2008 — A look back: AG International
Natural disasters, ethnic tensions
Compiled by Christina Quick
As is often the case, this year proved to be volatile in
much of the world, with human suffering and conflict highlighting the need for
Christ’s message of hope. A sampling:
Kenyans slaughtered in AG church
At least 50 people were killed and 80 others hospitalized
with severe burns New Year’s Day when a rioting mob set fire to an Assemblies
of God church near Eldoret, Kenya.
The tribal violence erupted following a disputed
presidential election a week earlier.
Hundreds of people, mostly women and children, had sought
shelter in the church. Some who managed to escape the flames were hacked to
death outside the church.
Most of the victims were members of the church, according to
Kenya AG Superintendent Peter Njiri.
Elsewhere in Kenya, many were forced to flee their homes as
a result of the riots. An estimated 70,000 AG members were displaced and
homeless, with hundreds of AG churches either destroyed or deserted.
Convoy of Hope provided food and blankets to refugees.
Randy Hurst, communications director for Assemblies of God
World Missions, likened it to a natural disaster.
“The difference is, a natural disaster typically brings
people together,” Hurst said. “This conflict is tearing Kenya apart.”
Disasters devastate Asian regions
May brought natural disasters of staggering proportions to
Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) May
3, killing more than 84,000.
On May 12, a powerful earthquake killed almost 70,000 in
The disasters wiped out homes, businesses and churches and
left tens of thousands of people missing. As many as 75 AG churches were
destroyed or severely damaged in Myanmar.
Convoy of Hope and AG World Missions provided aid in both
nations, distributing food, water, medical supplies and other items.
Russia invades Georgia
Russia triggered international alarm in August by sending
troops into Georgia, a former
The dispute between the two nations erupted over a breakaway
province, South Ossetia, which declared independence from Georgia after the
breakup of the Soviet Union. Georgia was attempting to reclaim the region when
Russia stepped in with a series of military actions, including tanks and air
Thousands of Georgians fled their homes during the invasion.
As winter approached, Convoy of Hope provided the refugees with food, blankets,
clothing and other basic necessities.
World’s poor struggle to eat
Americans weren’t the only ones facing tough economic times
Food costs soared around the world, triggering violence and
adding to the global hunger epidemic. Corn prices jumped 30 percent, while the
cost of rice doubled.
“It used to be that just animal products, fruits and
vegetables were hard for the poor to come by, but now even the cheapest
products can be hard to obtain,” said Kenton Moody, Convoy of Hope’s
Though Convoy was also affected by rising food prices, the
compassion organization responded to the need, feeding the hungry in El
Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Kenya and elsewhere.
Castro steps down in Cuba
Ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro announced his
resignation in February, ending a half-century of rule.
As expected, Cuba’s National Assembly chose Castro’s younger
brother Raul to be the country’s next president, succeeding 81-year-old Fidel.
CHRISTINA QUICK is staff writer for Today’s Pentecostal
Evangel and blogs at Refrigerator Art (cquick.agblogger.org).
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