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Abandoned but not forgotten!

Abandoned, Christian Aid Ministries

Rhoda lived in Liberia and lost her legs due to diabetic complications. Her husband and son abandoned her. The only care she received was a meal and several visits each day from a considerate neighbor.

Rhoda’s smile brightened the dark room as she received her first Support-A-Widow food parcel. “This is God, this is good,” she testified.

Although the food parcel brightened her days, Rhoda spent many hours alone. She lost her joy for living and began harboring suicidal thoughts.

CAM staff members visited Rhoda again to pray with her. Another time they brought a wheelchair and took her outside for the first time in months. Rhoda’s spirits were boosted, knowing people still cared about her.

Sadly, Rhoda’s health continued declining and on December 14, 2021, she passed away. We thank God for the opportunity to show His love to Rhoda during her time on earth!

To help support the Support-A-Widow program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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The Plight of a Kenyan widow

Kenyan widow, Christian Aid Ministries

“To be a Kenyan widow often means to be alone and without a voice,” says a CAM staff member. In Kenya, wives are frequently seen as no more than possessions, and many widows face rejection and hatred from family when their husbands die. They may be blamed for their husbands’ deaths. Sometimes relatives step in, taking away their homes, land, possessions, and anything else of value.

A widow may find her children claimed by others. Since her husband is dead, raising her children is no longer considered her right. Family and neighbors often try to avoid her, superstitious of hidden curses.

Philista is a 76-year-old widow in Kenya. Her husband passed away eleven years ago and all her children have also died, leaving her alone. She survives by the mercy of others. When CAM staff visited the cramped hallway where Philista lives, the only furniture to sit on was a small wooden stool.

CAM provides widows like Philista with monthly food parcels and $10 cash or the equivalent in other items. These parcels give them food and enable them to use their meager incomes for other much-needed items.

But even more important than food to eat is the love these parcels symbolize. “. . . a parcel of food is more than just a few bags of rice, flour, and beans,” a CAM staff member shares. “It is a reminder of the universal body of believers. For a moment, they know they are not forgotten.” Thank you, supporters, for seeing these widows’ plight and extending a caring hand.

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Hope for a rejected widow with leprosy

widow with leprosy, Christian Aid Ministries

“Why don’t you just run away? Why don’t you just die? . . . because of you there is all this trouble for our family!” Manya’s* father shouted as he eyed her with disgust.

Twenty-five-year-old Manya stared at her blotchy skin—the dreaded sign of leprosy. This disease labeled her “untouchable” in her village of India and made her family an object of rejection and mocking.

These mental pressures were too heavy for Manya. She left her village for a leper colony, knowing she would likely never return. Manya married a man from the leper colony, and together they raised a son. Their only income was what they received by begging. Tragedy struck the family when Manya’s husband mysteriously died while begging one day.

Manya and her son were left to fend for themselves. When her son grew older, he became involved with the wrong company and began using drugs and alcohol. He also got married and became the father of two sons. Then he fell ill. Manya sold her house and some possessions to pay for his medical treatments, but it was too late. Her son passed away, leaving his wife and two sons in Manya’s care.

Shortly before India imposed a strict COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020, Manya’s widowed daughter-in-law ran away with all the money Manya had saved from begging. She also abandoned her two sons, leaving them for Manya to raise.

“My life felt like a burden,” Manya testified. “How is it possible for me to feed my two grandsons and myself? . . .
Their mother has taken all my money. With lockdown, the burden became even greater!”

A monthly Support-A-Widow food parcel shows care to Manya in her desperation. “Before I was enrolled in the widows program I used to . . . sit in front of the church gate and listen to the pastor speak about Jesus Christ and His love. I would always question God, ‘Why are you punishing me? I am helpless! I am hopeless!’ Many people tried to convince me to send my two grandsons elsewhere. But they are my hope and joy! How can I send them away?

