Rice Bucket Challenge: Looking Back and Praising God.
When I was young, my family could only afford to buy rice by the kilos. In the Philippines, growing up, I noticed that only the rich can afford to buy sacks of rice. When we ran out of rice, my mom would give some money to buy rice at a convenience store in our neighborhood. We were happy when we had rice even if there was no special dish to go with it. Sometimes, because money was scarce, we kids were happy when we had boiled rice with milk and sugar, or boiled rice with “sardines” or with “ginisang kangkong, “ or even with “ bagoong” (salted shrimp paste) or with “patis.”( fish sauce). Having those to go with boiled rice was enough for us kids and we were happy.
Who would have thought that many years later, the ministry I am involved with now would be, by the Grace of God, providing sacks of rice to our partners ministering to the needy. Such is the grace and Mercy of God.
The idea for the Rice Bucket Challenge was duplicated from an NGO in the Philippines giving rice in a bucket of about 20 pounds to families. We started this idea in 2012 with volunteers of Radio Gandingan, a ministry among
Muslims in Mindanao. We gave 10 buckets of rice (about 200 pounds at $ 100).
Many of our friends and donors have responded to our Rice Bucket Challenge. In the beginning, we started giving to MEANS ministry partners 50 kilos of rice (one sack of rice) which is equivalent 5 big buckets of rice (100 pounds). We realized that there is a great need for our rice eating ministry partners in Thailand and the Philippines. Six years later, sacks of rice are now being shared to many of them. Our donors in the US have enthusiastically responded to the challenge. The year 2018 was significant to MEANS. Last year, 305 sacks of rice (33,990 pounds) were distributed to 17 organizations including Bangkok Bible Seminary and Elpis Ministries inMaesot,Thailand.
Many stories have been shared to us about God’s goodness and provision for rice. Here are some of their stories.
Elpis Ministries, Maesot, Thailand
The head of Elpis, Maria Nelma, our partner helping migrant Burmese girls in Maesot, Thailand, for the past 15 years, shared:
“God, the Source of all blessings knows what we need before we say it. Praise God for these 12 sacks of rice from MEANS. A donor just ended their donation of rice last October.”
Through your generous help, MEANS will be able to continue to supply rice to them. They consume 6 sacks of rice each month to feed Faith House migrant Burmese girls and the village children that visit their compound every weekend for Bible teaching and feeding.
Radio Gandingan, Al Hayat Ministries
“Rice Bucket – MEANS have not forgotten our Muslim brothers and sisters who are working with Radio Gandingan. Vernie Cie wrote: “GIVING is the best demonstration of CHRIST’S LOVE. Thank you so much MEANS USA for the sacks of rice for our Muslim Radio Community Volunteers during their Annual Radio Gandingan Family Christmas Party on December 2018 and for blessing them with your love and prayers.”
One of the radio volunteers said: “Thank you MEANS for the sack of rice. I will use it to make pastil dish for our livelihood business. It will be a great help to us.”
Pastil is a Maguindanaon ( Muslim ethnic group) recipe using boiled rice topped with meat, fish or chicken, then wrapped with fresh banana leaf.