Thursday, July 21, 2011

To Those Who Have Been Given Much. . . Crisis In Africa. . .

I just exchanged texts with my good friend Rich Van Pelt from Compassion. I asked Rich what he knows about what's happening in Africa. It seems that the rest of the world knows alot more about the famine, drought and resulting crisis than we do. Rich told me that it's all over the news in Europe.

The good news is that the U.S. news media is starting to pick up the story. I was prompted to contact Rich after watching this story on the NBC Nightly News just a few minutes ago.

Shortly after running the story on what's happening in Africa, NBC Nightly News ran this little clip on what seems to be one of the biggest stories capturing our attention in the U.S. right now. It should sadden us to hear this story's numbers thrown around in light of what's happening in Africa.

This morning's reading in Encounter With God pointed me to these words in James 1:27 - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

So, what now? May I ask you to do two things? First, would you consider stewarding what God has entrusted to you with one of the organizations that will use it to meet the needs of the desperate folks in East Africa? There are many organizations from which to choose. Lisa and I are going to use Compassion and we invite you to do the same. If you would like to make an immediate donation through Compassion, just click here.

And second, would you do all you can to spread the word? These are the times when the body of Christ can step up and use the wonders of social media to start and sustain a movement that could make a difference in millions of lives.


Rob said...

yea, i was in Africa a couple of weeks ago, right over the border in Ethiopia, and he's right. It's covered quite a bit on the news. devastating what's happening. And the Ethiopian camps are just not big enough or equipped to deal with the numbers of people coming in each day. thanks for the reminder post.

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Yes, a dire situation like this needs to be addressed immediately, but it is even more important to realize that problems such as these not only require immediate action, but also long term action. Providing these countries with birth control education actually saves abundantly more lives over the long term, and quantitatively increases the standard of living. It is analogous to “making fishers of men”.

Keep in mind that Compassion International disfavors the United States efforts to introduce birth control information to economically-depressed countries. When making a donation you may want to request that they re-evaluate their stand on birth control in face of the overwhelming evidence supporting its efficacy in alleviating catastrophes such as starvation.

Stephanie said...

Walt, I hate reading one of your posts which inadvertently points out the gross hypocrisy of Christians.

"James 1:27 - 'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…'"

Tell me, what percentage of Christians decided to adopt(in the true sense of the word)rather than bring into the world someone of their own flesh and blood? In fact, how many of us even went as far as having only one child of our own flesh and blood, but then adopted the remainder of the children we wished to have? Less than 1% I bet. How selfish, egotistical, and non-Christ like. What does this say to non-Christians? It says that we only do WWJD when it’s convenient, which totally defeats the purpose of utilizing WWJD.

"Convenient Christians" totally frustrate me. And we wonder why we’re called hypocrites.

Nate Stramtan said...

Why haven't we been hearing this? Priorities? Too much other news?


Stephanie said...

The following is an excerpt from a very timely article written by Pastor Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church.

“According to a recent survey, the percentage of Americans who claim to be Christian is somewhere north of 75 percent (233 million).

That's a lot of Christians…I'm just saying something about that percentage is off. Because if there really are that many Christians, then why are there more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted? The numbers don't add up…

What's the explanation for such a discrepancy?

A Christian, by definition, is a follower of Christ. So, I'm thinking that what might help make sense of the 233 million number is a new word to describe people who identify themselves as Christians but have little interest in actually following the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps instead of "followers," it would be more accurate to call them ‘fans’.”

“Fans” = “Convenient Christians” = WWJD farcical = Hypocrites.

Note, the 120,000 figure pertains to the number of orphans in this country. The number is far greater when including other countries.

Utilizing the numbers 233 million and 120,000, it would only take ~ .0005% of current "Christians" to adopt every single orphan, starving for love and affection. The figure .0005% represents only 50 out of 1,000,000 Christians.

Eliminating this “starvation” is as necessary as eliminating bodily starvation. Much too often using a monetary donation to represent an “adoption” is utilized only to assuage a guilty conscience.

And pertaining to my above-published comment concerning adopting or having a child of your own flesh and blood, not only does God’s earth not need any more inhabitants, I ask everyone, isn’t a child, a child?

Stephanie said...

I did not include this statement in my previous comment feeling I was being a bit too blunt, and possibly putting words into Pastor Kyle Idleman’s mouth. But after re-reading his article I feel confident that he would fully affirm my belief that anyone who chooses to have a child of their own flesh and blood, and not adopt, is not being a “follower” of Jesus, but more of a “fan”, a “Convenient Christian”.

Stephanie said...

Does anyone really have to be “reminded” of this horrific, devastating crisis in Africa, especially after having been there just a couple of weeks ago?

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Walt, this is why it is so important that Compassion International must change its stand on birth control. This is also a "Jim Gilliam issue" that Tammy Robinson, myself, and others, feel you could be so tremendously effective in addressing. We’re talking about a major catastrophe due to overpopulation. By the way, what is your stand on birth control?

By Lester R. Brown
Earth Policy Release
Book Byte
August 23, 2011
People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.

Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast. The Sahelian region of Africa—the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa—is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced southward, squeezed into a shrinking area of productive land. A 2006 U.N. conference on desertification in Tunisia projected that by 2020 up to 60 million people could migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe.

With the vast majority of the 2.3 billion people projected to be added to the world by 2050 being born in countries where water tables are falling, water refugees are likely to become commonplace. They will be most common in arid and semiarid regions where populations are outgrowing the water supply and sinking into hydrological poverty. Villages in northwestern India are being abandoned as aquifers are depleted and people can no longer find water. Millions of villagers in northern and western China and in northern Mexico may have to move because of a lack of water.

Thus far the evacuations resulting from water shortages have been confined to villages, but eventually whole cities might have to be relocated, such as Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, and Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. Sana'a, a fast-growing city of more than 2 million people, is literally running out of water. Quetta, originally designed for 50,000 people, now has a population exceeding 1 million, all of whom depend on 2,000 wells pumping water from what is believed to be a fossil aquifer. In the words of one study assessing its water prospect, Quetta will soon be "a dead city."
Separating out the geneses of today's refugees is not always easy. Often the environmental and economic stresses that drive migration are closely intertwined. But whatever the reason for leaving home, people are taking increasingly desperate measures. Some of their stories are heartrending beyond belief.

Maybe it is time for governments to consider whether it might not be cheaper and far less painful in human terms to treat the causes of migration rather than merely respond to it. This means working with developing countries to restore their economy's natural support systems—the soils, the water tables, the grasslands, the forests—and it means accelerating the shift TO SMALLER FAMILIES to help people break out of poverty. Treating SYMPTOMS instead of CAUSES is not good medicine. Nor is it good public policy.

Adapted from World on the Edge by Lester R.