Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
Inspired by the IOCC, the Orthodox Christian Network will be featuring the outstanding charitable, benevolent and philanthropic outreach of this organization who, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond. Please join us in raising awareness for their countless acts of kindness, and we invite you to learn more about the IOCC.
In the colonial days of America people would say that a squirrel could run on the treetops from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Our nation has been blessed with rich vegetation and we are fortunate that God has placed us here. Even in the arid and dry western and southwestern states of America, which experience heavy drought, we are blessed to view ourselves as brethren of the same country and we have each other to rely on. Through the grace of God I was able to travel to the deserts of Africa a few times and experience the true aridity of extreme desert life. A life without water is an incredible existence. The local people have developed a physical and spiritual temperance that identifies them as fixtures in the unique existence of God’s desert. I remember each loving embrace with them. Their skin was that of leather unfazed by the sun and sand storms. With age their eyes became almost blue after years of walking in the sun and their statures were tall, very thin, and long-striding amidst the heat waves and sand, they look as though they themselves are almost a mirage. I truly believe that in their bare existence they find the depths of God’s love where there is no earthly time, merely time with God.
These people most likely do not count the endless days they traverse in search of vegetation and water for their cattle. The wells we establish for them, with organizations such as OCMC, are no doubt a blessing, but they have known thirst for generations. Yet even for them there are conditions that become too extreme and unbearable.In Ethiopia, people are truly suffering at the hands of a horrific drought. IOCC reports that, “this is the worst drought in Ethiopia in decades.”
With this in mind, our brothers and sisters in Christ, all one family and one “country” under Him, it is our Christian duty to open our hearts to love and support others, such as the people of Ethiopia. It is very easy to turn a blind eye to the struggles continents away, but we must strive to hold a true understanding of them in our hearts. “Former Archbishop Iakovos noted in his opening speech to the 20th Clergy-Laity Congress that: ‘… Our Church … has never restricted its love and philanthropy from those outside its fold (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese).’”
The last major drought for Ethiopia was in 2011; they were still recovering prior to this drought. It can take many years to recover from a drought of this magnitude. On the community level recovery is very difficult, but it is even more of a climb on the individual level (CNN). Imagine the lifestyle of very poor families, they rely only on one or two cattle and if they die they may never recover any of their losses. These types of droughts for those families who are on the brink of starvation can really push them into desperation. These are the people among the many who need our help.
For more ways to get involved visit the IOCC webpage.
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