“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!
Our partners in Mozambique, who have recently turned over the maintaining of their ministry in the area to the now-capable local church leaders, received two extremely sad reports from their churches.
One family who lived in a rural area some distance away from the church was found starved to death in their home. Another mother resorted to drowning herself and her two starving children in a nearby river to avoid the ongoing pangs of hunger.
Thanks to your generous support of IDES, our partners were able to quickly organize a widespread distribution of emergency food through the local churches in the area. Bags of corn and flour were given to 1,870 families to help bridge the gap until the expected (and hoped-for) spring rains come in late April and early May.
"This food distribution will literally save lives and because food is being given to those outside the church as well we pray it will open doors for those who don't know Christ to learn of Him who provides, not only for physical life but for Eternal life!! Thank you for your help with this relief. Pray for those who are hungry, pray Christ would be made known and be glorified," our partner said.
Tanzania is another country in which many have struggled due to the drought. Our mission partner there noticed that the intense dry-heat was not only killing crops, but also affecting the livelihood of the community members' vitally-needed cow, goat, and sheep herds. Imagine the many animals, the very ones your family counts on for income and food, littering the pasturelands dead.
"Our national leader oversaw the purchase and distribution of this food to all the areas. He worked together with our church planters within each of these communities to identify the neediest families, setup a method of measuring and distributing the corn, and a record of the names of each family receiving a portion," our partner said.
One example of an individual blessed by this distribution is Salei, a widow in this Tanzania community, and her young son Daudi (pictured right). Due to the drought, she was suffering from malnourishment and was unable to produce enough breast milk to feed her son. Both of them were emaciated and ill when the feeding program was started by our partner. "After 2 months of drinking the porridge daily, both Salei and Daudi are in great health! Salei is praising God for providing for her family in their time of need through this program," our partner reported.
Emergency distributions like this simply would not be possible without your faithful baring of these families' burdens. But--the blessing doesn't stop with providing the food: "This project not only blessed people in a physical way, but it also provided open doors for our church planters to talk with people in their communities who may not have known about the church or been interested in hearing about it before now. We are sincerely grateful to IDES for the food relief provided to these particular people at this particular time. In meeting a real, physical need our church planters were seen being the hands and feet of Jesus. Now they have been encouraged in the work of helping people see their real, spiritual need for Him."
Our partner in Kenya, whose rural area has also been particularly hurt by the severe lack of rain, has been focusing on finding and serving the most vulnerable members of the local community. In many desperate situations like this, those who are disabled, physically ill or injured, elderly or very young, or otherwise unable to make the trek to emergency food distributions end up becoming marginalized in relief efforts.
"We have now had three consecutive distributions of relief supply to our community and it has brought much significance to the well being of both the physical nutrition to the population and also the rapid growth of the church. We also have witnessed the physical transformation of our vulnerable members who have gained health after receiving the food from IDES," our partner reported.
Some of those vulnerable members include: Mama Mnangat, a blind widow and mother whose family recently accepted Christ and is now witnessing to their neighbors (pictured below); 84 year-old Mama Joshua and her grandchildren whom she took in after their parents starved to death; many elderly widows in the community; and several orphanages and schools (pictured below).
"Generally the famine food is doing wonderful in our churches as the numbers of our congregation is rapidly going up by each day. We are very much thankful to IDES and also your cooperation towards this cause. We pray for the help to continue as we are now approaching the most critical months of hunger before the long rains."
Because of your partnership with IDES, the hungry and hurting are being fed and introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the fruit God is producing with us together. These are the stories that God creates with your support.
The need for relief is still very great.
Let's keep fulfilling our mission, fighting hunger with our hearts.
Bushak, Lecia. "This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Starve Yourself." Medical Daily. Medical Daily, 06 May 2014. Web. 22
Mar. 2016. <http://www.medicaldaily.com/now-entering-starvation-mode-what-happens-your-metabolic-processes-when-you-
"Hunger Statistics | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide." Hunger Statistics | WFP | United
Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide. World Food Programme, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.