Yesterday I took Marc and Linda to Kachere, so they can see the work we’ve been doing there for the past 7 years now. On the way to the village we saw 4-5 boys somewhere in the filed, hunting something using locally made bow and arrows. Upon stopping and asking, we quickly found out they were hunting grasshoppers, which would later become dinner for their families.
Marc and I were talking the other day about the poverty in Malawi and how little to none of the aid sent to Africa ever reaches these villages. Millions upon millions of dollars (from the US) and euros (from Europe) are sent to Africa annually, yet most of the people live in the same abject poverty as before. 99% of them probably don’t even know that good intending people out there want to help them. Most of the donated non-perishable items also never reach the average Malawian who struggles to make ends meet. I’m talking about clothes or shoes given for the poor. What is intended to be given free of charge, ends up being sold in shops or by the side of the streets.
When it comes to food, the story is pretty much the same, though small amounts of it does sometimes reach the intended beneficiaries. I’ve seen situations where only 10 out of the 50kg of food is given to the poor, while someone else gets richer and richer. A family with 3-4 children needs a bag of maize every month just to survive, not taking into consideration other food items like: salt, oil, vegetables, meat, etc. When the same family gets only 1/5th of what they need, they are forced to look for alternatives like hunting for mice or grasshoppers. Others are forced into begging or become thieves. The unlucky ones die of starvation.
Though for a visitor these pictures can be “cool” – and they are in a way – they also show a huge problem and a great need. Hunting for grasshoppers is not a sport and it is not fun. Those boys should’ve been at school on a Thursday at 10 am. Education breaks the cycle of poverty but how can one study on an empty stomach? The situation is bad and my heart aches for those families who are waiting for the kids to return home with this type of “dinner”. While people are suffering, what are you going to do about it?
I know it is easy to blame the Government or other people/institutions. Sometimes we can even blame those who suffer, but I remember Jesus’ words from Matthew 14 (The feeding of the 5,000): “you give them something to eat“. Just like us, the disciples were quick in finding solutions which excluded their own responsibility. Let the Government take care of them, let those in power help, let the people find food for themselves, let them “buy food for themselves“. We are experts at giving good advice and then return to our comfort zone, but Jesus…
“But Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’”
I understand I might have confused you by now; I started saying that aid doesn’t work, and now I am asking you to take responsibility for the poor. You may think I am contradicting myself, but I am not. We live in a sinful, rotten and highly corrupt world and today, more than ever, we need to make sure our good intentions are actually aligned with the need and with God’s will. It’s extremely easy to blindly send a check or a box and then pat ourselves on the back that we’ve changed the world. Real assistance requires work and many of us simply don’t want to go through he process. When Jesus told the disciples they have to take responsibility for the need, all of a sudden they had to come with a plan. I am assuming they went through the multitudes and looked for solutions, all while Jesus was ready to teach them that He is the One who provides. You see, God’s provision does not eliminate our responsibility to act. Many times, we can be a testimony of God’s provision and He will use that to get His glory.
None of us can feed the world. None of us can feed Africa and none of us can even feed the 12 million people of Malawi. Actually, we can’t even feed an entire village but we can feed 1, 5 or 10. We can give ourselves to God first, and then to a ministry like Hope for the Future here in Malawi (2 Cor. 8:5). The little we are or have, once in God’s hands, can be used to change a nation. Sometimes we say, just like the disciples, that we have “only five loaves here and two fish.“, but our God is a Master at creating something out of nothing, isn’t He? He can take whatever is in your hands right now and use it for His glory, if you only allowed Him to!
Hope for the Future is our ministry here in Malawi and it exists to glorify God, share the Gospel and help those in need. You can be a part of an amazing work, blessed by God for the past 19 years. Among other activities, we also feed 163 orphaned children in two different villages, while we provide education for close to 700 children at our own Primary School.
We need your help to continue!
We started the first Feeding Center in Kachere almost 6 years ago, after hearing that a girl had passed away due to starvation. This was on a Sunday, after the church service, while I was getting ready to go home and enjoy my lunch. The news hit me like a ton of bricks and I remember even now how shocked I was that in our village, where we have a church, where we talk about God’s love, people die of lack of food. Long story short, next Monday we started the Feeding Center and, from 16 children then, we are up to 100 now.
Some of the boys we’ve included then were spending their days doing exactly what these boys are doing: hunting for mice and grasshoppers. Most of us will never know what true hunger means but these people are used to it.
The ministry in Malawi is involved in many villages and we have many projects. Like I said before, we feed orphans and educate children, but we also invest in and assist local church leaders. We work with thousands of people, preaching the Gospel, teaching them and assisting them with their physical needs. In short, we take care of the spiritual needs as well as their physical ones.
We need your help to continue!
This year we will give out several tons of corn to families in need and we will build one more School Block to help children in grades 7 and 8. Without exaggerating, God’s work in Malawi affects tens of thousands of people but we need your help to continue!
My family has always been relying on God for our own food. We don’t work in Malawi and legally we wouldn’t even be allowed to. We depend on God and the people He moves to help us with our needs. We’ve never taken ministry money to ourselves but we need your help to continue!
The work in Malawi is far greater than Ovi or our family. Marc and Linda are here to help and, if God so places on their hearts, they may come to help us full-time, but we can always use more missionaries and/or more interns. Can you spare a month to come to Africa? How about your summer holiday? How about spending your well-deserved vacation on a mission trip? We need your help to continue!
Contact me for details and ways you can help.