OVER 7 MILLION IN EAST AFRICA ON BRINK OF STARVATION

Over 7 million people across six East African countries are at the cusp of starvation as communities have faced existential threats from violence, flooding, the pandemic and locust infestation, the evangelical humanitarian organization World Vision has warned.

According to the charity, which operates in nearly 100 countries, thousands of children could face death or long-term health consequences if the international community does not respond quickly to East Africa’s worsening crisis. 

World Vision Food Distribution

“The situation is very severe in East Africa, and particularly Ethiopia. Over 2 million people are in need of food assistance,” Debebe Dawit of World Vision told The Christian Post in a Thursday interview. “Among conflict, COVID-19, flooding, locust infestation, all these are adding [an] additional burden to the community.”

Before the pandemic began, several countries in East Africa faced a widespread desert locust infestation that impacted hundreds of thousands of hectares and damaged croplands and pastures. Later in 2020, large-scale floods destroyed crops that were ready to harvest, which impacted the food supply for 4 million people in the region.

Matters have also been complicated by military conflicts — most recently the Tigray conflict —  and the rise of Islamic extremism. Witnesses who spoke with The Associated Press have detailed killings, looting and other abuses committed by Eritrean soldiers in Tigray, a predominantly-Christian northernmost region of the East African country.

To address the starvation and poverty crisis in East Africa, World Vision launched a multi-country emergency response for Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The goal is to reach 2.4 million people, which includes 490,000 children. 

“One of the critical elements in this one is when famine or drought is happening, we always act after the fact. … Usually, we respond after people have died,” Dawit shared. “We need to be proactive in responding and providing funding to avoid the [deterioration] of the situation. The key thing here is people are dying before the famine of the drought is declared. So that needs to be looked at, and we need to act immediately and prevent further suffering.” 

As many of you would be aware the Kenya House Church Movement which LEN supports has requested aid for the House Church Group in Tanzania. They encountered widespread famine in Nyamuzi on their recent visit. Check out my recent post KHC Missions Trip. If you would like to help click on the Donations icon on my LEN Home Page.

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PANGS?

Maybe so, if it is, then it is exciting, because that means Jesus’s return may even be in my lifetime! But it is also sober because much of the church is utterly unprepared, ignorant, and distracted. Two relevant scriptures are:

“He said, ‘Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once. Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues [loimoi]* in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.’” (Luke 21:8–11)

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6–8)

The following thoughts from Dr Alan Kurshner of Eschatos Ministries are worth considering:

“The recent locust storm causing some famine in Africa may meet Jesus prediction but it may suggest a broader geographical famine. If the recent global virus is identified with “plagues” (loimoi), it might qualify, but I think the biblical statement indicates an exponentially more devastating plague. There certainly is a spike of earthquakes but not frequent “great earthquakes.” If these are all part of the beginning of “the beginning of the birth pangs,” then we should expect two more events: a spate of wars and a spate of false christs emerging.

Until then, I don’t believe we are experiencing “the beginning of birth pangs”. Keep in mind that the beginning of birth-pang events will not unfold piecemeal but rather will be a cluster of these events that will occur at the same time, which only makes sense of Jesus’s admonition: “Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come.” In addition, I am inclined to believe the beginning of birth pangs (which I identify as the first three seals) will occur during the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel after the Beast will confirm a covenant for seven years (Dan 9:27). However, I have never been dogmatic on this, since the beginning of birth pangs may begin before the seven year period.”

In the meantime, as saints of the Most High, we live with holy expectation of our Lord’s return. This should inspire us to make sure that we daily seek God’s will and wisdom in all things. To be about our Father’s business to warn the lost that they need to repent of their sins. To recognise they have rejected their Creator, our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, so they may have eternal life.

“Remember, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt 24:25).