August 15th, 2011 at 10:19 am
DALLAS – Texas Baptists are giving $25,000 through a group of East Texas churches to help victims of the East Africa famine.
The convention is giving $20,000 from its disaster relief funds and $5,000 from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger to TEAM – The Ethiopian Aid Mission, a consortium of primarily Texas Baptist congregations who have been serving in Ethiopia for more than three years. The coalition will work with Ethiopian congregations to insure that people who need food receive it.
Members of the coalition are: First Baptist Church in Athens, First Baptist Church in Longview, First Baptist Church in Corsicana, First Baptist Church in Kilgore, First Baptist Church in Lufkin, Central Baptist Church in Marshall, First Baptist Church in The Woodlands, Cross Roads Baptist Church in Marshall, First Baptist Church in Marshall, East Texas Baptist University and First Baptist Church in Blue Springs, Mo.
Roughly 12 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing hunger and thousands of Somalis daily are fleeing the nation for refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Camps are swelling in size as people begin living on the outskirts of the settlements. According to media reports, roughly half of the children attempting to get to the camps are at risk of dying as a result of malnutrition and disease.
Jim Palmer, who coordinates TEAM’s work in Ethiopia, recently has been in dialogue with church leaders there about how to provide assistance. He is continuing to sort through the details of how to best do that. TEAM congregations and partners have raised nearly $10,000 for the relief effort as well.
“This is the beginning of a major crisis,” Palmer said. “This isn’t going to be over in six months. I’m just thankful we have people in Ethiopia and people here who want to help like this.”
Ferrell Foster, who coordinates the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, said the allotted funding will help TEAM continue to share the hope of Christ in the region, especially in this particularly trying time.
“The depth of suffering caused by the famine in East Africa is shocking to behold,” Foster said. “The heart of compassion given by God pushes us to look for ways to make a difference, and that is exactly what these Texas Baptist churches have done through their ministry in Ethiopia. Through the disaster funds and the hunger offering, all Texas Baptists now have the opportunity to join these churches in their efforts to change lives, helping satisfy their physical and spiritual hunger.”
Chris Liebrum, who leads Texas Baptists Disaster Response, noted that God grieves with those who are hurting and calls His followers to minister in His name. TEAM is committed to serving those who are searching for food in East Africa.
“Over the past few months we have all seen disturbing pictures and stories from the East African area,” Liebrum said. “God is calling His people to respond to the need in this part of the world. The most effective way for Texas Baptists to respond to this crisis is to work through TEAM and their contacts within Ethiopia. Because of the generosity of Texas Baptist churches, we are able to work through TEAM and indigenous Ethiopians to serve in the name of Christ during this critical juncture.”
To give to Texas Baptists Disaster Response efforts or to the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, visit www.texasbaptists.org/give.