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Seeing God’s hand through the chaos
  • by Guest Contributer
  • June 17, 2021

Trudi Elyard – Anglican Aid Ambassador for Heading North, Ethiopia

The past year for Heading North has included some eventful times! However, through the chaos, God’s hand has been seen as he has prepared in advance, provided, and given protection.

The chaos
Earlier this year we asked you to pray for the impact made by the repeated swarms of locusts which ate everything in their way and consequently caused widespread damage. Next, as COVID shutdowns were implemented, work stopped across the districts resulting in food shortages which were compounded by rising prices.

Then rebels attacked multiple times causing much devastation. Hundreds of people were killed and injured, children orphaned, infrastructure destroyed, and many thousands displaced. Some local churches had to close as it was too dangerous for the believers, being a minority, to stay.

We thank God for his preparation

However, God’s good planning can be seen. Over the past few years, Anglican Aid has supported Heading North as they have implemented leadership training, established a comprehensive peace and reconciliation process, and participated in community development initiatives, like the clean water access made possible with support from the ‘Waterworks for a Thirsty World’ appeal.

“The trust and relationships built…has culminated in the communities and leaders across two districts, including all religious and tribal groups, working together.”

The trust and relationships built through these times of engagement has culminated in the communities and leaders across two districts, including all religious and tribal groups, working together. During the rebel attacks they all united to protect the vulnerable and engaged in the humanitarian response which ensued.

We thank God for protection

Miraculously, God has shielded the people in many ways. COVID has not continued to affect the community through illness and the locusts unexplainably kept turning away each time they approached Heading North’s seedling sites, environmental protection areas, and our model farm land.

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We thank God for provision

God has provided through his people. The churches initiated the response to the displaced, widows and those in need. In their poverty, the church members gave all they had. It was at this time Anglican Aid, through your generosity, responded with emergency support. It was exactly enough to address the needs.

Churches provide emergency relief after rebels attacked

Churches provide emergency relief after rebels attacked

The churches in the area have been recognised as safe places of care. Displaying God’s love in action, the churches welcomed, fed and then coordinated re-housing for all who came to them. One man, a beneficiary, marvelled that this was done without discrimination or favouritism. These actions of love have led non-believers to be open to listening to the daily programmes of teaching and worship, and for many, it was the first time to hear the gospel.

Heading North has acted in the role of advocate for the needs of the community. Pastor Feru (Director of Heading North) was able to negotiate for displaced children to return to school in their new locations. Food shortages were alleviated as Pastor Feru mobilised elders, leaders and workers to build an access road for the 100 000 people cut off from supplies during the unrest.

At the same time, community meetings allowed the continued training and encouragement of peace through love rather than vengeance.

Before this road was built, locals were cut off from supplies

Before this road was built, locals were cut off from supplies

A truly remarkable change in acceptance for Believers has occurred as they are now seen as part of the community rather than outliers. As the church engages with and serves the community around them, many witness the love they have for others despite social, tribal and religious divides.

“These actions of love have led non-believers to be open to listening… and for many, it was the first time to hear the gospel.”

 

Through the involvement of Heading North many people have learned to work together to overcome hardship, poverty and respond in ways that promote peace. Through all of this we can see the continued hand of God as, over time, he prepares, protects and provides through his people.

It is with thankfulness to God that the partnership between Heading North, Ethiopia and Anglican Aid continues, as together, we can make a difference to the lives of others.

Let grace flow through generosity

All donations to Anglican Aid for this project are tax deductible. In the case that a fundraising appeal has received sufficient donations, any surplus funds will be used for a similar activity or an activity in the same country.

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