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2 Timothy 3:1
The early Church lived in an age when the time was waxing late; they expected the Second Coming at any moment. Christianity was cradled in Judaism and very naturally thought largely in Jewish terms and pictures. Jewish thought had one basic conception. The Jews divided all time into this present age and the age to come. This present age was altogether evil; the age to come would be the golden age of God. In between, there was the Day of the Lord, a day when God would personally intervene and shatter the world in order to remake it. That Day of the Lord was to be preceded by a time of terror when evil would gather itself for its final assault and the world would be shaken to its moral and physical foundations. It is in terms of these last days that Paul is thinking in the passage.
He says that in them, difficult times would set in. Difficult is the Greek word chalepos. It is the normal Greek word for difficult, but it has certain usages that explain its meaning here. It is used in Matthew 8:28 to describe the two Gadarenes demoniacs who met Jesus among the tombs. They were violent and dangerous. It is used by ancient writers on astrology to describe what we would call threatening conjunction of the heavenly bodies. In the last days, there would come times that would menace the very existence of the Christian Church and of goodness itself, a kind of last tremendous assault of evil before its final defeat.
 
Life Application
Nowadays, we have to restate these old pictures in modern terms. They were never meant to be anything but visions. We do violence to Jewish and early Christian thought if we take them with a crude literalness. But they do enshrine the permanent truth that some time must come to the consummation when evil meets God in a head-on collision and there comes the final triumph of God.
 
Praise/Prayer
Hallelujah! Great is our God and greatly to be PRAISED! Our God is victorious and always will be. Because He is, we too shall be. Jesus has always been victorious. I love reading the Bible because it tells me that God the Father and Jesus the Son have created everything we see and use. Praise God Almighty, Amen!
 
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KHARTOUM - The top U.S. diplomat for Africa on Wednesday joined an international effort to press Sudan’s military rulers and the opposition toward a deal on a transition to democracy two months after the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir.

An Ethiopian envoy has said that the military and opposition groups have agreed to resume talks on the formation of a transitional council that collapsed after the violent dispersal of a protest sit-in June 3.

Tibor Nagy, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, met Wednesday with the main opposition coalition and held talks with Sudan’s acting Deputy Foreign Minister Ilham Ibrahim.

Before the meetings, the State Department said Nagy was going to urge the parties to work toward an environment conducive to the resumption of negotiations. The United States also Wednesday named veteran diplomat Donald Booth as its envoy to Sudan.

After crackdown, no direct talks

After meeting Nagy, the main opposition coalition said that it would only participate in indirect talks and it would impose other conditions.

“We have informed the Ethiopian prime minister that we refuse to have direct negotiations with the transitional military council,” said Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces. “The point of contention between us is clear and our terms are clear; we are talking now about issues of transition to civilian rule and the rights of martyrs.”

The bloodshed has drawn expressions of concern from world powers including the United States, which imposed sanctions on Sudan under Bashir over its alleged support for militant groups and the civil war in Darfur.

Stability in the nation of 40 million is crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.

The military council has been bolstered by support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which between them have offered $3 billion in aid.

“The current detente in Sudan calls for optimism and we call for the establishment of an agreement that will drive the transitional phase through a real and stable partnership,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

He also praised the role of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who flew to Khartoum last week on a mediation mission and is expected to return this week.

The June 3 crackdown led to at least 118 deaths, according to opposition-linked medics. The government has confirmed 61 deaths, including three security personnel.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Irfan Siddiq, on Wednesday to protest his remarks, SUNA reported. As authorities tried to disperse the main protest site last week, he tweeted: “No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now.”

Talks between the military and the opposition were deadlocked before the crackdown as the two sides struggled to agree on the makeup of a sovereign council that will oversee the transition.

Capital returns to normal

In Khartoum, employees returned to work Wednesday and storeowners opened their shops, after the alliance of protesters and opposition groups suspended a three-day campaign of strikes and civil disobedience.

Many people lined up outside ATMs and banks that had closed first for the Eid holiday at the start of June and then because of the strike.

Sudan is still suffering an internet outage. Some side streets that had been closed by protesters were still partially blocked by remnants of barricades. Rubbish bins not emptied for days were overflowing.

