In the Old Testament, God provides for the Israelites with manna and quail while they live in the desert. In the book of Numbers, Moses strikes a rock twice with his staff and water gushes forth for the Israelites. In the New Testament, and in the book of Matthew especially, Jesus works multiple miracles involving bread and wine. He feeds crowds of four and five thousand; he turns water into wine at a wedding.
It’s stories like these that inspire the work of Kyla DeHaan ‘16 with Christian non-profit organization the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. For Kyla, it’s a matter of Christians genuinely demonstrating their faith and love for God when they become aware and act on injustices like hunger. “I think it’s easy for us in this day and age to separate ourselves from issues like hunger because we live in such a food-rich society. We can’t fathom what it’s like to go hungry for days and we’re so used to hearing the same old ‘people are hungry story’ that it’s become easier to tune out.”
“It’s easy for us in this day and age to separate ourselves from issues like hunger because we live in such a food-rich society.”
With the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Kyla’s response is tangible. The organization helps everyday, ordinary Canadians identify what hunger is, why it exists, and who is hungry through countless educational resources; mobilizes and advocates for the Canadian government to find effective ways to respond to hunger overseas and offers Canadians the opportunity to financially give to its member church agencies that work in international communities to end hunger.
While very passionate about international development and the issues surrounding the developing world, Kyla did not anticipate ending up across the country in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Kyla’s initial role was as a Resource Assistance in the Resources and Public Engagement Department. At the start of 2017, however, she switched over to working as a Program Support Officer with the International Program Department. She could be filing one minute, making travel arrangements for a colleague the next minute and drafting a project summary of the Foodgrain Banks’ work with member church agencies overseas a few more minutes later. Both roles are ultimately about supporting others in each department in their work and both have required flexibility and adaptability. The main difference is the scope of each department: one is focused on Canada, while the other on overseas projects.
Kyla attributes her job search’s early success to the freedom to follow her passions, but also to the liberal arts and science aspect of her education. Taking different classes in multiple disciplines taught her positively react to various and changing contexts. “Taking science and art courses simultaneously meant that I was constantly surrounded by different thinking and concepts that didn’t always click with my thinking. But instead of getting frustrated and limiting myself into my own niche thinking, I was challenged to keep exploring different thinking than my own and understand the background and situation that people were coming from. At the same time, I was also encouraged to understand how I could adapt my own unique thinking to fit in these situations,” she reflects. “As someone that works in a supportive and administrative role, it’s a skill that I constantly find I need to use so that I’m able to persevere with tasks that are challenging, work in various contexts and, most importantly, continue to learn each day.
Responding tangibly to an issue as encompassing as world hunger, and promoting a holistic infrastructure in which to respond, is not easy — but it is one of the pieces of Kingdom work that Redeemer graduates are prepared for.