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I remember the day distinctly: July 4, 2011. I was on a plane leaving Kenya, bound for America. I quickly settled into the suffocating boredom of air cabin cruising. While casually scanning a free copy of a leading European newsletter, I literally sat up with a jolt. While not a citizen of East Africa, I am a long term resident. In that sense, I was utterly shocked to find out I had unknowingly been living in the midst of the “worst famine in Africa in over 20 years.” Everyone seemed to know about it… except most East Africans. I then found page after page (even full pages!) of heart rending appeals from the alphabet soup of humanitarian crisis relief organizations. There were no less than ten dramatic appeals for donations… complete with pictures that could pierce the hard heart of a mummified pharaoh. I’ve witnessed a number of “disaster relief” scams over the past twelve years, but this was of a scale and scope that unhinged my jaw. There was no natural disaster. There was no famine. None. Not even a little bit of one. Needless to say, I was incensed…for all sorts of reasons. For the “selling” of a fictitious African tragedy…when so many chronic and desperate needs truly exist and persist. For the raiding and raping of charitable resources…to line the pockets of “relief elites”…on the backs of the unknowing and voiceless masses. For the sheer deception, audacity and crafty cunning of any number of “reputable” NGO’s, charitable organizations and “experts” involved. For the duping of undiscerning donors… countless individuals, innumerable governments and the fast approaching army of “just-addwater” Samaritans. My mind and heart were spinning out of control as I sifted through the articles with

innumerable pleas, pledges and promises of the “crisis industry.” And then…I prayed. And I was reminded of what I had just REALLY left behind in East Africa. My prior day was much like any other day at the Bible Schools. A sea of eager faces, ready minds and willing hearts…hungry for God’s Word. As if it was the last chance they would ever get to hear God’s Word. The sheer number of Pastors and Ministry Leaders pressing into the Bible Schools over many years is evidence enough of the magnitude of the unmet need. But it goes deeper than just the numbers. If you were to sit in the Schools and witness the spiritual hunger of the Pastors, you would surely say, “I thought I understood…but now I REALLY understand!” The understanding would focus on an obvious and disheartening gulf; indeed, a spiritual chasm…between the Pastors’ spiritual hunger and their ability to satisfy it; between where they are spiritually…and where they realize they want and need to be. The DSM Bible Institutes are a readily available avenue for the “Pastors of the Least” to begin to satisfy that spiritual hunger and thirst. By God’s design and grace, the Ministry disciples practically and pragmatically through one seemingly impractical, intangible means: the Word of God. And the righteous response from the Pastors of the Least has been overwhelming. The critical question remains… “Why are there still so few options for so many, simply seeking to know Christ through His Word?” The answer is neither profound nor popular. The options are few because…“the Book” is largely considered irrelevant in this generation. Even within the church, the Word of God is often considered

an optional appendage…rather than a firm foundation and fundamental focus. Exposition of the Word of God often takes a third or fourth seat to announcements, updates, guest entertainers, missions minutes, opportunities to “Get Connected”, “Involved”, “Plugged In” and “Reach Out.” Perhaps our very popular programs and proclivities coincidently explain the unheralded hunger of the righteous remnant. Perhaps we have unwittingly manufactured a Famine of truly biblical proportions. Indeed, God prophetically proclaimed such a time as this… “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east. They shall run to and fro, seeking the Word of the Lord, but shall not find it.” Amos 8.11

I happen to see it front row and full force amongst Pastors and within churches in the slums of Nairobi. But it is not a mere local phenomenon, nor an African one at that. It is an entire Generation. Perhaps several in sequence. The true “famine” has come crashing on the scene…and it is just as “manufactured” as many pronounced by the world relief organizations. Manufactured by our spiritual apathy, neglect and unbelief regarding God’s Word. This Famine has unfolded with scarcely a hint or holler. Manufacture a physical famine, and an avalanche of “rescue and response” teams and measures are unleashed worldwide. And many from the church! Perhaps the greatest obstacle to knowing God through His Word is the endless parade of inflatable “tragedies” unleashed on unsuspecting do-gooders, donors, missionaries, churches and would-be Samaritans. How is it that we continue


to be so easily distracted by the world’s opinion of what is really a “crisis” and what is not? The kingdoms of this world will never view the proclamation of God’s Word, nor discipleship through His Word, as a priority. Which begs the question…“Do we?!” If so…then why is the Famine spreading? Why the massive and chronic unmet hunger and thirst? There is a hunger that no money, man or meal can satisfy. There is a famine that no airlift or refugee camp can quell. I have seen it in the face of the Pastors of the Least. Most of them literally give up a day of work and wages…in order to hear the Words of Life…because they have Heard…and now Believe. They hunger and thirst for more. Jesus Himself declared openly and plainly… “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son will give you,

because God the Father Has set His seal on Him. …My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives Life to the world. ..I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes shall never thirst.”

here making disciples. It is our duty. It is our mandate from Jesus. Disciples must know Him… intimately, not superficially, casually or coincidently. It is costly, time consuming and requires nothing less than our unrelenting and utmost concentration. Jesus indicated one, and only one, commonly available means by which we know Him, and by which we are to make disciples…

Jn 6.27

“If you abide in My Word, You are My disciples indeed.”

After all the “leadership” books, bible school curriculums, and WWJD bracelets are distributed…after the face paints have worn off, and the gift boxes have been distributed…after the hands are lowered, the open air crusade falls silent, and the multitude trudge home to their shacks or mansions…the question remains… “Have disciples been made?” Jesus commanded that we make disciples. He is no longer

Jn 8.31

It’s time to stop making Famines…and earnestly make Disciples. It will require us to discard some popular programs, short term solutions and carnal delights… and pick up His Book. Feeding ourselves…while also feeding a world languishing in the midst of a very real Famine…of our own making.

There is no more room for one more desk or table at the Mathare Bible School


Contact Paul & Marcia Cowley Email:paul@disciplesupport.org marcia@disciplesupport.org Phone from USA 011-254-733-609-066 Skype: marcia.cowley Africa Mail Disciple Support Ministries P.O. Box 2318-00621, Nairobi, Kenya (please do not send packages) Contact DSM in America Disciple Support Ministries Phone: 561-901-3590 Send Contributions To Disciple Support Ministries P.O. Box 3982 Panama City, FL 32401

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Manufacturing famine  

Disciple Support Ministries monthly newsletter. Manufacturing famine: How Somalia crisis became a fundraising opportunity.

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