Like much of Africa, the entire region of southern Madagascar has been experiencing an inconceivable drought and subsequent famine. As a result, many have died, are severely malnourished and have no hope of future harvests. Some villages have sold the last of their livestock and are surviving off of bitter, often poisonous, manioc.
In October, we partnered with BGR and coordinated the “Seeds of Life” seed distribution project. Through the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists and others all over the world, we were approved to help aid in this time of crisis by providing seed to the Mahafaly people, in hopes of a reproducible harvest next year. Despite being limited on preparation time, God heard our prayers and provided 165 tons of seed. If you are like me, and struggle to understand how much 165 tons really is, imagine about fifty-five elephants! You can imagine what it took logistically to get that much seed way out to the remote Mahafaly villages!
Our first generation church leaders played a major role in the planning and implementation of the seed distribution. They received training from BGR on distribution protocols and worked hard to develop an evangelism strategy. Each first generation church/village was given the seed for their village, along with the bags of seeds for the villages of their second, third and fourth generation churches. Each first generation church took seed to the second generation church and helped them distribute within their village. This continued on with the third and fourth generations.
In all, we were able to distribute over 3,000 (50 kilogram) bags of corn, cowpeas and peanuts to 55 villages with a combined population of nearly 41,000 people! The Gospel was spread to thousands who have never heard God’s saving message and over 700 people have received Christ. Over thirty new villages have new groups of believers meeting!
Now that the people have seed to plant, please pray God would send rain to the dry, parched land. Pray for a bountiful harvest, not only in their fields, but also among their hearts. Pray for many more to come to Christ and for the believers to continue to grow in their faith and commitment.
About 300,000 people, one in four have been targeted for assistance because of drought in Swaziland. Rural people are in danger of severe malnutrition and there is only enough water to supply the Swazi capital (Mbabane) for between one and three weeks. Ninety percent of Swaziland’s sugar cash crop relies on irrigation, which has significantly been hampered by the rationing of water. The reduction of water has impacted the education of children as schools depend on flushing toilets. Existing bore holes in the rural areas are becoming dry. The country has one of the highest prevalence of HIV-infected adults. Food security in the country affects anti-retroviral (ARV) intake as ARVs are meant to be taken with food and water. It also affects access to medical facilities as some people are unable to make the journey to the facilities due to illness, weakness or lack of finances. Pray healthy rains will soon begin to fall throughout the country of Swaziland. Pray rivers will be able to “fill up”, crops and gardens will be planted and herds of cows and goats will be seen throughout the country again. Pray for the financial help the country needs to feed its starving people.
“‘If you remember my laws and commands and obey them, then I will give you rains at the right season; the land will produce crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.
Namibia is experiencing its worst drought in thirty years. As the grass is depleted and the boreholes are drying up, cattle, sheep, and wildlife are dying. The clouds often begin building up in the sky only to dissipate before any rain has fallen on this extremely dry land. This physical crisis seems to be a daily reminder of the spiritual drought which is also evident in this country. The believers here are battle-weary and it has become a rarity to find those believers who are remaining actively faithful to all that God has called them to. Raising up godly leadership is almost insurmountable as Satan discourages and steals away any promising leaders. Please beg God to pour out His Spirit and move among His children in a refreshing and revitalizing manner that will cause these Namibian believers to mature and reproduce followers of Jesus. We also ask that you join us in pleading with God to “give us rain at the right season so that the land will produce crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.”
Praise God for this time of harvest of crops among the Masikoro. Praise Him for providing for them, for His grace over their lives. Madagascar is a very poor country but the Masikoro are one of the poorest of the poor people groups. The Masikoro land in the southwest part of Madagascar is often plagued with drought. Thankfully, this year there has been a successful crop. Ask the Lord Jesus to continue to provide for the Masikoro. Ask the Holy Spirit to use this time of harvest to stir in them an awareness of the One who has given all they have. Ask Him to bring an abundant harvest of believers among the Masikoro!