Famine Relief Trip to Sombo, Kenya…

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The drought in East Africa, affecting Northern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, is the worst in 60 years and has led to the worst food crisis in the world.  13 million people across the region have been affected and thousands have already lost their lives.  Dadaab, a refugee camp in North Eastern Kenya, is now occupied with over 400,000 refugees seeking food and water, with 1,200 more people arriving every day. 

This past weekend I (Jamie) joined a group of volunteers from International Christian Fellowship and Convoy of Hope to travel to a small village of Sombo, just south of Garissa, to deliver much needed food aid.  I drove up with the advanced team on Friday so that we could meet with workers in the area and prepare for the following day.  The rest of the team (my sister, Melissa, included) flew in the next day.  The village of Sombo is made up of a combination of Somali and Watu people that have migrated from Somalia over the years.  This area is desert and has not received rain in over 2 years.  The results have been devastating.  A common sight in the area is to see people digging in a dried river bed in search of water.  People are dying every day.  Even the camels have sagging humps and are thin.   Our mission was to deliver food to between 300-400 people, enough to last each family a week or so.  When we arrived in Sombo we were welcomed by the people with traditional songs and dances.  They were overjoyed at the prospect of receiving food.  We arrived early in order to spend time with them.  Shortly after arriving the Elders of the village invited the oldest members of our group into the main Elder’s hut for introductions and to take chai brewed with camel’s milk, as is the custom.  I was not one of the oldest among our group but I was asked to enter.  I was hesitant to go in because I knew that I was not an “elder” and I did not want to be offensive.  One man saw my hesistance and said, “You don’t want to enter?”  I didn’t want to give that impression either because I thought that may also be offensive.  So I humbly entered, unsure if I was truly supposed to or not.  I asked the local missionary, a Kenyan man named David Maina, if I had done the right thing by entering.  He told me that I had done the right thing, and that they probably included me because of my red beard.  Somali Muslim Elders have a custom of dying their beards red, so David said that my red beard made me look like a white Somali Elder.  This was one day I was thankful that my beard oddly grew red even though my hair has always been blonde, because I was thankful that it allowed me the opportunity to have this experience.  To be a part of this meeting of elders, with traditions and customs that have existed for years, was truly unique.  It was also encouraging to sit among these devout Muslim men, the elders of their communities, and see how their hearts are beginning to soften to Christ.  They are not believers yet, but because of the work of David Maina, Brian Burr (Convoy of Hope/Assemblies of God), and countless others that are sharing Christ’s love with these people in their time of need, they welcomed us into their homes and allowed us to pray for them.  It was a  wonderful experience.  It was extremely rewarding to distribute the food and to show Christ’s love to these people.  However, the need is far greater than anything we can do.  No human effort can fix this problem.  Please pray for the millions affected by this drought.  Pray for rain to fall and for people to be drawn to Christ during this terrible time.

You can also lift up David Maina and his family in your prayers.  They left their home in Nairobi and moved to the desolate desert of Sombo 10 years ago to establish a Christian school.  This school is feeding and educating over 200 kids from the community.  These children are also being introduced to Christ.  He is working every day to make connections with the people in this area and to show love.

Also, if you are interested in supporting the work of Brian Burr/Convoy of Hope and his work in this region, you can make donations to:

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