Feeding Those Who Feed Us: An Inside Look

Hands holding a seedling in soil

Feeding Those Who Feed Us: An Inside Look

Written By Oscar Sanchez

Feeding Those Who Feed Us: An Inside Look

This California Southern Baptist Convention Migrant ministry has been in existence for over fifty-five years. Through the years, thousands of migrant families have come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The purpose of the Migrant AG (Feeding Those Who Feed Us) ministry is to satisfy the spiritual and material needs of agricultural workers and their families by recruiting volunteers who will serve the agriculture workers by distributing food and materials for the new school year with the purpose of sharing the Good News (salvation through Jesus Christ) to the glory of God.

Migrant AG was chosen as the ministry name because the target group for this ministry is the one-and-a-half million migrants (seasonal workers), field workers, farm workers, packing house workers, or any other workers involved in agricultural work in California. We added the name “FEEDING THOSE WHO FEED US,” because it is an opportunity to literally feed, serve, and minister to these agriculture workers.

With this ministry serving so many in our state, we believe it is vital to be informed about the Migrant AG ministry, and we will answer two important questions.

We begin by answering the first question: WHY WE MUST GO?

According to many government studies, the San Joaquin Valley is one of the most economically depressed regions of the United States. California has often been called the “Food Basket of the World” due to its fertile soil, ideal climate, and agricultural conditions for planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-40. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The Lord expects all believers to minister to the needy, poverty-stricken, and marginalized in our society which California agriculture workers qualify.

Another reason we must go is because the Lord commands us to go (Matthew 28:10-20; Acts 1:8). California is our “Samaria.” It’s in our backyard, right here where we live. Jesus says in John 4:35, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” We, as believers and churches, should see clearly the great evangelistic opportunity right here in our own state. The question is, will we act on this great opportunity now?

The second question is: HOW CAN INDIVIDUALS AND CHURCHES BE INVOLVED?

There are so many ways to be a part of this ministry, and here are a few possibilities:

  • Become a sponsor church and carry out FTWFU projects at church facilities, migrant centers, orchards, packing houses, and parks during the summer harvest months of June, July, and August.
  • Provide finances to support Migrant AG Ministry ($2,000 per location) and the purchase of food staples, clothing, and backpacks.
  • Recruit volunteers from within your church congregation.
  • Partner with churches to adopt a center or FTWFU project. These can be in the form of VBS, recreation programs, and evangelistic rallies. Churches can determine the dates for their specific project in consultation with Oscar Sanchez, Migrant AG leader, to ensure a successful project. Afterwards, professions of faith and contact information are provided to local Spanish-speaking congregations who usually do the follow-up and discipleship for the people who made professions of faith.
  • Finally, individuals and churches can begin saturating the Migrant AG ministry with prayer that more churches and individuals will participate in the 2024 FTWFU ministry. Pray for the migrant workers and families that they will see “Christ’s love in action” through churches and volunteers and, as a result, will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. 

WHAT CSBC CHURCH VOLUNTEERS HAVE SAID ABOUT PARTICIPATING IN THE FEEDING THOSE WHO FEED US MINISTRY PROJECTS THROUGH THE YEARS:

One pastor from a CSBC church in the Santa Clara area shared his Feeding Those Who Feed Us ministry experience. They were privileged to participate in a time of helping to lead a Vacation Bible School with people from our congregation at the Migrant Center. “Interaction with the children brought me to tears because of their openness and gratitude. One young boy asked if we would be back next summer with an unbridled expectation in his voice. My heart melted. And each night as people from our church shared their encounters from the day when we gathered to debrief, I was reminded of the many ways the grace of God works to reach those in need and touch those who serve Him. We met with eternity not only in regard to those we saw pray to receive Jesus Christ, but because God’s presence was evident, and God did what only He can do.”

Another volunteer, a leader from Shadow Mountain Community Church, commented about his experience in the FTWFU summer projects, saying, “We are making plans for next year, looking for the Lord’s direction. We are interested in ministering once again to the migrant workers in the Central Valley… We would like to work again in the Sunset Migrant Center if possible and perhaps [add] another Migrant center during the same week of our project.  We brought eighty volunteers from our church.”

Finally, here are three attitudes required for working among migrant field workers and experiencing a successful FTWFU project.

1. BE HUMBLE. These migrant field workers are some of the lowest-paid workers in our country, doing arduous work in the fields with temperatures reaching over one hundred degrees. God has promised to give grace to the humble (James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5).

2. BE LOVING. That old saying is true, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When we sincerely love migrant people, they will know it and be receptive to hearing the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

3. BE FLEXIBLE. By definition, migrants “migrate” from one place to another, and there often are unexpected changes. Planning and organization are important to avoid problems and confusion; however, there will be times when flexibility is required. Bringing this perspective to FTWFU projects will help ensure an enjoyable and successful mission endeavor. 

I invite churches, pastors, and volunteers to participate in the Migrant AG Ministry this year – you will have a life-changing experience. If you want to learn more about ways you or your church can be involved, email us at missions@csbc.com.

About the Author

Oscar Sanchez
Migrant Ministries Leader, Missions Initiatives Team

Oscar currently serves with the CSBC Missions Team as the leader of Migrant Ministries. As former IMB missionaries to Argentina, he and his wife Lydia are now at the forefront of Migrant Ministry work in California.

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