The World and Everything in It: September 20, 2022
The cost of food is making it harder to help those in need; Christian aid groups are stepping up support for Pakistanis affected by flooding; and helping orphans after tragedy strikes. Plus: commentary from Emily Whitten, and the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Inflated food prices are hurting food pantries that help feed people in need.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also a special report on the flooding in Pakistan.
Plus, taking care of orphans in Burundi.
And the rotten fruit of evolutionary thinking.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, September 20th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time for news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Fiona update » Hurricane Fiona is taking aim at another island chain this morning after wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Jamie Rhome with the National Hurricane Center:
RHOME: It’s starting to make a more northward turn towards the Turks and Caicos, which are now under a hurricane warning.
In Puerto Rico, Rhome said Fiona may have dropped as much as two and a half feet of rain in some areas.
The governor of the U.S. territory called the damage “catastrophic.” The storm knocked out electricity to the entire island.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday…
SCHUMER: The federal response should be swift, robust and continue for as long as the island needs.
Fiona is expected to continue gaining strength and could become a category-3 hurricane by the time it likely approaches Bermuda later in the week.
Taliban prisoner swap » An American contractor held hostage in Afghanistan for more than two years is now a free man.
The Taliban freed Mark Frerichs in a prisoner swap with the United States. The US government agreed to release a convicted Taliban drug lord in exchange.
His father, Art Frerichs, said Monday…
FRERICHS: I’d like to thank all the people that had him in their prayers.
Mark Frerichs was abducted in 2020 and was believed to have been held since then by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.
Biden: US would defend Taiwan » Beijing is voicing anger after President Biden once again indicated that the U.S. military would step in if China invades Taiwan.
In an interview, CBS’ 60 Minutes host Scott Pelley asked if U.S. forces would defend the island.
BIDEN: Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.
PELLEY: So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?
Soon afterward, the president’s staff walked back his remarks, stating that, officially, the White House won’t say whether the US would defend Taiwan.
Biden has made similar remarks in the past.
Both the president and his staff said America’s “One China” policy has not changed
Ukraine update » Ukraine accuses Moscow of nuclear terrorism after recent Russian losses on the battlefield. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A Russian missile carved a massive crater close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine Monday.
The missile struck just a few hundred yards from the reactors at the plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk.
It blasted a hole 6 feet deep and damaged nearby equipment, but it did not hit the plant’s three reactors.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released video showing two large fireballs erupting one after the other in the dark.
Following recent battlefield setbacks, Vladimir Putin threatened last week to step up Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.
For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Military intel chief: Putin can’t achieve Ukraine goal »
Meantime, the Pentagon’s intelligence chief says Russia’s recent battlefield losses have shown that its forces are incapable of achieving Vladimir Putin’s initial aims.
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier is director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
He said, quote, “We’re coming to a point right now where I think Putin is going to have to revise” his objectives.
Berrier added—his words—“The Russians planned for an occupation, not necessarily an invasion, and that has set them back.”
Queen funeral » Royal Guardsmen carried the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II to a hearse for its final journey on Monday to Windsor Castle where her remains were laid to rest.
That followed a morning funeral service attended by hundreds of world leaders…
… and a private committal service later in the day at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. That service was not televised. Royal officials said it was a “deeply personal family occasion.”
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: how inflated food prices are hurting food pantries.
Plus, flooding in Pakistan.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 20th of September, 2022.
You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re happy you’ve joined us today! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up on The World and Everything in It: food and inflation.
High food prices are hitting everyone, including food pantries. One in six Americans relies on charitable food. But higher operating costs and supply chain problems make it more difficult for food pantries to meet escalating demand.
WORLD’S Addie Offereins reports.
AUDIO: [SUSAN DESCRIBING INVENTORY]
ADDIE OFFEREINS, REPORTER: Susan Schaffer spends a lot of her time checking the inventory of Reveal Resource Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Schaffer started as executive director of the food pantry last year, after six years of volunteering.
The food pantry is open on Monday nights from 7 to 8 and Tuesday mornings from 9 to noon. Bright orange cones direct the cars through the church parking lot. Volunteers pack cardboard boxes with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, and bags full of dry goods. They load the food onto green carts and into the trunk or backseat.