 

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To represent the Christian life, Paul has used the picture of the soldier and of the athlete; now he uses the picture of the farmer. It is not the lazy husbandman, but the husbandman who toils, who must be the first to receive the share of the fruits of the harvest. What, then, are the characteristics of the husbandman that Paul would wish to see in the life of the Christian?
(1stOften the husbandman must be content, first, to work, and, then, to wait. More than any other workman, he has to learn that there is no such thing as a quick result. The Christian also must learn to work and to wait. Often, he must show the good seed of the word into the hearts and minds of his hearers and, yet, see no immediate result. The farmer has learned to wait with patience, and so must the Christian teacher and the Christian parent.
(2ndOne special thing characterizes the husbandman-he must be prepared to work at any hour. In harvest time, we can see farmers at work in their fields as the last streak of light is left; they know no hours. Neither must the Christian. From dawn to sunset the Christian must be forever at his task of being a Christian. The Christian is not without a goal; he is always going somewhere. The Christian can be certain that after the effort of the Christian life, there comes the joy of heaven and the greater the struggle, the greater the joy.
 
Life Application
Earth's labor becomes nothing when compared with the joys of Heaven that will last forever. Keep this foremost in your mind at all times!
Praise/Prayer
Thank You, Lord, for the joys we have had on earth and the promises of being in Heaven with You. My earthly labors will seem like nothing when I get to Heaven with that endless number of those who have labored and walked with You. Most of all to experience the joy of being with Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I can't even imagine what Heaven will be like. I look forward to being there forever. Hallelujah! Amen!
 
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Police in the U.S. state of Virginia say a disgruntled public utility employee killed 12 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach before he was killed by police.

The city’s police chief, James Cervera, said the shooter “immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims” after he entered the municipal building shortly after 4 p.m. Friday.

He said six others were wounded in the shooting.

Cervera described the gunman as a disgruntled longtime employee of the city’s public utilities but did not say more about what led to the attack. He did not release the suspect’s name.

Witnesses say the shooting took place at Building Two of the Virginia Beach municipal complex, which houses the city’s public works, public utilities, and planning departments.

Cervera said one police officer was among those wounded but survived.

He said the investigation into the shooting is just beginning, but said police believe the suspect acted alone.

“The fact that the suspect was immediately confronted, the fact that the suspect is deceased, means that our citizens can rest easy tonight,” he said.

Reaction to the shooting

“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said at a news conference with the police chief. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”

The White House said U.S. President Donald Trump had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.

Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, traveled to Virginia Beach and said he had offered the state’s full support.

“This is unspeakable, senseless violence,” he said in a statement.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner said in a statement “I am horrified by what has happened today in Virginia Beach.”

 

 

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Thousands of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana residents braced for more flooding Wednesday, and some evacuated their homes, as forecasts of further rain drove fears that decades-old levees girding the Arkansas River may not hold.

More than a week of violent weather, including downpours and deadly tornadoes, has lashed the central United States, bringing record-breaking floods to parts of the states, turning highways into lakes and submerging all but the roofs of some homes.

“This is a flood of historic magnitude,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told a news conference Wednesday, joined by state and federal emergency officials. He said of the Arkansas River: “It’s a beautiful sight until it comes to get you.”

Arkansas River

Flooding has already closed 12 state highways, he said, and 400 households have agreed to voluntary evacuations.

Hutchinson sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday asking for a federal emergency declaration for Arkansas.

The levee system along the Arkansas River “has not seen this type of record flooding” before, Hutchinson said in his six-page letter. Hutchinson said Trump had promised assistance in an earlier conversation, several media outlets reported.

More heavy downpours were forecast through Wednesday night over much of Oklahoma and Arkansas, with between 1 and 3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) expected, said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

Rivers were expected to crest by early June to the highest levels on record all the way down to Little Rock, Arkansas, Burke said.

Levees tested

In Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second largest city, Mayor G.T. Bynum warned that the city’s levees were being tested “in a way that they have never been before.”

He said the 20-mile (32 km) levee system, which protects some 10,000 people, was working as designed so far and being patrolled around the clock by the Oklahoma National Guard.

Staff at the Harvest Church West Tulsa, which sits behind a levee a few blocks from the Arkansas River, moved furniture and sound and office equipment from the basement to the church’s second floor and relocated staff out of the neighborhood.

“For levees that are 70 years old, they’re holding well but they’re not designed to hold the pressure this long, which is what the fear is at this point,” Chuck Barrineau, the church’s lead pastor, said in a phone interview.

At least six people have died in the latest round of flooding and storms in Oklahoma, according to the state’s Department of Health.

