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.
Eleven years ago, an unhoused person died of exposure on the streets of Hood River, Oregon. Local clergy got together and vowed that they were not going to let it happen again.
Together with other community partners, they created the Hood River Warming Center, which offered nightly refuge to neighbors during the cold winter months. In addition to a warm place to sleep, guests receive a hot meal--provided by a network of local restaurant partners-- and a place of refuge. They find a community and sense of sanctuary that provides warmth in more ways than one.
On this International Women's Day, Week of Compassion celebrates the strength and resilience of women worldwide. Your gifts to Week of Compassion support development programs that empower women through education and opportunity. When women are empowered to grow crops, go to school, learn a trade, become entrepreneurs, and work together towards their goals, the whole community thrives through their success!
Supporting women’s empowerment is a mission priority for Week of Compassion, especially now. During the pandemic, many of these life-changing programs experienced significant setbacks. Investing in women is of urgent concern and will help communities around the world move forward from the challenges of this season.
From Guatemala to East Africa; from Haiti to Serbia; from Iraq to South America, and so many places in between, the work of empowering women is the work of compassion, and that work empowers whole communities to grow and plan for the future.
If you’d like to honor the women in your life today, consider making a gift to Week of Compassion and designating it to the Women’s Empowerment Fund. Now, more than ever, your investment in the lives and futures of women will have a lasting impact and change lives for generations to come. We are grateful for your continued support in helping women thrive around the world, around the year.
Several weeks ago, on the morning of February 7, a glacier burst in the Raini village of the Himalayas, causing a flash flood in Rishiganga River. The resulting landslide killed at least 36 people, and nearly 200 more remain missing. Most of those killed or missing are believed to be workers at the hydropower projects, where the landslide originated. Villagers that were close to the river when the disaster occurred were also swept away.
Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our partners on the ground who are working tirelessly to get critical supplies to those in need, despite many significant challenges.
To be inundated is typically not a good thing: the word carries a sense of too much. Water, a necessity for life, can at times be soothing, as a gently moving river or a placid sea reflecting blue skies above. Yet it also has the power to overwhelm, as when that same river overflows its banks or when an ocean surge is pushed before a storm. Too much water can inundate a riverbed, a floodplain, a surrounding community.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“There are times when we look up to the heavens and ask… do you really mean wherever? Even if wherever involves 911 moments or disasters? Again, the answer is yes, wherever. When you go through flooding, winter storm damage, busted pipes and significant home damage, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail damage, insurance or no insurance… God is wherever. And then … God sends help. It comes in all forms and from friends of all kinds. Some of those friends are from Week of Compassion. They come with resources and with faith. They come with ears and hearts open. They come with hands open ready for work and with hands folded in prayer.” -Rev. Joe Hodges, Senior Minister, The Woodlands Christian Church, TX.
In the coming weeks, many of our churches will receive the Special Offering to support Week of Compassion. I am grateful for your tremendous generosity that provides relief and offers hope to so many.
We just completed assessment of 2020 financial distributions for relief, refugee, and sustainable development programs. This gives us a sense of where the greatest needs arose, and how your gifts helped communities in the midst of a pandemic and other disasters. Because of your generosity, 2020 was our highest program distribution in over a decade. As the world was affected by the pandemic-- and the economic toll impacted our partners-- Week of Compassion stepped up and increased our resource support for disaster relief, refugee, food security and sanitation.
Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty,
shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,
For the Compassionate One guides them,
takes them to the best springs. ~Isaiah 49:10
Food insecurity. Political unrest. Climate change threatening the viability of crops...
Imagine all of these things, happening at once. And then, back to back hurricanes arrive.
In November of 2020 two consecutive hurricanes--Eta and Iota-- impacted the same regions of Central America, with Nicaragua experiencing some of the most severe impact. Flooding destroyed the bean crops, contaminated water wells, destroyed latrines, and left thousands of families homeless. People moved to emergency shelters in schools and churches, but thousands didn´t have time to evacuate or preferred not to leave their homes for security reasons or fear of COVID-19.