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BOOTS ON THE GROUND: Advantage in a Crisis

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

by Jeff Davis, OBI Board Member and Member of the MMW Executive Team

Flooding caused by Cyclone Idai, March 2019, in Mozambique, Africa.

The destructive power of a natural disaster is terrifying to anyone who experiences it, as seen in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, last month in Mozambique, Africa.

• Over a million people impacted by the storm

• 250,000 forced from their homes

• More than 1000 deaths and thousands of injuries

Naturally, our hearts break for the victims of such devastation, and we want to help. But, what can we do from half way around the world?

In this case, a lot. OBI partnered with our friends from Marketplace Missionaries, John Wayne and Tarryn Kennedy who were there, because they live and work in Mozambique. They got busy and organized relief efforts. What a privilege it was to put the word out that we had “boots on the ground” immediately following the storm. As people gave toward the relief efforts, they knew there would be effective delivery of much needed food and supplies to the people who needed it most, staving off their suffering. It was thrilling to collect funds and send aid to where it would have the greatest effect.

The Kennedy’s have great connections with the right people and organizations to have the greatest immediate impact, pinpointing locations, devising accessible routes, coordinating transportation to affected areas, collecting donations of supplies, knowing where to purchase goods to maximize their finances, arranging security to avoid looting, and making the biggest impact with finite resources. There is nothing better than well-organized local relief efforts, adding incremental support to the governmental efforts that are already overwhelmed by the immensity of the crisis.

Now, John Wayne and Tarryn are back to repairs on their own mission-through-business efforts in Nampula, Africa. They are rebuilding a poultry barn (again) that blew down (again) in this latest storm from the cyclone in Beira. Their poultry farm, an enterprise involving their church in cooperation with local villagers, raises chickens for their eggs, as well as pullets (fryers) for market. This local church-sponsored coop is growing because of the expertise that John Wayne provides (from years of experience in the Poultry Industry), which is an additional value-add to his pastoral ministry in their village. The video below shows him starting up a new brood of chicks to raise for the next season's fryer sales. click to read more

The strategic ministry presence of the Kennedy’s in Nampula is effective, both in the face of calamity, as well as their solution-oriented ministry to address poverty and malnutrition. They are creating a sustainable enterprise for the benefit of their neighbors and the community of faith at their church.

This humanitarian relief is reminiscent of the impact OBI was able to support during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone between 2014 – 2106. The fact that there were OBI sponsored doctors on the ground there enabled us to provide strategic support as they dedicated themselves to saving lives and alleviating the suffering of so many. We were grateful to have the right people, in the right places, for such a desperate time.

Praise God for the lifesaving opportunities we have been given and the Gospel message we live out before those to whom we minister. The love of Christ is the hope of the world, and we are privileged to be His ambassadors.

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