This past weekend, Matt and I loaded up two Landcruisers full of camping gear and Kabiye Christians (13 of them!) and made the 5 hour trek north to the town of Mandouri. The entire Savanes Region was devastated by widespread flooding after receiving a record amount of rainfall this past rainy season. This led to the destruction of a huge amount of the season's crops, and a subsequent food shortage that has crippled many of the people in this region in their ability to feed themselves until the next harvest. As usual, the very poor and vulnerable are the hardest hit. A widow who was given food. Widows can be very vulnerable in this society.
Mandouri is a city of the Gourma people, a group that we surveyed this past summer with our Harding University interns to see if the area is ready for missionaries. Matt has developed a friendship with a local pastor named Pascal, and when Pascal informed Matt about the situation, he began asking God how we might all be able to help. The answer came mainly in the form of a donation from Healing Hands International, who gave $6,000 towards the purchase of corn and rice. When put together with about $1,000 given by Harding University students and others, this past Monday we were able to distribute 220 sacs of corn and rice (keep in mind that the sacs of corn weigh over 200 pounds and the rice sacs over 100 pounds - this is ALOT of food!)Kpaatcha, and elder in the N'Djei church, taking notes of the event to share with his church family
Part of the vision that Matt had for this effort was to include Kabiye Christians in the endeavor, to broaden their view of the Kingdom of God and to be an encouragement to the Gourma Christians that were helped. The Kabiye churches banded together and gave about 2 full sacs of corn plus about 25 yams, a truly rich gift! We were reminded of the poor lady who, in spite of giving only 2 small coins, gave much more than the rich people who gave to show off their wealth. Praise God that He has instilled in our Kabiye brothers and sisters a passion to give generously! Kabiye Christians being interviewed by the Togolese National Press
Below is a slide show of pictures from the distribution. The spiritual implications of this day are still sinking in and will surely resonate for a long time in our hearts, the hearts of the Kabiye Christians and especially the hearts of those who were fed in Jesus' name. Our prayer is that God would use this event to expand His Kingdom here in Togo and beyond. Praise God for His mercy, compassion and love for all of His people! Matt, me, Pascal, the Prefet and the Kabiye Christians during the distribution