It was another hot, arid day in the desperately dry country of Tanzania. It has not rained in the region (and surrounding countries) for many months, which has led to both an economic and physical crisis for rural villages with little resources. For IDES' mission partners in Tanzania, trips to certain villages are not always very uplifting.
But this day was different, thanks to you.
Because of your love, IDES' partners in Tanzania received assistance to provide 314 goats and 20 pigs to families in several rural villages.
In one village, the majority of families are suffering the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic throughout the continent of Africa has been a long battle, often shaken by controversy. In many cases, the controversies at hand are merely superstitions which end up placing the men and women suffering from the disease into the position of "outcasts."
"They said that few people are willing to give them help," IDES' partner reported. "They said, 'in our society we are treated like social outcasts with little expectation of help.'"
So, on top of the drought conditions and chronic hunger, this particular village of people is subjected to even more disparity due to the fear and lack of understanding from surrounding communities. But, following the example of Jesus Christ in loving the "outcasts", you would not let the story end here.
"The hope of this project is to help people who are poor and challenge by drought to have enough food to provide for their family as well as a means to improve their living conditions by raising goats and pigs for food and income," our partner said.
Over the course of a week, IDES' partners distributed the goats and pigs that you provided evenly throughout 7 separate villages, with a special focus on the families who were suffering from HIV/AIDS. IDES' partners have already had a long, impactful relationship with these villages through the strategy of Community Health Evangelism, or CHE, which focuses on educationally enabling impoverished families to use their own resources, ideas, and skills to lift their community out of poverty.
"All of these animals were distributed through CHE groups. These animals were given as love gifts that help the CHE groups to gain favor in their community," our partner reported. "This is a way to open up the hearts of people in the community as these CHE groups share the love of Jesus both in deed and word."
This gift of love was received with tremendous thanksgiving and marveling. Many men and women wondered why you would care for them in this way.
Every group was grateful for the help of IDES and said things like, “We can use these animals to help improve our life;” “They will help provide better quality of food for our families;” “We can use these animals to help provide for our children’s school expenses;” “We can gain some money from the sale of the young animals that will be produced from these ‘seed animals’ to help build a quality house for our family to live in;” “Our words cannot express how much we have been blessed by IDES helping us. Our prayers are with IDES that God will bless them more and more.”
The value of these livestock goes far beyond just local-market production value. The income they produce means food, education, home repairs, and more for each family who received an animal in Jesus' name.
The compassionate distributions even got the attention of the local government.
"The local government was very surprised and encouraged by the CHE group’s compassion," our partner shared.
"Some of the members of the HIV/AIDS families asked if we would bring a church into the area. One of the CHE group members responded, 'There are several churches already in the area.' The person said, 'They all look down on us and give us judgement, but you have shown us love.' With the help of IDES these CHE groups are showing love in a very tangible way that has already produced fruit of people who are becoming receptive to the Gospel message of love," our partner said.
You are directly responsible for making hope possible for families that had ben labelled "outcasts." They now have income and food-producing livestock that will give them a "hand-UP" in their community rather than just a "hand-OUT."
"Thank you IDES' supporters for not only investing in the present needs of people in Tanzania but also for their future and helping to prepare their hearts to hear the message of the love of Jesus."