It’s easy to lose hope in the face of tragedy. Ed Walker worked for Tearfund as part of the Disaster Response team and saw some terrible suffering. This week he had a special reminder that his efforts weren’t in vain.
‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.’ John 15:15
There aren’t many emotions worse than the feeling of powerlessness – especially when you experience it in the face of human tragedy. That was how I felt in 2003.
I was working in South Sudan with Tearfund’s Disaster Response Team. We had hastily built a mud and grass-roofed feeding centre for severely malnourished kids. Taddy, the coordinator, was showing me around. She was an experienced nurse with many years experience, working in Ethiopia and South Sudan.
There were about 30 mothers in the makeshift ward nesting inside their mosquito nets with their children – some had two or three. Their ribs and shoulder blades protruded and their hip-bones stuck out like dorsal fins. Illness was everywhere and death seemed to hover over each child, whispering on the closing door of their existence.
As we left I noticed even Taddy was emotional. That night, before bed, we had a team meeting. We were asked to pray for two children who were ‘very close to death’. Our prayers that evening were earnest and heartfelt.