This past Sunday a man named Don Ewing came to our church to tell us what he had done since he first visited months ago.
On his first visit he told us about his work with the people of Zambia, in Africa, at an orphanage that cared for 400 children.
He told us what had become of the donations that were collected that day and how they were used.
He said when he arrived at the orphanage on his latest visit, he and the team he had assembled to help the orphanage wanted to serve a meal to the children.
The man in charge was reluctant to have them serve a meal, encouraging the team to find a place to eat somewhere else.
Confused by the man’s response, Don Ewing eventually learned that the orphanage had no food.
Ewing had converted his money into Zambian currency and they went to the nearest place that had food for sale. They bought what the store had – bread, sugar and beans.
They returned to the orphanage and prepared a meal using these ingredients.
The children were served and Ewing noted that none of the children ate until all had a serving.
I see solicitations for hungry people on television frequently and while I can appreciate the need, they do not motivate me to contribute.
I believe I am suspicious of how much of my money will actually end up going to those in need and how much is used by the organization to pay its chiefs and decorate its spacious offices.
Listening to Don Ewing and seeing pictures from his mission trip, made me a believer and I was happy to contribute to Ewing’s cause, his first time and this past Sunday.
Don Ewing is a native of Fort Dodge and grew up in town.
His wife has family whom I grew up with so he has strong ties to our area.
In his first visit, Ewing told of how he was trying to learn “farmer talk” and had been going to local coffee places where farmers gathered to learn about farm life.
When his presentation ended and he was greeting and visiting with people, I told him what he was lacking to be one of us farmers was a farmer’s cap.
I had worn my cap from our local co-op to church that day and handed it to him as a gift.
I asked that he take it to Zambia on his next trip and send me a photo of the cap being worn in Zambia.
All that happened and there is a photo on Facebook (of course) of Don Ewing and the man who runs the orphanage with a huge smile on this man’s face while wearing a shirt that reads Iowa State Cyclones and the cap from our local co-op on his head.
As part of Ewing’s presentation last Sunday, he recalled the co-op cap he received and held up a cap he wanted to give me.
The cap had a map of Zambia with the name Zambia sewn under it.
I brought my new cap home and it hangs on a hook between my other co-op, seed, and machinery caps as a reminder how we people who work in this wonderful industry called agriculture have a responsibility to our neighbors, whether across the fence or across the world.
In our country where we have been blessed with so much, there are people in need of help and appreciative of a helping hand.
Some of them you can drive to and others will require a flight across an ocean.
With Thanksgiving approaching and the holidays that follow it, look for these people and remember to give a helping hand as a form of appreciation of all we have.
Want to see my cap from Zambia with my other caps? It is on Facebook (of course).
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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