300 tornadoes

More than 300 tornadoes have touched down in the Midwest in the past two weeks. Tornadoes pulverized buildings in western Ohio on Monday, killing one person and injuring scores.

In Louisiana, the Mississippi River was also at record flood levels because of record-breaking rainfalls this spring, forecasters said.

Trump authorized emergency aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the state late Wednesday.

Louisiana Governor John Edwards said on Twitter: “I thank President Trump for recognizing the urgency of our request and responding so quickly.”

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Mississippi rose above flood stage in early January and has remained there since, forecasters said.

 

 

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2 Timothy 2:5
 
Paul says that the athlete does not win the crown of victory unless he observes the rules of the contest. There is a very interesting point in the Greek here which is difficult to bring out in translation.   The Authorized Version speaks of striving lawfully. The Greek is athlein nomimos. In fact, that Greek phrase was used by the later writers to describe a professional as opposed to an amateur athlete. The man who strove nomimos was the man who concentrated everything on his struggle. His struggle was not just a spare-time thing, as it might be for an amateur; it was a whole-time dedication of his life to excellence in the contest that he has chosen. Here, then, we have the same idea as in Paul's picture of the Christian as a soldier. A Christian must concentrate on his Christianity just as a professional athlete's life is concentrated upon his chosen contest. The spare-time Christian is a contradiction in terms; a man's whole life should be an endeavor to live out his Christianity. What then are the characteristics of the athlete that are in Paul's mind?
 
An athlete is a person under discipline and self-denial. He must keep to the schedule of training and let nothing interfere with it. The athlete who would excel knows that he must let nothing interfere with that standard of physical fitness that he has set for himself.
 (1stThere must be discipline in the Christian life. The Christian must train himself never to relax in the life-long attempt to make his soul pure and strong. 
(2ndAn athlete is a person who observes the rules. After the discipline and the rules of training, there comes the contest and the rules of the contest. The athlete cannot win unless he plays the game. The Christian, too, is often brought into contest with his fellow-believers. He must defend his faith; he must seek to convince and to persuade; he will have to argue. He must do so by the Christian rules. There is often no bitterness like religious bitterness. The real Christian knows that the supreme rule of the Christian life is love, and he will carry that love into every debate in which he is engaged.
 
Life Application
Follow the rules in everything you do so that those who are watching will see Jesus. There are many ways to be a winner. Hallelujah!
Praise/Prayer
"Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty!" Dear Father, what a privilege it is to be Your child. I know that my steps are ordered of the Lord. There isn't anyone or anything that can stop what You are doing, whether it is healing the sick or Your peace entering into a confusing situation. There is nothing that You cannot do. Hallelujah! Amen!
 
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 2 Timothy 1:8-11
 
It is the gospel of God's eternal purpose. It was planned before time began. We must never think that once God was stern law and that only since the life and death of Jesus, He has been forgiving love. From the beginning of time, God's love has been to search for people, and His grace and forgiveness have been offered to them.
Love is the essence of the eternal nature of God.
It is the gospel of life and immortality. It is Paul's conviction that Christ Jesus brought life and in corruption to light. The ancient world feared death, or if it did not fear it, regarded it as extinction. It was the message of Jesus that death was the way to life, and that so far from separating men from God, it brought people into His nearer presence.
It is the gospel of service. It was this gospel that made Paul a herald, an apostle, and a teacher of the faith. It did not leave him comfortably feeling that now his own soul was saved, and he did not need to worry anymore. It laid on him the inescapable task of wearing himself out in the service of God and his fellow men.
It made him an apostle, Apostolos, literally one who is sent out. The word can mean an envoy or an ambassador. The Apostolos did not speak for himself, but for him who sent him. He did not come in his own authority, but in the authority of him who sent him. The Christian is the ambassador of Jesus, come to speak for him and to represent him to mankind.
 
Life Application
Did you ever imagine that you would represent Jesus to the people you are with? Do you use the power that God has made available to set the people you meet free from the bondage of death?
Praise/Prayer
"Hallelujah what a thought that Jesus' full salvation brought!" Thank You, Father, for making available to us the power of the Holy Spirit so we can accomplish all that You desire we do while on earth. It is so exciting to represent You to people in our world. Jesus is so alive and ready to meet all the needs of people.  What a great loving Father You are. Amen!
 