SCHAFFER: So if you come here on a Monday night, the line actually goes to 183 from up the hill all the way around to 183. Because of the current food crisis that we're in.
Once clients make it through the traffic, Schaeffer takes the time to talk to them before they pick up their food.
SCHAFFER: They're having to make a decision on whether to, you know, buy medical supplies or pay their doctor bills or pay their rent or buy food.
The number of people in need has climbed since 2020.
SCHAFFER: So before we were serving, like 75, on a Monday night, and now we're at 240 on a Monday night.
The food pantry gets food that’s about to expire from local stores. It also receives donations from private food drives or from someone’s personal pantry. The ministry orders some items from the Central Texas Food Bank.
SCHAFFER: So when we first started, there’s four sheets of food that you could choose from. Now it's one sheet of food that you could choose from. Our numbers are just astronomical to the point where we ran out of food and we had to buy food to give to the people…
The food pantry hasn’t seen tomato sauce in a while because of supply chain problems. Last month the center ran out of black beans—a key staple in its bags of dry goods.
SCHAFFER: That was about $2,000 that we had to spend. Now, as a matter of fact, our next board meeting, we're going to be talking about maybe cutting back what we give to the clients.
Central Texas Food Bank partners with about 250 smaller organizations, including Reveal (the food pantry). Together they serve 21 counties and feed over 400,000 food insecure individuals.
Sari Vatske is the president and CEO.
VATSKE: Supply chain issues are definitely impacting the organization, the same way that the global supply chain is impacting grocers and retailers and consumers. There's longer wait times even if we do purchase food
Not only that, as more people order groceries online, stores are running their inventories more efficiently. That means fewer donations for food banks.
AUDIO: [FOOD PANTRY]
At the same time, food pantries are noticing a new crowd showing up in line. Last year, the federal government expanded SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Program. But many of the new food pantry visitors make too much money to qualify or aren’t interested in a federal program. Again, Susan Schaeffer:
SCHAEFFER: They make just enough money. And then with the increasing gas and with the increase of food? They just can't afford everything anymore.
Director Haley Calabro has noticed a similar trend at St. Augustine Wellston Center, another food pantry in St. Louis, Mo.
CALABRO: Definitely some more families who never thought they would have used a food pantry before we really tried to break that stigma of using it. We're there if you need it.
She saw numbers jump during the pandemic. Then, the number of families plateaued to about 600 a month, and even more families arrived as inflation got worse. Last month they served about 700 individuals. A month before that? Almost 900. Rising prices make it hard to meet the demand.
CALABRO: We would purchase groceries so under at least under $7,000 per month and two months ago we spent $17,000
Some advocates argue the government should take the pressure off food pantries by expanding SNAP benefits. Scott Centorino is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability. He says the solution is not more government spending, but more work.
CENTORINO: So obviously, the best thing that can happen to help families who are dealing with food insecurity, which is real for a lot of folks, is a reduction in inflation, and any increase in public assistance is counterproductive to that effort.
Instead, he argues organizations should help individuals take advantage of the tight labor market by working more hours in higher paying jobs.
That’s what Kevin Peyton is trying to do in South Lebanon, Ohio. His organization, Joshua’s Place, turned its food pantry into a cooperative. It does more than just hand out food. Members pay $5 every time they come, and they are required to meet with a mentor.
PEYTON: And the third thing is to take at least one developmental course throughout that membership year. So we offer faith and finances, health and wellness, and parenting classes. We talk about symptoms and sources. The lack of food is a symptom, the sources are a much deeper issue.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Addie Offereins.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: flooding in Pakistan.
That country is reeling from record floods that hit this year. More than 600,000 people have been displaced and nearly 1,500 killed.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Aid is now flowing into the country. Some Christian aid groups are also stepping into the fray to lend a hand in what is sure to be a long-haul crisis. WORLD’s Onize Ohikere reports.
AUDIO: [Water rushing]
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: A pastor in Pakistan’s worst-hit Sindh province watched as the floodwaters rose inside his home and the church, up to six feet high.
