India (MNN) — The rat famine in India happens every 50 years. Called mautam, it is the process of bamboo flowering and bearing fruit that rats eat. When they eat, they reproduce more than at any other time. They begin devouring the farmers crops and, this year, they have eaten the past two years of harvest.
Mauii Pudaite of Bibles for the World said the famine is hitting hard in Manipur and Assam in northeast India in particular. "It's been really, really awful. But our God is truly amazing in what He does. In the midst of hunger and suffering, there's a beautiful revival among the believers in the churches in the hills. In their desperation, they draw near to God, and God meets them in the form of their needs, and there is much spiritual revival there," she said.
Leaders there have formed the MAUTAM Task force to address the famine situation. "Farmers are given seeds of cash crops such as ginger to plant and grow. The rats do not eat ginger. While they grow ginger, the farmers are provided with rice for their sustenance. The mautam force tries to find market for the farmers to sell their ginger produce."
Those who cannot work in the fields of ginger are given other jobs that benefit the community
and the food program. Thus far, no one is begging for food, and no one has died of starvation because of this task force.
The MAUTAM Task Force is constantly researching other crops that can be used in the hills in
the future when this kind of situation arises, said Pudaite.
Because of all this, church giving has understandably suffered. "We are trusting the Lord to raise up many among the household of faith to come to their aid by becoming prayer partners or providing financial support to enable them to carry on their ministries,"
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