The scent of fresh summer rain has not graced the villages in the elevated, rocky area of India for several months, since the last monsoon season.
It has been oppressively hot and devastatingly dry. Not only have the cattle been thirsty, but even more so the families living in these villages. When it is not monsoon season, these families must walk for hours to the lower-lying areas where some limited surface water has gathered. This is just to find enough water necessary to survive, carrying it back up the foothills to their villages.
For some, this might be a silly question. But for others, this question shakes the very foundation of our faith.
If God is who He says He is, why does it feel like He is so far away right now? Can He hear me when I pray? Does He care about me and my problems? Why doesn't He just tell me what to do, or make it a little more obvious which direction to go?
These are all valid questions, both for the young Jesus-follower and for the veteran disciple.
It was another hot, arid day in the desperately dry country of Tanzania. It has not rained in the region (and surrounding countries) for many months, which has led to both an economic and physical crisis for rural villages with little resources. For IDES' mission partners in Tanzania, trips to certain villages are not always very uplifting.
But this day was different, thanks to you.
Working for a disaster response ministry, I often find myself being humbled by the stories of the people we serve around the world.
Right now in several East African countries, families just like yours and mine are hungry and thirsty. Drought conditions have afflicted many for months upon months. It is dry to say the least. These brothers and sisters understand hunger and thirst much differently and more seriously than I do.
Throughout the Scriptures, hunger and thirst are used as metaphors for the type of disposition we ought to have for God's presence in our lives. I'm afraid I do not yet fully understand the gravity of this in my relationship with Him.
"How do I know my money is going to actually help people?"
As an international nonprofit organization, we get asked this question often. Integrity is one of IDES' Core Values, and we seek to handle the generosity of our faithful supporters with honesty and trustworthiness, down to the last penny. You matter to us, and your questions of concern matter to us. When it comes to working in the mission field, there are many legitimate worries that arise in certain countries. "What if inflation spikes in the country and the money doesn't go as far?" or "What if a corrupt local government attempts to steal the aid?" are both sincere questions.
By working with local mission partners who are members of the very communities they serve, IDES seeks to answer your hard questions by using local strategies and wise approaches to avoid corruption and to prevent interruption of the projects. Recently, IDES' mission partner in Niger shared their story about the strategy they used to distribute emergency food that you lovingly provided to nearly 5,000 hungry people in 14 separate villages.
"Patience is a virtue," they say.
Honestly, I wish "they" wouldn't say that! Patience does not come naturally to me -- it is almost always a battle with myself. Dreams of the future and the myriad of unknowns / what-ifs fill my mind with hopes and worries. When someone lets me down or does something disappointing, I find myself lacking patience towards him or her. The suffering in the world begins to overwhelm me and I find myself longing for Christ's return right this instant. But, there always seems to be waiting involved.
Why is patience so hard? Can you relate?
Try to imagine spending the majority of your life, over 60 years, living in a war zone.
Bullets and bombs, rapes and burglaries, fires and food-loss -- all of these things are a daily reality. Your family has struggled, week after week, just to survive. Would you believe in a personal God who loves you?
Last night, I fell asleep angry.
Things did not go the way I had planned, I looked quite silly in front of a crowd of people, and I felt put-upon by someone else's mistake. It was a rough evening, and I was mad. So I went to bed.
How did I feel when I woke up today? You guessed it: still angry, and my heart was no more forgiving than the night before. What does Scripture have to say about all of this?
Since the news cycle is not reporting on this, you might not know:
As you are reading this post, there are families in Africa who do not know where they may find their next meal. Grandparents, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters are all currently experiencing the pangs of hunger due to ongoing drought and in some areas, violent conflict. Cattle have died, water has dried up, and crops have failed. Outside assistance is absolutely necessary in these countries, and lives are literally at stake.
In order to provide emergency food, we need you. You can make hope possible for these families right now by donating online here, and choosing "Africa Famine Relief 2017" as your designation.
What is a "Biblical worldview" you might ask? Perhaps you have heard the phrase thrown around nonchalantly in the past. Or maybe, you just haven't had the opportunity to care about what it means yet.
Before we define it and explain what it implicates, we must first back up and define what a "worldview" is in general. We are about to get a little bit philosophical, so get ready to dive in.