Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
In a little over a week, Disciples from all around the United States and Canada will gather in Des Moines for a time of worship, fellowship and sharing in the work of the church. It’s an exciting time to catch up with old friends, and to be energized and inspired for ministry.
With so many people and ministries to catch up with, General Assembly can be a very busy time that goes by quickly. As you plan your time in Des Moines, here are some ways you can connect with Week of Compassion throughout the week:
...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.
I am currently traveling, visiting partners in South America, and I heard the most recent news of cruelty and abuse at the U.S./Mexico border. I was surrounded by our local partners when I saw the heartbreaking image of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his young daughter, Angie Valeria. The two of them drowned trying to swim across the Rio Grande and cross into the United States.
When people hear “Week of Compassion,” many immediately think of the phrase “around the world, around the year.”
As you know, Week of Compassion is more than a week. As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Week of Compassion works with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world. Any time we respond to disaster, welcome a refugee, or empower a community to provide for its needs, we fulfill our mission--which is a mission of the wider church.
This is an exciting time for the Church, and for Week of Compassion.
There are more refugees and displaced people living in the world today than at any other time in our history. Thousands more are forced to flee their homes each day. In the spirit of recognizing the strength, courage and perseverance of refugees-- and in an effort to show public support for those who have endured so much--the global community marks June 20 of each year as World Refugee Day.
One of our ongoing sustainable development goals is to empower women and support women-led entrepreneurship. To this end, we partner with Prosperity Catalyst, an organization that works to develop and strengthen women-led businesses in distressed regions. Through their work, we help provide business and technical training, creating opportunities for women to achieve economic and social empowerment.
It has been an intense week across the Midwest with tornadoes, severe storms and subsequent flooding causing serious damage in many communities. Some Disciples congregations-- such as Community Christian in Jefferson City, MO-- sustained significant damage to their facilities. Other congregations are ministering to members who have lost their homes or been displaced. Week of Compassion has been working with these communities to support individuals and families who have been impacted by the storms
In many communities, however, local Disciples congregations have not been directly impacted. Their buildings have been unharmed, and their members have not sustained loss. In those cases, Disciples are stepping up to serve their neighbors in a variety of ways.
Water just wouldn’t stop falling. Our house was on the verge of collapse, so my wife I picked up the kids and left for high ground. It was awful to see our lifelong efforts, our home, wash away like that. But we are lucky, at least our whole family is safe.” – João* 34, father of four (*name changed for anonymity)
These are the words of a survivor. After Cyclone Idai wrought havoc on Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, not everyone was as lucky as João. The intense tropical storm left more than 1,000 dead, thousands still missing, and hundreds of thousands displaced.