The implication of this passage from Matthew 25 is as revelatory for us as it was in Matthew’s day:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me. …
Whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.—Matthew 25:35-36, 40 (NIV)
God wants our lives to overflow with mercy, love, and compassion — the marks of His kingdom. As followers of Jesus, we have a choice: respond to unsettling realities in fear and withdraw, or follow Him in responding to the greatest needs of our day with love and hope. We know salvation doesn’t depend on works, but we also know that caring for those in need is evidence of a faith that changes lives.
Along with our donors and supporters, we’ve put that kind of faith to work. Thanks in part to their tireless generosity and commitment to action, poverty is retreating and on the run. Two decades ago, more than 30,000 children died from preventable causes each day. Now, that number is just over 16,000. That’s millions of children’s lives saved every year!
Still, the job isn’t finished. Poverty may be pulling back, but it’s holing up in some of the toughest places in the world — areas plagued by violence, corruption, and exploitation. That’s why now is the time to come together, inviting our brothers and sisters to the deep and profoundly fulfilling purpose of building God’s kingdom by serving the poor and oppressed as Jesus did. It won’t be easy, but by uniting as the body of Christ, we can help make fuller lives possible for children and families in need.
When we do, something incredible will happen. We’ll encounter a living God working through us to usher in His kingdom of love and justice on earth. To end exploitation. To restore lives. To empower communities. And in serving them, we’ll serve Him.
Reflecting on Matthew 25, pray with us for World Vision’s work around the world.
In Matthew 25, Jesus calls us to feed those who are hungry. We’ve made great progress in overcoming hunger, but millions of children around the world still don’t get enough nutritious food to live healthy lives. Now is the time for us to come together as followers of Jesus, sustaining families for today and equipping them to put food on their own tables for tomorrow.
Water is essential to life. Here, Jesus, the source of Living Water, reminds us that we serve Him when we quench the physical thirst of those in need. With nearly 1,000 children still dying every day because of dirty water and poor sanitation and hygiene, we’re working hard to solve the global water crisis in our lifetime. In fact, we’re bringing clean water to one new person every 10 seconds — and we’re committed to bringing it to everyone, everywhere we work by 2030.
The Bible tells us that God loves those who are different from us — and wants us to care for them, too. Today, many of the “strangers” in greatest need are refugees and disaster survivors. Together, we can show them they’re not forgotten. From sending much-needed supplies to offering safe places in their own communities for kids who have survived trauma, let’s answer the invitation to treat “strangers” like neighbors.
We’ve learned the best way to help people is to empower them to unleash their own drive and talents. That’s why we work to give some of the world’s poorest people the tools they need to start or build small businesses, save money, take responsibility, care for their communities — and break the cycle of poverty in their families for good.
With these words from Matthew 25, Jesus shows us that true faith doesn’t stay locked within the walls of a church. It reaches out to the hurting and the oppressed. And it cares for children, who are the most vulnerable of all. Together, let’s protect boys and girls from evils like child labor, trafficking, and exploitation — and live out a faith that’s bold enough to enter the hardest places.
These powerful words from Jesus are an emphatic call to care for God’s children who are threatened by preventable disease. We’re beating back diseases like malaria and tuberculosis around the globe, but millions of children still suffer needlessly from illness and malnutrition. Join us in providing what children and families need to grow strong and healthy, and be a part of the Great Physician’s work.
God created every child with potential, and education is the best way to nourish it as they grow up to build vibrant, fulfilling lives. There’s a whole host of obstacles that can stand in the way, but we’re coming together to remove those barriers — whether in families, communities, or educational systems — so every child can fill his or her mind and take hold of a world of opportunity. Because when the future is bright for children, it’s bright for everyone.
Around the globe, the HIV and AIDS pandemic has devastated families, leaving children without the essential care and support they need to survive, grow, and thrive. The U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, estimates that 16.5 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes.
In 2016, about 36.7 million people around the world were living with HIV, and 1.8 million people contracted the infection that year. Every year since 1988, December 1 has been recognized as World AIDS Day to call attention to this scourge that has infected 76.1 million people since it was identified in 1981.
Children who are made vulnerable by AIDS include children living with HIV, children whose parent or parents have the disease or died from it, and children in households that take in orphans from families with HIV and AIDS.
Challenging the church to care about the AIDS crisis when it was a controversial topic, World Vision spurred global action to support special programs and child sponsorship to help thousands of orphans. Reflecting on the challenges of that time in the late 1990s, World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns remarks, “Everything we do should advance public awareness by making people aware and helping people to care. Sometimes that means challenging the attitudes and beliefs of the culture and proclaiming God’s standards of mercy, justice, and compassion.”