He is now one of more than 33 million people directly affected by the flood.
The Rev. Maqsood Kamil is with Pak Mission Society.
KAMIL: The wife of the pastor was suffering from some, you know, flood-related sickness as well. They had to be rescued and they're living in some other person's house.
The disaster left hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets and in makeshift shelters. Pak Mission’s Jabran Gill ran into several of them on the roadside while distributing aid across Sindh. His team stopped to help.
GILL: People were just by the roadside, they were just sleeping, and they were just in the open air and lots of mosquitoes were there
Recovery efforts are underway. Engineers and troops reopened a major highway between the city of Quetta and Sindh, hoping to get more aid to survivors.
AUDIO: [Children in makeshift school]
The United Nations children’s agency has also set up a temporary tent school in the city of Khairpur in Sindh, drawing about 200 children. Officials hope the lessons in language and drawing would help the children deal with the trauma.
Economists now say the destruction could cost three times the government’s initial estimate of $10 billion. Floodwaters also submerged miles of cotton and vegetable fields.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
GUTERRES: I have simply no words to describe what I've seen today. A flooded area that is three times the total area of my own country, Portugal.
The United Nations and other countries like the United States have sent in more than 100 planes loaded with aid. The U.S. alone committed $30 million dollars in humanitarian assistance. One long-term concern is whether Pakistan’s agrarian economy can recover from the decimation of crops and livestock. Vedant Patel is a spokesman for the U.S. State Department.
PATEL: More than 1 million homes have been damaged or destroyed and nearly 735,000 livestock, a major source of livelihood and food, have been lost."
Pak Mission’s Kamil says the ministry has provided more than 300,000 meals to people across four different provinces.
KAMIL: Once the water’s subsided, we will be working on people’s livelihood, their rehabilitation, their you know, house buildings and other related stuff, you know, what is needed for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization warns of a second wave of disaster caused by mosquito- and water-borne illnesses. Hundreds of people are turning up at field clinics for treatment for malaria, Dengue fever, and intestinal illnesses. Water Mission has delivered water treatment systems and purifying sachets to its local partners..
George Greene IV is Water Mission’s president.
GREENE: Each one of these packets that you see here can treat 10 liters of water. And I believe were shipped with over 300,000 packets as a part of the initial response as well.
Pakistani authorities say it could take up to six months to drain water from flood-hit areas. Security forces are also contending with militant attacks. A roadside bomb last Tuesday killed five people in the flood-affected Swat valley.
AUDIO: [Mothers and children]
Water Mission served in Pakistan after flooding in 2007, so Greene understands they are still in the first stages of intervention. But longer-term support also provides more opportunities for ministry in the Muslim-majority nation.
It happened during their last response.
GREENE: They attributed the water projects that were with that for allowing them to ultimately plant 500 churches, 1500 leaders, four schools, two women vocational centers, and lots of people going to heaven because of the first effort and initiative.
Greene says it also provides an opportunity for a holistic outreach that serves in word and deed.
GREENE: When you think about going in and meeting a physical need, when somebody is hanging on by a thread, you know, the question comes up, why are you doing this? And that gives us a chance to, to talk about the faith we have.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere.
NICK EICHER, HOST: You know how airport security is: you’re not able to bring a lot of things onto the plane with you—bottles of shampoo, large metal objects, most animals?
Well, apparently someone didn’t get that memo. German airport security in Dusseldorf found a giant bag of snails.
Almost a hundred of them!
One of the snails had already escaped the bag when an airport worker saw it. Apparently he thought it was a toy until it started moving.
I guess he must have been looking at it for a long time because, well, you know how snails are.
Authorities concluded that the snails were smuggled in from Nigeria, where they are a delicacy, and headed to an African goods store in the western part of the country.
REICHARD: Ah, escargot!
EICHER: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 20th.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Helping orphans after tragedy strikes.
Burundi is a small country in central Africa. In the early 90s, ethnic tensions in the region hit a breaking point. Hutus and Tutsis had been at odds for decades and their conflict broke into war. Even as neighboring Rwanda devolved into genocide, the two groups fought for control of Burundi.
