A Youthful Reminder

A Youthful Reminder

Part of Foods Resource Bank’s strategic plan is to involve young people in the growth and development of its programs. This is the perfect time of year to go to the FRB website at www.foodsresourcebank.org to see how you can help support FRB in a variety of ways, in a number of different countries.

It was so exciting to hear of the travels of Nicholas Kuperus and Abby Genzink to Africa on an FRB program visit this summer, but prior to their departure a part of me thought, why weren’t their seats made available to other “more experienced/mature” individuals who could appreciate this opportunity more?  How could the world of Xbox, Wii, Facebook and Twitter be set aside long enough to make this trip meaningful?

Nicholas and Abby’s presentation was quick to set me straight. Both delivered a recount of their experiences with confidence and reassurance, and yes, even with some introspection.  Nicholas recalled, “…the minute I stepped out of that plane, I was stepping away from everything I knew about life.  Seeing the shacks made from Coca Cola and Pepsi signs and scrap sheet metal was something that I will never forget. To see so many people with hardly anything, yet happy, was a good reminder of how we, even with all our stuff, can still be unhappy.”

Abby shared with me, “This trip challenged my worldview and the way I think about myself and about God. We were able to immerse ourselves into a whole different culture. We tried new (sometimes yucky!) foods, heard many different languages, and went on an incredible safari. More than anything, being in Africa made me ask questions I had never thought about before. Specifically, why did God put me in Byron Center, Michigan? Being in Africa gave me a deep feeling of purpose and belonging, and coming back to the States was harder than I ever dreamed it would be. I wondered why God had put some of His children in the misery of poverty and some in a land of freedom and opportunity. I never came up with a good answer, but I was convinced that since God has deliberately given me an abundance of blessings, there is no other option but to serve Him with the things He has given me. I was made very aware that everything I do is an opportunity to glorify Christ. Being in Africa gave me more of a desire to honor God in the time I have been given on this Earth. My trip to Africa has given me a new vision. Although I cannot fully explain how, I see life differently. The things God taught me while I was there have dictated the decisions I make and the way I react to things. The trip to Africa instilled in me an interest in the political and economic issues happening in Africa now and a passion for missions I didn’t know I had. I still have experiences that make me think of my time in Africa and I know that it will play a part in my future and even the career I choose. I am so grateful to have had this experience and I thank God for the blessing it was to have gone!”

Having listened to Nicholas and Abby I was reminded that God chose a young inexperienced boy to become a king of a nation, a young boy with only a basket of bread and a few fish to feed thousands, and a young fourteen or fifteen year old girl to become the mother of His Son.  Their open minds and unblinded eyes allowed them to accept the possibilities that God had planned for them while yet unhampered by the anxieties of the “experienced/mature” individuals who are quick to say, “I can’t do that…I can’t go there.”  I have a lot to learn from young people.

May this not only be a “lasting memory” for Nicholas and Abby, but a lasting reminder to me that opportunity is never wasted on the young. Will you pray with me that the Lord will show His purposeful plan to the youth of our nation as well as the youth of Africa?  


by Judy Dayton,

Byron Center MI growing project

01/16/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment