Famine Update

In last month’s newsletter, we told you the sad news that the persistent drought and famine that has troubled the Horn of Africa for many years is back and may be worse than ever before.

This month we want to tell you what we’ve been able to do with your support so far and what we plan to do with your continued support!

God is doing great things through you!

We have been able to immediately ramp up our water drilling projects in Kenya to provide even more clean water to people in need! We have expanded our goat distribution programs to rebuild flocks in areas where we have provided a plentiful water source. We are also on the ground distributing food in northern Kenya as well as Ethiopia, but this is an area of our relief effort that needs further expansion.

We are also working on a large-scale water project in eastern Kenya. Through this project (pictured right) we are providing food to community members and their families in exchange for their work to deepen and extend two man-made water catchment reservoirs, which will store plenty of water for thousands of people in the community once the rainy season returns. We are excited about this project because it is not only distributing much-needed food, but reservoirs are also a great solution to the water crisis in the area!

We have been working tirelessly to help this region of Africa survive drought and famine for many years. All along, we’ve asked you to continue generously supporting this important work—and you have done it! We are so grateful for you!

But this time, whether it’s our cultural climate, economy or just fatigue over the same continuing need, the response has not been big enough to meet the mounting demands of this disaster.

We know that for the past few years we’ve been telling you about Turkana and how the needs there are so great. Believe us, we understand how difficult it can be to continue pushing on when the issues facing us are so huge. But now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to dig in, to keep praying, keep giving, and keep loving like Jesus commanded us.

We really need your help in the Horn of Africa. The situation is bad and is getting worse. We can’t do it without your help. And we can’t do it without God’s help.

If you haven’t given to our Famine Relief Fund, would you prayerfully consider it? And above all else, could you join us in prayer?

 

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Remembering Ken Welke

“Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10)
No one did this better than Ken Welke. He made everyone feel special. We are going to miss Ken so much after his recent passing.

Ken is the perfect example of why you should go on a mission trip with CRF. When Ken went to Kenya, he ended up sponsoring seven kids and got a life dream to build a high school there.

Ken’s sponsored child, Kevin Owuor, caught his encouraging spirit. Here is what Kevin wrote to Ken and his wife Julie.

I was once a street boy who could eat rotten food, sleep in the cold and drink wasted water. One who could be called a thief, one who could be rejected, neglected, isolated because I had nowhere to go. I was that boy who had a bright future but the shining future was sinking deep in the ocean, a boy who had sparkling eyes but the eyes were covered with darkness just because I had no one to show me the way, until the time I joined CRF and met you. Today I look at myself and steal a glance at my face through the mirror and see a bright boy full of leadership skills, respect, humility, honesty, discipline and the most important one is one who LOVES GOD.

I want to take this chance to praise you, to lift you high, and to return my credits to you! May you be blessed, Dad.

Remembering Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper was a great man of God and a long-time partner with CRF as the director of our child sponsorship programs along the Southern border of Texas. He passed away in late March, and we miss him dearly.

After a 20-year banking career, Craig embraced his true calling. His role as Director of Missions at the Pharr Church of Christ and as a partner with CRF touched the lives of many thousands of people. More than a dozen church plants in the Valley and Mexico are among the fruits of his labor!

We are grateful for the years we spent in partnership with this faithful servant of God — a man who cared deeply about the welfare of children and the “least of these.” We also remember his great humility. In fact, in his obituary, his family communicated Craig’s spiritual posture by using Psalm 115: “Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Please join us in prayer for the family of Craig Cooper and for the thousands of lives he impacted for the glory of God. We will miss his leadership, but we know that the same God who worked through Craig will help us continue the work.

Stories from the Drought

The drought keeps getting worse all across the greater Horn of Africa. Stephen O’Brien, the UN humanitarian chief, announced that the world is facing the largest threat of famine since 1945, which is only declared when at least 30% of a population is acutely malnourished, and two adults or four children per every 10,000 people are dying each day.

Here are just a few of the stories we’ve heard from our friends who are working across the region. Please join us in praying and financially supporting those in need of relief from this disaster!

 

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Jim Beck — Malindi, Kenya


Please pray for my people in Kenya. News of food shortages at our schools tells us that our reserves of food have been finished. The drought is affecting everything.We had a good crop last year, but are not expecting any new crops until August… if we get the rain. Costs are high, times are hard. I’m not sure what to do when people you love suffer and are oceans away.

I know drought and hunger are rampant and likely are worse in other areas. But when they are faces you know–the sting is even deeper.

 

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Hope Water Drilling Crew — Turkana, Kenya


As we are drilling a well for a community inTurkana this week, we have been interacting a lot with the family that lives right next to where the borehole is being drilled. They are in a tough situation. At least one of their goats is dying every day… this has been saddening to us as we watch helplessly and rush to complete the well for them. The drought has been so severe, and very little help has reached this area so far.

In this picture, the children are eating some wild dry seeds that have very little nutritional value, but fill their stomachs. Sad indeed. Nontheless they wore smiles on their faces and looked optimistic that better days lie ahead. That is the future we are working toward.

 

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Tim Talley — South Sudan


The United Nations in February announced a formal famine declaration in South Sudan. This kind of declaration is rare (only a few have been made in the last 25 years). It is a cry for help and a plea for donors to increase their monetary support. It is also a sign that efforts of aid have catastrophically been a failure.

Indeed, South Sudan is becoming a failed country. Not only rebels but also the government have purposely blocked supplies given for relief and survival. The U.N. projects that more than a million people could die here in this famine.

 

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Welcome Philip to the Water Team!

Philip Keter recently joined Hope Water Foundation International (HWFI), our Kenya-based water drilling company, to manage the operations and local management of the company. Along with Andrew Brown from the CRF office and our whole crew in Kenya, Philip is working to increase the effectiveness of our water drilling efforts so we can create an even bigger impact for communities in need! We’re so excited to have him join the team because of his passion for our work as well as his skill and experience in managing drilling companies.

Philip was raised in a Kenyan middle-class family. His parents were schoolteachers, which gave him the opportunity to get a great education.

One day when Philip was in high school he saw a news report of a local child who had died of starvation. He was incredulous! How could a person die of starvation in his own country, let alone in a community just a few miles away? He didn’t believe it until one of his classmates came into the room in tears and told him that the boy who died had lived in his home village. The story was true, and it was terrible.

Unfortunately this was only the first time of many that Philip heard that one his fellow Kenyans had died of starvation. Eventually he forgot all about the pit that he felt in his stomach when he first heard about the starved boy.

It wasn’t until many years later that Philip remembered this experience. It was on the day he learned about HWFI and the work CRF was doing to provide water for those in need.

Philip said, “I began thinking about that day, and it crossed my mind that this was finally my chance to make my contribution towards alleviating the suffering of those water-stressed communities in
my country.”

Not only is Philip passionate about the cause, he also has the education and experience to back it up! He has his degree in engineering from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya and has worked many years as a manager and consultant for water drilling companies.

When he’s not visiting our water projects around Kenya, Philip lives in Eldoret with his wife, Margaret, and daughters Ica (8) and Jada (4).

“Christian Relief Fund has been transforming the lives of kids and people in marginalized parts of Kenya and, indeed, the world. What CRF is doing for these communities is mind-boggling.

I feel honored and humbled to be given a chance to lead the crew of HWFI at this point in time, and I am looking forward to working with the great selfless men and women at CRF.”

We’re honored to work with you too, Philip! Welcome to the team!