Where Gladness Meets Hunger

January 22, 2010 | 25 comments

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness
and the world’s deep hunger meet.

— Frederick Buechner

Last fall, my mother-in-law called me into her kitchen to show me that she’d found the answer she’d been searching for. She spread out the newspaper on her kitchen table, and pointed to photographs of people wearing aprons and hairnets as they filled plastic bags with soy, rice and dried vegetables. They were packing food for the hungry.

“This is it,” she said, and I could hear gladness in the voice of the widow. “We should do this. We can do this for Paul.”

For months, she’d wondered: How do you honor a man you love after he’s gone Home? How do you celebrate the life of a farmer who gave much, humbly and quietly?

She found her answer in that news story: You honor a giver by doing what the giver did. You give.

So she made the calls and wrote the check and invited family and close friends to join her in a food-packing party. Side by side, wrapped in hairnets and aprons and laughter and memories, we’d honor a farmer who fed people.

She made that decision last November, in the midst of an Iowa harvest. Outside, her son (my husband) gleaned fields in this … the first harvest without his father.

Yes, Joyce said, we could go to Sioux Falls to pack food for the people of Haiti. She’d buy the food, and we could help her pack it.

Two farm wives looked at the pictures in the newspaper and we knew. “It’s perfect, Joyce,” I said. “Just perfect.”

So last November, the folks at Kids Against Hunger penciled us into the appointment book. We’d pack food on the one-year anniversary of Paul’s exit Home.

And then Haiti shook, and we shook, too. A spiritual earthquake rattled our souls.

Yes, Joyce, this would be a perfect way to honor Paul.

Paul Lee never pretended he could save the world. But he knew he could do this: Give a little bit to help one person, and then another, and then another.

This is the Multiplication of Giving: One + one + one + one.

Like Paul, the farmer, we would feed people to honor him.

At sundown on January 21, 2010 — exactly one year after we escorted Paul home at the side of a hospice bed — our deep gladness in Christ met up with the deep hunger of our fellow man.

For two hours, we made packets of specially formulated rice-soy.
The food packages have been developed by some of the world’s
leading food scientists
at Cargill, Pillsbury, General Mills and ADM.


“If you think you are too small to make a difference,
try spending the night in a close room with a mosquito.”
— African Saying
(-smile-)

Wee ones, not the least-bit “too small” to make a difference.

One package provides six nutritionally complete servings to feed starving children.
The cost: 23 cents per serving.


“So give freely to those who are needy.
Open your hearts to them. …
There will always be poor people in the land.
So I’m commanding you to give freely to those
who are poor and needy in your land.
Open your hands to them.”
— Deuteronomy 15:10-12

My favorite farmer’s hands, dipping a cup into soy.

(We are a soy-producing family. On our farm, we grow corn and soybeans.
We also produce an edible soy-snack called
Super Soynuts.)

Kids Against Hunger sends food all around the world —
and right here to starving people in America– but their focus now is Haiti.
Our girls draw hearts and smiley-faces on the boxes.

A photo of a photo ….
Children with a plate full of food packaged by Kids Against Hunger.

Paul,
We packed these in your honor,
and in the name of Jesus Christ
with whom you celebrated your first Heavenly birthday
on January 21, 2010.
We did what the giver did
and what the Giver does.
We gave.

In all, we packaged more than 7,500 meals for hungry people.

And Paul?
Happy Birthday.

by | January 22, 2010 | 25 comments

25 Comments

  1. A Simple Country Girl

    Oh, this is really you all packing & sharing His glorious love! What a story and tradition to be treasured. Wow. God weaves some beautiful patterns with His kids.

    Blessing friend!

    Reply
  2. Laura

    So beautiful. A fitting tribute.

    Reply
  3. Lyla Lindquist

    Well done, Lee family. I imagine there is a fella at the right hand of the right hand of Another who's nodding. Well honored, both of them.

