One morning Jesse Correll and Andy Rotunno stood in the Gleanings warehouse discussing new products arrivals and upcoming shipments to Gleanings Christian ministry partners. A voice message came in from Kendra Doutt of Feed the Hungry, Nicaragua:
I have to tell you this story. Many years ago, I found a little boy in the dump underneath a box. He had fallen from a truck and lay dying there in the dump. The boy’s name was Tony; he was only three years old. We picked him up and took him to the hospital where his health stabilized. We went back to the dump to look for his mother, but all we found was his older sister Stephanie who was there taking care of six other siblings. We learned that Tony’s mother worked as a prostitute and the children were left to live in the dump. We pursued guardianship of Tony, but the state said we were not able to adopt him because he had a mother, and she wouldn’t allow it. Every time we’d return to the dump for food distributions, we’d play with Tony. One day Tony was gone. His grandmother had sold him to a pig farm. The owner agreed to pay Tony’s grandparents eight dollars per month for his work–he was only 8 years old at this time. He was taken to live at the farm where he slept with the pigs and never received any payment for himself other than a plate of food each day. Back at the dump, we’d ask about him, but no one knew where he was, and his family would not tell us anything.
Then, in May 2023, I saw a young man at the dump collecting trash. I called his name, “Tony?” It was him! He escaped and had come back to his old home in the garbage dump. He told me his whole story. I quickly asked him, “Where’s your mother?” He said, “I haven’t seen her in years. She’s gone to the international border as a prostitute.” I asked where his grandparents were. He showed us where they lived there in the dump.
I immediately asked Tony’s grandfather, “Would you give me your permission for Tony to come live with us at the mission and join our Rise Up program where he can work with other youth, be trained and discipled in his walk with Jesus?” He said yes! Tony has been with us since June 2023!
Last week Tony went with me to the dump. Together we distributed food packs to 50 families. In those bags of food were Gleanings oats and soup mix. So proudly and dignified, he cleaned up, dressed up, and he pulled back his long hair, and we went out to the garbage dump, where he helped them pick trash. And when we got done, he passed out those bags of Gleanings food with such compassion. In the picture I sent, you can see that he has plastic bottles in his hands because he was helping the people of the dump pick trash. Tony is now going into the dump communities with us to do ministry.
Pray for Tony and his new life learning to walk with Jesus and to serve his own people with compassion. By God’s grace, Tony has truly risen up like a beloved son, out from the filth of pigs, out of the mounds of trash, to a place where he is now experiencing the love of Christ every day. Pray for Kendra Doutt and her missionary team who serve Gleanings food and the Bread of Life, Jesus, to thousands of children each week in Nicaragua.
Ron Wagner (former Gleanings staff member, 1997-2007) invited Fritz Meier and Andy Rotunno to fly up to Saskatchewan, Canada and visit the farmers who donate peas and lentils to the Gleanings soup mix production. Each of us went separately for ten days, Fritz in June and Andy in July. What a privilege to meet so many of our donating farmers face to face. As we drove around the beautiful golden province, we realized that we are not merely individuals working for charitable business connections, but we are communities collaborating together to save lives in the name of Jesus. What an encouragement it was to see how expansive the Body of Christ is, and how the Lord has brought us together from across the nations to bring the hope of Christ to so many.
First we visited Hutterite colony farms. These unique communities are so family-oriented, hard-working, hospitable, and generous. Their leaders agree to give truckloads of product to Gleanings each year. When we were there, they invited us into their homes for coffee or a farm fresh meal. They gave us extensive tours of kitchens, vast gardens, shops, and new construction sites. Once we were invited to stay overnight in the colony and spend the evening singing praise and worship together with families. It was such a blessed time, and we were so excited to invite them to come visit Gleanings one day.
We also visited one of our main grain processing partners, Simpson Seeds. We met with their administrative team and shared stories about the impact of the lentils. Jordan, the general manager, said that Gleanings is a perfect fit because we are aligned with the company’s core values. Mr. Simpson shared that Gleanings is a missional extension of Simpson Seeds’ vision, which is to “nourish the world.” It was easy to see that Simpson Seeds is not just a business, but a community. They have processed millions of pounds of lentils on Gleanings’ behalf.
Finally, we visited a small church in a tiny town, invited by good friends (and donating farmers) Kent and Darla Pierce. During the service, Andy shared about children whose lives were saved because of the Gleanings food—peas and lentils grown in their fields. They asked us to stay for an additional question-and-answer time. Farmers in the church promised to give truckload volumes to Gleanings no matter what the coming harvest looks like.
From the rural fields of Saskatchewan to the small town of Dinuba and the many remote nations of the world where Gleanings food is served on a daily basis, communities that love Jesus are committed to feed the needy of the world physically and spiritually. We are one in Christ.
“We have a dream to make our own soup mix right here in Colombia!” It was October 2019 in a small
upstairs office in Bogota, Colombia. Fritz Meier and Andy Rotunno sat listening to Julian Camargo
share a vision for the future. “Yes, we want to import containers of Gleanings soup mix to
minister to Venezuelan migrant families, as well as the needy people of Colombia,” Julian continued.
“We also believe that we, the Colombian church, can work together to rescue wasted food in
Colombia and make a healthy soup mix here, to help us share the love of Christ.” Read more
The wait is almost over as our Called + Equipped DTS (Discipleship Training School) students are already arriving! Get ready for an incredible season of growth, transformation, and God’s mighty movement! We’re filled with anticipation as we eagerly await the arrival of these passionate individuals who are ready to embark on a life-changing journey. Together, we’ll dive deeper into faith, learn about our God given purpose, and witness the power of God’s love in action. Stay tuned as we share stories of testimonies, adventures, and the incredible ways God moves through our DTS students!
I had the privilege to travel to Nicaragua last month. Since the COVID pandemic began I have not
visited any Gleaning’s partners, so I was excited to once again be with the people who use our food.
Nicaragua is a beautiful country with many poverty issues. The two organizations we visited provide
food for over 150,000 children in their feeding programs. We saw our peaches and soup mix at every
place we visited. I felt the Lord speak to me about going as a servant. If every glass of water given to
a poor person is given as unto Jesus, then I work for these people because I live to serve Jesus. Instead
of coming as the person who donates food, I related to people as someone who loves them and is
committed to making their lives better in any way I can. It was a precious time. The Lord connected me
to some beautiful people in a deep way. – Fritz Meier
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“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
Now we are transitioning from making soup to processing peaches and nectarines. Every year there is excitement on base as we prepare for our summer staff and summer teams to arrive and serve. As we visit fruit growers and equipment companies, we connect with various people in the farming industry. Everyone faces challenges. We have the opportunity to listen and pray with many of our friends who run businesses here. Gratefully, we are receiving much favor and we appreciate everyone who helps us to succeed in producing the dried fruit. At the same time, we pray for all our donors. May the Lord lead and guide them to successfully run their businesses, to employ their workers, and to be a blessing in our community.
Let’s labor to the glory of God this summer and let’s build His house!
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