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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

TITLE: I Can Feed This One
By Rebekah Bentley


The tiny woman outside our bus babbled on in a stream of frantic Tamil that we didn't understand. The look in her eyes, however, coupled with the repeated desperate motions of her free arm, told us enough. She was begging food for both herself and the emaciated child she held close to her body. This was a scene we had become intimately familiar with over the previous several weeks of our stay in India, but it was not a sight that left us unaffected by its prevalence.

Please, couldn't we give her something to eat, we asked our team leaders. They gave us permission but warned us to give her only food, not money, as sometimes beggars work for someone else who will take their day's "wages" and give them back barely enough to survive on. We agreed and began frantically digging through our backpacks for something to share. We handed the woman a box of crackers, a handful of candy, and the few other miscellaneous food items we could locate, along with a tract in her native tongue.

It wasn't enough and we all knew it. We sat and stared at one another before Kyle broke the silence.

"I have some rupees with me, Andrew," he addressed our male team leader. "Can we go buy her something more substantial?"

"You know there are thousands like her all over Inida," Andrew answered. "We see them every day. It isn't possible to feed them all."

"No, maybe not all of them. But we can feed this one."

Andrew nodded. "Fifteen minutes."

Kyle and his ministry team nearly ran off the bus and down the street to the market. They were back in ten minutes, food in hand, smiles on their faces. The rest of us crowded against the bus windows to watch as they gave the woman the precious bundle of food. She thanked them again and again, pressing her hands together in a gesture of respect. The ministry team prayed with her and tears streamed down her face as she thanked them again, tucked the food under her arm and pressed the tract to her heart, then disappeared in the crowd.

Back on the bus it was quiet again, save for a few scattered sniffles and sobs as each person processed what had just happened. As for myself, all I could think of were Kyle's words, "Maybe not all of them. But we can feed this one. We can feed this one. This one." The words played over and over in my mind.

I know in my own life I have let the vastness of things overwhelm we. There are so many people waiting to be fed God's Word that sometimes it seems impossible. In the back of my mind I hear that voice saying, "It isn't possible to feed them all." I pray that next time God will give me strength as I remember Kyle's words and answer back, "No, maybe not all of them. But I can feed this one."

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 11/15/04
There is a group called Royal Family Kids Camp, originating in California, now world wide. Every year, churches who join this group take thousands of foster kids on a week long camp, where they hear about Jesus. I was involved for 5 years. Each year a participant is given a starfish badge.

There is a story told of a man walking on the beach, where thousands of starfish were stranded. Ahead of him he saw a little boy picking up the starfish and throwing them frantically back into the ocean. He approached him and said, "Why bother? There are thousands, you can't help them all." The little boy looked at him, back at the starfish in his hand and said, "Maybe not mister, but I can help this one."

You expressed the joy of helping one, very well.
Lois Jennison Tribble11/15/04
Lessons here that we all need to do more than remember: we need to practice. Written from the heart, where it connects with others.
DeAnna Brooks11/15/04
I've been one that was fed...though not as dramatically as your story tells. It's a feast to the soul that lingers well after the remnants of the meal have faded from memory. he gift of blessing others. Great story.
Debbie OConnor11/17/04
Just awesome. I love the story, the message, the way you told it, everything. I especially loved your echoes, "Maybe not, but we can feed this one. We can feed this one. This one." Wonderful technique. A real winner.
Deborah Anderson11/18/04
Powerful message. God bless you.
Betty Shattuck11/19/04
Wonderful message and told wonderfully!
Pam Williams11/21/04
I think we should all keep this in mind -- especially when we are tempted to moan and groan about the details of what we like or don't like. God tells us we should do everything without complaining. You have given me the reminder to be thankful about everything. God bless you for an article well written.