“If it wasn’t for this food parcel, I don’t know how I would have managed,” Manya shares. “Because of those who . . . made it possible for me to receive this food parcel every month, I can feed myself and my two grandsons. As long as I am alive, God will help me. That is my belief. My future is in His hands!”

*Name changed to protect identity.

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God’s mercy in the form of a food parcel

Mercy, Christian Aid Ministries

Banjey from Liberia spent the last eighteen years of widowhood without family. Her children left the area during Liberia’s civil war and never returned. This seventy-year-old widow survives by the mercy of her neighbors.

The generosity of CAM supporters also shows mercy to Banjey by enabling her to receive a thirty-five-pound food parcel. Thank you for your compassion that blesses Banjey and thousands of other widows, widowers, and abandoned wives in impoverished countries.

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A gift multiplied

A Gift, gifts, Christian Aid Ministries

In 2000, Henderika’s husband passed away after a long battle with poor health. Henderika and others did all they could for him before he passed away. Relatives and friends gave a gift of money to help pay the hospital visits and medication, but their generous gifts fell short of the large expenses. Henderika finally sold their property so they would have enough funds to cover the medical bills. Despite all this effort and care, her husband’s life slipped away.

Left alone to care for her ten children, Henderika had little money to provide for them. She had sold most of her possessions to pay the medical expenses. Her children were forced to drop out of school because there was no way to pay for their education.

Apart from the death of her husband and her struggle to survive, Henderika grieved the loss of four of her children who passed away. Two of them died before they turned fifteen. Two others died as adults.


“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27


One of Henderika’s daughters left behind two children who also have no father to care for them. These children were left in Henderika’s care. She started growing pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables for food and sold the extra for a little money. It helped, but was still not enough.

When CAM first gave Henderika a Support-A-Widow food parcel several years ago, she considered it a miracle. She was grateful for the oil, flour, and other items in the parcel that she couldn’t produce in her garden. With a gift of $10 USD that comes with every parcel, Henderika expanded her farming business. She rented more land to plant crops and to introduce new seeds. She also repaired the bicycle she uses to ride to the farm.

Henderika is generous with what she has and doesn’t keep the blessings for herself. She has multiplied a gift from the Support-A-Widow program by giving to others. With the vegetables she grows on her farm, she is able to help some of her daughters who are widowed. At a conference last year, Henderika even blessed other widows with food.

Thank you, supporters, for providing aid for widows like Henderika, who in turn bless others. Pray for them as they press on in their difficult circumstances.

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Aid for widowed Elena

Moldova, Christian Aid Ministries

Elena’s husband died in 2009, leaving her alone to care for her three young girls. Their house in Moldova belongs to Elena’s parents and needs repairs.

Elena is fortunate to have a monthly income of $160 by working in a bakery, but this is not enough to meet her family’s needs. The Support-A-Widow food parcel she receives each month helps significantly. Instead of spending money on food, she can use it for things like clothes and heat.

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Leprosy—a terrible disease (Children’s Story)

Leprosy

We read in the Bible about a terrible disease called leprosy. When people get this disease, they sometimes can’t feel pain. Leprosy affects people’s nerves. When they walk over glass, stick their hand in hot water or fire, or accidently scrape off their skin, people with leprosy can’t feel any pain so they don’t know something is wrong. That’s how they get infected sores, which often makes them lose their fingers and toes.

Did you know that pain can be a good thing? It’s good because it tells us that something is wrong. You know how it feels when you get a splinter. Ouch! You want to remove that tiny something that’s stuck under your skin because it hurts.

Leprosy wasn’t just a disease in Bible times. It still affects people today.


“And, behold, there
came a leper and worshipped him,
saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him,
saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his
leprosy was cleansed.”
Matthew 8:2, 3


Let’s visit someone in India who has leprosy

Leprosy
Rodona

Namaskar (nämәs’kär),* my name is Rodona. I’m so happy that you came to visit me here in India. I don’t get a lot of visitors because I have a dreaded disease—leprosy. People don’t want to come close to me, and for sure not touch me, because they are afraid of getting my disease.

