December is a time of feasting. It’s a season of pulling out time-honored traditions and bringing them to the table to set before friends and family as an offering of love. We share the banquet, break bread together, and nourish ourselves as much with fellowship as with food.
What is it about sharing a meal that means so much?
There is something important, something primal about a meal together. And although traditions vary from place to place, it’s not a thing that’s limited by culture or time period. In fact, I think we see God’s blessing on this kind of feasting in the actions of Jesus!
We see it in the times He shared stories over a meal with His friends, the times they celebrated together on feast days. His first miracle was to change water into wine at a wedding dinner! Many of His parables involved food…truth wrapped in the language of nourishment that is, by nature, common to us all.
As a mother, I know that there is something special about providing food for your children. There is a special kind of joy in seeing them satisfied with something you’ve provided for them, whether it’s the sweet milky smile of a nursing newborn or the grin on your teen’s face as he devours a heaping plate of pasta and then dives in for seconds. There’s more to feeding someone than just providing calories. It goes much deeper.
In December, our Lulu family planned an outreach to feed children a Christmas meal. They traveled to the slums of Jinja, where many of the children have never known what it’s like to have a full stomach. They served rice and beans, a Lulu family tradition that started with the first meal eaten together at the very beginning of the ministry. Mama Esther taught Lulu’s teen mothers to cook the meal, and together they served heaping platefuls to the children of Jinja.
They had food for five-hundred people. But when people are gathered to share a family meal in the name of Jesus, miracles do happen! Like that day on a hillside in Galilee when Jesus broke five loaves into a meal that fed five thousand, the food prepared for the Lulu outreach fed more than the 500 it should have. And like that day on the mountain, once the emptiness of physical need had been filled the emptiness of the soul cried out also to be nourished. Over five-hundred had their fill of rice and beans and then feasted on the Word of God!
Esther even had a shop in the village make a special cake for the children, which they helped cut themselves!
There is more to feeding than just passing out food. There’s the sacrifice of preparation, the tenderness of provision. Jesus knew this, too. The day after He fed the five thousand, His disciples struggled to understand what all this meant. “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:34-35)
The beautiful thing about sharing a meal lies in the sacrifice, in the hours spent planning and preparing, in the cost of giving. Without this, food is just fuel. In the loving gift the Lulu family provided, those who were fed knew that someone cared enough about them to seek them out and fill their need. In the listening ears, the caring hands, the prayers and sharing of the love of Christ, they saw that Jesus is the feast that always fills. He is the One who provides a family for every empty heart, a banquet of grace for every empty table. Jesus broke his body to feed our souls, to give us eternal fellowship with Him and with the family created by becoming brothers and sisters in Christ. His sacrifice brings us to the table and calls us to reach out and nourish others. It’s in this feeding that we find purpose and belonging.
After the outreach, Esther commented on how this kind of love transforms:
“I just want to bounce all the glory and honor to God because He deserves it. He alone got me from a nobody to somebody. You know at one point I felt useless, before joining the Lulu Tree. Not important, not loved, I just felt even the dead person is better than me. But now I know that the Lord loves me and He wants to use me to reach out to people and show them I’m important to His kingdom and to His people. It’s not what I thought. And again, I can’t stop thanking Him for giving me the grace and an opportunity to serve Him through The Lulu Tree.”
Thank you to all who contributed to this feast, which was made possible by the Lulu mamas’ hard work, the purchases made at The M.A.M.A. Shop, and the generous donor who gave funds towards this outreach. What a blessing this effort was to everyone involved.
The banquet continued in the village of Kamassarralie, where Pastor Sonnel held a Christmas outreach and was able to give every family in the village a Christmas gift. Each family was given onions, carrots, and chicken! Did you know that many of the families in the village have never eaten chicken? In fact, most of the families subsist on one bowl of rice a day, if that. To have this feast gifted to them shows them that they are cared for, that they are not forgotten.
Not only is the harvest underway, there is now a Lulu rice threshing machine to make the process more efficient! Without the thresher, separating the grains of rice from the stalks must be done by hand…a process that is difficult and very time-consuming. With this new machine, the farmers can prepare much more rice for the village!
Have you ever wondered where the name “Lulu Tree” came from? The story is a beautiful testament to what God is doing through our not-for-profit organization. Please watch the video below to hear Emily’s story of how Lulu’s name came to be.
The Lord is doing so many amazing things through The Lulu Tree these days, it’s hard to keep up!
- The farm in Sierra Leone is in great need of a tractor. The soil there is heavy and quite wet, and they simply will not be able to grow enough food for the village if they have to use hand tools to cultivate the soil. Our goal is for the village to be able to sustain itself through agriculture, and this goal will be reachable if the farmers have access to a tractor. Please pray for the funds for this (and, if you are led…you can help by donating here).
- Please pray that the finishing of the Bethel Home goes smoothly.
- Pray for the upcoming outreaches in Uganda, that lives and souls would be saved.
- Pray for the Lulu Farm and Elijah House in Uganda (click here to learn more about this project)
- Please pray with us for the development of the Reach, Receive and Rescue programs in both Uganda and Sierra Leone.
In February, the Lulu family in Uganda is planning an outreach to a refugee camp. They plan to give away Mama Kits and preach the gospel. Mama Kits are a very important ministry, as they are very effective to save the lives of both a pregnant mother and a newborn child. In addition, we have exciting news…Kits are now just $6.00 to purchase! This is an incredible opportunity to provide a vital need in Africa, where many mothers can’t afford to purchase the medical items they need to safely give birth. Please watch the video below for more information, and prayerfully consider donating Mama Kits for the outreach!