to go forth

Giving Thanks for Blessings Bestowed

On the evening of February 20, 2015 Catholic Relief Services hosted a 40th Anniversary Rice Bowl event at the The Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia, MD. Featured at the event were Nationally acclaimed Spirit and Song singers ValLimar Jansen and Pedro Rubalcava and CRS staff and Rice Bowl Speaker Thomas Awiapo.

As a child growing up in Ghana, my parents died leaving three of my siblings and me to fend for ourselves. The four of us suffered the pain of hunger every day in our little bellies.

Sometimes, all that it takes is a just a little act of kindness to change a life, to save a life. For me, that act of kindness was the smell of food cooking in the school supported by Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl program. I followed the smell of the food to the gate of the school and my whole life completely changed and put me on a path to a better future.

Now, I represent living proof of what your forty-one years of Lenten sacrifices can do in the world. I hold a Master’s in Public Administration and am blessed with a wife and four beautiful children – happy kids who have never known hunger and who are in school and college as well.

For 8 weeks now, I have travelled coast to coast of the United States of America with a simple but very important message: the message of gratitude, the message of thanksgiving for the gift of CRS Rice Bowl and its life-changing effects around the world.

Once upon a time, Jesus cured ten people of leprosy, one of the worse diseases of the time. Only one of those people came back to thank Jesus for cleansing him. Through four decades of unwavering Lenten sacrifices to CRS Rice Bowl, you have cured many people, families and communities of their leprosy of hunger, disease and poverty. Unlike the miracle of the ten lepers where only one of them came back to thank Jesus, I have come on behalf of all the other nine lepers as well to say thank you for participating in CRS Rice Bowl and changing lives.

May you have a wonderful resurrection experience at Easter and may you be blessed for being merciful.

Thomas Awiapo is the Global Solidarity Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services in Ghana.

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