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joel edwardsjoel edwardsFor as long as I can remember, Proverbs 14: 34 has been a part of my Christian consciousness.  In case it doesn’t ring a bell, the NIV version says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.”  Or to put it in King James (and American Standard Version) language, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

For years it remained the kind of moral verse one uses as a hand-grenade to throw at decadence from the piety of the pulpit. At least it did until I was asked to use the text as a sermon for a national event in 2011.

On 12 January 2010 Haiti was ravaged by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which all but destroyed the nation’s fragile resilience.  In November 2011 Christians across the nation came together to consider their role in nation-building and anchored their strategy for “Integrity in Haiti” in this proverb.  The idea was that on a particular Sunday morning, sermons based on this single verse would be presented simultaneously across the nation. 

For the first time in over forty years of public ministry, I was confronted by a text which I thought I knew well but had never really thought about before.

It was a serious challenge.  Huge and unexplored questions hurled themselves in my direction.   What does a moral message about piety have to do with nation-building? How does a message about sin and righteousness remotely shape public policy and direct the future of a nation?  The text is, after all, a wisdom statement and not a prescription for public policy.

After years of brandishing a text I thought I understood, and on which I had never heard a sermon preached, a hurricane in Haiti called my bluff.

Righteousness and Public Life

So, what did I have in mind? Was it the conviction that the nation would recover its moral compass through spiritual revival if enough people stopped smoking, doing drugs and living promiscuously?  This idea has good historic precedence in Wesley’s revival. History suggests a direct link between Wesley’s revival, temperance, industrial reform and even the abolition of the slave trade. Roy Hattersley, a well-known political figure and historian famously claimed that the birth of the Labour Party in the UK was indirectly influenced by John Wesley.  

Maybe that’s what the Proverb is driving at. Clean up moral standards and the nation does well, which is one of the reasons why so many of us are waiting for the next revival.   But my sermon led me to wonder if the righteousness which the Bible talks about is more fundamental than that. Surely, I wondered, the righteousness which changes a nation has to do with more than personal or moral piety.

Righteousness has a variety of meanings, which includes personal and moral purity. What the Bible describes as righteousness (tzadeqah) should never be understood simply as a reference to private morality.  As Tim Keller's book Generous Justice, puts it, “In the Bible, tzadeqah refers to day to day living in which a person conducts all relationships in family and society with fairness, generosity, and equity.”  This means that while the idea of righteousness is described as personal holiness and moral living, it should never become detached from a wider application of just behavior and just leadership.

If you haven’t noticed, there is an inseparable relationship between holiness, righteousness, and justice, which jumps out at us from the Scriptures again and again. A small sample (Ps 45: 6; 89: 14; 97:2; Isa. 16:5) all make this quite clear.  In fact, one verse does this supremely well: Isa. 5:16, which pulls together all three ideas of justice, holiness, and righteousness in one short sentence.

What is especially important here, is that in most of these cases from the Psalms these interchangeable attributes of leadership are found in God himself and held up as required qualities in good leadership (Gen. 49: 16; Deut. 16: 2; 1 Kings 10:9; Job 34: 17; Micah 3:1). 

Righteousness as a Political Eco-system

If we assume that the Bible is consistently concerned about what a good society looks like, it becomes that much easier to see why the idea of justice undergirds a biblical approach to human relationships.

This is why the Bible makes no distinction between true worship and just relationships (Isa. 58: 6-10; Amos 5:8-10; Matt. 23:23: James 1:27). For example, it hates bribery (Exod. 23:8; Deut. 27:25; Ezra 4:5; 2 Chron. 19: 7; Prov. 15:27; Isa. 5:23) and calls leaders to defend the oppressed (Psa. 74: 21; Prov. 14:31). In fact, it is the one who “defended the cause of the poor and the needy” (Jer. 22:16) who can claim to know God.

So, if Nebuchadnezzar had taken Daniel’s advice, and showed just leadership “by being kind to the oppressed” (Dan. 4:27), he would have avoided the temporary loss of his kingdom and the indignity of grazing with animals in the royal grounds.

There’s no doubt about it:  widespread revivals help lift a nation’s morale and spiritual climate. It influences public life and can change the course of a nation. But I’m thinking that the proverb is talking about something else. It seems to describe the basis for human relationships based on an understanding of righteousness at ground level.  And as we have seen, there is no real distance between holiness, righteousness, and justice.

Or to put it another way, holiness is what I obtain through my relationship with God in Christ. Righteousness is holiness worked out in my relationship with everyone made in God’s image; and justice applies to those ways in which right relationships become embedded in our community to protect everyone - especially those who are most vulnerable. And as people who speak other languages apart from English would tell us, it’s hard to push a straw through these three concepts.

