We are far more similar than we are different. We all want our children to thrive. We want them to have enough to eat, to go to school, to get a good education, to have access to medical care. While we have the same needs and dreams, we don't have the same resources or opportunities. While I'm grateful for the resources here in the United States, I'm very concerned about my brothers and sisters around the world who are daily confronted with scarcity, poverty, violence and despair.

But there is good news. Over the past 25 years, the United States has led the world in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty, or those living on less than $1.25 a day, and American leadership has helped cut back extreme poverty worldwide by 50 percent. We lead the world in global health and development to provide clean water, food and medications for those living with HIV/AIDS. We help provide bed nets for families to combat malaria, and vaccines that saves the lives of millions of children. By doing all of these things, we have halved the number of child deaths worldwide since 1990. And we have done it through spending less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget.

Churches in the United States are also starting to see the benefit of long-term, international partnerships. We are moving into our second decade of collaboration with Zambia, Africa. We have established a foundation built to serve the Zambian people (LUKAfoundation.org), and on an annual basis, we are sending resources and people to build the capacity of the Zambian people.

Thanks to critical champions in Congress, including Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Steve Russell, our country has maintained leadership in global health. These champions have been supportive of U.S. leadership in global health and development for years, and I have been encouraged to hear their heart on the issue of refugee resettlement and their belief that we must continue to understand ourselves as a nation of immigrants.

Congress is considering increasing global nutrition funding by the highest level seen in a decade. In 2017 alone, USAID reached 28 million children with nutrition programs. This means that during a time of famine for four nations, we have the ability to save the lives of millions with this increased funding.

We want to thank Lankford and Russell for their leadership in global health and development and their wisdom to increase food security, especially among conflict nations, for peace, health and a safer world.

Middendorf is senior pastor of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene.

This article originally appeared at https://newsok.com/article/5603633/okc-pastor-the-importance-of-global-nutrition-funding