KEEP WALKING: One Man’s Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time
Feed The Children is currently the eighth-largest charity in the world and provides food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities to children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster. Yet few know the story of the man behind the mission. In KEEP WALKING: One Man’s Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time, FTC founder Larry Jones tells his remarkable, inspiring journey from humble beginnings to global humanitarian as well as the life-affirming work of his legendary organization.
Born to modest means as the son of Bowling Green, KY barbers, Jones had a typical Midwestern childhood centering on sports, newspaper routes, and a devotion to his faith. He felt his spiritual calling at the age of seventeen and thus pursued a life in the ministry. After years of preaching in Oklahoma and across the country, Jones made a national name for himself due to his crusade against pornography in the 1970s.
Ultimately drawing the ire of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, Jones visited the magnate in prison in 1977 and later debated him on live radio. Jones’ efforts strengthened obscenity laws in Oklahoma and his ministry continued to flourish. Yet in KEEP WALKING, Jones describes the “ordinary miracle” that occurred on a visit to Haiti in 1979 that changed his life --- and life’s work --- forever.
After speaking at a church during a sweltering Haitian night, Jones’ thoughts were interrupted by a small boy who simply asked, “Do you have a nickel for a roll?” Jones engaged the child in conversation and learned that he would purchase a roll with butter --- his first and only meal of the day. Jones’ mind began to race: he had filled an immediate need but who would feed the child tomorrow? Or the next day? Jones began to wonder how many other children in the world were hungry and what he could do about it. He recalled a surplus of wheat rotting in silos back home in Oklahoma. The injustice of nourishing food going to waste --- when it could feed countless children in Haiti --- caused Jones to leap into action.
With his ministry airing on several television stations in the south, Jones had the perfect platform to make a statement pointing to the senselessness of allowing wheat to rot while people were starving. By organizing his first food drop, Jones saw his ministry change from an evangelistic organization to that of a religious and humanitarian effort dedicated to saving lives.
Since those early days, Jones has traveled to Africa, Bosnia, the Philippines, Honduras, and many other countries in order to make a difference and has overseen the growth of FTC to the world’s eighth-largest charity. Whether it is building a water well in Nairobi; saving a baby and her mother on an Ethiopian roadside; creating the Abandoned Baby Centers; providing assistance during the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 relief efforts; or helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Jones intersperses the personal stories of the lives he has saved over the course of his nearly thirty-year endeavor to change the world. Jones weaves the history of Feed The Children against the backdrop of evangelical scandals of the 1980s (which dramatically impacted the donations given to FTC); the collapse of the American farm system; travels to some of the most dangerous war zones in the world; endless FBI investigations; public accusations; and employee tribulations. Yet throughout the ups and downs of his remarkable crusade, Jones has remained true to himself and his life’s motto: “keep walking.”
In KEEP WALKING, Larry Jones reveals the inner faith and single-minded belief in his cause that have helped him overcome nearly insurmountable threats and trials, and he does so in a highly readable, personal narrative that is compelling, often humorous, and inspiring.
All of the author’s proceeds will go to Feed the Children.
KEEP WALKING: One Man’s Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time © Copyright 2017 by Larry Jones. Reprinted with permission by Doubleday. All rights reserved.
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