In the July issue of Blessings there are five stories of struggling families, each featuring the good news that through Operation Blessing you have been able to help these families accelerate their escape from misery. The stories take place in far-flung locations ranging from the hills of Tennessee to the sand dunes of the Judean desert; from Ebola-ravaged villages in Africa’s Liberia to the Himalayan foothills and all the way to the mosquito-plagued villages of Honduras. Though the circumstances differ greatly, all the stories share a common theme: hardworking families eking out a living, determined to make a better life for their children — and now they have a fighting chance. By the grace of God and your generosity, OBI teams have been able to reach out to each of them. Your support of OBI enables our teams to make heroic efforts to help families get traction in their uphill struggle to make a better life.
In the sweltering heat of the Judean desert, a convoy of 4x4s filled with food and supplies funded by OBI traversed many miles of rugged terrain to reach two remote groups of about 800 Bedouins who were suffering because of an extraordinary lack of rain. Bedouins are peaceful, resilient people, but they live far from civilization, shunned by almost everyone.
As Christians, we help even those who do not share our faith. Your compassion, funneled through OBI, arrived in the form of a column of heavily loaded rough terrain vehicles filled with relief supplies. Can you imagine the surprise of the desert dwellers when that convoy arrived? Besides the humanitarian aspect, Christians willing to act with such compassion towards non-believers is a powerful testimony of our faith.
In the U.S., where so many families are struggling with the loss of jobs, your faithful support keeps our warehouses full of food and keeps OBI’s Hunger Strike Force fleet of tractor trailers on the road from coast to coast. We are serving countless “newly made poor” families like the one in this month’s story. A family that had always taken care of themselves and never known poverty had a run of bad luck and was thrust into living in a tent. They needed help and hope; they found both at Joseph’s Storehouse, an OBI partner that fights hunger in their region. Once again, it was your generosity that sent OBI’s trucks filled with groceries.
In Liberia, the plague of Ebola is long gone, but legions of children whose parents died from the disease are still there struggling. Our story focuses on a heroic single mother of two who mercifully took in her nine nieces and nephews who were left orphans when her two siblings died of Ebola. Your donations helped build a small shop for her to start a business and sustain efforts to raise her brood of kids. Without support from partners like you that would not have happened!
In Nepal where OBI is still working following the historic 2015 earthquake, we are reaching out to the poorest of the poor. Some are members of a low ancient caste from which people cannot escape because they are denied education, good jobs and public services. The cruel system ensures that members of this caste remain poor and subservient from cradle to grave. The woman in our story is one of nine mothers now supporting their families with income resulting from our livelihood program where we teach women to weave and sew and become skilled seamstresses. Your support enables us to give each graduate a sewing machine. These women are literally sewing their way out of slavery.
In Honduras, a young mother was bitten during her pregnancy by a mosquito carrying Zika. She gave birth to twin girls, each with the tragic disability of microcephaly. Besides the daunting task of raising twins with disabilities, she could no longer work to supplement her husband’s earnings, so OBI helped her set up a home-based beauty supply business, and now she earns income to help her care for her children properly. Just think about the difference you are making in the lives of that family!
Each of these five stories tells a tale of victory against all odds. You are playing such a critical role in all of them and in our joint effort in the war against human suffering.