REICHARD: The civil war didn’t end until 2006. The violence left hundreds of thousands of children orphaned.
One man who survived the slaughter is working to help them. Here’s WORLD correspondent Grace Snell with his story.
GRACE SNELL, REPORTER: Trouble was brewing, and seven-year-old Jean Bosco Mutebutsi knew it. His parents knew it too.
It was 1993, and Burundi was on the verge of civil war. Warning signs were everywhere. One man from his ethnic group–the Tutsis–had already been murdered. Neighbors were cutting down trees and blocking roads so the army couldn’t intervene.
The family fled to a remote mountain region and took refuge with relatives for the next two weeks. But danger followed them.
BOSCO: So, after thirty or forty five minutes they had left, this is when we heard a mob, like so many people around the house that we were in. All of a sudden we heard throwing a huge stone on the front door and the door was, you know, wide open, so myself and other two cousins of mine we run through the back door…
A man Bosco knew shot an arrow after him. The shaft barely missed.
He hid in the bush for an hour before returning to the house. What he found haunted him.
BOSCO: So, I and my sister went back to the place, like to the house where we were and then we found many dead bodies, my mom included. So, you know, just really horrific stories. Maybe I thought I'm this little boy who could not do anything to help the mother and just to protect my loved ones, I was kind of having this clear objective in my mind that I want to grow up, join the army, and then get a gun and go after the person who killed my parents, that was really my clear aim.
Bosco and his sister escaped to a refugee camp for three months. They reunited with another sibling and moved to the city to weather the war.
Bosco started boarding school. But his mind wasn’t on his studies. Violent memories played over and over again in his head. A teacher noticed him sitting alone and started inviting him to her church. Eventually, he agreed to go.
BOSCO: So, I showed up and the pastor was preaching on John 15--the vine and the branches–and he was sharing how there's no way that branches can have fruit or can have life in them unless they’re connected to the vine. I had no life at all, because I would sometimes sit on my own and keep reflecting on what I saw during the civil war, then I decided, when he did an altar call, went in front, and then he prayed for us and all of a sudden I started to feel peace and joy and the Spirit of God getting into my heart and transformation was happening.
Bosco started attending church and a Bible study back at school. He joined Youth for Christ and traveled around telling others about Jesus.
But there was one question he couldn’t shake.
BOSCO: What would have happened to you if like during the civil war when you lost your parents and you had not got anybody to take care of you?
Bosco knew the war had left many others orphaned, widowed, or penniless. He prayed for a way to help, and felt God leading him to Bubanza—a forested western province devastated by rebel raids.
So, he offered help to a church in the region. But it was a terrifying step. Battle lines in Burundi had fallen along ethnic lines, and most of the people there were Hutus. Sometimes villagers killed outsiders who came to help them.
BOSCO: Most of the people who are in that village used to be in the rebel groups, so killing is just an instinct for them. But I believe that I was sent by God in that area, and I’m so thankful that He protected me all those years that I’ve been around.
A church leader introduced Bosco to a single orphan. From there, he befriended others who had lost one or both parents in the fighting. He held a Bible study for them in a borrowed classroom once a week.
BOSCO: I started to share with them the Word of God. I was always telling them, “Guys, there’s nothing else I have. All I have is the gospel.”
Most of the kids Bosco taught got baptized and joined the church. He started a discipleship program to help them grow in their new-found faith.
BOSCO: I can see most of them, they’re very responsive to the support, because we bring in the word of God and share that God is the father to the fatherless. The thing is we have so many people that don't have their parents.
One boy Bosco worked with never knew his father—a rebel who raped his mother when she was a young girl. Now, the boy calls Bosco his father.
BOSCO: When I was still young, I would hear children call their parents, like “Mum” or “My father.” Then it would come back to me. Then I was like, you know, “I don't have no one that I can call that.” So, I do understand when these kids, when they call me their father, they have this need in the back of mind that they want to call someone their father, but he's not there, so now I've become the father figure.
Now, Bosco and the church support 150 kids in the village. Some of them have single mothers widowed in the war. The church works with them too, and provides homes, garden plots, and school fees for the families.
