Beneath the Broom Tree: Discovering Hope in the Deepest Moments of Suffering

Our Commitment to Serving the Most Vulnerable

Discovering Hope in moments of Despair

The broom tree is a desert shrub that grows across Arabia and throughout the Judean wilderness. Its deep roots draw in the moisture of land that is otherwise barren.

In the Bible, desert shrubs such as the broom tree appear in moments of despair as well as times of divine encounter.

Job describes the broom tree as a place of desolation, ruin, and abandonment (Job 30:3-4)

The Psalmist connects the broom tree with mourning, distress, and punishment (120).

When Elijah lost all hope he walked into the wilderness, sat down under a broom tree, and prayed for death (1 Kings 19:4).

The book of Genesis describes a young mother who was also sent away into the wilderness (Genesis 21). With little to sustain her, she wandered until her water supply completely ran out. Placing her son under a broom tree to die, she then sat down and wept.

Empowering women in South Sudan

In the work of Five Talents, we meet many men and women at the broom tree.

Most are single mothers who are weary of watching their children suffer. Feeling beaten down and abandoned, they are unemployed, uneducated, and seemingly without any opportunity for a better life. Their children are malnourished and hunger and poverty are constant companions. (Read Angelina’s story)

Many have been abandoned or lost husbands and parents to war or disease.

The broom tree is a place of suffering. It also becomes an anguished cry for help.

Good News for Those In Need

Where is God when all hope seems lost?. . .

The good news is that God met with Elijah at the broom tree. He revealed himself to Moses in a thorny acacia. He also heard Ishmael's cries from beneath the bush and directed his mother to a well in the desert.


At Five Talents, we believe that God has called us to go and meet families in extreme poverty in some of the most marginalized communities of the world. This includes places like South Sudan.

In the desert, water is invisible. It lies hidden beneath the surface and is often too deep to reach on our own. But water is there and the roots of a broom tree prove its existence. In the same way, hope can be discovered even in the deepest moments of human suffering.

With the support of friends like you, we've helped over 28,000 women and men find hope and opportunity in South Sudan over the past year.

This work has nurtured peace, created stability, generated jobs, provided food security, and enabled tens of thousands of families to access medical care and education.

And now we are being called to do more. . .

Over the next three years we hope to reach 250 new villages and communities in South Sudan. Help us reach more families under the broom tree: