When hunger hits: Churches are responding

By NCM Africa
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Parched, cracking ground and withering crops — these have been consistent scenes across parts of Africa over the past couple of years. Because of the worst drought in decades, many millions have been living without the security of knowing what — or if — they will eat.

ImageA year ago, churches in Zimbabwe and Lesotho knew that they needed to step in to serve their neighbors.

The El Niño weather pattern that swept through was intense, keeping rain from falling where it was needed most. Without water, crops didn’t grow, and most people were unable to cope with the sudden shortage of food. In Zimbabwe, all 60 Nazarene districts were affected.

In 2016, volunteers gathered to contact local churches, who were able to put together lists of the most vulnerable individuals and families who would receive food aid. The undertaking was huge — and so was the need. For three months, volunteers distributed food aid at 56 distribution points across the country. Each basket of food would help supplement up to four people for a month. The churches’ efforts helped to ensure that more than 12,300 people had enough to eat.

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ImageThe severe shortage of rain also led to a shortage of drinking water, and people had resorted to using unsafe sources that can cause waterborne diseases like cholera.

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the Nkulumane Church of the Nazarene was able to drill a borehole well in partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Africa. While the well has gone a long way toward making clean water available, others like it are few and far between. Long lines of people waiting their turn stretch out from the well. Still, every drop of water counts.

About a thousand miles south, Lesotho has also been struck by drought and famine. There, too, churches were able to help their communities by providing food. Church volunteers came together to provide more than 700 families with food aid to get them through a hungry season. Teams were able to get the food to remote areas, including isolated churches deep in the mountains, to make sure that everyone had enough.

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In both countries, churches came together to offer a tangible reminder of God’s love and hope for the future. This was possible because other churches around the world had given to the Africa Disaster Fund.

Right now, countries in East Africa are also facing famine, and more than 20 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. In desperation, people are abandoning their homes and farms to seek help in refugee camps. Through NCM's Africa Disaster Fund, local churches will be ready to respond when disasters like this happen.

By giving to the Africa Disaster Fund, you can help make sure the church is equipped to offer a tangible expression of God’s love when people need it most.

-- Reprinted with permission from NCM Magazine, Summer 2017 edition. To read current and past editions of the magazine, visit: www.ncm.org/magazine.html