Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
From Rev. Vy Nguyen, Executive Director
All of Creation is hurting. Our climate is inarguably shifting. And people of faith are among those calling for urgent action.
This week, I am among a group of global leaders gathered for the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference. The 2020 gathering was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the two years since the last conference have seen one devastating disaster after another: from wildfires and severe drought to tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons, all made more complicated by the pandemic.
Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands--
O prosper the work of our hands! ~Psalm 90:16-17
In South Sudan, a major protracted humanitarian crisis is unfolding, with nearly 70% of the population in need of urgent assistance. Tens of thousands of people are living in famine-like conditions and malnutrition is at critical levels, while more than 7 million are food insecure.
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.
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.
Isaías 49:10 No tendrán hambre ni sed, ni el calor ni el sol los afligirá; porque el que tiene de ellos misericordia los guiará, y los conducirá a fuentes de aguas vivas.
Inseguridad de tener comida. Disturbios políticos. Los cambios del clima amenazando la viabilidad de las cosechas…
Imagínense todas esas cosas, pasando a la vez. Y entonces, dos huracanes consecutivos llegan.
Several communities in Central America were among those impacted by Hurricane Eta, which reached Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm on November 3. Over the coming days, the storm--one of the most significant to hit the area in decades-- extended reach to other parts of the region as well. In Guatemala, at least 50 people have died--though that total could reach up to 150 people as assessments and rescue efforts continue. In Honduras, days of rain devastated crops and damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges and water sources. Hundreds of thousands of people across Central America have been displaced from their homes. Of these, about 5,500 are in emergency shelters where our partners are working.
Most folks know Week of Compassion as the disaster response ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). When there is a fire, we’re there. When there’s a flood, we’re there. Hurricane, tornado, earthquake: there. We respond to meet immediate needs in the aftermath, and we commit to sustained presence as communities look ahead and rebuild.
Those are important parts of our ministry. But it isn’t the entirety of what we do. Week of Compassion also supports sustainable development projects all over the world. We empower families and communities to better support themselves, using resources that are often already available to them. Sometimes, this type of work does not feel as urgent as the devastation of a natural disaster, especially one that is trending on our local news every day. But this work is every bit as important and lifegiving as the other side of our ministry.