After the storm passes and the news stations stop reporting about the needs of an affected community, it is all-too-easy to forget the plight of those who are still suffering. The recovery process takes much longer than news stations care to report.
Hurricane Matthew was an absolutely devastating disaster for communities throughout Haiti. It will take more than just a few weeks to rebuild and recuperate. Thanks to your partnership with us, IDES is able to continue serving families who have been affected, in Jesus' name.
Hurricane Matthew was the worst humanitarian crisis in the country of Haiti since the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Thousands of families sustained severe damage to their homes and possessions, many being completely destroyed. The 140+ mph winds wreaked havoc upon local schools, medical clinics, and church facitlities. Hundreds lost their lives due to the flash flooding and structural collapses. "Tragedy" is an understatement for describing this catastrophe in such a poor nation.
Immediately following the storm, you along with many other IDES supporters generously donated, allowing IDES the opportunity to provide several different local mission partners in Haiti with over $100,000 in aid. We are blessed by the many stories now being reported by our mission partners on the ground regarding all of the good that your gifts are doing for those affected by the hurricane. Of course, we wanted to share the uplifting details with each of you in a two-part series of updates in place of our weekly Project Stories. Today (12/22/16) is Part 1, and next Thursday (12/29/16) will be Part 2.
It's only a few more days until we celebrate one of the most significant events in universal history.
It's Christmas. God became man. Cue the corny carols, chintzy tinsel, and materialistic shopping sprees! Now wait just a second. Are we doing this right? Is this really all we do to celebrate this incredible event?
God became man. Am I the only one who feels like we sometimes gloss over the magnificence of this?
It was a hard summer for the people of Kenya.
For nearly 5 months, not a single drop of rain fell upon the farmland of the families of the Pokot region. The drought was long and the effects were severe. Crops were dried up from the previous harvest season, stored food had run out, and the most vulnerable family members like children and the elderly were desperately hungry. Malnourishment was wreaking havoc amongst the families, with many turning to eating certain kinds of dirt and clay due to the very trace amounts of vitamins found in the dry soil.
They prayed for emergency food assistance. They prayed for a new supply of crop seeds to plant. They prayed for rain.
Christmastime is often portrayed as the most "peaceful" time of year. But it certainly doesn't feel that way to me this year.
There are still children starving for food and thirsty for clean water. There are still millions of families who are without a home right now because they are seeking refuge in a foreign country due to violence in their own. There are still thousands of people who lack the most basic posessions right now due to natural disaster. Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean all of these problems in our world are magically solved. There seems to be less peace right now than ever before--I know, I know...this is an exagerrated misperception. But, it feels that way to me.
No to mention that there are friends that I have disagreed with recently, there are deadlines to be met here at work, and there are a bunch of holiday parties that I must attend in the next couple weeks (which is kind of rough for an introvert). With all this in mind, I feel very little "peace" in my heart right now, and I think it's a problem. Because of our identity and relationship with Jesus Christ, a sense of deep-seated "peace" should always be present anyways, not just at Christmas, right? What am I missing? Can anyone else relate to this feeling?
On Easter weekend in Lahore, Pakistan, a suicide bomb worn by a local Taliban-affiliated man went off in the middle of a crowd of Christian brothers and sisters who were celebrating together in a park.
Over 75 people were killed. More than 300 men, women, and children sustained injuries, many of which now require ongoing treatment and maintenance. The majority of Christian families in Pakistan, which make up only 2% of the country's population, are extremely poor. Although the country has improved its poverty rates tremendously in the last decade, there are still thousands of families who are very poor, Christian, Muslim, and otherwise. These families, especially those affected by the attack, cannot afford long-term medical care.
Here's where you enter the story.
UPDATE - 12/6/16
Our DART Coordinator sent in these photos and videos while surveying the damage in Gatlinburg. These fires have absolutely devastated the community.
IDES is working with Smokey Mountain Christian Church to help families who have sustained damage to or completely lost their homes. The clean-up process is currently underway in the communities, and the recovery will be long-term, taking several months. Our primary method of assistance will be financial until the areas are safe enough to begin physical assistance. We will continue to assist throughout the entire recovery process.
The best way that you can personally help the victims of this wildfire is by making a generous donation towards their recovery. We will partner with Smokey Mountain Christian Church to replace the household items and necessities that were destroyed for the affected families.
Please consider giving a gift in order to show these families that there is still hope, and it comes in Jesus' name - click the button below!
"Anything I can keep in prayer for you?" I asked my friend.
"Just.....to make it through the holidays," my friend said with a long sigh. Have you ever shared this sentiment?
In the most impoverished and/or rural areas of developing countries, the local church (if there is one) is often relied upon by the surrounding community to fulfill many different roles.
Of course, the church building (or shaded tree, or secluded hut) is the main place of worship and teaching. But in some villages, the church is also the primary meeting place for general public gatherings. In others, the church is the first source of basic assistance when food or water is scarce. In rural India, the church often functions as the doctor's office by providing basic medical care and first aid for free to poor families who have no access to modern healthcare systems.
The most beautiful aspect of a local church's multifaceted role in its respective community is this: every act of service or provision is another opportunity to share the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ.