All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

On planting seeds, and who makes them grow

St. Paul said: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 

I’m reminded of that verse in First Corinthians as I’m preparing remarks for a luncheon meeting. I’ll be enjoying lunch with the surviving members, and/or their spouses, of the original HIS MEN male chorus. The tiny Christian male chorus was organized exactly 50 years ago. 

About a decade after we started singing, world hunger hit a terrible peak. Ethiopia's food shortages and hunger crisis from 1983 to 1985 led to an estimated 1 million famine deaths. 

That’s when 2 little guys got together to plant a seed. 

I was the founder of HIS MEN. Jim Franks, who attended our church, was the founder of a world relief agency called INTERNATIONAL AID. Our minds were on world hunger one Sunday morning. Jim came to me and said, “I need an idea for a world relief benefit.” And I said, “I’ve got an idea for a benefit concert.” We sat down a talked. 

From that conversation came an amazing concert featuring a group of male choruses, performing individually and as a mass choir. We called the event WE CARE, and it was presented in a major Grand Rapids venue. All musicians donated time and expense. Incredible response. Heart-warming success! What was meant to be a one-time program turned into an annual event that ran for the next 10 years. At least a dozen, in western Michigan and in greater Chicago. 

Now about God making stuff grow. 

I just came across some startling statistics, prepared by Jim’s successor at International Aid, Ralph Plumb.  The WE CARE concerts, organized by HIS MEN, had raised some $218,000 for world hunger. When converted to such things as food and blankets and medicine, the dollar value went up to $2 million! 

All because a little group of 13 singers not only cared, but chose to do something about it! 

It all reminds me of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. 

HFP started on a shoe-string 21 years ago, trying to help a few prisoners with their needs and problems. Today, a team of 7 staffers, a couple dozen volunteers and a dedicated board, serve thousands of Michigan prisoners from their own office building in Spring Lake! Because they care. 

Talk about making a seed grow!



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