By May 2020, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had created serious conditions for thousands of families who live in informal settlements in Kenya and rely on day-labor jobs. Along with the fear of contracting the virus, many people also had to deal with the very real threats of hunger and even starvation.
To make matters worse, an unusually large seasonal rainfall brought on flash floods in many regions of the country, causing landslides and loss of lives and homes, and bringing waterborne disease.
I received a call from a friend who shared a story she had seen on television of a widow with four small children who live in a rural coastal village. The children were lying on a straw mat whimpering, while the mother was busy cooking a brown watery brew on a tiny charcoal stove. She turned to the camera, saying that she was cooking stones since they had nothing to eat that day. She hoped that her children would think that she was preparing dinner and that they would stop crying and go to sleep while waiting.
That night, sleep evaded my friend as images of the poor mother cooking stones for her starving children kept scrolling through her mind. The next morning, she commissioned her lawyer to find the location of this poor woman. He did find her, and my friend sent some money via M-Pesa (a local mobile phone-based money transfer service) to help this poor family.
The woman called my friend, crying and thanking her profusely, saying over and over that God had heard her prayers and had rescued her children through my friend’s gift.
Even though most of us have been spared from hunger during the pandemic, it has been a serious challenge for many. However, just as God answered the plea of this poor mother, we too can have the confidence that He will answer our petitions. “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him.”1 And He may work through us to answer someone else’s prayer, as He did with my friend.
During challenging times, we encounter desperation almost daily around the globe, often simply around the corner. Some people are in need of a meal, others of a kind word. What a difference we can make as followers of Christ by sharing His love with those in need!
- 1 John 5:14–15