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The Heart of the Ministry By Wendy Hicks

It wasn’t my first time going on a home visit with Children’s Hunger Fund, but it was my first time going on a home visit in the Dominican Republic. As a member of the Communications and Marketing team at CHF, my role on a home visit has always been to gather stories of the families being served. After all, everyone has a story to tell.

This time, however, I had different instructions. On my first international trip with CHF, I was told to turn off my “Communications brain” (as if that was possible) and just take in the experience.

We set out from Iglesia Biblica Casa de Gracia—one of our church partners in the Dominican Republic—to visit three families in need in the community, arms full with Food Paks to deliver. Iglesia Biblica Casa de Gracia is a small church in the Province of La Caballona. The province sits on the western edge of Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic.

Leading our small group was Francia, a volunteer from the church. As we approached the first home, Francia gave us an overview of the family’s situation. She’d been visiting them for a while and knew their story well. It was the same for the next home we visited.

Later, as we began our return trek to the church, our arms lighter and our hearts both heavier and fuller with the stories we had just heard and the people we had just met, I couldn’t help but take in everything around me. Not only was I thinking of how I was going to describe this experience in a later article (I told you it wasn’t possible to completely shut off that part of my brain), but I was also completely out of place in a foreign country.

As we approached one particular group of young men, my brain instinctively went into threat analysis (admittedly, not the healthiest reaction, but did I mention I was completely out of place in a foreign country?). Francia simply reached out and greeted them, placing her hands on their shoulders or backs as we passed. They greeted her in return.

She knew them, and they knew her.

As we continued to walk back to the church, I observed as Francia proceeded to greet every person we passed along the way. And it was more than a simple, “Hi, how are you?” She knew their names. She knew who they were. She knew their stories.

At Children’s Hunger Fund, we talk a lot about relationships because we know that the most effective way to serve the needs of others is through ongoing personal relationships. I saw this in action that day in the Dominican Republic as Francia walked us back to the church in La Caballona.

Seeing the relationship that Francia has with the people in her community was a beautiful reminder for me of what is happening in CHF’s partner churches around the world every day. These faithful men and women truly are the heart of the ministry, willing to make the time to deliver food and build relationships all for the purpose of sharing the hope of the gospel with families in need.

Almost a year later, as I reflect on my time in the Dominican Republic, meeting Francia remains one of the highlights of my trip. I hope her dedication to building relationships within her community is as much of an encouragement to you as it has been to me, knowing that every relationship is an opportunity to share the hope of the gospel.

Recipients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy.


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