Praise Amidst a Pandemic: Hear Their Stories

“My family was in a big disaster because I was unable to feed them even once a day…. But God used His peoples to save my family’s life. The Almighty God who prepared water for the people of Israel in the desert also prepared food for my family.”

Gelane, Mother to Chaltu Lemessa

For Christmas this past year, my sister got a board game called Pandemic. Little did we know how appropriate this game would be in the months ahead! We’ve played the game several times during our shelter-in-place and with varying degrees of success. (It’s a collaborative game where all players work together to prevent a worldwide pandemic. If players can’t contain the outbreaks and find a cure in time, they all lose!)

While the game does mimic how rapidly a virus can spread, it cannot depict the real-life repercussions of a pandemic. If it introduced factors like rising unemployment, hyper inflation, closed borders, interrupted education, or perhaps unrelated but coinciding factors like extreme poverty, famine, and locust plagues… the game would be way too challenging.

I think we’d all agree that these are challenging times. Life is not a game, and the complexities of COVID-19 and its effects on the world around us are overwhelming. There are so many people in need during this time of crisis, and it’s difficult to know where to start. But we must take that first step to simply do something.

One thing we can do is SEND AID to our vulnerable families in Ambo, Ethiopia. With a majority of Ethiopia already struggling with extreme poverty, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and an invasion of desert locusts have led to another severe food crisis in Ethiopia.

We stepped in for our Hope 4others families in the fall of 2019 when we heard about the hunger they were experiencing. Unfortunately, their situation is much worse today due to the amplifying factors of COVID-19 and the destructive locust swarms. But we know from past experience that any help we send makes an incredible difference. The food we provide is literally life-saving!

Below: Photos of last month’s first Crisis Response food distribution. Each of the 231 families in our Hope 4others program received sacks of grain (for making corn flour) and soap.

The CarePoint staff of Spring of Hope and New Hope gathered testimonials from the families receiving this emergency food relief from 4others. A few guardians also wanted to share how last year’s food distributions impacted their families, because it’s by remembering how God provided for them in the past that they now have hope in the present! Hear their stories:

“I am living with two of my children in a rented house by the income I get from daily labor. Due to the invasion of COVID-19, I lost all my means of earning income. As a result, I couldn’t pay the house rent and was unable to feed my family. The owners of the house forced us to leave. Now we live with a family who shared a salon with me. Though we have shelter, all family has been suffering from hunger since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.

SVO and 4others supported my family while we are on the verge of death. This support will enable me to feed my family freely at least for a month! I would like to thank you all for this incredible provision.”

– Dinkitu, mother of Hawi (3070) at New Hope; referring to May’s food distribution

“I have been feeding my six children by the income obtained from washing clothes for other peoples. Due to the virus, all the sources of my income were dried. My husband is also a daily laborer whose sources of income were dried. As a result, we faced a great challenge to feed our children. My children slept [with] empty stomachs at least three to four days in a week.

For me and my children, this food is the divine intervention of God. This support shows the love of Jesus Christ! 4others provided us this support even while [the USA] is in severe problem, too. I would like to thank them from my heart. My family has food to eat for the coming month. I believe God [will] provide [for] my family for the remaining months, too.”

– Alemitu, mother of Berhane (4017) at Spring of Hope; referring to May’s food distribution

Last August, one of our students passed out from hunger while attending Sunday School at New Hope and later had to be revived at the local hospital. Yerosan’s story initiated our response to provide emergency food relief for all our families. Thanks to the support of our sponsors and donors, Yerosan’s family received this life-saving support just in time!

Yerosan’s grandmother, Dinkinesh, is described by the CarePoint staff as “a heartbroken woman who has lost seven of her children to death.” Dinkinesh shared this testimony with us:

“We live in a rented house. I have no consistent income because I am too old to engage in daily labor. My family depends on my son [who lives outside of Ambo] to support us for any needs. Since he was unable to support us due to high inflation, my family was suffering from famine. While Yerosen was attending the CarePoint class, she collapsed or fainted. This happened to her because she did not eat any valuable food for the three days before she collapsed. I thought she would die.

When the CarePoint informed me to collect corn flour and food oil from the project office, it made me so happy and restored my motivation for living and [overcoming] the situation.

We ate the corn flour and passed the difficult situation by the support of Lord. God sent me lifesaving food to save the life of my family and rescued us from shame. I thank God and next all the staff of the project and 4others for their valuable support and contribution to save the life of my family!”

Dinkinesh, Mother of Yerosan (3095) of New Hope; referring to the 2019 food distribution

Senayit’s father, Getahun, is a day laborer. Every day he stands on the main street to search for daily work, but in August 2019 he “couldn’t get even one job within a week.” Getahun shared:

“Because of lack of daily works and increase in price of food items, I was unable to feed my family. Then I was very nervous and I had no peace with the family and my neighbors…. But God restored the peace of my family and my neighbor through provision of the corn flour and food oil. We used it to make bread, Injera, Anbasha and dabo kolo. I glorify God for all His provisions that enabled us to escape from the darkest season!

– Getahun, father of Senayit (4049) of Spring of Hope; referring to the 2019 food distribution

Dinknesh’s mother described their family’s situation when both she and her husband couldn’t find work last summer:

“Those months were very tough time for my family in all direction. There was no peace and agreement between me and my husband due to insufficiency of food and pressure from children due to the hunger. My children were always crying at me to give them something edible and when I [could not] provide them with what they need, I felt angry and emotionally disturbed.

God used SVO and 4others to save the life of my family and my marriage. The food support restored my confidence as a mother. Therefore, on behalf of my family I would like to highly appreciate SVO and 4others who were the messengers of God to save our life.

-Tadelech, mother of Dinknesh (4044) at Spring of Hope; referring to the 2019 food distribution

Send Food Relief to Ambo today!

Reading these testimonies from our Hope 4others families makes me realize how critical our support is in times like this! As they once again face extreme hunger, I know our children and their families are clinging to the hope that help will come, that God will once again provide for their needs. And I know God will do this by working through people like you and me.

4others immediately sent funds to purchase the sacks of grain for our families in May. (The maize was processed into corn flour at the Spring of Hope Grinding Mill.) In the coming months, we would love to provide both grain and food oil for our families. This is a combined cost of $12,000.00 per month, which our partner SVO estimates may continue for another six months at least. This is a daunting goal, but we know from past experience that these resources can save lives during the difficult months ahead!

So if you’re in a position to donate to this incredible need and bless the families of Ambo with emergency food relief, I hope you will! There’s a lot of darkness and despair in our world today, but here we have an opportunity to shine a ray of hope. And unlike the Pandemic board game, we can make a real difference and save real lives by acting today!

Click the button below to send Food Relief to Ambo. THANK YOU for your love, support, and prayers for the children and families in our Hope 4others program! God bless you!

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 (NLT)

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