History of the HIV and AIDS pandemic
More than 35 million people have died of AIDS since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the epidemic on June 5, 1981. More than 16.5 million children under the age of 18 have lost their mothers, fathers, or both parents to AIDS, and that number continues to rise — especially in Africa.
At the height of the epidemic in 2005, as many as 40.3 million people were living with HIV worldwide, roughly two-thirds of them in Africa. Every day in 2005, more than 13,000 people were newly infected with HIV. About 3.1 million people died of AIDS in 2005, including nearly 600,000 children.
Progress against HIV and AIDS
UNAIDS detailed in its 2016 report the results of its 6-year global plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive.
More than 90 percent of children who contracted HIV received it from their infected mother while in the womb, during birth, or while breastfeeding. The 21 targeted countries accounted for the vast majority of people living with AIDS globally, according to the joint U.N. program.
In six years, those countries helped 1.2 million children avoid HIV infection. More than 2 million more pregnant women started receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy, which can hold the virus at bay and prevent them from developing AIDS. Contracting HIV no longer is a death sentence because treatment is more effective and readily available to many.
Among the greatest gains were in Uganda, where public health workers and families reduced new HIV infections among children by 86 percent. South Africa and Burundi both reduced infection rates by 84 percent.
Seven countries reduced HIV infections among children by more than 70 percent between 2009 and 2016:
- Uganda: 86 percent
- Burundi: 84 percent
- South Africa: 84 percent
- Swaziland: 80 percent
- Namibia: 79 percent
- Mozambique: 75 percent
- Malawi: 71 percent
The 14 other countries reduced new HIV cases among children by anywhere from 21 percent to 69 percent.
World Vision’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic
As AIDS devastated rural communities where we were working, World Vision called upon churches to join its HIV and AIDS Hope Initiative to help thousands of orphans and vulnerable children.
HIV and AIDS Hope Initiative
August 1998: World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns visits Uganda, meets AIDS orphans, and learns about the impact of AIDS on children
July 2000: Wilfred Mlay, World Vision’s Africa region vice president, appeals for help to fight AIDS in Africa.
December 1, 2000: On World AIDS Day, World Vision International President Dean Hirsch announces the formation of a global initiative to fight against HIV and AIDS.
January 12, 2002: The Hope Initiative officially launches at a conference in South Africa attended by staff from the 17 African countries hardest hit by HIV and AIDS.
Three key components of the work are prevention, care, and advocacy:
- Prevent new cases, focusing on children, high-risk groups, and pregnant and lactating mothers.
- Improve the quality of care for children affected by AIDS, including orphans and those living with HIV-positive parents.
- Advocate for public policies and programs to stem the spread of HIV and provide care for people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.
2003: World Vision receives its first grant for HIV programming. Channels of Hope curriculum is introduced in Africa to engage faith leaders and congregations in advocacy and prevention against HIV and AIDS.
2005: World Vision scales up HIV programming outside of Africa.
2006: World Vision introduces Channels of Hope in Latin America, the Caribbean, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Asia Pacific regions.
2009: A Channels of Hope study in three countries affirms the importance of addressing stigma through faith communities and mobilizing community action.
December 1, 2010: On World AIDS Day, World Vision phases out the Hope Initiative now that HIV and AIDS programming is mainstreamed in World Vision’s program areas.
Beyond the Hope Initiative: We dare not stop
Much progress has been made to mitigate the impact of HIV on children, as well as women and men. Thanks to the support of the international public health community and the generosity of the American people through USAID’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the number of people on lifelong, life-saving antiretroviral therapy has greatly increased. The number of children accessing antiretroviral treatment has more than doubled, from 275,700 in 2009 to 727,000 in 2015
An army of 220,000 World Vision-trained health workers throughout Africa play an ongoing role in this achievement as they walk with patients and community leaders to bring hope to HIV- and AIDS-affected families.
Efforts focus on helping pregnant women with HIV understand their health status and get the treatment they need. It not only helps them recover their health, but it protects their babies from contracting the disease.
World Vision partners with governments to influence healthcare policy and with schools to promote HIV and AIDS awareness. Other staff partnerships assist community care providers to maintain relationships and monitor care and church leaders to reduce stigma and help lead a community response in supporting those suffering from the disease.
While these countries have made monumental progress, the work continues. Still, more than 100,000 children are newly infected each year.
- World Vision implemented HIV and AIDS programming in 35 countries in 2015.
