Recently Meal-a-Day has been highlighting some of our directors in order to share with our audience the people providing guidance on projects. This quarter the director’s bio shines on Luke Barratt who has been a Meal-a-Day director since 2011. Luke is a relatively newer member to the director’s committee, since joining the committee five years ago.
When asked why he joined the committee, Luke said, “Meal-a-Day has a visceral alignment with my faith and its physical outworking. In 2009, I witnessed a presentation by Meal-a- Day Director Bruce Parker at Menucha Bible School and was both wrapped and inspired by what I saw. Between my wife April and I, we’ve been involved with Truth Corps 6 different years (team members and hosting), a stint in Jamaica, time in India and a brief time in Ecuador in proselytizing and service roles. The transition to the family stage of life left us struggling for how to further our efforts of faith beyond our local ecclesial involvement. With the powerful harmony of finding Meal-a-Day filling a community need for doing good in the name of Jesus while also resonating with my engineering background and interest to serve in a way that leveraged my profession, I could not be happier to be involved in the work of Meal-a-Day.”
One of Meal-a-Day’s long-term partners is headquartered in Portland so Luke has enjoyed some added exposure to their leadership and tends to take particular interest in those projects, since they are close to home. Luke and his wife enjoy being involved with the Domestic Youth Build projects Meal-a-Day provides since they are a good fit for their entire young family to be involved. In the youth projects, they enjoy serving local communities with acts of service in a focused spiritual environment. The goal is to both physically share the love of Christ and inspire youth and families in the joy and value of breaking from our comfort zones and serving those in need.
While Meal-a-Day covers a broad range of project types and the directors read a wide variety of donation requests, Luke said that he gravitates toward projects that meet some explicit criteria: trustworthy partner (usually one they have worked with before), thorough proposal which recognizes the project risks and ideally references how they intend to mitigate them, conceivable time frame, utilization of appropriate technology for the area, established metrics to qualify lasting project success, and impact value (either helping a lot of people in a small way or a few people in a big way). Luke said the last criteria is subjective, but it’s a critical element of the stewardship role of the committee for those who entrust them with their donations to ensure that Meal-a-Day is doing the most good possible with them.
“I find very satisfying symbiosis in my job as an engineer and its impact on my role in Meal-a-Day,” Luke said. “We have a duty of stewardship of the funds we’re given to ensure they are doing the most amount of good and touching as many lives with the Love of Christ as possible. My engineering background allows me to bring an analytical approach to proposals and reports to verify the assertions against physical principles and available technologies. In some cases, we’ve asked for more information about a given proposal that seemed incomplete, recommended alternate approaches, provided technical resources, or even not funded projects given a technical assessment which either posed too much risk, or lacked value or feasibility. I have a personal and professional interest in the ‘Engineering for Change’ movement and I like to think about things like keeping up with the trends in sustainable cook stoves, remote power generation and distribution, and ‘in-country’ technologies, which ultimately helps our capability of making decisions to fund the most successful projects.
I am tremendously grateful to be able to exercise my skill and passion in engineering in the exercising of my faith in its work with Meal-A-Day.”
Luke is an active member of the Portland, OR ecclesia where he attends with his family. He said, “They raised April into a beautiful woman of faith who I adore, they married us, they embraced us with great love in times of searing loss, and celebrated with us in times of unspeakable joy. We’re at home here spiritually as the depth of bible knowledge is profound and the membership is comfortable stepping beyond the hall in attempts to do good for the community. With the passion of some inspirational sisters we’ve undertaken some projects for the needy in the community in a way that has bonded us tightly in purpose of Christ and to each other. We enjoy our children’s energy for their creative Sunday School lessons, and the tenor of the adult studies to bible learning with practical application.”
Luke said that some of his favorite bible verses relevant to his work as a Meal-a-Day director are Matthew 25:34-36 and Isaiah 1:17. He said that he is drawn most to the parables and glimpses of Judgment that are given to reflect on what character traits Christ is looking for in his people.
Mat 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
Mat 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Isa 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.