THIRSTY GROUND UPDATES

Heart Attacks, Medical Needs & Bread Shortages – Spring 2022 Update

We are well into the spring of 2022 and the challenges the Lord brings are many! The economic situation in our host country continues to deteriorate. Rapid hyperinflation and wage depression, along with severe supply disruptions of wheat due to the Ukraine war, are putting everyone – Syrian refugee and local alike – into seriously difficult situations.

The UN estimated a few months ago that nationwide poverty here is now over 80% of the population. Not just refugees. Locals as well. Everyone is feeling the effects as things steadily get worse.

People have to make hard decisions between buying either food or medicine. Often they cannot afford both, sometimes they can barely afford one of them.

We had a local man, who had been unable to afford his heart medicines for several months, suddenly go unconscious and have a heart attack at our meeting place two weeks ago while waiting for one of our food distributions.

He was rushed to the hospital nearby by volunteers on our team. Thankfully he regained consciousness, though remained weak and in pain. The hospital determined he needed immediate heart surgery. Two grafts and a valve replacement for over $8,000 or he would likely die within weeks!

Despite being a local and not a refugee, his situation is little better. The average monthly salary now is barely $400, and typically less. This man had no money for such a surgery and no way to live without someone from the outside helping.

Thankfully the Lord answered prayer for this need. Within a week a church in America learned of this emergency and offered to help with his surgery. He goes in this week for surgery. Pray for a successful surgery, speedy recovery and the compassion of Christ shown to him by the church to be used to plant seeds for the Gospel.

One of Many Ongoing Medical Needs

A little girl we recently helped who broke her arm and needed it casted at a local hospital.

This is one example of the grim situation out here and why we stay to help. This man may have not suffered a heart attack had he been able to afford his routine heart medicines. He came to us too late for that, but thankfully not too late to be helped with life-saving surgery that we pray will succeed!

We currently help 100s of individuals with monthly medications they need to stay alive or treat serious infections and conditions. We are routinely helping people with medicine for heart conditions, insulin for diabetes, treatments for epilepsy, antibiotics for infections, and much more.

At times we may be the only way impoverished people will be able to get life-saving medications. Each time we are able to give these out, it shows the love of Christ via His people and gives us open doors into their lives. Each one of these people are grateful for these medications, and many of you reading this make that possible with your support.

Through the Lord’s provision, we’ve also had the ability to help with serious medical treatments and surgical interventions. We currently have at least three women we are able to help keep alive suffering from serious conditions. It is likely that, without our direct help, they would have already died.

One refugee girl suffers from severe thallassemia and needs blood transfusions each month to stay alive. Pray for her situation as well, she desperately needs a bone marrow transplant, but it isn’t possible in our host country, and the UN has repeatedly delayed in getting her out to another country.

Two other women are fighting cancer. One case is more hopeful. We are helping to treat a Syrian woman suffering from lymphoma via a reputable international hospital in our host country, and she is responding well. The second case is more tragic, as the cancer is aggressive and seeming to spread, but we aren’t giving up hope yet.

All of these women are in regular contact with our team and often visit, hearing more about Jesus, which becomes all the more urgent as some of their conditions worsen.

Other serious cases would fill this update. Little kids with epilepsy and developmental problems. Numerous cardiac cases requiring consults, echos and EKGs to determine what further care might be needed. Broken bones from falls and accidents, where we often become their go-to for help getting into an ER. Numerous cases of debilitating hernias, massively impacted kidney stones, appendicitis, serious 3rd degree burns and even a man who had a tumor-like mass of tuberculosis growing under the skin of his arm that we had to help remove!

Our aim for 2022 is to try and better relate the number and type of medical cases we are encountering so that you all can better know how to pray for them – and for us – as we continue frontline care and medical management in an increasingly troubled country!

Wheat Shortages & Bread Lines

Dough prepared to be flattened before entering the oven and becoming tasty flat bread.

Due to the global wheat shortages precipitated by the war in Ukraine, our host country is facing a difficult situation. Arab flat bread is the key staple to everyone’s diet here. But flour is now in short supply and becoming difficult to acquire.

Throughout the economic crisis of our host country in recent years, even when fuel, electricity or other food stuffs were rationed due to limited supply, bread was always available. That staved off real hunger for millions.

For the first time, bread was being rationed by bakeries this past month. Bread lines formed, and it was a 2+ hour wait in some cases to get a couple bags of bread. Temporary reserves were released and that eased the shortage for a time. But the bread lines sent a message that this once reliable source of food may also be at risk. Nobody knows what will happen in coming weeks.

This has put our small bakery into much higher demand! We’ve sought to increase bread production to make the most of the flour we still have on hand. We are hoping to almost double the output, which should allow us to make over 3,800 individual pieces of Arab flat bread to distribute each week. These are typically given out in bags of eight pieces of flat bread each. Our hope in this time is to get bread to as many of the refugees and impoverished locals in our area as we know have need of it.

We’ve asked the helpers there to stay longer and make more bread during this time, and even to begin delivering it by motorcycle to families that live too far from the bakery to walk but still have need of this daily bread. Pray for them as the needs and work increases during this trying time!

Thank you all again for praying for these needs and labors. We are just a small part of what our big God is doing here, but we are thankful for those of you reading this who continue to partner with us and help drive forward these efforts at compassion for Christ’s name.

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