Proverbs 22:9

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Deuteronomy 15:11

...I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 18: Speed bump #1

Just a quick update: we're hitting a small speed bump at the moment. I've been trying to create a bank account that we could use to pool the funds raised from all the different locations - so far it is too complicated to just DO that. Things are involved like Tax Identification Numbers and such stuff I as a college student have NO knowledge of. Eep. SO - PRAY ABOUT THAT! We're still working on it, but this is kind of problematic.

On a happier note, our Facebook group is GROWING! As of this moment there are 392 members!!! Amazing!!!

Prayer request for me - I'm feeling a bit frazzled by the magnitude of this project. This, on top of school and work and LIFE in general, it's starting to get heavy. Pray for guidance for me as I'm working through the technical/business areas of this venture. God is good, and I know he'll guide me. Remember to keep the country of NIGER in your prayers!!!
Blessings - Chantelle

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 15: Valentine from God

Can I just say how AMAZING God is? No, really. He is. Just SO amazing. And here's why...

I started a group on Facebook for this organization to raise awareness and bring more people into this project. The group started 4 days ago on Thursday - Since then we have had 157 people join the group. That blows my mind! And it just keeps coming! Also, I have created a PayPal account so people can donate to this cause. (Donate button is in the sidebar!!!) Responses to this so far - positive. I'm so blown away by the amount of people who want to be a part of this. PRAISE GOD! I now need to work on creating a bank account for this. Something tells me I'll be doing some phone calls tomorrow.

I talked on the phone with Tam today, and she's working on getting things started at Eastern U. in Pennsylvania. Suzy is also talking to people at Cedarville in Ohio. I have other friends who may be interested in forming 'branches' at their schools as well. Someone has offered to create a website for this! What keeps going through my head is this - with this much exposure, $13,000 is NOTHING! God can do so much more than that, and I have faith he will.

And so this is God's Valentine to me - the assurance that he loves me, but more than just me, he loves the people of Niger and hurts with them. God is not blind - he knows more than I do about the situation. He knows what needs to be done, and how and when it needs to be done. So with that, remember to pray for the people of Niger - they're hungry in more ways than one. Also, remember to pray for the people who are working on this side of the pond (our friendly term for the Atlantic Ocean) to help our brothers and sisters.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


VERY exciting news! I have made contact with the organization Danette Childs directed me to! And this means we have a GOAL!

The name of the organization is Reach Now International, and I've been put in contact with Bill Meyer. He responded to my email in an amazingly timely manner, and has given me a very hopeful and possible plan! Reach Now packs and ships 40ft containers full of highly nutritious food-pack meals to countries in need of hunger relief. These containers hold 270,864 meals - that's a LOT of food! Bill has told me that they have the food, and could ship it virtually ASAP, the only issue is raising the money for shipping. Shipping one container can cost between $10,000-$13,000. But this IS a reachable amount! In fact, if we look at one container costing $13,000, that would make each meal cost LESS THAN 5 CENTS!

This is SO encouraging for me to hear, and it makes this whole desire to serve the people even more of a reality. And it is possible that shipping more than one container could happen as well. I may be reaching for the moon right now, but I truly believe that ANYTHING is possible with Christ. I was talking with one of my professors today and he encouraged me to not turn this into a guilt-trip to inspire giving, making people see starving children and think "Oh, this is so terrible, and it's the least I can do!" This is, in fact, harder than it sounds. Guilt is such an easy tool for motivation. But I'm praying about this and I think opportunities are opening up to make it a method of worship and service, not a guilty-giving trip.

Someone I was talking to today made an excellent point that in a commercialistic culture like the USA, simply getting people to donate is difficult. Giving money does not give people the gratification that other things do... like SHOPPING! So, I think we may need to set up shop... selling trinkets and key chains for $2-$5 would make a lot of money. I've talked to my mom, who is in Niger at the moment, and have asked her if she could send these sorts of things to me. We'll see how this works out... Also, I was given the idea that collecting bottles and other recyclable items would be a VERY easy way to raise cash for this cause. Trash to cash... catchy isn't it?

Also, I'm going to contact the director of the Film program here on campus. They have the ability to email all the film students and ask if anyone is interested in working on this project with me. I have pictures... and a general idea of what I want done. I simply lack the skills and resources, (and patience, and time, and other things...) to do it by myself. I've found a song that I think is perfect for this video - 'Something's Gotta Change' by Josh Wilson. I'll put a link or something up so you can hear it for yourselves.

