Imagine: Sweat drips down your forehead as you achingly bend over in your field for hours under the hot sun, tilling the ground by hand for planting your seeds.
Day-in and day-out, the sun bares down as you complete the back-breaking farm labor that is the only hope for your family's livelihood. At the end of the planting weeks, you can just hope there will be enough rain for the crops to sprout and flourish. But, the rain never comes.
The temperature increases, hotter and hotter as the summer season takes over, all while you watch your family's livelihood dry up before your very eyes.
This is the dismal but true story of farmers in Bangladesh this year. Throughout the country, farming families are suffering severe food-insecurity and hunger due to the drought conditions that have prevented their normal harvest. Even with what little could be harvested, for many villages the walk to the local market bazaar is nearly 7 hours one-way by foot.
Whether rice, ginger , or fruit trees -- these families rely upon a good harvest each year in order to provide a sustainable source of income in the local marketplace. When the crops fail, these families not only have no money to purchase food, but also cannot rely upon what they are growing as an emergency food source. The situation is desperate.
"Farmers [in one of four affected regions] are desperately disappointed because they did not find a way to survive due to the fact that their only ginger had rotten [in the sun], and now they are living without any income sources," our mission partner in Bangladesh said. "The villagers prayed together to God every night to provide food for their survival, and that they may be able to work in their own paddy fields and slash burn-shifting cultivations in the hilly area."
Unfortunately, drought is not the only threat to farming families' subsistence. Military operations in one region and even rat infestations in another have wreaked havoc upon the farm land that these families own and work. Food shortages affect entire villages due to causes completely outside their control.
But, thanks to your love and generosity, IDES was blessed with the opportunity to provide emergency food through local churches in four separate regions that had been affected. In totaly, 500 bags of rice were distributed to over 184 hungry families in Jesus' name.
One of the church's elders said, "We lost everything, but had not yet lost the hope of God, believing that God will answer our prayers some day through His faithful believers. The villagers shouted with joy and praised God when they came to know through their pastor that IDES was going to distribute rice for the poor farmers."
Another leader from the area said, "We did not find at all a way to work in our own paddy fields because we have to work as "daily laborers" [for other employers] just for our daily survival. But today we can work in our own paddy fields because of the IDES rice. We therefore thank IDES and its donors for providing food while we are living with hunger and not able to work in our paddy fields."
By the grace of God, you are making hope possible for these farming families in Bangladesh.
"They were so surprised at receiving the help from IDES," our partner reported. "One man who received the rice said, 'IDES is ringing dinner bell for us today! Let's all give thanks to God. Praise be to the Lord. Now we can work in our own paddy fields, and there is no need to work anymore as daily laborers for others.' While we were distributing rice, they were so happy and said, "Thank you GOD for saving our lives through the help from IDES."