Drought in SW Madagascar

Some areas of the USA are experiencing drought in 2021 and yet we still have adequate resources in terms of food and other goods.  Our government even helps with assistance and local churches have food banks to help feed those who are hungry.

David Lerseth

Now consider another continent and country, Madagascar.  It is the fourth largest island in the world and is located off the southeast coast of Africa. Parts of the country are lush with rain and have exotic plants and animals. However, as one moves down to the tip of this beautiful island you come upon a dry, arid region where they have gone four years without rain.

The UN reports that this drought is affecting 1.5 million people. The drought is the worst in four decades and has devastated isolated farming communities in the south of the country leaving families to scavenge for food to survive.  They have killed their livestock, eaten the seeds intended to plant a new crop, and are now eating grasshoppers and cactus to survive. Some even believe there is a type of mud that is safe to eat; that is how hungry they are.

What can you do to help these people?  We are working to bring them the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, but one cannot proclaim the Gospel when stomachs are growling loudly. We want them to hear the Word of God!  We know that we cannot solve this problem single handedly.  It is a problem for the government, wealthy nations, and large corporations to help solve.  And what about the large Christian agencies that claim to have compassion for hungry people?  Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM) has approached Lutheran World Relief numerous times; we have asked Feed My Hungry Children, and the answer has been they cannot help.

So FOMM, with our limited resources and lack of “corporate power,” have begun a Drip Irrigation Program to teach people how to possibly raise enough quality food during the drought to feed their families.  It is not going to solve the problem in southwest Madagascar, but it shows we care about them.  We provide food at a Lutheran Hospital called Ejeda so those coming for medical care may be fed while healing.  Currently we are applying for a large grant to help drill deep water wells, hundreds of them, that will be used to provide water for drinking and the drip irrigation programs.  We are going to work with other non-profits to manage and run this program.  We hope our efforts will bring the government of Madagascar into a conversation with us and to work with us in setting goals that will benefit the people of the southwest.

We invite you to pray with us, support us with gifts, and even your own knowledge about how to help starving people who are hungry for food, and yes, even for the food of God’s love and care for them. Mail checks to: Friends of Madagascar Mission, PO Box 46381, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. You may also donate online using PayPal www.madagascarmission.com/donate. While you are there, check out “Projects” under “Get Involved” and learn more about our Drip Irrigation Project.

Pray with me, Father, in your mercy open the heavens and send rain on the fields of Madagascar and end this drought, and until then, open the hearts and purses of the developed world and feed the starving children. Make us your hands and feet to bring resources to those most in need. In your Son’s dear name, we pray. Amen.

Weekly Devotion for November 15, 2017

“Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18)

St. Paul didn’t act as though he had more than he really had.  He had words, and they were good words.  Words can open minds, console hearts, and change futures.  Words from God, founded on the acts of God, can do even greater things: they can raise the dead.

Here in central Wisconsin, we can know how words work just by looking at the great hunting season that unfolds this month.  Consider how much talk accompanies hunting; think of the photos that people post of their kill to illustrate the stories that they tell.  That conversation encourages hunters in their hope and accompanies them into the woods.

It’s a reflection of the greater glory of Jesus Christ.  His life has authored a deathless word, the Holy Gospel that not only speaks of forgiveness now but also of the world to come.  This holy Word we must steadily proclaim, more and more, to encourage one another and reveal to this present world that there is a happy future to be had.  In the end, that sacred conversation of the Church is the hope that will accompany souls into the woods, however dark the woods may be.

LET US PRAY: Speak, O Lord, we will hear You, for Your Word alone is life.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau