Persecuted Christians Hit Hard During Global Food ShortageBy Open Doors Ministries October 13, 2022
Across the globe, eating three meals a day has become a luxury. The global food shortage has created a shocking and desperate crisis. The statistics are telling: in just two years, the number of people facing—or at risk of—acute food insecurity increased from 135 million in 53 countries pre-pandemic, to 345 million in 82 countries today.
In Somalia and Sudan alone, over a quarter million people are facing what the United Nations classifies as an “extreme lack of food.” With inflation at an all-time high, Sri Lanka is facing a 30% hunger level across the entire country. In Burkina Faso, Islamic extremism has displaced millions, leading to a lack of farming and resources. In North Korea, COVID and famine have skyrocketed the cost of rice, where two pounds now equates to an entire months’ salary.
And our field is now telling us that for countless believers, the situation is both dire and urgent.
A frantic situation for Christians
As drought, famine and inflation take their toll, Christians are living a frantic situation: the food shortage has put many on the verge of starvation.
Where persecution is high, believers are marginalized. When food is dispersed, Christians are often last to receive it. And millions of displaced believers can’t afford what little food there is.
What’s more heartbreaking, faith often takes a backseat when food is scarce. An Open Doors partner in Burkina Faso explains, “Persecuted believers can’t meet, evangelize, worship or serve one another if they’re too weak and starving. Right now, it’s food first.”
In Sri Lanka, Pastor Hasika* tells our local partner that she can only scarcely find fuel to get around. “With the ongoing fuel crisis and shortage of public transport, traveling has become a major issue. It is hard to come to church in the midst of this crisis.”
We are one family in Christ, and right now, a major part of our family is in need like never before:
–In Sri Lanka, almost 30% of each family’s income is going to food, and 70% of families are reporting reduced food consumption, meaning they’re limiting the number of meals they have in a day from three to two or one
–In Nigeria, the cost of wheat flour has gone up by 200%, and the cost of sugar has shot up by 150%
–In Burkina Faso, the number of people facing extreme hunger has increased 82% from last year
For believers, these hardships are layered on top of the daily persecution they already face, many of whom live in rural and poor areas with no one to help.
But Open Doors and our partners have been hard at work, doing all we can to help ease the blow during this trying time.
For example, in places like Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has developed deep strongholds and the countries continue to struggle through economic woe, Open Doors (along with our on-the-ground partners) have been able to open Centers of Hope. These centers are spaces that not only offer safety and shelter, but also provide medical support, meals, financial assistance and more. Just across Iraq and Syria, over 275 centers have opened.
An Open Doors partner, who oversees the work in the Middle East and Africa, shares how Centers of Hope have strengthened believers: “[Many] are desperate, especially now with the economic crisis and lack of light at the end of the tunnel, but our efforts have increased the resilience of Christians. We continue to invest in Centers of Hope in the middle of hopelessness.”
Open Doors is able to provide those in need with basic necessities, through Centers of Hope, on-the-ground partners and other outlets because of simple gifts from generous donors … like you.
Across the world, whether in the West, or struggling to find food and supplies in Eastern Africa, as believers, we remain one Church, one family. If you’re able, consider giving a gift today by clicking on the link below. Your gift will do more than you can imagine. Not only will it bring quick relief to those who need it most, but also inspire and offer hope to our brothers and sisters in deepest need.
As one secret believer put it, “Despite all the difficulties we may face, we hold onto the Lord. Thank you to our brothers and sisters from all around the world and your support through your deliveries. With every box of medicine and every piece of cloth, we experience such precious care and love.”
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” –1 Corinthians 12:12