    (And tell Anna and Lydia I'm pretty envious of the lovely headcoverings. Hope they got to keep them…)

    Reply
  4. jasonS

    Powerful. Thanks.

    Reply
  5. RCUBEs

    That is awesome sister Jennifer. An awesome way of giving, and remembering Paul and the Giver of all good gifts. I love God's math when it comes to His blessings!
    Love and blessings.

    Reply
  6. ~*Michelle*~

    Oh wow……this is just so awesome! I love watching children doing the work of Jesus at such young ages……thank you for being part of this powerful movement!

    Reply
  7. alicia

    What a beautiful way to honor a memory. Perfect.

    Reply
  8. Kelly Langner Sauer

    I must leave a smile… I love this.

    Reply
  9. Glynn

    Great story, Jennifer. Your family and friends honored a man's life with a gift of life.

    Reply
  10. Missy

    What great way to honor Paul's memory.

    Reply
  11. Warren Baldwin

    What wonderful training, mentoring and ministry. And what a great job you did orgainzing this post. For me, putting pictures on takes a lot of time and effort. Job very well done.

    Reply
  12. hope42day

    What a beautiful way to keep alive the one who has left this Earth but lives forever in the packages, in your hearts and in the fields of your farm. Blessings…

    Reply
  13. Mich

    I skipped over from another blog to say "hi" and I am so glad I did, for I received a blessing.

    What a beautiful way to remember a special loved one.

    Reply
  14. Chris Godfredsen

    Reading and seeing how you and your family got down with Jesus on Thursday night – feeding the least of these – is such a blessing.

    It is the ministry God has called your family into. Scott, and his father before him, helping feed the world – you giving Spiritual nourishment to the world of computer-geeks looking for God in the written word. Plus so much more ministry from the Lee family!!!

    God bless you beautiful people!

    Reply
  15. Chris Godfredsen

    Reading and seeing how you and your family got down with Jesus on Thursday night – feeding the least of these – is such a blessing.

    It is the ministry God has called your family into. Scott, and his father before him, helping feed the world – you giving Spiritual nourishment to the world of computer-geeks looking for God in the written word. Plus so much more ministry from the Lee family!!!

    God bless you beautiful people!

    Reply
  16. patty

    🙂 Continue praying for you all…love, patty

    Reply
  17. PJ

    Hey Jennifer! That was a beautiful post! I'm trying to type through tears, so if I make any typos, please excuse them. January 20 was my birthday, so this post was special to me.

    Love & Prayers,

    PJ

    Reply
  18. Doug Spurling

    Just like Jesus – Life springing from death. Seed time and harvest. Precious planting. Life giving post Jennifer. Thanks.

    Reply
  19. Carol

    What a wonderful way to pay tribute to a man who served and fed others. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures of the wee ones with their little hairnets. I am trying to teach my grandkids all the things I was too tired to teach my own children. Love you!

    Reply
  20. Jennifer

    Such a perfect way to keep from forgetting (and I loved the pics of Anna and Lydia under those hairnets). I looked at the site, and it looks like this is just a food packing thing in your area–do you know if they have extensions elsewhere…like in Louisiana?

    Reply
  21. travelmom

    Jennifer, I can't think of a better way to celebrate a life than to extend a meal to others who would otherwise go without. This is the gospel. Thank you for living it!

    Blessings to your sweet mother in law!
    Lori

    Reply
  22. Carey

    So so so wonderful, Jennifer! If Paul has a window from Heaven, I'm certain he is smiling. And I know Jesus is!!

    Reply
  23. katdish

    What a wonderful birthday gift. A very happy birthday Mr. Lee!

    Reply
  24. TheEclecticElement

    This is an incredibly beautiful post that has me moved to tears-I couldn't agree more: The most fitting tribute to a person who gives is to give yourself.
    This post inspires me to go out and donate my time and resources as well 🙂

    Reply

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