Earlier this month Ellen and I were at headquarters to connect with people preparing to serve with Africa Inland Mission. We made new friends and were encouraged to hear their stories and their plans.
I’m not really part of the schedule but I enjoy being there to renew friendships with the staff and to consult with the candidates about any agricultural questions they have. By far the most common question is “Now what is this ECHO place and what do you do there?” Because I have been in the ECHO network since 1985 and on staff with ECHO for 15 years I find it difficult to concisely answer those questions!
What is ECHO?
Well, here’s the official wording from the organization:
Honoring God by empowering the undernourished with sustainable hunger solutions”
from the strategic plan: “From its very beginnings, ECHO has retained a clear focus on equipping small-scale farmers with training, information, and seeds that reduce hunger.”
So the key words are agriculture, information, training, seeds, hunger. Each day as I enter the building I see a sign by the door that states “ECHO: Fighting World Hunger”.
So What Do I Do?
I fight world hunger. A key duty outlined in my job description reads “1. Serve as a senior member of the team that responds to requests from our overseas network for agricultural and networking information.”
The key word there is “team”. That team includes staff that have worked in many locations and climates globally which means that we can provide information and perspective on a wide range of agricultural questions. And we also have regional center staff with specific knowledge about their areas.
For the 18 plus years we served in Kenya I was on the receiving end of ECHO’s ministry. My kids say that when the quarterly edition of ECHO Development Notes arrived in the mail I was not to be bothered until I had read the whole edition cover to cover! ECHO was one of my main sources of information and encouragement.
So when the time came to hand off the work in Kenya to the completely capable national church, I was thrilled to be invited to work at ECHO for a couple of years. Well, that has stretched to 15 years for family reasons but I am blessed to be here and help provide information, training, and advice on seeds and community development in general.
It is a privilege to serve the countless numbers of people around the world as they work to improve the food security of their communities.