Ruth sat at a table in the two-room shack where she lived with her abusive husband and four hungry children in the Dominican Republic. She stared at a cup of tea in her hand that would cause her to abort a fifth child she was now carrying.
"Ruth! Ruth!" She heard Rosa Elena calling her name from across the street. It became a God-moment, and the calling of Ruth's name saved the precious life of Ruth's unborn child.
Rosa Elena did not just cry out to Ruth; Rosa Elena fed Ruth and her children, and shared God's love for her and spoke of the gift of life Ruth carried within her.
Today, Ruth serves in a kitchen preparing food for more than 100 children who are receiving a good education and the opportunity to know God and the truths of God's Word. It is a ministry supported by South Texas Children's Home Ministries and funded, in part, by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.
STCHM Samuel's Fund sponsorships enable Ruth's four oldest children to attend the school, and Ruth continues to tell the story of her God-moment that came in the form of her neighbor crying her name.
"I was lost, my children were hungry, and I was desperate. Today we have hope; today we are fed and I am able to provide for my children. Many mothers in my area of Hatillo would like to join me today to share the difference that Samuel's Fund sponsorship has made in their lives," Ruth said.
STCHM International Ministry ministers to countless hungry children and their moms. In the Dominican Republic, there are children everywhere, most living in desperate poverty with a single mom who struggles to feed them at least one meal a day. God hears the moms' desperate prayers for their children's needs.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering partners with STCHM to support its Dominican Republic work, which provides food to schools and orphanages that are not just feeding children, but are also educating and growing them in their Christian faith.
Also, STCHM tries to use mission teams to help with the purchase and distribution of the food, believing that since most of the teams come from churches that participate in the offering, they will be inspired to give, and to encourage others to give, as well.
In the Dominican Republic, as in many places in our world, poverty is inherited at birth and then passed on to the next generation after generation after generation. The hopelessness of this generational cycle sometimes leads to desperate measures.
Joanna Berry is Vice President of Family and International Ministries for South Texas Children's Home Ministries.