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.
God answered their prayers. Thanks to the love of our Lord Jesus moving in you and through your generosity, IDES was blessed with the chance to provide emergency food in 3 different regions of Kenya during the drought season.
"We were losing babies and many mamas were ill during their pregnancies. They craved vitamins and minerals and so began to eat the Termite hills which have trace elements of these nutrients. The children were eating dirt," one partner in Kenya reported. "We praise God for those who give to IDES and the blessings you have given to the Pokot people. Those of you who are involved have fed hundreds of meals to hungry men, women and children. When the mamas are healthy, their milk is healthy and these precious ones grow strong and healthy."
The emergency food was distributed by local churches to anyone and everyone in the region who was suffering, starting with the most vulnerable populations. The children, elderly, and disabled were all given enough food to last until planting season. Following that, the healthier adults also received food to last. Throughout the time of distribution, IDES' mission partners made it a priority to share the Good News of Jesus with all who were willing to listen.
"In the beginning, 8 years ago we had 6 Churches, and now there are 17 and two more villages asking us to come and begin to share Jesus. They are so encouraged and have hope that they did not have during the serious 'hunger time,' as they call it," one partner said. "The day of the assembly there were 30 people who accepted Jesus and were baptized. Thank you so much for feeding these folks with your faithful giving to IDES. They know about you and IDES. When they thank us for the food, we always tell them that it is not us who give them food but God who touches the hearts of their brothers and sisters in America to give for their needs to be met. They then begin to sing praise songs to Jesus. Lord bless you all for reaching out way past your daily lives to feed our Pokot family!"
But your generosity didn't stop there--IDES was also able to purchase new crop seeds to replant farms in each of the 3 regions to begin growing during the cooler winter season. Receiving the emergency food gave them physical strength, and receiving the new seeds gave them a glimmer of hope for the future. Our mission partners worked with the families to ensure that the best farming methods were being used.
"Each farm has 100 plots and each farm family has 10 plots. They plant one plot a week thereby assuring themselves of a constant supply of food. Bible Studies are held each day at the farms and after the Farm Team taught the principles of Farming God’s Way and proper cultural and irrigation practices, the first plots were planted. Farmers planted cowpeas, spinach, onions, carrots, butternut squash, and watermelon," one of our partners said.
Each farm was planted in such a way as to be sustainable and to provide not only enough food for each family, but also to produce plants/fruits that have multiple purposes for health and wellness.
"The farms will be supplied with Neem trees planted in a row all along the border at 10’ spacing. The Neem leaves and seeds are used to produce an organic pesticide, fungicide and fertilizer. The leaves of Neem can be crushed and steeped to make a tea that prevents and cures Malaria. Neem tea also reduces swelling and strengthens the immune system. The plan is also to supply each farm family with 2 grafted Mango seedlings. One Mango tree is reported to provide enough profits by the fifth year to pay high school fees for one student," our partner reported.
The spiritual impact of your gifts was tremendous. Because of the generosity of God's people reaching out to them in love and open-handedness, many came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
"Over the past year there have been over 200 baptisms and four new congregations established. Many of the warrior class of young men are now accepting Jesus and experiencing life-changing transformations. Even today a new church is being started after ten young men came to request a church in their village. The help from IDES has given new life to the outreach of the Lord's Body in Pokot Land."
If you thought this story could not get any better, it can. Although the timing was a bit difficult for the newly planted seeds, the rains finally came during the cooler winter season.
"After several years of drought, this year the rain was sufficient to provide a good harvest for the people. IDES famine feeding has sustained the people during these difficult years of drought. IDES also provided the seed for the planting that provided the harvest this year. We are hopeful that it will sustain the people throughout the next long dry season until it rains once more."
Thank you for partnering with us in providing food and seed for these hungry communities, and in spreading the hope and love of Jesus Christ. You make the work of IDES possible. Please continue to pray for good rains in Kenya, and for an abundant harvest season in 2017.