Praise God for his faithfulness! It's so comforting to know that he KNOWS about the hunger and problems in Niger ALREADY, and that's he's a part of this whole process. By giving, and working to help his children, we are serving and worshiping him - things I was so timely reminded of in my Social Justice class today. Praise GOD and all glory and honor be to him through the work of our hands and obedience to his commands. Please continue to pray for this whole process, and for the people in Niger already.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 8: God's Orchestration

Two days ago, I met with my friend Lacey to go over some ideas and planning before my meeting on Monday (tomorrow!). We were expecting Riley and Tim at 9:30, so we met a bit earlier to pray together and just give this whole plan over to God. I'm realizing just how much I need to be praying over this whole process, from beginning to end. For those of you who read this, please be praying along with me - for the people of Niger and the food insecurity there, and for those who will be working here to help the situation.

So the meeting began - slowly. Knowing the four of us, it's not surprising that we got sidetracked... a bit. (Tim - I want the These Are Not My Pants song from you!) But things were accomplished, including a list of people I should contact, beginning with mission organizations and people already in Niger. Not 10 minutes later, Danette Childs - who was on my 'To Contact' list - starts chatting with me on Facebook! (I told you I had gotten sidetracked.) I started chatting with her on Skype and she was a huge source of information. She asked me several questions about what my hopes for this project are, and she gave me the contact information of an organization they have worked with before. I emailed the man she told me about, and am hoping to hear back from him soon. I'm very optimistic about the possibility of working with this organization, however I won't post the information about the organization, since I'm not positive of anything working out. PRAY THAT IT DOES!!! I truly believed that God orchestrated my chat with Aunt Danette. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have nearly as much information as I do now.

So that's the most recent development. My meeting with the Coalition for Social Action (CSA) director is, as I said earlier, tomorrow. Pray that it goes well, that I would be organized, and that this would continue to develop here on campus.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 6: Moving forward

It's been 6 days since I talked to Tam on the phone. Being best friends, I had hoped we would stay in contact better. Our conversation started light, talking about normal teen-age girl things, but it shifted quickly.

"Hey, I've been reading articles and talking to some people. The famine in Niger is gonna be really bad this year. They've estimated it's going to affect 8 million people."

Now, why should this matter to me? But wait - 8 MILLION PEOPLE! Shouldn't that MAKE me care?! I opened my computer and used the handy dandy Google web-page and searched 'Death toll in Haiti'. I came up with 200,000. 8 Million is FORTY times that number. And no one knows about it. Obviously that phone call with Tam changed my mind about some things. But why should it strike so close to home for me?

Because it IS home.

My name is Chantelle and I have lived in the country of Niger for 4 and a half years. My family moved there when the civil-war forced us to leave the nation of Cote d'Ivoire. I currently live in La Mirada, California, and am a freshman at Biola University. However, in many ways Niger is still my home - and it breaks my heart to hear this news. Anyone who hears about 8 million people suffering from a famine that will cause malnutrition, disease, and starvation - ANYONE should hear that and care. As someone from there, who has seen the country, the people, and the need, this slaps me in the face and says DO SOMETHING!

Since Sunday, I've been moving forward with this desire - to have something done about this. No one knows anything about Niger, and even less know anything about a famine. I go to a school with 6,000 people - if everyone gave one dollar out of their pockets, that would be $6,000 dollars that could be used save lives. And why stop at $6,000? Why not make this as BIG as the disaster is? This means several things:
1) Raising awareness. Niger needs to become a place that people care about helping. People need to know what is happening there and become concerned. Compassion is necessary - one person cannot do something this big, but many can.

2) Partnering with an organization already there. I have contacts with missions organizations present in Niger already, and this is probably the best bet. I've called both World Vision and Food For the Hungry. World Vision wouldn't be able to send raised money specifically to Niger. Food For the Hungry firstly, never picked up the phone, and secondly, doesn't work in Niger. I've contacted a friend there who has started a project called Famine Food Aid. She's given me some information, and maybe branching off of her project could be a possibility. I need to delve deeper here... but steps are being taken

3) Getting other people on board. I cannot begin this movement single-handed. Thankfully I have AMAZING friends who are passionate about God and the world he loves. Lacey is my second brain, and we will be having a planning meeting tonight. Also there will be Riley, a film whiz who understands the impact the media should have, and Tim, the graphic mastermind. These people and others are willing to help me get this off the ground. On Monday, I have a meeting with the director of the Coalition for Social Action (CSA) here on campus. I've spoken briefly with her and she is very willing as well to help me move this forward. I've spoken with several of my professors, and they have been very supportive and encouraging in their words.

4) Maximize. Make this BIG. Any normal person should care if someone dies. As a normal person who knows about this famine and has lived in the country, this makes my connection to the issue exponentially larger than the average Joe. However, the biggest connection I have with it is through Christ. As a Christian, it should be our mandate to help those in need and be the first on location when disaster strikes - whether natural disaster or praying for a country that needs Christ.

Please stay posted, I'll be updating this as we move forward in this mission for Niger! Blessings!