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October 29, 2000: Randy Stonehill: Adopting God's agenda

October 22, 2000: Bettina Richardson: Setting priorities

October 15, 2000: Fulfilling the Great Commission

September 17, 2000: John Castellani: Giving hope to addicts

September 10, 2000: Kermit Bridges: Spiritual renewal on campus

August 27, 2000: Phil Vischer: The Big Idea behind VeggieTales

August 20, 2000: Chonda Pierce: A time to laugh

August 13, 2000: Thomas E. Trask, John Bueno: The launching of Global University

July 30, 2000: G.L. Johnson: Keeping passion for Christ alive

July 23, 2000: Hal Donaldson: More than fame and money

July 16, 2000: David Moore: America in a sea of change

July 9, 2000: Jim Seymour: Real reconciliation

June 18, 2000: Randy Phillips: Plugging into the local church

June 11, 2000: H. Maurice Lednicky: Pentecost Sunday

May 28, 2000: Tim LaHaye: Prophecy-based fiction

May 14, 2000: Natalie Grant: The best testimony

April 30, 2000: Alvin Worthley: Ministry to the 'fourth world'

April 23, 2000: Robert Spence: The meaning of Easter

April 16, 2000: Stephen Pfann: The Dead Sea Scrolls

April 9, 2000: Eddie Rentz: Teens, TV, music and parenting

March 26, 2000: Lillie Knauls: Single and satisfied

March 19, 2000: Terry Lindvall: Christ and culture

March 12, 2000: David Yonggi Cho and Thomas E. Trask: World Assemblies of God Congress and 2000 Celebration

Hunger and evangelism

(November 19, 2000)

Randy Hurst is commissioner on evangelism and World Hunger Day coordinator for the Assemblies of God. He recently spoke with Scott Harrup, general editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, about the opportunity we have to meet the spiritual and physical needs of hungry families.

Evangel: Can meeting physical needs like hunger open doors to evangelism?

Hurst: Yes. The Assemblies of God doesn’t just look at the physical need. But, giving food can become a bridge, demonstrating the care and concern of Christian believers. In every Convoy of Hope event, the gospel is preached as the food is distributed and hundreds come to Christ at each distribution. Overseas we work with local churches, empowering them to reach their communities. In Honduras, for example, churches grew greatly when the missionaries and Convoy of Hope helped pastors and congregations feed the hungry after a hurricane.

Evangel: As the Assemblies of God grows and prospers, is there danger of our constituency losing its focus on ministering to the poor?

Hurst: Not as long as we don’t lose sensitivity to spiritual priorities. The two are connected. Prosperity need not hinder ministry; it will actually help it, if the focus is spiritual and directed by God’s Word. Paul said to the Corinthians that God will enable us to have all we need so we will have "an abundance" for "every good deed" (2 Corinthians 9:8, NASB). We are blessed financially so we can be "generous on every occasion" (2 Corinthians 9:11, NIV). When God prospers us, it is so we can give. Prosperity is a danger when people live by selfish human inclination rather than by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Evangel: Describe some of the human need you have encountered.

Hurst: My mind goes back to the slums of Mathare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya, when Hal Donaldson and I were there together. The international ministry of Convoy of Hope partly grew out of that experience. In the middle of this slum, a small Assemblies of God church was doing its best to feed the children.

In Albania, while we were feeding refugees, we encountered women and children who had seen their husbands and fathers tortured and killed. Their emotional needs went beyond their hunger.

Years ago in El Salvador, the plight of street children touched the heart of John Bueno, Foreign Missions executive director, who was a missionary there. His burden resulted in Latin America ChildCare which today is touching more than 80,000 children across Central and South America.

Evangel: What are some ways people and churches are responding to World Hunger Day?

Hurst: Pastors have told me that World Hunger Day is one of the most effective things they have ever done to involve the whole church. World Hunger Day is a "united act of compassion." We can do more together than we can possibly do separately. Every Assemblies of God church can be involved. Churches of every size give offerings of every size. Together they create an enormous ministry impact.

Evangel: How are these givers being blessed?

Hurst: We are sometimes blessed even more than the people we are trying to help. Scripture says we are not to test God — except in giving to Him (Malachi 3:10). God always blesses those who are generous, but His blessings are not always measured in dollars. Pastors report that World Hunger Day gives their people an understanding that they are connected to spiritual brothers and sisters across the sea and in America’s inner cities.

People can now communicate all over the world inexpensively through electronic means, but they aren’t really in touch. World Hunger Day provides the "long reach" that enables them to touch people at their point of need.

Evangel: How is World Hunger Day growing?

Hurst: I pray there will come a day when every Assemblies of God church will be involved. World Hunger Day is a ministry that is increasing year by year. It’s been amazing to see the results when just hundreds of churches participate. Think of the millions of needy people who could receive food and hear about Jesus if thousands of churches join together.

 

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