Responding to Texas Tornadoes and Food Insecurity in Central America

Tornado damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Multiple tornadoes struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area this afternoon, striking several communities. Early accounts report widespread damage in the Dallas suburb of Arlington.

In the midst of the damage and immediate confusion, Week of Compassion is already responding. We are currently collecting information in partnership with regional and local congregational leadership to assess needs and respond quickly and efficiently. If you would like to contribute to this response, please reach out with Courageous Compassion by clicking here

Reflections on Development in Nicaragua

Zebulon (Zeb) M. Whitehurst V is the 2011-2012 Intern for Week of Compassion. In his third year at Barton College in Wilson, NC, Zeb recently returned from a trip to Nicaragua with our partners Foods Resource Bank and Church World Service, where he was able to see food security and water projects first-hand as well as contribute his own labor. Here he offers his reflections on the trip:

As the Week of Compassion intern this year, I had the opportunity to travel to the Carazo area in Nicaragua on the week of March 4, 2012. This opportunity was made possible by Week of Compassion's partnerships with Foods Resource Bank, Church World Service, and their overseas programs in Latin America. It was my first international mission trip, so while my anticipation and excitement level were high, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Throughout the trip I encountered a number of things, leaving me with a mixture of emotions and many questions.  

 

I was struck by how Nicaraguans live at a much slower pace compared to the general hustle and bustle of the United States. Taking a minute to slow down was a great opportunity to enjoy the little things with members of the local communities and to get to know their stories.

Listening intently to our hosts, I quickly learned that the water quality and resources for delivery were poor but that there is a lot of potential for improving the existing water infrastructure. I was immediately concerned: water is essential for everyday tasks, such as agriculture, sanitation, laundry and even for general consumption!

With insufficient water, life is far more difficult than it should be. 

But despite the difficulties that face the Carazo area, I still saw so much hope.

It was encouraging to see that so many families were taking the initiative in the development of their communities through local programs such as seed banks, health kits, and education aimed at helping them improve their agricultural yield. It was amazing to see women empowered to take on key leadership roles in the development of their communities.

This trip also offered me more than learning about specific programs that encourage food security and develop access to clean, sufficient water. I feel that I've grown personally and spiritually. After a week in Carazo, I was able to see how many of the things I consider necessities are simply luxuries I've learned to take for granted. I have so many more questions about what a true "necessity" is.

My time in Nicaragua has been a time of spiritual growth for me, too. I have seen a community with so few material resources that always takes time to offer praise for the blessings in their lives. In contrast, so often those of us who experience so much material abundance forget to stop and thank God for the abundance of life and the m any joys that come with it. Again, this trip has given me much to think about.  

Before I left for Nicaragua, I was passionate about working to help communities develop access to clean, drinkable water. After having experienced this international trip, I am certain that each of us we all can connect our passions and talents to ways to partner with communities that have less access, fewer resources, and unrealized potential than our own. Everyone has something to contribute, whether it is through volunteering time, offering financial support or praying for our partners. 

We are grateful for Zeb's work this academic year. He has contributed skill, passion, curiosity, and above all, compassion to our work. We are proud to call him our partner and colleague. The church is fortunate to have such future leaders!