like a cure for all that ails me. Being back in the field brings a joy I can find no where else. It makes all the stress of long flights a long layovers bearable.

I’ll be glad to get home…but the truth is that I would far rather still be in the mountains of Nicaragua working to change the lives of the least of these among us.

Well Done SHN SA!

The end of my trip is at hand. Early this evening I am scheduled to leave from Johannesburg and fly to Atlanta and then on to Raleigh. There I will pick up a rental car, go to the Stop Hunger Now office for a couple hours to debrief and catch up on some back administrative chores. After that, I have a 3 hour drive back home to Lynchburg.

It’s going to be a rather long trip, but what makes it worthwhile is all the good work that has been accomplished during my brief time here in Mozambique and South Africa. In Maputo, Mozambique I helped celebrate Ma Machel’s 70th birthday as we packaged 70,000 meals for malnourished school children.

That event was also a milestone for Stop Hunger Now South Africa. It was the first meal packaging event they organized outside of their own country. And the Minister of Education  for Mozambique, who attended and spoke at the event, has already requested that more meal packaging events be scheduled.

Here in Johannesburg I have had a delightful time meeting new staff and new board members. I have also been able to help with some fundraising and to give an official thanks to some of SHN South Africa biggest corporate and faith-based partners.

It’s been a whirlwind of events, meetings and dinners, but I will head for home more proud than ever of the great work being accomplished here on behalf of the hungry. Stop Hunger Now South Africa is our first international affiliate, and it is leading by example. Saira Khan, our Executive Director, and her entire board and staff are demonstrating that we can end hunger in our lifetime. Kudos and “Well Done!” to all of them.

Saint Minnie

This past Saturday, we lost a true saint. Minnie Bassett Lane  went to her heavenly reward, and the world is lesser for it. Her funeral was yesterday.

Minnie and her husband B. B. (who passed away in 2004) were people of abiding faith and active members of Lane Memorial United Methodist Church in Altavista, Virginia. Both were deeply caring people, and that caring and compassion was reflected throughout their lives.

Minnie was a small woman physically, but the quiet strength of her personality and her boundless energy were absolutely contagious. Her grace and charm were real, and her ability to bring people together was nothing less than astounding. Her life was a true demonstration of Christian faith in action.

In 1956 she and B. B. created the Minnie and Bernard Lane Foundation specifically to reduce hunger, help the needy and expand the Christian faith both internationally and throughout Central Virginia. Minnie also worked tirelessly to help break down the race barriers that existed in Altavista and Virginia. In 1974 Minnie was named “Altavista’s Outstanding Citizen.” Her efforts were recognized by the NAACP  in 2003 with their Community Service Award. She was also honored with the Lynchburg Humanitarian Award in 2007.

I knew Minnie through the Society of St. Andrew, my first nonprofit. At the point where Ken Horne and I had exhausted our limited ability to raise the necessary financial resources to keep the Potato Project going and growing, Saint Minnie stepped in and took us under her wing.

She not only made sure Ken and I received excellent training in fundraising, she undergirded our fundraising efforts with timely and strategic financial injections from the foundation. But more than that she truly became our own patron saint.

She hosted introductory breakfasts and luncheons for us. She introduced us to friends and  others she knew who could help us grow.She took Ken and I to New York to meet with possible donors. She worked tirelessly to expand our network. Her participation and help were directly responsible  for the success of this ongoing ministry that continues to feed millions of hungry citizens throughout the United States.

Minnie cared. And everyone who was privileged to know her knew she cared. Her life was a constant reflection of God’s love. Minnie was a saint, and she will be missed.