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 Liberia and Sierra Leone, Week of Compassion is planting seeds for the future--literally and figuratively.
Ten years ago, Week of Compassion partner Agricultural Missions started the West Africa Initiative (WAI) as part of reconstruction following the 14-year civil war that devastated much of the rural sector in both countries. The initial focus of WAI was to improve food security in rural communities by increasing local food production. Through this comprehensive rural development program, Week of Compassion partners work to organize and train local farmers’ groups. But there are many challenges.
As Wharton County resident, Steve B, recounted it: “In town the water was knee deep. The muddy flood waters went in houses through windows, and after the water receded, the mud had to be raked out with hoes and shovels. The streets and yards were nothing but mud caked caverns.”* The flood left Steve and many of his friends practically homeless and jobless, as their small farms were destroyed. As they started to get back on their feet, another flood came just a few years later.
In Australia, high temperatures and drought conditions are contributing to one of the worst fire seasons in living memory. Since September, these fires have burned across 28 million acres, killing at least 28 people and an estimated 480 million animals. Meanwhile, thousands of people have been displaced as the fire danger inches closer to their homes. The heartbreaking news footage offers just a glimpse of the widespread destruction, and Disciples are wondering how to help.
It’s that time of year again: in church, you hear words of hope and peace, comfort and joy. But outside of the sanctuary, life feels anything BUT peaceful. The traffic, the crowds, and the very long to-do list make for added stress in a time that is supposed to be about family and celebration.
One of the things that can make the season feel hectic is the expectation of gift-giving. Many are feeling the final push to do last minute shopping, getting every item crossed off the list.
In the dark winter months, Advent is a season of hope. As people of faith, we seek light and life in that darkness, trusting that God is giving shape to new life even when we can’t yet see it. We are also called to actively embody that hope. As the Church, we offer hope to others who are living through dark times. The work that you support through Week of Compassion reflects the hope, peace, joy and love of this season in tangible ways. Here are just a few of the places that hope travels through some of our recent responses.
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Over two years ago, the Rohingya people of Myanmar experienced one of the largest forced displacements of our time. Earlier this month, Week of Compassion Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen traveled to Bangladesh and Myanmar. His travels included a visit to the refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazaar district. With nearly 1 million displaced residents, it is the largest, most densely populated refugee camp in the world.
From the camp, the border to Myanmar is only about 100 yards away; and yet, many who live there cannot return home.