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East African churches seek drought relief

From Kenya to Mozambique, churches along Africa’s southeastern coast are struggling to provide relief from what some are calling the worst drought in a decade.

By Erik Tryggestad
The Christian Chronicle

Members of the FallsChurch of Christ in Malawirecently distributed 500 bags of corn to church members in need, but fellwoefully short of the demand.

“We saw sinlesschildren, their bodies swelling up, starving and destitute,” said elder OmexDambo, adding that at least 40 congregations are in need. “Nature would notallow us to hold the floods of tears in our eyes. The situation isheartbreaking.”
In rural areas ofsouthern and western Zambia,“the lucky ones … have one meal a day,” said Christopher Banda, minister forthe Mpezeni Park church. Some members have lefttheir churches to join other religious groups offering aid, Banda said.
Congregations ineastern and northern Kenyaalso are suffering, said Berkeley Hackett, administrator of the Kenya ChristianIndustrial Training Institute in Nairobi.
“We have up to thispoint used our internal resources to respond to the crises,” he said. “We havenow done all we can do with what we have, and it’s time to call for help.”
The Hyvots Bankchurch in Edinburgh, Scotland,is collecting funds for the Falls Church of Christ in Malawi. Otherchurches, including the Northwest London Church of Christ, are sendingassistance to congregations in Malawi,said Northwest minister Marc L. Veary.
In Mozambique theprice of corn is four times higher than normal for this time of year, saidmissionary Alan Howell.
Howell and hismissionary team raised money in the United States to buy corn, rice andbeans. They sold the crops to churches and mosques in Mozambique at areduced price and used that money to buy additional food and distributed it toa hospital, a jail, and to people with special needs, Howell said.
Although the droughthas made life difficult for people throughout the region, Howell said that heis thankful for the opportunity “to demonstrate that we are here to do good.”
Several churches in Eastern Africa request relief funds to assist in the wakeof a regional drought:
Nairobi, Kenya:Berkeley Hackett requests funds to assist in relief efforts. Contact theHighland Oaks Church of Christ, 10805 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, TX 75238,or call (214) 342-6060. Contributions should be marked “Kenya faminerelief funds.”
Mombasa, Kenya:The Memorial Road Church of Christ, Oklahoma City, is collecting funds topurchase food for relief in the Mombasaarea. For more information, call (405) 478-0166 or see www.mrcc.org.
Malawi: Elders of the Falls Church ofChrist in Malawirequest funds to assist in drought relief. The Hyvots Bank church in Scotland iscollecting donations. Make contributions to “Hyvots Bank Church of Christ” andsend to Robert Strang, treasurer, 34 Inch Crescent, Bathgate, West Lothian,EH48 1EU, Scotland, United Kingdom, or call (0131) 664 5505.

Filed under: International

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