I think fondly of the time when I was a young girl and could run and play with other children. Later I got married and had a baby girl.

But life changed when I got leprosy. My husband, my daughter, and all the rest of my family started treating me badly. They didn’t like me anymore and made me leave my home. I wasn’t accepted anywhere. I didn’t want to spend my life begging on the streets.

In India, there are stories of people dumping hot water on people with leprosy who beg on the streets.

When I heard some people from the village talk about a colony for people with leprosy, I decided to go even though it was far away. I knew that was one place I’d be accepted.

The leprosy gets worse

At the colony, they gave me some medicine to help with leprosy. Even then, my condition got worse. At first my toes and fingers were numb and I couldn’t feel if I bumped my foot or held something too tightly. Then I started getting sores on my toes and fingers, and the sores got infected. Some people who didn’t clean out their infections had tiny worms called “maggots” that would crawl over the wounds. Eventually infections caused both my toes and fingers to deform. Because of how many times I hurt my fingers and toes without feeling it, they got shorter and shorter until I hardly had any fingers and toes.

Do you know what happens when you don’t have toes? It’s hard to walk! My toes helped me keep my balance to walk. When I lost them, I needed to be careful I didn’t fall. When I lost my fingers, I could pick up things only by putting my two fists together.

That was a very difficult time for me. It was hard to lose fingers and toes, and I really missed my family. I haven’t seen them since I started with this dreadful disease.

My friends

But through this time, one lady has been a true friend who cares about me. She’s not even afraid to touch me. She extends her hand to help me get around. Now that I am old and leprosy has made me feel weak, I can no longer walk by myself. If my friend is not there to help me, I can move around only by crawling on the floor. Sometimes I put my hand into a flip flop to protect it from getting hurt.

People I haven’t met yet care about me too, because they give money to send a food box to me every month. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without their help! Their care brings a smile to my face.

If you would like to provide food for people like Rodona, see the enclosed response coupon.

*Namaskar means hello in Oriya, the language Rodona speaks


Did you know?
Leprosy . . .

  • Is referred to more than 40 times in the Bible.
  • Is the oldest recorded disease.
  • Causes nerve damage if left untreated.
  • Isn’t as contagious as people used to think it is. Most people don’t get leprosy, even if they are exposed to it for a long time.
  • Can be treated with antibiotics. When someone with leprosy takes antibiotics, within a few days the disease is no longer contagious. But antibiotics don’t treat the nerve damage leprosy caused before the treatment.

Leprosy
This man with leprosy is being treated for a leg wound at a leprosy colony.
Leprosy
Some of the widows receiving these
food parcels have leprosy.
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The Heartache of Widows

India is filled with women who know all about the heart-wrenching pain of poverty, loss, rejection, and discouragement. They are India’s widows.

Widows, Widow
Sulochana The Leprosy Victim

For some women in India, leprosy is the cause of their widowhood. This disease claims the lives of many husbands, including Aruni’s. Today, Aruni suffers alone from the same dreadful disease. As the leprosy keeps eating at her limbs, she realizes that she may eventually have to suffer the humiliation of crawling on her hands and knees, begging for something to eat, as many others do.


“I thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those involved in this program and for making it possible for me to be a part of it. May God bless them more and more.”—widow in India


Most leprosy victims have no one to care for them. Or, like Sulochana, are abandoned by their husbands because of it. While the heartache of rejection alone is huge, Sulochana has also lost her leg and all her fingers, forcing her to depend on her neighbors for everything—from cooking to washing her clothes.

But God has not forgotten Sulochana, Aruni, and other Indian widows. Faithful supporters enable CAM to provide these women with a food parcel each month. These parcels are monthly reminders that someone cares about them. Echoing the hearts of many are the words of one widow, “I thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those involved in this program and for making it possible for me to be a part of it. May God bless them more and more.”

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction . . . ” James 1:27