Lebanon (MNN) — Control teams in Lebanon are on the lookout for any newly-hatched desert locusts. On April 23, a rare wind pattern carried the pests briefly to Lebanon, stirring fears of multiplication and destruction.
Farmers will likely experience severe problems if locusts multiply. Desert locusts could munch their way across Lebanon’s agricultural heartland, leaving behind a food crisis – just like the one in East Africa.
“The Bekaa Valley, as the Bible teaches us, is a fertile ground, produces all kinds of food. It’s orange season, and there are stands all over the place just packed with them,” Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says.
Unfortunately, Lebanon’s produce is simply out of reach for most Lebanese.
“I was just in Lebanon for a little over two weeks, and I can tell you there’s plenty of food. It’s the price of the food that starts these fights in grocery stores,” Atema says.
“The problem is economic; people can’t afford it (food). However, it could very easily become a food crisis because of the locust issue.”
Pray that any eggs laid by mature desert locusts do not multiply in Lebanon. Earlier this week, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations issued a “low to moderate” risk forecast for the Bekaa Valley:
“There is a low to moderate risk of local breeding in a few places of the Bekaa Valley where hatching could start about the second week of May, giving rise to small hopper groups and bands. Limited cross-border movements of small adult groups from adjacent areas of Syria could take place during periods of warm southerly winds.”
Developing disciples who lead
While serious, locusts are one of several crises plaguing Lebanon right now. See our full coverage here. The country is falling apart, and its leaders are mostly to blame. “Every one of their problems – corruption, the politicians, the economy – they’re all leadership issues,” Atema says.
Heart for Lebanon introduces a Christ-centered solution. Learn more here. “We teach people to live like Jesus. We teach people to lead like Jesus; they go together,” Atema explains.
“Discipleship is about cultivating intimacy with God; leadership development is cultivating influence with people.”
You can invest in the process here. “We’re all about making disciples, and so we connect discipleship-making and leadership as one. I had the privilege to go over and teach 162 men and women in our sphere of influence,” Atema says, explaining the purpose of his latest visit to Lebanon.
“When a life is transformed, that community begins to change, and pretty soon the region begins to change.”
Header image is a 2004 photo depicting locust swarms in the Arava desert. (Photo courtesy of Niv Singer/Flickr/CC2.0)