God’s love guides us in all things

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By Jennifer Gonzalez

Love of Jesus. Love of family. Love of neighbor.  

That love of neighbor – love for others is core to our humanity. Without it, society cannot exist. It cannot function well. The Bible is clear: “… ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

But love of Jesus and love of family are essential ingredients as well.

In 2015, love of neighbor and love of Jesus propelled Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown III to establish the Black Church Food Security Network (BCFSN) in Baltimore, Maryland. Brown, the senior pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, wanted to offer an alternative food system for people who live in neighborhoods without grocery stores.

The idea was simple. Black churches would plant gardens on their land so people would have access to fresh produce. Today, the network has grown beyond Baltimore and taken root in other states such as Nebraska, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.

In many ways, these actions by these churches are not only an act love of neighbor – helping those in need – but also an act of love of family. The food from each church garden goes to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access fresh produce.

Love of family gets Alicia Cisneros up every morning at 4:45 a.m. The mother of four who lives in Pojoaque, New Mexico works at a school cafeteria. She is the first through the doors of the school to prepare the kitchen for the workers that will come later.

She and the cafeteria staff cook every day for 640 students at Pojoaque Valley Elementary School. Not unlike Brown – Cisneros also has a love of neighbor. In her case, it’s the children she cooks for. Cisneros is also giving back to a country that has given her so much.

“I tell the people we work with that this is not just a job. We are working for the children,” Cisneros said. “We are there for them, not for us. Everything we do, we do it for them. It is a very beautiful thing.”

Cisneros came to the United States from Mexico almost 30 years ago to seek a better life for her and her children. The road at times has been lonely and difficult Cisneros acknowledged. But she is grateful to “God for the opportunity to arrive in this country and to give my children a different life from the one I had,” she said.

At Bread for the World, love of Jesus and to be more Christ-like is central to our advocacy work. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Right now, Bread and its members – like you – are being called upon to reach out to lawmakers to pass the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, which builds on Bread’s years-long efforts on improving global nutrition. If passed, the legislation will improve the lives of tens of millions of women and young children.

The legislation establishes a strategy to support countries in implementing their plans to prevent and treat malnutrition among other things.

You can help today by emailing your U.S. representative and telling them to cosponsor the bill. Every advocacy action you take is an embodiment of love of Jesus, love of family, and love of neighbor – necessary steps in fulfilling God’s love for all of us.

Jennifer Gonzalez is managing editor at Bread for the World.

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