Praying for Righteousness

All of this should inform how we pray to see the proverb come to pass.  It's right to pray for revival. We all want to experience God touching down in our cities through signs and wonders.

But praying for righteousness means praying for justice to roll down in business and industry where workers are treated fairly. It means resisting corrupt practices which benefits the rich and oppresses the poorest of the people. And it rises up prophetically to remind our governments that human freedoms cannot be bartered for trade with oppressive nations. 

As Paul suggests, it’s just as important to offer “prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving” for just and righteous leadership which gives everyone the space to live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2: 1, 2).

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Joel Edwards, CBE, is the Strategic Advisor with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (www.csw.org.uk), an agency working for religious freedom and human rights. He is also a freelance broadcaster with the BBC, and a writer and international speaker on a wide range of areas including Bible teaching, justice, leadership, faith response to human rights, religious freedom, and current affairs. He is married to Carol, and they have two children and five grandchildren.

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2 Timothy 1:1-7 
Paul's object in writing is to inspire and strengthen Timothy for his task in Ephesus. Timothy was young and he had a hard task in battling against the heresies and the infections that were bound to threaten the Church. So, then, in order to keep his courage high and his effort strenuous, Paul reminds Timothy of certain things.
(1stHe reminds him of his own confidence in him. There is no greater inspiration than to feel that someone believes in us.  An appeal to honor is always more effective than a threat of punishment. The fear of letting down those who love us is a cleansing thing.
(2ndHe reminds him of his family tradition. Timothy was walking in a fine heritage, and if he failed, not only would he smirch his own name, but he would lessen the honor of his family name as well. A fine parentage is one of the greatest gifts a person can have. Let him thank God for it and never bring dishonor to it.
(3rdHe reminds him of his setting apart to the office and of the gift that was conferred upon him. Once a person enters upon the service of any association with a tradition, anything he does affects not only themselves nor has it to be done only in their strength. There is the strength of a tradition to draw upon and the honor of a tradition to preserve. That is especially true of the Church. He who serves it has its honor in his hands; he who serves it is strengthened by the consciousness of the communion of all the saints.
(4thHe reminds him of the qualities that should characterize the Christian teacher. These, as Paul at that moment saw them, were:
(a) courage. It was not craven fear but courage that Christian service should bring to a man. It always takes courage to be a Christian, and that courage comes from the continual consciousness of the presence of Jesus.
(b) power. In the true Christian, there is the power to cope, the power to stand erect in the face of the shattering situation. The Christian is characteristically the person who could pass the breaking-point and not break.
(c) love. In Timothy's case, this was love for the brethren, the congregation of the people of Christ over whom he was set. It is precisely that love that gives the Christian pastor his other qualities. He must love his people so much that he will never find any task too great to undertake for them. No man should ever enter the ministry of the Church unless there is love for Jesus' people in his heart.,
 
Life Application
Do you have a deeper desire to work for God the Father wherever He would choose? Ask God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit
to always guide you into your place of service.
 
Praise/Prayer
Dear God, my Father, You have been in charge of me most of my life, and I want You to take charge now and lead me into the place that You want for me. Come, Holy Spirit, and anoint me for whatever God wants for me. I desire to please my Father God with every day of my life, whatever that would mean. Amen!
 
 
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When the blast went off in early April, shrapnel hit homes and schools all over the quiet residential neighborhood of the Yemeni capital.

Windows shattered and the 2,000 girls in a nearby school tried to evacuate at once, many racing down the stairs and some dying in the stampede.

Safia Al-Wesabi, a 10-year-old student of the Al-Ra'ai School, made it out safely, but she couldn't find her older, teen-aged sister outside. "I was sobbing," she said. "I thought she was trampled to death."

Safia Al-Wesabi, a 10-year-old student of the Al Ra'ai School, survived a blast that killed 15 children and injured 100 children and adults in Sanaa, Yemen in early April, pictured on April 20, 2019.Safia Al-Wesabi, a 10-year-old student of the Al Ra'ai School, survived a blast that killed 15 children and injured 100 children and adults in Sanaa, Yemen in early April, pictured on April 20, 2019.
Safia Al-Wesabi, a 10-year-old student of the Al Ra'ai School, survived a blast that killed 15 children and injured 100 children and adults in Sanaa, Yemen in early April, pictured on April 20, 2019.

