Woman receiving food

Reporting Back on Our Response to COVID-19 in Ethiopia

Sep 24, 2020

Reports are now mostly in from the nine different organizations or movements to which partners like you gave COVID relief money last spring. Because we used some of the money for matching grants to Ethiopians, they added an extra $12,408.

In all, 1,655 families consisting of at least 8,081 individuals received life-saving oil, grain, and in many cases masks and soap. These were leaders, members, or needy neighbors of 241 churches. Here are some of their stories:

One woman sat down to eat with her child, telling the child this would be their last meal. While they were eating, they received a call from the church asking them to bring a bag to the church to pick up some food!

Members of a church that had contributed towards one of our matching grants visited a young woman living in a plastic and rags tent near the Prime Minister’s palace. They found she had been deserted by her husband shortly after giving birth to twins 6 months ago. They prayed for her and gave her food, soap, and masks. They have continued to visit her, and given her additional money.

Here is Samuel. He had been supporting his family of eight on a salary of $33 per month, trying to earn extra after hours by weaving traditional Ethiopian cloth. He described his family as “destitute.” He could not thank the distributors enough for the gifts of food they brought. The relationships tightened by those gifts will will last beyond COVID

At least ten pastors in far west rural Ethiopia had decided to leave ministry and their area. All their church members who could move away had done so because of the long-standing violence in the area, and then COVID had closed their churches. “It’s one thing for us to go hungry. But when we cannot feed our children….” Then Pastor Daniel or Pastor Miheritu arrived by motorbike at their homes to deliver Hope In View’s gifts. “This is a miracle!” they exclaimed. “We are not alone after all!” One by one they decided to stay where they were and continue serving.

Furthermore, even though Hope In View’s gifts reached relatively few people compared to the millions who were suffering, the hope that they generated seemed to be contagious. In one area of Ethiopia previously under the control of witch doctors, since COVID began and churches closed, 1500 people have come to faith. This has happened entirely through groups of four or five meeting in their neighborhoods for prayer and Bible study. The new believers continue as members of those groups. During COVID travel restrictions, area leaders are training the dozens of new leaders needed for these groups over the phone.

 We thank God for the many American friends who contributed to our matching grant and made all of this possible. We also thank God for all the Ethiopians who gave sacrificially to the matching grants we turned around and offered them. Though helping done wrongly often hurts, we must always weigh that danger against the acute dangers of crises such as COVID-induced starvation. This time, it was gratitude and generosity that grew, not dependency.

See “When Not Helping Hurts,” Christianity Today, May 26, 2020