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By Tim Hunt

Hurricanes and drought touch home

Uploaded: Sep 14, 2017

One of the great blessings of my life has been getting to know people in Kenya and Swaziland through my mission work with Heart for Africa.
And through connections made through the Barnabas Group of the East Bay, I have learned about same amazing work done by ministries around the world.
And, we know people and own rental property in Houston so the events of the last couple of weeks have become quite personal. Fortunately, our Houston tenants are fine and the rain damage from Harvey was minimal.
That’s not the case for people in the path of Hurricane Irma as it raged across the Atlantic, ripping up islands as a category 4 or 5—ugly. Looking at the leveled dwellings in the Caribbean brings home the devastation.
One of the ministries, Plant with a Purpose, helps people in impoverished rural areas reforest their environment to recreate the original flora and fauna. By establishing trees, it shifts from an area where rainfall runs off, eroding the land, to an area where water is absorbed and gardens and people can flourish. Plant with a Purpose has been working in Haiti for many years and alerted its supporters as well as its teams to be prepared for the hurricane.
It got hit with a double whammy—like our government is dealing with between Houston and Florida—when the 8.2 earthquake struck Mexico last week. It was centered south of Mexico City is two very poor states where Plant with a Purpose has been working with rural farmers.

Turning to Kenya, I have worked with both Glory Outreach Assembly and the Mully Children’s Family. Both organizations have children’s homes for orphans and operate from headquarters in Nairobi. The Mully main homes are located about an hour from Nairobi, while Glory Outreach has several homes in Kenya.
The latest update from Glory Outreach describes severe drought creating massive food shortages in Northern Kenya. That’s coupled with an inflation rate in double digits and the uncertainty after the national court declared last month’s election invalid and set a second election for October.
The resident United Nations estimated there are about 5.6 million people affected by the drought and that includes 2.6 million people facing severe food shortages with 500,000 at the emergency stage.
The situation is grim and requires help from outside of Kenya.

Coming back to the United States, Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and evangelical organization, was airlifting supplies to Florida last week as Irma approached. It also was sending its plane to the hard-hit Caribbean islands with food, water and supplies.
Earlier, it had trucked supplies to Houston (It also has teams working with African refugees landing in Europe).
In the aftermath of Harvey’s Biblical deluge, Samaritan’s Purse was recruiting volunteers for the recovery. Franklin Graham, CEO and president, told national TV audiences that they could put 1,000 volunteers to work daily once the recovery phase starts.
That’s in the Houston area alone to say nothing about terrible damage Hurricane Irma did across Florida. On Monday, about one-third of the residents of the state were without power. Given the wide-spread flooding, there will be plenty of work for volunteers over the upcoming months.

What’s been so heartening, amid the natural disasters, is to see neighbors rallying to help neighbors and people with no connection stepping up to help. It shows the best of the American spirit.