July 2020: This Empty Kitchen
I know many of you who have been long-term supporters have heard portions of this story in previous newsletters, but this is for those who are new and need a little background information first. Before Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) was started, I had originally worked as a missionary to Russia. Then God would call me to South Sudan, and at that time, I had no intention of starting a mission organization. In fact, I was hired by another mission organization that no longer exists. Because the war in South Sudan was at its height, the mission organization that I was hired by, needed someone with an extensive military background to do reconnaissance work for them. I remember in the interview, they wanted to know if I could deactivate a landmine. My first job in the Marine Corp was a combat engineer and that is exactly what I did, I deactivated landmines and blew things up. I had worked extensively with C4, TNT, landmines and dynamite making me a perfect candidate. They also needed someone who had the skill of going into an area, undetected, to make sure it was safe, which was another skill I had attained by serving with a Marine Corp Raider Battalion. After accepting the position, I was flown into South Sudan about two weeks before teams of pastors and doctors would arrive, to make sure it was safe. I would do a thorough reconnaissance of the area and find out what the dangers were for our people. Once I knew it was safe, I would use a satellite phone and let them know that it was safe to bring in the main body of the team.
For a couple years, I was constantly flying into new areas, sometimes for long periods of time, setting up medical and feeding teams. I had returned from one particular long trip and told the director that I did not want to return for at least several months because I was tired. The very next day, I was called and asked if I could come to a meeting that same day. Having arrived home the day before, I was exhausted. But I could tell it was important, so I drove an hour to get to the meeting. When I arrived, they asked me if I would be willing to go back to South Sudan immediately. I asked why, and they said that the north had launched a massive attack and thousands of people were fleeing and were beginning to starve to death. So, I agreed and the next day I flew back. I was tired, but the Lord would sustain me. When I arrived in a city named Tong, nine to twelve people were starving to death every day. Immediately, we began to bring in planes of food. But on this trip, I would have my first experience with witnessing starvation and that would forever change me. When I arrived in Tong, on the first day, I was asked to come and meet a pastor. When I arrived, it was not what I expected. The pastor was laying in his hut in the late stages of starvation. That very morning, his wife had starved to death and he was very close to joining her. We tried to run an IV into his arm to feed him, but his veins had collapsed. The doctors told us that it would be just a matter of a few hours and he would be gone. What made his story so different is that he and his wife had chosen to starve to death. At first, they had plenty of food, but when the refugee children arrived and started starving, the husband and wife willingly chose to stop eating and give their food to the children. In doing so, they gave up their lives so that others might live.
Most people do not know what the late stages of starvation are like. You begin to hallucinate, your muscles ache continually because the body is eating itself. You cannot sleep because of the pain. It is a terrible way to die. Because of the pandemic shut down and locust swarm in East Africa, many people cannot get work and cannot cross the borders to go to refugee camps for food. Last night, I spoke with Michael, my senior chaplain, and he told me that hunger was now a terrible problem in South Sudan, and some are beginning to starve. FRM has now begun feeding programs in 13 different countries. In the last week, we have sent money to many different locations in Mexico, where we have provided food for approximately 3,500 individuals. We are not only running feeding projects in Mexico, but also in Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other nations. We are experiencing something we had not expected. People, who a few months ago were happy, are taking their own lives because they have lost everything they worked for. We want to share with you the impact of how your generous prayers and donations are impacting the lives of some of those we have been able to reach.
My name is Jon and I live in Pakistan. I have a wife and four children. I was a daily electrical worker of a small private construction company, and we were happy with my job. My salary was about $6.30 (USD), and we had enough for our family. Since the lockdown and quarantine, we had some money in our house, which was adequate to feed us for one month. When our savings ran out, we started selling our furniture and equipment. After another month, that was also finished. Then I tried hard to find some sort of job, but all the people are in quarantine and there are no jobs whatsoever. I borrowed some money from the owner of the construction company. When I asked for a loan again, he said, “We are also broke.” All our options ran out and no one gave us money. We barely survived these last two months. Many times, we did not have food—sometimes we just ate some dried bread with water. Thank you so much for this wonderful distribution. Your help will save us from starvation and will protect us from coronavirus as well. It will carry us through these months, and we have new hope for the future. I recognize that this is a donation from Christian people. Thanks again for these kind-hearted people for helping us as poor and disadvantaged people, even though indeed you are also suffering from the lockdown yourselves. Sincerely yours, Jon
Our dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Our family gives thanks to the Lord and is grateful to you that you helped us in this difficult time. At this moment, I am without work and my husband lost a lot of his income. We are praising the Lord for your compassionate and generous hearts! This help has been really needed! The kids were so happy to help put all the groceries in the empty kitchen cabinets. Thank you so much! With love, Sister Marissa!
The following reports are from our contacts who are facilitating food distribution abroad. The names and locations of the families have been withheld for security reasons: This family lives in a rural village in Eastern Europe. The village is extremely poor, and the father went to another country to find work. Due to lack of employment, his family was often hungry, and the father suffered from health problems. When the quarantine hit, he could no longer find a job and his family began to suffer. The food quickly ran out and the children began to starve. Unfortunately, the country had no plan to help the people. They had been able, in the early stages, to get food on credit. As their debt rose, they were stopped from being allowed to take food. With no food left, and the refusal of the shops, the family began to suffer. That is when we were able to provide them with much-needed food. The family is eternally grateful, to all of you who have given, and the father has just found a job. Another family had been without hope. A single mother and her three children live alone. Her husband died six years ago; he was only 43. The mother has struggled to raise her children by herself and she is suffering from tuberculosis. The children have known hunger often in life but with the assistance from the feeding program they are now eating. In Mexico, we are supplying food in several locations with over 3,500 individuals who are receiving the supplies. We have purchased large quantities of beans and rice. At Calvary Chapel Jerez the pastor and his wife planted a church several years ago, and we have been actively supporting them and the work. If you would like to be a part of this ministry opportunity, for $120 you can provide enough food for most families for one month. In Africa, this is enough for two months of feeding as the food is more basic. Thank you for standing with us during this crisis.
Far Reaching Ministries