Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: The Shed That Fed A Million Children

I read many books, but it is a rare one that I can’t put down.  I intended to read only the Prologue of this one, but upon reading it --- and after my tears stopped --- I had to continue it to the end.
Magnus Barrow writes this book in his company office, a 100-year old, lopsided, corrugated-iron shed at the back of his dad’s house.  The story of his charity, Mary’s Meals, starts when as a young man he sees the news about a war in Yugoslavia, the slaughter of men, raping of their wives and kids, and their impending starvation.  His reaction is to buy a used Land Rover, load it with food, and drive from Scotland across Europe to feed those war refugees.  His next trip is with a convoy of trucks.  Over time he delivers needed supplies to hospitals, as bombs fall around him.  And he hears of starvation in Malawi, Africa.  Visiting there he meets a woman whose husband died of Aids, as she soon will, and her six starving children.  He takes their picture.  It hangs on his office wall.  It’s in this book.  And he begins delivering food to Malawi, with two stipulations:  1) the kids will be fed, for most their only meal of the day, in school, and 2) the villagers must prepare it.
Today 25% of the school children in Malawi (and in many other countries) get their only meal, in school, from Mary’s Meals --- Mary being the name given to one of their large food-hauling trucks.  Mary’s Meals feeds over one million children, each day!  Much of this book resonated with me, including the author’s visit to Medjugorje, and his commitment there which later motivated his actions, as mine did me.
I recently a story read about a very rich man who said: “Despite all my money, there’s nothing I can do.”  I read about a very intelligent woman who said: “Despite all my wisdom, there’s nothing I can do.”  In fact, there were dozens of these men and women pictured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, sitting on the House of Representative’s floor --- for this great photo op.  Woe is us!  Give us more power so we can do something!
And I thought of Magnus, who saw something that needed to be done, and he went out and got a used truck ---- and did it.
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Many of us ask:  What can I do to make a difference in this world, and who cares if I do (what’s in it for me)?  I believe this is the answer to those questions:
And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my breathren, you did it to me.”  Then he will say to those at his left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.   Mt 25:40-43

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