As CEO of Hand of Hope, Joyce Meyer Ministries World Missions, I continually travel around the world to check on our ministry outreaches and look for ways to develop new ones. As I do, I witness firsthand the truly amazing things that you, our friends and partners, are making possible.
To help convey the impact you are making, I want to share with you a familiar passage from Matthew chapter 25. These verses have always been the backbone for everything we do through Hand of Hope...
Jesus says in Matthew 25, For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. ...I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! (Verses 25:35-36,40 NLT).
Through your support, I can honestly say that together we are helping to fulfill this scripture in so many ways all around the world. Right now, I want to give you a glimpse of how you are helping heal “the least of these” through short-term medical/dental outreaches.
"For I was hungry and you fed me."
Right now, your support makes it possible for Hand of Hope to partner with organizations worldwide to feed more than 80,000 children on a regular basis at 767 sites around the world! For many, these meals are the only food they receive.
One of the things I’m most excited about is how we’re able to spiritually impact these children and their families for Jesus Christ. More than 90 percent of our feeding programs have a spiritual component.
One way we accomplish this is through our partnership with One Hope to supply many of our feeding centers with a program called “17 Stories.”
“17 Stories” consists of a big sheet of cards including Bible stories ranging from Genesis to The Great Commission. Teachers at our sites discuss each story with the children and follow it up with fun activities to reinforce the lessons.
At the end of the sixteenth story, the children flip the card over to complete a puzzle forming the seventeenth and final story. It focuses on what God has done for us and His good plan for our lives. It also includes a tear-off card they can take home and share with their families and those in their communities. The feedback and positive stories have been tremendous...
For instance, young Niritosa began attending one of our feeding centers in Madagascar. She lives alone with her mother who is divorced. Suffering from malnutrition, Niritosa used to have trouble keeping food down, and she was plagued with a persistent cough.
Not long after she began attending our program, Niritosa started to get physically stronger. She also began a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Today, she is happy, healthy, and no longer has a cough. But that’s not all: Niritosa’s new life has also influenced her mother. Now, each week they attend a local church together!
When you support these programs, it’s so much more than simply putting food on a plate. You are changing these children’s lives and the lives of those around them.
I love what Niritosa said when our staff asked her about the future. She said, “I want to be a specialized teacher who helps kids who live in difficult family situations.”
So, are we making a difference? I think this says it all.
"I was sick, and you cared for me."
Our medical outreaches were birthed out of something that happened to my mom several years ago. She was dealing with tremendous pain from an abscessed tooth, and the Lord caused her to have such compassion for people who are not able to see a doctor when they’re sick. She wondered, What must it be like to have pain and never get relief?
As a result, about nine years ago we began holding short-term medical and dental clinics in remote areas of the world, places where the need is the greatest. In these locations, most of the time it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that cause sickness and death—dehydration, diarrhea, or small scratches that get infected.
Our volunteer doctors and nurses, who serve with our teams at their own expense, diagnose and treat these precious people, dramatically improving their quality of life.
To date, we have:
- Treated more than 245,000 people
- Dispensed 793,000 free medications
- Prayed with more than 86,000 people to receive Christ
Each year, we also treat tens of thousands of others through our ongoing hospitals and clinics in places like Ethiopia, India, Cambodia and Haiti.
For instance, our hospital in Chandrakal, a remote village in India, offers free medical care to thousands of locals who have neither the transportation or the money to pay for a doctor. This facility includes in-patient services, a maternity ward, eye clinic, pharmacy and many other services you normally wouldn’t find in rural areas of India. Each year, over 20,000 people are treated at this hospital alone!
Thanks to you, these efforts are multiplied many times over through our other hospitals and clinics. You are helping save people’s lives—both physically and spiritually.
To date, through our short-term and long-term outreaches, you’ve helped us offer free medical and dental care to more than 1.9 million people.
"I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink"
I don’t know if there is an outreach that provides more of an immediate impact than providing fresh water. You may have seen the statistic that says over 2.2 million people die every year from parasites and other waterborne illnesses. Water is something most people take for granted; however, it’s a vital necessity we can’t live without!
The good news is that by the end of this year, we will have partnered with organizations worldwide to install more than 875 freshwater wells to date. Not only that, but in many places, we also build an adjacent church or school.
People come for the water, then stay for the weekly service or to receive prayer. Providing fresh water is such a great demonstration of God’s love, and it opens their hearts to want to know more about Jesus Christ.
We have witnessed firsthand what a difference your support is making in remote villages all around the world. Children who were once thin and sickly from diseased water are now visibly healthier and have the energy to focus on their school work and just being a kid. We also hear story after story of entire villages coming to Christ and enjoying new freedom.
And it all began with offering something as simple as fresh water.
"I was in prison, and you visited me."
For years, our team has been delivering special gift packages to inmates around the world containing hygiene items and one of Joyce’s books. In fact, in 2016, we were able to reach our 3 millionth inmate. Over the years, our teams have shared these gifts with inmates in all 50 U.S. states and in over 50 countries around the world. You + Me + God = Anything Is Possible
Simply put, we can’t do any of this without you, our ministry partners, the ones who are supporting these outreaches and making it all possible. On our own, we can do some things. But together, our success multiplies exponentially!
First Corinthians chapter 12 says we are all parts of the same body, but we each have our own distinct and vital role to play. In the same way, your part in these outreaches—supporting this ministry through your gifts and prayers—is just as important as my part or my mom and dad’s part.
When we each do what God is asking us to do, He gets right in the middle of our efforts and allows us to change the world.
Friends, we can never thank you enough. Please know that everything you do is affecting lives every single day. Together (you...and me...and God), we are able to reach “the least of these” in so many wonderful ways. God bless you!
*This article was published in Fall, 2016.