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Silent Tsunami

Posted By Becky Giovagnoni On May 13, 2008 @ 1:58 am In Children in Poverty | 13 Comments

Silent tsunami Working at Compassion is hard on your heart.

When I purposely expose myself to the ugly things in life, I open myself up to possibility that my heart will be hurt. It’s a scary, vulnerable place, but it’s exactly where God has called me to be.

My heart hurt badly last week when I read this in a crisis report from our staff in Bangladesh …

Approximately 95 percent of Compassion-assisted children are feeling the effects of the [global food] crisis. Many are living on one meal a day — receiving it at their child development centers — and struggling with feelings of guilt and sadness because their family members don’t receive the same benefit.

Did you get that? Our children are feeling guilty for eating one meal a day.

We just had our once-a-quarter meeting where all the different department leaders report their numbers for the previous quarter. Usually, this meeting is filled with exciting reports of how God has blessed Compassion beyond our expectations. We set high goals and God consistently exceeds them. And while last week’s meeting had its share of positive reports, the one issue that overshadowed everything else we talked about was what is being called the Silent Tsunami, or the Global Food Crisis.

Have you heard of it? If you haven’t, you’re likely not alone. But perhaps you’ve seen a glimpse of it here at home: “the rising cost of gas” or “economic recession” or “the creation of biofuels.” But whereas we here in the United States are facing inconvenience and sacrifice, our brothers and sisters around the world are facing death by starvation.

Does this upset you? It should. It obviously upsets me. We’ve got to start doing something about it now because this crisis is going to get worse before it gets better.

This Global Food Crisis is complex — it is not caused by one single thing but is the combination of many factors including:

  • Diverting food towards the creation of biofuels
  • Recent droughts and floods
  • Higher gas prices
  • Higher tariffs in export markets, especially rice

When several of these factors occur together, it creates a kind of “perfect storm” situation, with global consequences. Compassion Vice President of International Program, Mark Yeadon, says that while every person is affected at some level by this crisis, there are varying degrees depending on where in the world you live. Some are refraining from purchasing that new car or vacation home. Some are carpooling to work or riding their bike more. Some are adjusting their grocery list to accommodate the higher food prices. Some are wondering where there next meal will come from. Some don’t worry about where their food will come from because they don’t need to wonder — they know there’s no food.

I don’t mean to depress you. I want to motivate you. Compassion is in a position to make a difference. We have already sent supplementary funds to our two hardest hit countries, Haiti and Bangladesh. We are in communication with our staff in other countries at risk and will address the issues based on the level of severity.

If you are interested in giving money to our Global Food Crisis fund, you can do that. But this is NOT an appeal for money … this is an appeal for your broken heart.

Our family is hurting, and I hope you are not okay with that.

Here are some small things you can do:

  • Pray for God to show you what you should do.
  • Learn about the crisis and then tell others what is going on.
  • Write to your sponsored children in Bangladesh and Haiti to encourage them and love on them.
  • Pray hard about which candidate to support in the upcoming presidential elections.
  • Talk to your own children about what is happening around the world.

While it’s hard not to get overwhelmed at the situation, God is so much bigger than this, and none of this is out of His control. So what is it that He’s asking you to do?


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