​More than 15 children were killed and 100 other people injured that day, but violence is just one of the many reasons the war in Yemen has crippled the country's ability to educate children, and often even keep them alive. As Yemen's conflict goes into a fifth year, aid organizations are calling it a "war on children."

"We are at a tipping point," said Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF in a recent speech. "If the war continues any longer, the country may move past the point of no return. ... How long will we continue allowing Yemen to slide into oblivion?"

Missing school and health care

As the children fled flying glass and shrapnel at their school last month, Hamid Al Wesabi, Safia's father, was in his home located on a hill nearby. His house shook and the windows broke. He ran to the school to find his daughters. "We didn't know what was happening," he said.

Hamid Al Wesabi and Safia are pictured by their home after a blast nearby shook the house and broke the windows in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.Hamid Al Wesabi and Safia are pictured by their home after a blast nearby shook the house and broke the windows in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.
Hamid Al Wesabi and Safia are pictured by their home after a blast nearby shook the house and broke the windows in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.

Later that day, both the girls and their father escaped the chaos and reunited at home.

A few weeks later, the school was open again for final exams and Wesabi's daughters went back. Many others chose not to return.

At least one in five schools is no longer in use in Yemen, mostly because they were destroyed by violence or are now being used as emergency shelters or military bases.

​Hospitals also have shut down at alarming rates and roughly half of Yemeni children under age 5 have been permanently injured by malnutrition. Every 10 minutes a child in Yemen dies from a preventable cause, according to a recent UNICEF report.

Teachers' salaries are often not being paid, forcing many to look for other jobs. Sometimes children are simply too afraid to go to school, the report says.

​As a result, Yemeni children are increasingly recruited to fight in militias, work at other adult jobs or married off at young ages. "If not in school, children would become an illiterate and unskilled parent and increasing the likelihood of passing on poverty to the next generation," it reads.

Safia took her exams but her text books were lost in the blast, so she could not prepare.

Other children were not so lucky. Sitting next to Safia at a wooden desk, 8-year-old Bayan appeared absent-minded when asked about her older sister, who was killed in the crush of girls trying to escape. An adult asked if she missed her sister.

"Yes," she managed to say quietly.

Eight-year-old Bayan, right, lost her older sister when 2,000 girls tried to evacuate their school at the same time, in Sanaa, Yemen, pictured April 20, 2019.Eight-year-old Bayan, right, lost her older sister when 2,000 girls tried to evacuate their school at the same time, in Sanaa, Yemen, pictured April 20, 2019.
Eight-year-old Bayan, right, lost her older sister when 2,000 girls tried to evacuate their school at the same time, in Sanaa, Yemen, pictured April 20, 2019.

Humanitarian crisis deepens

The war in Yemen is between the Houthis, who currently hold the north, including the capital Sanaa, and forces loyal to the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced from the capital in 2015 and is recognized as the Yemeni president by the United Nations.

These are hardly the only players in this war, which has left many world powers mired in proxy battles. Iran is known to support the Houthis, whose longest-held territories are near the border with Saudi Arabia, Iran's archenemy.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been launching airstrikes targeting the Houthis — often in locations populated by civilians — for four years now with support from Western powers like the United States and Britain. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians, including children.

Already the Arab world's poorest country, this battle has turned Yemen into what many call the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with the threat of widespread famine now looming as peace talks continue to be derailed. Last week, a cease-fire in a key port city broke down, exacerbating the threat as food and aid remained stalled outside the country by the war.

After the blast, teachers said they felt obligated to return to school despite their fears, to encourage children to do the same, in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.After the blast, teachers said they felt obligated to return to school despite their fears, to encourage children to do the same, in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.
After the blast, teachers said they felt obligated to return to school despite their fears, to encourage children to do the same, in Sanaa, Yemen, April 20, 2019.

It is not clear as to who or what caused the blast that hit the school last month, with pro-Saudi news reporting an airstrike, and later deleting the report, according to Human Rights Watch.The organization says Houthi authorities were storing dangerous material in a civilian neighborhood.

Besides violence, hunger, and disease, children in Yemen are also deeply threatened by the psychological trauma they are experiencing, according to Fathia al-Kuhlani, the principal of the Al Ra'ai School in Sanaa.

"After trauma, if students don't go back to school, anxiety can lead to depression," she said. "It was hard even for us to enter the school the day after the strike, but we needed to come to encourage the students to come back."

 

 

 

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