"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." - James 2:14-18
What is a "refugee?"
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country."
What is an "IDP?"
An IDP, or Internally Displaced Person, is essentially a refugee that never got out of their home country during the conflict. Many IDPs fleeing the violence of the Taliban in rural Afghanistan are forced to migrate towards more densely-populated areas such as the capital city of Kabul.
"And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." - Luke 9:23-27
We've celebrated Easter morning, the family dinners are over, and the most magnificent Christian holiday is winding to a close.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" - Isaiah 58:6-7
Hunger Still Exists
There are around 795 million people in the world who do not have access to enough food in order to live a healthy life. That's 1 in 9 people, many of which suffer from the most severe forms of hunger and malnutrition (WFP).
According to Medical Daily, after approximately 72 hours without eating, the human body begins to break itself down in order to conserve energy. This leads to constant horrible symptoms that effect the entire body such as "energy deficiency...fatigue, edema (painful stomach bloating), and decreased muscle mass."
Right now in Central and Southern Africa, this is a daily reality for families suffering from the massive crop failure due to the ongoing drought in the region. Below, you will find 3 stories from 3 countries in the region reporting on the impact that your generosity is making through IDES and our partner missions. We pray that these stories bring you as much joy as they bring us, in Jesus name!
"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." - John 6:35
For quite some time now, my wife and I have been intentionally ministering to the neighbors in our apartment building.
Most keep to themselves, some avoid us it seems, but others have opened their doors to us. One in particular, a nonbeliever, has even shared his story with us, come over multiple times for dinner, and began attending church with us on a semi-regular basis starting around Christmas time.
"...they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for He who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them." - Isaiah 49:10
"I was touched deeply because at every turn, the food was being used to feed children and bless families. At every opportunity, the children, the school administrators, and our staff paused to first give thanks to the Lord, recognizing that it is from Him that their needs are being provided for."
Last October, IDES was blessed with the opportunity to inaugurate a relationship with a new mission partner in Haiti by sending more than 200,000 GAP meals, hand-packed and fund-raised by our volunteers. Now 5 months later, and the benefits are still being reaped in our partner's orphanages, schools, and church congregations.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" - Deuteronomy 6:4-9
God wrote a book. For us.
Do you realize that this is a miracle?
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" - John 7:37-38
We drink it, we bathe and shower in it, we wash our dishes and our clothes with it, we flush it down our toilets. Nothing too out of the ordinary--for us.
Sadly, this is not the ordinary story for the rest of the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 663 million people that do not have access to safe and clean water. That's about 1 in every 10 people. Although this number is an improvement from previous years, the statistic is still staggering.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." - John 15:4
This week's devotional is rather short and to the point, but I pray you will not miss the wonder in it. According to John 15:4, we worship a God who has promised to abide in us, if we abide in Him. This is huge!
But, let's start small. What does the word "abide" mean?
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35
Who remembers the last major wildfire in 2015? Can anyone, other than those who experienced it, list the number of homes destroyed or loss of life reported? Odds are, the details are hard to recall without a Google-search.
Wildfires are indeed one of the most destructive, yet least acknowledged forces of natural disaster occurring on our plant today. Every year, hundreds of families in the United States are forced to flee their homes as the infernal flames bare down on their properties. Most suffer enormous amounts of property damage, while others lose their homes altogether.