“I would rather die from coronavirus than starvation” said an African leader
We at Barnabas Fund have been overwhelmed by the generous giving of our supporters, in the midst of their own afflictions due to coronavirus and lockdown. Many have given again and again, despite financial uncertainties, isolation and loneliness, an unknown future, sickness or bereavement.
“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
This is what the apostle Paul wrote about believers in first century Macedonia as they pleaded with him for the privilege of sharing with God’s people in need(2 Corinthians 8:1-4). We rejoice that the same is true of twenty-first century Barnabas supporters around the world.
Brothers and sisters of the risen Lord
Last Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. In the first conversation of the risen Christ, He spoke of His followers as His brothers (Matthew 28:10; John 20:17). This word was immediately taken up by believers to refer to each other, as we see throughout the New Testament epistles.
We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for caring for your family members suffering from coronavirus lockdown destitution, or devastating swarms of locusts. With your gifts and God’s help, Barnabas Fund has distributed over £700,000 ($870,000; €800,000) across 22 different countries to help Christians affected by coronavirus and/or locusts.
And now … death by Covid-19 or death by starvation?
Requests for aid continue to flood into Barnabas Fund.
Reports also flood in, describing the moment and predicting the future: increasingly, the word “starvation” appears. Fields cannot be tended, crops cannot be harvested, rural people are eating the seed saved to plant next year, urban people sit hungry in their empty homes. Certain governments have promised aid, but many people are missing out.
Again and again, the desperation of the daily-wage earners is mentioned. When lockdown stops their work, their pitiful wages stop too.
Again and again the plight of pastors is raised. No tithing means nothing for the pastor and his family to eat.
“Sometimes, when you are told to stay indoors, you are forced [out] by hunger. Whichever way, you are going to die, either by corona or by hunger,” a Zimbabwean pastor told Barnabas Fund.
The second generation of locusts in East Africa has hatched earlier than expected. In Kenya, government efforts are focused on tackling coronavirus, leaving the locusts to eat and breed. Lockdown makes delivery of pesticides more difficult.
In Uganda, the bitter irony is that good weather made re-planted crops germinate just as the locusts swept down again, devouring the new green shoots. “Christians are now hopeless,” said one Ugandan bishop, “If there is no intervention in form of relief many … are likely to lose their lives.”
Please do not feel under pressure to give again, but …
Please lift up these situations in your prayers. That is the most important thing to do.
Please do not feel under any pressure at all to make a financial donation. We know that many have already given so sacrificially that they cannot give again.
However, for those who are able to give, the needs remain; indeed they are increasing. As lockdowns are extended and locusts keep breeding, the suffering of poor and persecuted Christians is prolonged, their hunger intensifies, their peril grows.
If you are able to give again, thank you and God bless you.