Africa (GAiN) — [Editor’s Note: This Global Aid Network story shares how their ministry is helping to improve parts of Africa by providing for physical and spiritual needs.]
Hunger, thirst, sickness, inadequate education, homelessness–these are just some of the problems facing the continent of Africa in 2015. Others include corrupt and ineffective governments, religious strife, and terrorist groups like Boko Haram. Continent-wide challenges such as these have challenged the people of Africa for generations, and the most experienced social engineers have yet to find a sustainable solution.
The prospects appear grim, yet we see opportunity. The answer to Africa’s many difficulties cannot be found in education, shipments of food, or water projects. The people of Africa need Jesus Christ. As we address physical needs, we seek to dispel spiritual darkness with the light of the gospel.
Fortunately, GAIN and our partners are working to provide the basic needs for the displaced and the native peoples of South Sudan: healthy food, seeds for food sustainability, medical supplies, and blankets, clothing, and children’s toys.
If one thing abounds in Africa, it is poverty. But relief supplies are scarce. In countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe, which border deserts, the plight of the poor is particularly heartrending. And while some parts of Kenya are making economic strides, orphanages and slum schools are filled with children who may be hungry for knowledge, but learn little because they are so hungry for food.
Natural disasters such as periodic drought followed by devastating floods make it difficult to grow crops or raise livestock. And issues such as air pollution, poaching of large animals, deforestation, and lack of adequate water treatment adversely affect the livelihood and health of people living in these impoverished countries.
GAIN, by providing drip irrigation technology and education, along with sustainable seed sources, remains on the frontline of stemming the tide of poverty. We’ve seen crops blossom and empty stomachs filled.
For the coming year, GAIN will carry on its ministry of being the hands and feet of Jesus in Africa. Along with our ministry partners, we will continue to provide and distribute lifesaving supplies to people in need.
The needs in Africa are great. And in some regions and countries, meeting those needs seems near impossible. But we minister under the banner of this promise: With God nothing is impossible.
One example of this takes place just outside the capital city of Nairobi, Kenya, where a school sits. Small, unimposing–from the outside. But there is nothing small or unimposing about what takes place on the inside. On the inside are children who survive on the margins, orphans who live on the streets of Nairobi receive clothing and food. But more than that, they receive an education.
For the past five years, Sacred Hearts School has been run by Kenyan nationals, caring for and educating the next generation in an effort to not only save the lives of street children–currently forty girls and twenty boys–but also to provide them a future away from the streets. The school exists solely on donations. GAIN stepped in with food supplies to ease the burden of feeding sixty mouths a day, for full bellies makes for full minds… and full hearts.
In Zimbabwe, a well was drilled. And for a time, this well provided clean water for the people of Magumisa, near Gumbanzvanda. Fifty-two households and a school of 800 children drank from that well and used the water to cook and clean. But no longer.
The well broke down. Families and schoolchildren were forced to travel up to three kilometers away (almost two miles) to fetch water. And students, if they wanted to use the filthy toilets at school, had to bring water from home. Carrying water took time away from work and school, and forced families to reduce their laundry. Instead of washing school uniforms once a day, for example, washing was restricted to once a week–and that often in dirty and contaminated water.
As a result of GAIN’s water program, new wells were drilled and the water flows free and clean once again. Overjoyed, a senior teacher at the school, Mr. Chipenga, said: “No more waking up very early in the morning to fetch for water.” Now with their thirst for water satisfied, teachers and students can turn their attention back to their thirst for knowledge.
And where we take shoes for granted, the children of Dongeli, near Bor in South Sudan, don’t. Before GAIN’s ministry of compassion, many of these children would have been born barefoot and died barefoot . . . without ever owning a pair of shoes.
Walking around Africa barefooted can be dangerous: thorns penetrate the foot, cuts get caked with mud and become infected, and poisonous snakes and biting insects make quick work of bare skin. However, when GAIN’s ministry partners showed up at the small school in Dongeli with loads of shoes, the children were so excited about their gifts, some refused to wear them home for fear of wearing them out.
It may seem like such a small gesture–to provide a pair of shoes to a barefooted boy or girl, but their joy is immense. And if a stranger would love them enough to give them a simple gift, perhaps they might be open to receiving the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ, who knelt and washed the dirty feet of people He loved.
There is much about Africa today that isn’t great or free: poverty, disease, corruption, illiteracy, and war. But the people of Africa are just as noble and just as loved by God as any people on earth. The question is: will we love them as God loves them?
Will we uphold their dignity and nobility as bearers of God’s image? It is the generosity of men and women like you, who love Christ, that demonstrates His love in practical, tangible ways in Africa.
Will you help shine the light of Christ’s love in the once “Dark Continent” of Africa? Will you help feed the hungry, provide clean water to the thirsty, clothe the ragged, heal the hurting, and share the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection to the people of Africa? It could be the most noble thing you do.
If you’d like to see the complete story, click here.