Serving the oppressed
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies told the prophet Zechariah to instruct His people to act justly and with mercy and compassion for the weak. “Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor,” God said through the prophet (Zechariah 7:10).
The psalmist David declared, “The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). In the same psalm, it says, “I will tell of all the marvelous things you [God] have done” (Psalm 9:1b).
I will tell – as we do in all of our E-Newsletters and Updates and The Climbing Way magazine – about “the amazing things He does” (1 Chronicles 16:24). His “glorious deeds” have included providing food and housing to widows in Malawi, setting free children who are slaves in brick factories in Pakistan, loving on orphans in Nepal, and more.
After Tropical Storm Ana swept through southern Malawi in late January, Kingdom worker Damson Samson reported: “The storm has devastated our area. Within our locality more homes are down, and lower lands were flooded.”
Estelle Isesi became the poster widow for an appeal we made. She was sleeping in her home, which Climbing For Christ helped build (one of more than 40 in 2016 and 2017), when “from nowhere she just saw that the wall was down,” Damson said. “She was waking up, stranded, and wondering where to stay now. Currently, she has nowhere to stay.”
When natural disasters strike, we often see video and photos and hear the stories of people left with “nothing.” This is the definition of nothing: Estelle showing Damson the mat we gave her to sleep on (rather than the floor), “the rags of blankets we had given her,” some maize hulls (or husks), and a pot on the fire with black beans cooking (her only food). That and the clothing on her back is all she had to her name.
“I was shocked to see these things happening to our widows,” Damson said. “Many widows have lost their houses and they have nowhere to stay. Even food has been a great issue among our people.”
Damson asked Climbing For Christ members and supporters to prayerfully considering helping Estelle … and others. We needed $1,200 USD to rebuild her house.
God provided more than $15,600 for houses and $2,000 for food for suffering widows in the wake of the storm and during a month of hunger on the eve of the harvest season.
“The joy of our widows reached its climax where nobody had dreamed of such a victorious breakthrough,” Damson declared. “It was a miracle to get 10 kilograms of maize (each). It has been so hard for them to get food.”
Maize, the staple food, was delivered to 750 widows. Workers got busy building 13 homes for widows.
The widows on the receiving end called these “miracle houses,” Damson said.
“Their joy has turned into tears. These people could not hold their tears in the time of learning that they have been given a home. They never had expected such a miracle to happen at their age.”
Jesus told us, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. … I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).
Climbing For Christ serves the physical and spiritual needs of the least of these in places where others cannot or will not go.