It was early in
1985 when the world watched with horror as pictures of starving children
in Ethiopia dominated TV screens. Satellite news broadcasts brought us
heart-wrenching, live scenes, up close and personal. A couple from California,
Don and Sondra Tipton, felt a stir to do something to help.
They researched the problem, discovering that
the world didn't actually have a food shortage. The problem was getting food
from areas of plenty to the spots on the globe where people were starving.
They found that many countries, including their own, not only threw tons
of surplus food into the trash but, also during times of overproduction,
good food was actually plowed under, back into the field, in order to avoid
flooding the markets with a particular product!
The Tipton's found that many corporations in
these affluent nations would be happy to share their overages, but transportation
to people in need remained the key difficulty. "Who," everyone asked, "will
pay to get the food to those in need?" and "Who will see that the poor actually
Don and Sondra knew that the Bible says to care
for the poor and love one's brother as one's self, so they prayed, asking
God how they might collect and deliver food to the starving.
Before long, they knew what to do! Surprising
friends and family, they announced, "The Lord is going to give us a ship.
We'll man the ship with volunteers, fill the holds with donated food
and deliver the shipments to the poor and needy."
To all but the Tipton's, this sounded impossible,
but you see, they also believed the passage in the Bible that says, "Nothing
is impossible with God."
Starting with one freighter, Friend Ships fleet
continues to grow today. Over the years, staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers,
Friend Ships has helped the poor and needy by supplying over 100 million
dollars worth of precious life-saving supplies.
On pallets of outgoing supplies, one will see
a sticker giving honor to the greatest "Giver" of all.
Details of God's amazing hand surrounding this
organization can be discovered in
Jesus And Company.