Crisis Hits the 'Dark' Continent

Jan 24, 2003 11:47 AM EST

Central African Republic - the presence of an armed rebellion remains a destabilizing factor that raises tensions and hampers efforts to restore peace. The escalating conflicts force missions agencies to evacuate.

Thelma Landrud of the Evangelical Free Church says, "We just had word yesterday that another one of our mission stations has been looted. The government forces were kicked out and some Chadian soldiers have taken over the town and have gone over to our mission station, which is five miles away. They've been in there twice and looted, but we don't know to what extent."

Landrud says their plans to return to the country is contingent on the events that occur in the region. "That we're asking is that people pray for peace and that these political situations can be settled so that people can carry on with their lives. It's the local people who are the most traumatized."

Southern Africa - The United States Government helps resolve the food crisis in southern Africa by funding World Vision with 114 million dollars in emergency aid. However, In spite of the funding, the situation continues to look grim. World Vision's Carol Jenkins says "There are approximation 15-million people at risk currently. While food assistance is going into the region, it is not adequate to meet the needs and there's a lot more that needs to be done. Approximately 2 million people per month will be served with food aid distribution activities.

"I need to point out that World Vision (is a) Christian organization. What often happens, though, is in situations the witness of our staff, the way in which we do our jobs. The way in which we conduct our business at the field level working with people...they can see the love of Christ through that."

Ethiopia - a severe food shortage in Ethiopia leaves 15 million people starving. World Concern's Kelly Miller speaks of some of the programs initiated for the impoverished nation.

"What you see is a situation that is beyond what we've experienced from the emergency relief standpoint (than) in just about any point in history. It's not that what you're seeing are new dynamics, it's just much more of it."

On January 28th, Miller will visit Ethiopia to oversee their expansion plans, which will eventually empower churches to be more evangelistic.

He continues, explaining the grace of the church members there. "Thank you for being here. Thank you for caring. Thank you for showing that love. We'd love to have more of that (they say). And, from that the desire to establish two more churches was there for the Nazarene church. It's a real tangible way to express, 'We're here, we care and we're doing this in Christ's name."

By Pauline C.