BOSCO: We don't buy into the idea of having orphanages, because we think that orphanages takes people from their communities, and it's hard for them to reintegrate. They are in the community, they are being treated like other kids who have parents, and that way we believe it will be much easier for them to transition from our program and then become independent citizens.
Both Hutus and Tutsis work on Bosco’s team. They hope to prevent future ethnic conflict by showing the kids a better way.
BOSCO: Many people just go into killing one another because of manipulation from the politicians who have their own gains. Being a Tutsi, and I have served them, they get to understand that all Tutsis are not bad, and they get to understand, this is not a tribal issue, it’s just the devil that causes people to hate others.
Seven kids have now graduated from Bosco’s program. He believes they’re key to long term healing in the country.
BOSCO: We believe that then we are bringing in transformation for all Burundi because, we believe we are raising a generation that can think on its own. My dream is that they may not be stopped by the fact that they’ve lost both of their parents, but have another chance, or have another opportunity to be who God has designed them to be.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Grace Snell.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, evolution.
Many people may not realize the far-reaching effect the theory of Darwinian Evolution has on American culture.
WORLD’s Emily Whitten recently read the book Darwin on Trial and recommended it as this month’s Classic Book. Today, she takes it further to explain that evolution is the root and wokeness is its fruit.
EMILY WHITTEN, COMMENTATOR: If you want to root out wokeness in American society and schools today, start with evolution.
As I recently read Phillip Johnson’s 1991 book, Darwin on Trial, it reminded me of a time not so long ago when evolution in schools was a hot political topic. Johnson writes about the 1981 Louisiana law that sought to require equal class time for “evolution-science” and “creation-science.” He also relates how the courts struck down that law–and in 1987, how the Supreme Court upheld that ruling.
Today, conservatives fighting for traditional values in schools have plenty on their plates. Why dredge up this old saw?
For one thing, Marxism and Darwinism are blood brothers. They arose around the same time and out of similar intellectual milieus. As Johnson’s book reminded me, both teach us to see the real world as matter only–in a box that excludes the supernatural. Both close up human understanding to that “immanent frame” Carl Trueman talks about in his recent book, Strange New World.
That naturalistic box isn’t abstract for me. I’ve been in it before. When I drove down winding Mississippi highways to Ole Miss in 1996 and began to study English Literature, I may have heard one professor openly promote Marxism. I didn’t hear the term Critical Theory until my higher level classes–if I hadn’t been in the Honors College, I might not have heard it at all. What I did hear embraced and taught openly, without criticism from any quarter–Darwinian evolution.
When we look at literature and through it at the wider world, Christians know God is our maker. Per Psalm 100, “It is He who made us, not we ourselves.” It took me years to realize the core tenet of my college humanities curriculum was a direct inversion of that. We were taught, “It is we who have made ourselves.” Just as science classes across campus ruled God out from serious study, our humanities classes did the same. People alone, we were taught, make art and culture. People alone create languages, societies, relationships, and concepts about gender, sexuality, and everything else. If we made them, why not change them?
That’s not to say we didn’t believe in a god. Almost all of my fellow students and I believed in some sort of God. But whatever or whoever He was–He was outside the box of facts and reason and reality. As Johnson wrote, Darwinian evolution “relegates both morality and God to the realm outside of scientific knowledge, where only subjective belief is to be found.”
Do you hear the connection to woke ideas yet? From gender identity to racial identity, my 1990s humanities classes taught me to define myself, to make myself, to be my own Creator. Why? Because evolution had already cut God out of the picture. What God thought about me, or purposed for me, could not be studied.
As new “woke” ideas threaten to upend our society, we’re seeing a new willingness to push back against academic elites. I’m grateful for that, and I hope Christians will model how to do that well, in truth and love. But if Christians want to win the war and not just today’s battle, if we want to shut off the spigot on all the woke madness, we can’t ignore evolution.
God didn’t design America–or any culture–to work that way.
I’m Emily Whitten.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Washington Wednesday and WORLD Tour.
And, improving life for those who suffer from dementia.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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Go now in grace and peace.
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