Food parcels give man with AIDS a reason to live

The Bible is full of stories of Jesus stopping everything to heal and care for one person in their worst times. God uses your gifts to help caring Christians extend love to people with nothing left to live for—people like Mr. Ombo, whose life was forever changed by your support. And it all started with a meal.  

Mr. Ombo was so hungry, he wanted to die.

Mr. Ombo lay in his bed, so weak he could hardly move. He hadn’t eaten for nine days, and his limbs hung limply at his sides. He also has full-blown AIDS, but without food, he couldn’t take his medication. Up until now, he’d been able to beg his neighbors for small amounts of food, but resources are limited in this small South African village. Even they could no longer spare anything for him.

To make matters worse, Mr. Ombo’s wife deserted him when he became sick, taking their five children with her. His despair was complete—body ravaged by illness, heart torn by loneliness.

On this day, he planned to end his suffering. He’d made a rope. It would take just one more burst of energy to do it.

Then, Mr. Ombo shared a meal that changed everything.

Julius,* a BGR partner working in the village, got word of Mr. Ombo’s situation. In the middle of his tasks, he dropped everything and rushed to Mr. Ombo’s house. Seeing how frail he was, Julius immediately purchased milk and bread and made Mr. Ombo something to eat.

With a little strength restored, Mr. Ombo shared his story. Julius prayed over Mr. Ombo and promised he would return the next day with one of the food boxes that friends like you helped provide for the village.

Mr. Ombo was amazed that someone would show him such kindness. He suddenly had reason to hope, for the first time in a long time. Mr. Ombo looked at the rope, then handed it over to Julius.

Now, Mr. Ombo is more than just alive. He’s thriving.

Mr. Ombo has made incredible strides.

Julius placed Mr. Ombo on the list to get a food parcel every other month. The boxes are packed with nutrient-dense foods like rice, beans, peanut butter, and canned fish help him keep a balanced nutrition. The food—and the ability to take his AIDS medication—is improving his health little by little.

He’s out of bed, happily tending the small vegetable garden in his yard. The vegetables still give him plenty of food during the months he doesn’t receive a food parcel.

Project staff have even arranged for taxi fares so Mr. Ombo can get to his monthly hospital visits, and he’s working on obtaining a disability grant from the government. If he’s accepted, that income could mean he may never face extreme hunger again.

And, during the recent holidays, his children came to visit him. He embraced them as a father that still had reasons to live, not a man on his deathbed.  

You can be there for others in despair.

Don’t doubt what impact your gifts can make. Trust that God has a plan for every one of them. This Christmas, share Mr. Ombo’s story with your friends and tell them what a $50 food box in the Gift Catalog can do for a suffering person.

*The names in this story have been changed for security purposes.

Published January 9, 2019