Ethiopia (MNN) – Drought, flooding, and locusts have plagued Ethiopia for months. Now in the second half of June, experts say the locusts will begin their migration again, potentially leaving Ethiopians and others in the region devastated by continued food shortages.
Locusts have caused and continue to threaten widespread disaster for crops. They often move together in large swarms that are devastating. A swarm that covers a kilometer of land can devour the same amount of food as 35,000 people in a day.
In addition to the drought and flooding, a second wave of these insects leaves many farmers and pastoralists feeling hopeless. Their livelihoods are literally vanishing before their eyes.
New Gospel Opportunities
In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, World Mission workers see increased receptiveness to the Gospel.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says, “Our church planters are actually seeing more receptivity to the Gospel among people groups, like the Somali and the Afar, which are the two largest unreached people groups in the country of Ethiopia. And so from that standpoint, there’s a tremendous opportunity.”
World Mission shares truth with unreached peoples through local, national leaders. These workers live among the people groups they love.
In Ethiopia, many workers with World Mission are facing the same struggles as their neighbors. They’ve lost crops or are struggling to feed their animals. They know the needs of the people around them. This provides one tangible way that World Mission can help open doors for the Gospel.
“As those physical needs are identified, maybe they need more seed because they’ve lost their entire crop, so that’s something we’ll do.” Kelley says, “We’ll invest in helping farmers get new seed so that they can replenish their lost crops or buy animals.”
Working with individuals to help them get back on their feet often opens the door to share more about why World Mission is able to help and what other kinds of hope they can offer. These openings are tangible ways that their team can be the hands and feet of Jesus and offer the hope of the Gospel, which is the goal of all their national partners as well.
Kelley says, “So even though we’re not a uniquely focused humanitarian organization, we strategically invest in humanitarian projects that open the door for the Gospel to be shared.”
Persecution and Prayer
However, there are barriers to turning to the Gospel for Ethiopians. In addition to natural disasters, they face potential persecution.
Kelley explains, “There are militant, radical Islamic activities going on in these places. So, when people do become followers of Christ, their lives are in peril. And so being able to come alongside them, and encourage them, help them grow in the knowledge of Jesus is really critical.”
Al-Shabab is active in the area and threatens severe punishment or death for those who choose to follow Christ. The price of discipleship is high.
Pray that God would open hearts to His truth in the midst of these natural and human crises. Ask for perseverance and strength for World Mission workers. Pray also that the upcoming locust swarms would not be as devastating as predicted. Get involved with World Mission financially today and help them spread Gospel seed in Ethiopia and around the world.
Header photo courtesy of Niv Singer on Flickr https://bit.ly/2A9MwxW