- 20 countries implemented World Vision life skills programs for children and youth.
- 18 countries provided care and support for orphans and vulnerable children.
- Over 292,000 individuals have been reached through community outreach with HIV prevention interventions.
- More than 65,000 adults and children have received HIV care and/or support including orphaned or vulnerable children.
- The number of adults and children receiving HIV treatment was 14,540.
FAQs: What you need to know about HIV and AIDS
Explore frequently asked questions about HIV and AIDS, and learn how you can help children and families living with HIV and AIDS.
- Fast facts: HIV and AIDS
- How can I help children and families affected by HIV and AIDS?
- What is HIV and AIDS?
- How is HIV spread?
- What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?
- What is the treatment for HIV and AIDS? Is there a cure?
- Can HIV and AIDS be eradicated?
- Is there an HIV vaccine?
- Are women and girls at high risk for HIV?
- How are children most likely to contract HIV?
Fast facts: HIV and AIDS
- HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes deterioration of the immune system so that the body is not able to fend off diseases and infections. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
- Treatment with a combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) keeps the virus from reproducing in the body, so that the immune system continues to function.
- An estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2016; 2.1 million of them were children.
- Most children infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Elimination of mother-to-child transmission is becoming a reality.
- About 1.8 million people became infected with HIV during 2016, about 5,000 new infections daily.
- Globally, HIV infection is the greatest risk factor for the development of tuberculosis.
How can I help children and families affected by HIV and AIDS?
Pray: Asking God that children and families will have the nutrition and healthcare they need.
Give: Support World Vision’s HIV and AIDS care and prevention programs.
What are HIV and AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes deterioration of the immune system (immune deficiency) so the body is not able to fend off diseases and infections. While there is no cure for HIV infection, there are drugs that can control the virus and help prevent transmission.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the term applied to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. AIDS is defined by the development of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.
How is HIV spread?
HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, transfusions of contaminated blood, use of contaminated surgical equipment, syringes, or tattooing equipment. Mothers can also transmit the disease to children during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breastmilk.
Education and testing are important to prevent the spread of HIV. When women are tested early in their pregnancy, they are able to start treatment to prevent spreading the infection to their newborn. In eastern and southern Africa, the incidence of mother-to-child infections dropped from 18 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2015, according to UNAIDS.
What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?
Within two weeks of exposure to HIV, some people develop flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, sore throat, night sweats, rash, fatigue, mouth ulcers or swollen lymph nodes. Not everyone shows any or all of the symptoms and the virus may not yet be detectable in a test for a few weeks.
An untreated HIV infection will eventually wear down the immune system and become full-blown AIDS, with much more severe symptoms. They include rapid weight loss, extreme tiredness, recurring fever, swelling of the lymph glands, long bouts of diarrhea, blotchy skin, mouth sores, and memory loss.
What is the treatment for HIV and AIDS? Is there a cure?
There is no cure for HIV. However, antiretroviral drugs offer very effective treatment. They fight HIV by stopping or interfering with the reproduction of the virus in the body, reducing the amount of virus in the body. In people who adhere to treatment with antiretroviral drugs, the progression of the disease can be slowed way down. They can remain well and productive for a long time, even in low-income countries.
When HIV becomes AIDS, with its severe symptoms, it is much more difficult to treat because the other infections or cancers involved require other forms of treatment. Tuberculosis is the most common cause of death in patients with AIDS, so new treatment regimens are being sought for TB and other diseases that piggyback on AIDS.
Can HIV and AIDS be eradicated?
Researchers are a long way from eliminating the virus, but ever closer to stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS. As scientists have studied HIV and found ways to fight it with antiretroviral drugs, they also discovered that the virus can hide within long-lived immune cells in many parts of the body. To eradicate the virus within an individual would mean attacking the virus in all the cellular reservoirs where it hides.
But what about eradicating the spread of the disease? That’s another matter, and much more doable. We know how to prevent new infections, and we know how to keep people living with HIV healthy. Antiretroviral treatments not only save the lives of people with HIV, they can reduce the chance of infected people spreading the disease.
Is there an HIV vaccine?
No, though not for lack of trying. There have been at least 40 potential HIV vaccines in human trials, and other trials are being developed.
A major obstacle to developing an HIV vaccine is that it would need to stimulate an immune response, while the immune system – and especially the lymph glands – are the target of the infection, too.
Are women and girls at high risk for HIV?
