(KYTX) - Almost everyone has seen the pictures at least once on their T-V screen.
Young African children tragically suffering from a poor economy, poverty and hunger. If we are honest for most of us they are just pictures. A sad reminder of suffering somewhere far, far away. That was the case for Tyler mom Wendi Rees until she actually stepped foot in that far away place. "I just never knew that that existed," said Wendi, "I had seen the videos on T-V but it's just different when you are there. And when you can feel these children and touch and see their environment they are in, it rocked my world."
Wendi had joined her brother, a minister from Georgia, on a trip to check out a ministry feeding the hungry in Nairobi, Kenya. It was a trip that would change her life. "And what was even more convicting," remembers Wendi, "was that they are the happiest people they have ever been around and they have nothing. And so I knew when we sat down with the founder of Mana Ministries who had this feeding program that we were going to checkout and we determined that a dollar can feed these children for an entire week we knew that there was something that we could do in America to help that and to try and help him do that."
When Wendi got home she shared her story with her family. That's Wendi, right there with sons Chase and Jackson. It was her boys, Jase and Jaxon that first caught a vision of helping. They convinced Wendi to let them sell cookies and send the money to the children in Africa.
"It just became this little snow ball that started forming until God said okay now that you've seen this this is really what I want you to do," says Wendi. "And he gave me this picture of this thing we were supposed to do outside with bounces houses... and it just looked like a big fun family day. I had eight people that I said hey I think I'm supposed to do this and do you want help me. And before you knew it in 2012 we went from eight people in a meeting trying to determine what we were going to do to 3,000 people at the park."
Wendi's vision became "No Hungry Children" which in turn helped create a "Glocal Giving" day in Tyler. Bringing together several organizations for a one day focus on hunger, here at home and around the world..
"Because we know that there is hunger and poverty in Africa but we know there are children experiencing the same thing right here in our backyards," says Wendi. "The whole point of what we are doing in coming together is to have a glocal mission. That's what glocal giving day is all about. We want the global in Africa and the local here in Tyler we just want to come together and just raise an awareness about hunger. "
The movement didn't end after that first year in 2012. Last year here in Bergfeld Park the crowd went from 3,000 to 6,000 more than $92,000 were given and 6,000 pounds of food donated. All because one stay at home mom felt the calling of God and had took the step of faith to see it through.
"You know when the Lord first showed me... I have to be honest, I argued for a couple of weeks. And obviously I didn't win that argument. He just kept saying one thing over and over to me "If you be obedient, I'll send you the people". And that's just what I clung too," says Wendi. "I think that's why He picked me. Because I didn't know what I was doing. So when it turns out to be so successful the only person that can get the credit is the Lord because I couldn't have pulled that off by myself. And at that first even when Pastor Steve walked up and said, "Wendi, God just wants you to stop and take a look." And he turned me around and what I saw was exactly what the Lord had showed me in this vision. You know I'm not a person that walks around saying I have visions from the Lord.
I mean I don't walk in that. But I saw what I saw when He told me to do this and then there it was right in my actual vision. And I just think that was one of those "God Kisses" where the Lord says see I told you to be obedient and how here the people are. So it really strengthened my faith and allowed me to keep going and do it again and now this is our third year of doing it again."