The Body of Christ demonstrates God’s Word in action by providing food for drought victims. With passages in the Bible too numerous to mention about loving our neighbor, having compassion for the marginalized, doing good and sharing our wealth, Christ’s followers have listened and responded. James would be so proud (James 1:22)! Our goal for August was to see $15,000 donated. $15,402 came in – generating a matching gift of $15,000. Because of this incredible generosity, we will be able to provide food for another month.
This month your generosity purchased corn to feed 1,476 families!
Trucks carrying 369 quintels of corn lumbered along rocky roads and across grassy savannahs to reach 8 villages desperately in need of food. These are Musl!m villages where NLE has established first-ever Christian communities. Some churches are thriving, some face serious opposition, but food has opened the door for evangelism like nothing else.
Pastor Zerihun, our Evangelism Director, says it best:
According to the testimonies we have received from the missionaries, many people gave their lives to Christ by this generous food support. The people who came to get the food were extremely happy and they are very much grateful. We have no words to express our appreciation to NewLife Ethiopia. Once again this activity gave us a wide open door for our evangelism activity. Indeed, this work removed enormous stopping stones from each and every evangelism site where we distributed maize.
In fact, a total of 57 new people had their names inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life just this month prompted by the tangible love shown by Christians! One convert from Islam summed it up succinctly:
“God used the Christian church to save our lives in this bad time. We had nothing to eat and we lost our cattle because of the drought. Nobody saw us but you Christians. You showed us the love of God by your actions.”
In a few villages (not all of them), the mosque is providing some aid – but only for Musl!ms. Our food is distributed to Christians and Musl!ms; the prerequisite is need. Musl!ms are observing that Jesus’ love extends to all people, regardless of their religion.
Following up on two women
Pastor Zerihun was especially worried about two women he visited last month in their homes because they were so weak from hunger they couldn’t get out of bed. This month, it was his great joy to have them walk out to greet him!
He was able to pray with them and tell them how much Jesus loves them and that He sees them and cares deeply for them.
A Sad Tale of Indentured Servitude
“G”, a recent convert from Islam, was a father with a serious problem – his crops failed (again), his cattle died and his young family was starving. In Ethiopia there are people called brokers who essentially sell children as field workers or house servants to provide money for their families. “G” knew if his oldest daughter became a house servant, she would have food to eat and he would get some money to help his other children stay alive.
So, for $20 he gave his 12-year-old daughter to a broker. The family she was given to was heavily into witchcraft, worshiping pythons and hyenas. While the girl was out fetching water for the family she worked for, she glimpsed a hyena stealthily watching her. She screamed, dropped her water and ran. When her “employers” found her up in a tree clinging to the branches terrified, they got her down and severely beat her. The little girl was so frightened of hyenas and snakes, both honored in the home where she worked, she refused to go outdoors. This caused additional beatings and verbal abuse. Finally, the girl knew she needed to get out of this hostile and frightening environment. She gathered up every ounce of courage she had, looked for a time to slip away, and then ran like the wind to a neighbor where she begged them to get ahold of her father to come get her.
The details of how these good people helped her are vague, but her dad did come and get her but not without having to pay the broker and family double what they paid him. He borrowed the $40 necessary to buy back his daughter, now an indebted but wiser father, satisfied that his little girl is safe at home.
Capricious Rain and Diseased Corn
This past month rain has turned the earth green and cooled the air, but in some villages, it was too little too late to mature crops. In other areas, rain watered the fields on time with farmers gratefully anticipating a harvest, only to be devastated when a fungal disease attacked their corn, making it inedible. The disappointment is not hard to imagine for these desperate farmers who have suffered consecutive failed crops due to drought. Seeing the rain fall must have gladdened their hearts and renewed their hope – then to experience this! The few animals left who ate the blighted corn quickly died, so the bad corn cannot even be used for animal fodder.
These stories give us a peek into the ripple effects of drought and famine and how 25 kg. of corn means the difference between life and death. In places where our trucks came for the second time, Zerihun observed the people were stronger, having eaten the previous month. Older children are still noticeably absent, having been sold to brokers; this travesty will have a reverberating effect for years to come.
Tragedy shakes people out of complacency and, if met with God’s grace and provision, makes them eager to listen to new ideas and to critically re-think aspects of their worldview. Our missionaries live in these affected villages and share the burdens of their fellow tribesmen. It is their joy to provide food when it is available or to give other practical aide when needs arise. Other times, they can only weep and offer comfort in life’s tragedies, always presenting the hope found only in Jesus. We are thankful you partnered with us to bring food and Good News to the people we love in Ethiopia.
These dispersions of actual accounts make me sad and grieved for the innocent children and earnest families trying so hard to survive impossible circumstances beyond their control. Iam reminded though that what the enemy uses to harm, God will use for good to bring eternal life.