In 2010, Gavin Simpson, now a member of the Harrisonburg, Va. church, embarked on a life-changing journey of faith as a missionary. Over the last decade, thru Eleventh-Hour Laborers, a nonprofit ministering to the less reached regions of the world, he has worked in India, Nepal, Myanmar and recently, Cuba. “We work in-person with the local churches,” he explains. “We train Bible workers and members to do effective community evangelism and outreach. Our bible workers in Cuba baptized more than 300 individuals last year.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Simpson received emails, across the globe, regarding the lack of food in India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Liberia and Pakistan. “During mission trips, I’d developed a network with farmers in various cities. I began tapping into these contacts as stores were closed.” Eventually, Simpson coordinated with farmers to deliver food to churches and then with church leaders to distribute resources to members and neighbors, prioritizing those who many need the most help like widows, orphans, the elderly and the most impoverished.
Since the pandemic started, this ministry has helped feed more than 20,000 people in nine countries. “This initiative is exceptional because funds are from lay people,” explains Simpson. “Our overseas contacts help coordinate the purchases and delivery of food. Some of our project missionaries work in the interior of countries and travel with food, mainly on motorcycles and on foot, for days to reach people. Food is distributed to all who have needs, regardless of background. Many, who had been praying for relief, have seen how God miraculously brought food to them. In countries were Muslims persecute Christians, Muslims have been humbled by how the same Christians have brought food to feed them.”
Simpsons says the pandemic has put Christians in Pakistan in an even more difficult position. “Christians are already a marginalized group there,” he explains. “They receive no aid from the government. We do not have a strong Adventist presence in Pakistan, so we work through a Muslim social worker who travels to remote places to distribute food to Christians and Muslims alike.
“In Nepal, we work with Adventists in the Himalayans to help indigenous people who will hike to the bottom of the mountains to receive the food and
travel hours back to bring it to their hungry communities. Testimonies from the mission field, by those who have been impacted by the food distribution program, could fill an entire magazine. We ask you to pray for us as we move forward in our mission to reach people for Christ.”