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.
“...and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
Last Thursday morning, Rev. Dr. Bill Lee led the Week of Compassion Board of Stewards in prayer and morning devotions, centered on this text from Matthew 10. The Board gathered in Fort Worth for its fall meeting, hosted by Texas Christian University.
Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan on October 12, leaving widespread flooding and landslides in its wake in many parts of Central Japan. In just two days the typhoon brought 30-40% of the annual rainfall to the area, and the highest warning level (category 5) was issued in 13 prefectures. More than 7 million people were told to evacuate. The initial death toll was reported at 72 people, and more than 45,000 households were left without power. As Week of Compassion partners continue to assess the situation, 181 rivers in 16 prefectures have breached, and water inundation continues to force the evacuation of millions of people.
Following a disaster, aid workers face tremendous challenges in trying to reach affected areas with immediate supplies like food, water, and medical care. When a community that is still recovering from one disaster experiences another, the prospect of reaching those in need becomes even more daunting.
Over the weekend, Typhoon Hagibis brought over 35 inches of rain causing catastrophic flooding in Tokyo and the surrounding region. As of October 15, The death toll is over 50 and may rise as rescue workers continue to search for the missing. Power outages and landslide risks are among the most urgent concerns at this time. We have heard from our partners in the area. All are safe, and they are assessing the situation. Week of Compassion will share updates about needs and responses as we learn more.
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In September of 2018, Hurricane Michael devastated communities along the Florida panhandle, causing severe damage in 12 counties and flooding in many others. Following the storm, Week of Compassion responded immediately through local partners and Disciples congregations to help meet urgent needs in the area.
But recovery does not happen overnight, especially after a storm as severe as Michael.
Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen has been traveling the past few weeks, visiting our ministry partners in the Middle East--partners who are working to meet the needs of refugees in temporary settlements. This is his reflection on yesterday's announcement that the U.S. will reduce its refugee admissions cap to an all-time low in the coming year.
In 1990, I was one of 125,000 refugees who were lucky enough to be resettled in the United States. My time in those refugee camps throughout Southeast Asia lasted only four years.
As I woke up this morning to leave Morocco for home, I heard the news that the administration set refugee admissions for 2020 at a devastating 18,000--reducing entries to an unprecedented low and further decimating the refugee resettlement program. I am heartbroken. This policy will have a ripple effect all over the world and impact millions of lives.
Earlier this month, a delegation of Disciples leaders traveled to D.C. to help protect refugees. Rev. Dr. Ike Nicholson, Senior Pastor of South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colorado, was part of that delegation and has this reflection to share. We are grateful for this congregation’s faithful support of Week of Compassion, and for Dr. Nicholson’s powerful story of welcome and compassion. The work that we do to together is more important now than ever.