Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. -Deuteronomy 15:10-11
I’ve written quite a bit recently about the war in Ukraine still unfolding and the response of the mission organization I lead (ServeNow) in relief efforts. This blog post highlights seven current humanitarian crises in other countries ServeNow is also actively responding to with your partnership. I could surface more than these seven, but I want to draw some attention to these as examples beyond Ukraine. We have a responsibility to show God’s heart and love by serving the poor, the vulnerable, and those most in need.
I was just in Ethiopia in early 2022 to launch ServeNow Ethiopia. One of the crises on our hearts that we wanted to begin serving those in need relates to civil war realities that have displaced millions of people. Our director just noted, “Many are widowed, thousands are orphaned, and tens of thousands are traumatized.”
I am happy to report we are beginning to respond to those in need by providing food monthly and helping support some women to start their small-scale businesses for sustainable income. Here are the first situations and stories to emerge:
On April 21st, 2022, we had a setup for food distribution in collaboration with the office of women and children to help some non-income families for the Orthodox Easter holiday. It was a very successful distribution. We were able to help 50 families who were locally displaced due to the civil war.
- 45-year-old Alamanesh Aahana currently lives in Tafo. Initially, she was from Benishangul Region. She was a government employee but is now displaced with her family due to internal conflict. She left her properties behind and was in desperate need of any help. She is living in a rental home in Tafo and raising a child whose parents were killed in the conflict in Benishangul.
- 41-year-old Fikirte Senbeto is an HIV carrier and lives off medications. She has four family members; she is trying to support herself with no income. She blessed ServeNow for what she received from the organization. It will make the holiday a little easier for them.
- 25-year-old Marta Kumarra has a child she struggles to raise as a single parent by working as a maid. Her husband was in the military, and she didn’t know his whereabouts. She was delighted to receive support from ServeNow Ministry Ethiopia.
I will be heading to Sri Lanka in June. Sri Lanka is in crisis economically and politically. All the cabinet members have recently resigned, along with the prime minister. Protests have also turned violent. Inflation is insane, and food is becoming scarcer. Economically Sri Lanka is in debt and collapsing. Many people, even the so-called “middle-class,” cannot afford basic essentials. People are facing starvation danger levels.
One way we are serving in this crisis is through a program we are calling “The Joseph Project.” This project is helping people start their home gardens or chicken farms to provide sustainable food. We also have been sending medical equipment as there is a severe shortage of medical items for the sick. We are also looking at relief aid/care for the elderly, widowed, poor, and vulnerable children.
Sudanese Refugee Camp
Since December 2013, South Sudan has faced brutal conflicts driving nearly four million people from their homes. Over two million South Sudanese refugees sought safety in Ethiopia and Uganda. 63% of the South Sudanese refugees are under the age of 18. These vulnerable women and children struggle with protection, livelihood, and education. Many face food insecurity!
Over time, ServeNow has supported and partnered with a Sudanese Refugee Camp in Uganda. We’ve provided the camp with relief, education, and biblical training. This week, our team just received this update from Bishop Henry, who serves like Jesus to this community:
He stated, “The support received transformed us! The motorcycle enables the overseer to visit the zones and the local Churches. Before the motorcycle, it was hard for us to make visits. The Christmas relief support for the needy families and Church leaders enabled them to realize that God cares even in the wilderness. They became transformed and motivated to serve the Lord diligently because they realized our caring God!” The support for homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged the parents and students. Those learners are doing well currently! The school just opened back up full-time. The community appreciated the Church for its holistic ministry. Last April, we conducted a Christian Teachers Training Course for forty church schoolteachers. The training had five Modules. They started with Modal One, Bible World View. During the training, four teachers gave their lives to Jesus. We thank God for your financial support! Because lives are transformed, and people decide to follow Christ. We appreciate ServeNow. ServeNow is a gift to the South Sudanese body of Christ!”
Yazidi Refugee Camp
One of the heart-breaking situations worldwide that has not been in the news in years is the plight of the Yazidi people in Iraq. ISIS terrorized this community, taking young girls captive to be their wives and bear children. Historic towns and cities were destroyed completely. And many Yazidi people are still living in refugee camps in Iraq, feeling forgotten and abandoned by the world in their trauma.
ServeNow is providing food, humanitarian aid, sport activities for kids, trauma-related activities for traumatized women, and educational support to unwanted children born from captivity to ISIS soldiers. The Basic Series is used for discipleship purposes and to let people know that God loves them and has not forgotten them.
Myanmar is also a country in political crisis again. The military Junta retook control in a coup in February 2021, even as Myanmar looked like it was moving more democratically. People were arrested, threatened, and shot as they began to protest. A record-breaking spring heatwave also is going through Southeast Asia, leading to suffocating temperatures. We have been responding with humanitarian relief aid.
Besides constant persecution concerns, record-breaking heat is also affecting India. Temperatures soared past 100 degrees Fahrenheit already. ServeNow is responding to the heat crisis with water relief in various communities most in need.
Since April 2019, our partner at the border has served over 25,000 immigrants at the US/Mexico border. Of those 25,000, over 8,000 have come to faith in Christ through these efforts. The pastor we partner with at the border has turned his church into a respite center during the week, so those entering the US legally can come to have a warm meal, a place to rest, take a shower, pick out new clothes, hear the Gospel, and receive prayer before going on to their sponsor family in the US. Across the border, food is provided for those waiting to go through the legal process to enter the US. These people have been forced to leave their homes due to corruption, gangs, and violence endangering their children. They are not criminals but are being forced to immigrate because of criminals. Their journey is often treacherous, dangerous, and traumatic. A trip is being planned to go with me in September 2022 to see this work and meet these people firsthand: US/Mexico Border Trip.
***There are many needs worldwide and humanitarian crises constantly unfolding. I want to invite you to partner in prayer and financially to serve the most vulnerable and show God’s love worldwide via ServeNow. You can give “Where the Need is Greatest” here.