Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thoughts on Emmonak

Emmonak has recently come into the spotlight because of Nicolas Tucker's letter pleading for help for his starving village. This has generated a wide variety of comments, many of them negative.

One person even suggested that natives should leave the bush. If people left all the disaster prone regions of the world, where would they go? It is just not feasible, even if they were inclined to leave the places they call home.

Another response is to criticize their lack of preparedness. Yet, there were famines even in the old days-- before the modern conveniences to which the natives are now accustomed to. And much of what they are now facing is truly beyond their control. Yes, they could have things somewhat easier if they prepared differently. But I am aware as well that preparedness is not just a native problem. There are people everywhere who do not have even a two-weeks' supply of food at home. Who can blame them for being any different?

I do want to encourage being prepared with plenty of simple, healthy food, because I do believe that healthy food is cheaper than junk food. However, I believe that we as a church should also be prepared to help in genuine emergency like this. I would like to see visible aid centers in every village, places they know they can go to in times of need. I don't know how to move in that direction, but God will show us how if it is His will and timing. I just need to be prepared to follow.