By Leslie Peacock Caldwell
Desperation took over as the mother and father prepared the last bit of food they had for their children and then did the unthinkable. They mixed poison into the food, believing it would be easier to watch their children eat a final meal and never wake up than to see their children starve to death. The effects of COVID-19 had left them hungry and hopeless.
“Let’s just wait a little longer,” the father said, before serving the children. The waiting would save their lives. Just a short time later, national believers, who partner with an IMB missionary team, arrived at the home with a package of food. The bag contained rice, beans, wheat flour, chick peas, oil, coriander, and lentils — enough food to feed a family for about 7 days.
As the believers entered with the food, the starving mother and father could not stop crying and thanking them. “It’s ok! This food is really for you and your family,” the believers continued to repeat to an overwhelmed couple before hearing the startling revelation about the parents’ intent to end their children’s suffering.
“My husband told me not to give them the food right now,” the mother said. “Then you came with the food!”
As COVID-19 swept the globe, millions in South Asia found themselves without work and therefore without food or life’s daily necessities. Many were forced to leave the cities and return to their village homes.
“Praise the Lord for Southern Baptist partner churches that gave sacrificially for the distribution of packages of food with a week’s worth of rations through national brothers and sisters,” Keith and Morgan Rawlings* said. The Rawlings serve with the IMB in South Asia. Unable to be in the country during much of 2020, they listened to and read reports of the continued work of their faithful friends.
“As these believers entered home after home, they saw people fall to their knees crying, being so thankful that someone had brought food for their families!” the Rawlings said. They said the story of the desperate parents receiving food shortly before serving poison to their beloved children especially touched the hearts and made them “so thankful to be His hands and feet during this time.”
The family was not only given food, but the believers faithfully shared the gospel with the husband and wife, and both prayed to believe in Jesus. When the lockdown in their city ended, the family went to their home village to reconnect with family. Now they are back in the city and national believers have contacted them to start discipleship. The Rawlings continue to pray for this family and that discipleship can start soon.
Will you also pray for this family and thank God for His provision that day? Praise God that He chose to bring glory to His name by sparing the lives of these children, feeding a family through the gifts of believers, and saving a mother and father from eternal hopelessness.
Are you or your church ready to connect with personnel in South Asia, like the Rawlings, and partner with them to reach the multitudes of lost? Write to email@example.com for more information and for current opportunities.
Your generous giving to Send Relief continues to make a difference as the effects of the global pandemic continue. In 2020, of 407 total COVID-19 ministry projects worldwide by Send Relief, 113 projects were held in South Asia, one of the world’s hardest hit areas. Your giving will continue to provide food bags like the one delivered to this desperate family.
Leslie Peacock Caldwell is senior editor for the IMB. Keith and Morgan Rawlings* contributed to this story.