“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11
I’m a 25 year-old, single young woman boarding a plane to live in Africa for a year by myself. Am I Crazy? Probably. Am I Terrified? Definitely. Is this fate? Without a doubt.
Upon graduating from St. Mary’s College of California in the spring of 2011 with a degree in Kinesiology Health and Human Performance, I was looking forward to obtaining a master’s in nutrition, or possibly even teaching English in Spain. Little did I know
that today, my life wouldn’t resemble my model whatsoever—I chose adventure.
I had never had much of an interest in mission work, but felt God calling me to go to Africa. It was no coincidence that Coast Hills Community Church was planning a trip to Malawi in August 2011. Within five days of hearing about the trip, I was signed up. After three weeks in Malawi, helping hundreds of malnourished children gain access to a fortified peanut butter that would save them from certain death, I knew it was something I couldn’t live without.
As many unemployed, recent college graduates do, I was telling God ‘this is what I want to do, make it happen’. However, one day upon my return from Malawi, I broke down crying and prayed to God, asking that HE would show me what HE wanted me to do with my life. I promised to listen. The next day Stan Smith, Co-founder of PB+J Foods, Inc., called me and asked if I would meet with him. Halfway during our meeting, I agreed wholeheartedly to spend a year living permanently Malawi. He told me to go home and sleep on it, but I knew in that moment that THIS was the answer to my prayer.
Over the last year, I have had the blessing of creating the first PB+J plant, in partnership with Nkhoma Hospital, that creates and distributes fortified peanut butter—hands down my greatest triumph! I have also been able to witness firsthand the transformation in the lives of children that have been prescribed our fortified peanut butter paste. One of my favorite success stories involves a pair of triplets. These boys were born during my trip in August 2011 in Nkhoma Hospital to a mother who already had 3 children at home. In August 2012 when they came back in for a checkup, they only weighed 12 pounds, and were unable to stand. We learned that upon the birth of their three new sons, her husband left her with nothing, and the mother was not producing enough milk for all three newborns—a recipe for death. We started them on the peanut butter regimen immediately, and within 2 weeks they were well on their way to a full and happy life. Is there anything in life more fulfilling than saving the lives of these triplets and thousands of others?
My decision to say YES to Africa and to God’s plan has been the best decision of my life. My tears of sadness and frustration regarding my uncertain future quickly manifested into tears of joy upon accepting the adventure of a lifetime—creating a future for so many children of whom without PB+J, wouldn’t have even had one.
To help us Transform the Lives of Children visit: PB+J Foods