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By Rev Shadrack Koma, Western Kenya
Western Kenya has faced a triple-hit in recent months. Besides the significant impacts of the lockdown on jobs, incomes and livelihoods, the area has been badly affected by locust swarms and landslides. Revd Shadrack Koma from the AIC North Rift Convention in Western Kenya shares his thoughts on the situation.
In such time of suffering and adversity it is futile to imagine there is no God. Even in the darkest times God is present with us. There is no time when God is absent. According to Job 36, he is in control of the entire universe. He knows the weather patterns and what is happening in the world. Nothing happens without him knowing. God sometimes allows such events like the lockdown, locusts and the landslides to take place to demonstrate his sovereignty but amidst such events, God remains the creator and the sustainer of the universe. God is everywhere, even in the lockdown, locusts and landslides.
In this time, I see that God is teaching humanity about humility. He is preparing us for a greater blessing to come but for now, we have to endure this. God is teaching the church that there is value in suffering. Through suffering the church is strengthened. It is a wakeup call that adorns the church with the garment of glory (Romans 8:18). Suffering prepares the church for mission. It is important to note that God does allow suffering, pain and even death if they best serve his purposes but the suffering is for a short time. The pain that has been caused by the lockdown, locusts and landslides is for a short time compared to God’s eternity.
This time of lockdown, locust and landslides can be our greatest motivation for spiritual growth or a deadly means of discouragement. The difference depends on our understanding of God’s purpose for allowing it to happen. We must remember that God is with us through these events. He is teaching humanity about humility. What God teaching the church now will help us serve him more diligently in the world as the threat of Covid-19 passes.
What are desert locusts and how are they affecting East Africa?
- Locusts belong to a family of grasshoppers called the Acrididae. The desert locust is one of a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers that can alter their behaviour to become sociable, form swarms and can travel over large distances. Desert locusts are considered the most destructive of all locust species and are known for their rapid breeding, and for their huge appetites.
- Plagues can occur if a widespread infestation of locusts lasts for one or more years. There were six recorded plagues through the 1900s, one of them lasted 13 years! During plagues, desert locusts can spread over vast areas. They can travel into as many as 60 countries covering 20% of the earth’s land surface.
- As the coronavirus crisis spreads to the region, communities already battling hunger and a health emergency have faced several invasions of desert locusts. Already this year, several huge swarms of destructive desert locusts have ripped through East Africa threatening local food supplies and livelihoods. With countries under lockdown and flights halted, people are struggling to get supplies to combat the insects affecting their food and income.
- According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group for East Africa, 19 million people are already facing acute food shortage in the region.