Nov 30, 2020
Heavy Flooding of the Awash
Heavy rains this summer caused flooding, the worst ever in the region, which has displaced some 300,000 people in Ethiopia. Our colleague Fikadu found 50-60 people crowded into small mud houses built for 5-6 in the Meki area, where he had gone to distribute food from our matching grant to families destitute from COVID. We’ve offered his denomination another matching grant to raise relief for those whose houses and fields are still under water. Our colleague Mezgebu’s denomination has delayed baptism for 1500 new converts because the Awash River is still too dangerous to baptize in.
The unusual rains have also produced a once-in-a-generation locust plague. During his food distribution, Mezgebu found that areas spared from flooding had been picked clean by locusts, leaving farmers with nothing at all.
Nor has COVID gone away, though Ethiopia is doing better than the USA. So far it’s had 103,395 cases and 1588 deaths. Most businesses are open, but many day laborers have still not found work.
If these and COVID were not enough, Ethiopia now has civil war, the aftermath of which we have yet to imagine.
However, as Stanford economist Paul Romer once stated,
“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
Though we cannot be with them during this time, our colleagues press forward. Some of the remote peoples they mentor have been more aggressive than ever in sharing with the poor, creating businesses to sustain themselves, and telling the Good News. Churches that formerly showed little interest are now begging for help in making small groups work. Second-generation leaders are stepping up when senior leaders find their travel blocked. Brothers and sisters in the Catholic renewal movement have started ministering in nine monasteries.
Since COVID started, people from different groups in one area and 1500 people of various backgrounds in another area have come to Christ. And that is just what we know; we don’t yet have full reports. We are in phone or Zoom communication with one or more of our colleagues almost daily, cheering them on.
Pray that we and our colleagues will have the wisdom and stamina to turn these crises into permanent steps forward for the Ethiopian people groups we serve.