The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

In Fargo: Trusting God's Plan

In Fargo: Trusting God's Plan

"Jesus replied, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'” — Matthew 14:16 

Ellen is an event planner for Feed My Starving Children. Here, she shares her reflections from an event that is close to her heart. 

The Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Christian MobilePack has become a staple on the FMSC calendar the last weekend in January. This community had packed a total of 2 million meals during four events at Atonement Lutheran Church since beginning in 2015. But in 2019, God had other plans.

After much prayer and discernment, the host team decided to increase their meal goal. Amy Okeson, the host of the event announcing the increase, sent an email saying, “All through this process God has been doing amazing things, and once again He has a plan. He has called us to increase our goal to 2.5 million!”

 And so, the fundraising, volunteer recruitment and event coordination began.

Fast forward a few months. Funds are coming in and 14,000 volunteers have registered to pack these life-changing meals. The event is set to begin at 7 a.m. on Thursday, January 31. But again, God had other plans.

With windchill forecast at 53 degrees below zero and the Fargo airport shut down, FMSC made the difficult decision to postpone set up until temperatures increased. In doing so, two of the 11 packing sessions had to be cancelled.

For many communities, the story could have ended there. After months of coordinating, a change this huge could have derailed the entire event and deflated the people. But, the people of Fargo are much too durable for that.

Rising to the Challenge 


Over the next three days, the Fargo-Moorhead community rose to the challenge.

While most of the Midwest stayed indoors, dedicated community members bundled up in their warmest winter gear and unloaded 12 trailers worth of supplies and ingredients and set up the packing space.

Even though schools were closed most of the week, dozens of buses brought students to volunteer on Friday. Hundreds of individuals, families and businesses made their way to the Scheels Arena to pack meals. The community of Fargo braved the unbearable temperatures to help make a difference.

Throughout the event, FMSC staff members and the host team came together to discuss the likelihood of reaching goal. After cancelling the first two shifts, the 2.5 million meal goal seemed out of reach. Once again, God had his own plans.

The final volunteers entered the Scheels Arena and funneled into the packing stations. Not a single space was available in the room. Those final volunteers spent the next two hours packing meals as quickly as they could and, at 7:02 p.m., the impossible happened. FM Christian MobilePack packed their 2.5 millionth meal.

“I still stand in awe and wonder of the fact that we reached this goal,” Amy said. “It makes utterly no sense that we would have reached 2.5 million meals. I was reading on Saturday afternoon trying to process and wrap my head around the fact that we were really going to hit the goal. I read the story of the loaves and fishes and I was struck by a couple verses we don't always remember."

'Bring Them to Me'

"Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.' But Jesus said, 'They need not go away; you give them something to eat.' They said to him, 'We have only five loaves here and two fish.' And he said, 'Bring them here to me.'"

"Jesus told the disciples to give the people something to eat, not to send them away," Amy said. "Even when it seems impossible, we are called to follow and we did. Jesus also said when it seemed impossible. 'Bring them here to me.' The Fargo community continually went to God in prayer. We brought our worries to Him. Many of us spent the weekend praying that he would lead us to His number. And did He ever. God is faithful. We give Him all the glory!”

Thank you, Fargo Moorhead Christian MobilePack. Thank you for reminding us that our God is so much bigger than any storm or worldly anxiety. Thank you for showing us that His plans are truly better than our own. Thank you for packing 2,529,360 meals that will change lives all around the world. We cannot wait to come back to your community (we just really hope it is warmer next time!)


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