Yes, women and girls are at high risk for HIV. Globally, 18.6 million girls and women were living with HIV in 2015, more than half of the world’s HIV-positive people. However, in western and central Africa, women make up nearly 60 percent of the people infected. Nearly 1 million women and girls contract the disease each year.
HIV and AIDS is the leading cause of death among women ages 30 to 49 and third among young women ages 15 to 29. According to UNAIDS, young women are the left behind population when it comes to HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Globally, young women are twice as likely to acquire HIV as their male counterparts.
Lack of knowledge on how to protect themselves from HIV, gender inequalities including gender-based violence, and stigma are barriers that impact access to available HIV prevention, care, and treatment services for adolescents and young women.
How are children most likely to contract HIV?
More than 90 percent of children who contract HIV contract it from their infected mother while in the womb, during birth, or while breastfeeding. That’s why World Vision’s efforts focus on helping pregnant women with HIV understand their situation and get the treatment they need. It not only helps them rejuvenate their health, but it protects their babies from contracting the disease.
Contributor: Chris Huber, World Vision staff
By Pamela Encinas, Community Outreach Coordinator
When you hear the word “globalization”, what comes to mind? Some people think of wealth and the economy, like how rich America has become over the past few decades. Others think of all the new possibilities resulting from globalization, like traveling the world with ease, or ordering shoes from China online – no questions asked. Yet, there is a dark side to globalization. Not only has it produced immense economic inequality around the world, this inequality has pushed more people to migrate in search of work. As a result, human trafficking has become more prevalent now than ever before, with estimates increasing from 20.9 million people enslaved in 2012 to 40.3 million in 2017. There is a clear correlation between economic policies made in wealthy countries like the United States, and an increase in people who are vulnerable to trafficking. This being said, is globalization “too far gone”? Or can new economic policies reverse the damages done to less developed countries (LDCs), impoverished persons, migrants, and human trafficking survivors alike?
Globalization in a Nut-Shell
“Globalization” is defined as the increasing interconnectedness of countries’ economies worldwide, through a more liberal and free-flowing movement of capital, goods, and services across borders. The economic policies implemented in the 1980’s, which promoted the movement of globalization, are called neoliberal policies. These policies opened financial markets, welcoming foreign competition, and created a laissez-faire (hands-off) approach for governments. The original intent behind these policies was to facilitate economic growth globally, reduce overall poverty, and allow for poor countries to converge with wealthier countries.
So, what happened? Though studies have shown that rates of absolute poverty were reduced in LDCs, inequality, or the wage gap between rich and poor, has increased. As industrial and agricultural wages were lowered, those most affected by free trade and open markets were low-skilled laborers. Therefore, in order to find an affordable lifestyle, laborers needed to migrate and leave their home country. This is a direct result of the neoliberal policies opening markets and creating competition.
These same policies also affect well-developed countries, like the United States, but not negatively. Employers need more low-skilled laborers to work in industries like agriculture and meatpacking. In comparison to other available job opportunities, American workers are unwilling to work in these harsh conditions with low pay. As a result, employers recruit migrant workers.
The Connection to Human Trafficking
The experience of a migrant is neither easy nor glamourous. According to anthropologist Dr. Pardis Mahdavi, economic migrants or migrant workers “who would rather stay and work in their home countries cannot afford to do so”. There is both a push and a pull factor causing people to migrate. The push factors are those which increase the supply of migrant workers, or rather potential human trafficking victims, and the pull factors are those which increase the demand of receiving countries.
The largest push factor for migrant workers is income inequality as produced by globalization, and this same phenomenon has created the pull factor in industrialized countries. The pull factor is the economic market in the United States giving a ‘green light’ to migrant workers because more low-skilled workers are needed. However, immigration law contradicts what the markets say because it increases the difficulty for migrant workers both to enter and remain in the United States. This creates an environment conducive to forced labor and human trafficking practices.
Given the ease at which migrant workers can find jobs in America, labor trafficking exists because employers have full control of their illegal workers, to pay or not to pay, as well as to threaten or not to threaten with deportation. To further complicate the matter, migrants in forced labor situations who paid a smuggler prior to entering the United States, cannot fit into the narrowly constructed definition of a human trafficking victim. These migrants are viewed as violators of immigration laws, rather than trafficked individuals.
What This All Means
When industrialized states refuse to develop legal migration systems that meet the needs of the economy and the labor demand of employers, migrants have no choice but to resort to smuggling and high levels of risk and exploitation as a means of survival. This is how economic policy perpetuates the human trafficking narrative both in the United States and around the world. There is a gap in academic research concerning the effects of globalization on human trafficking – a gap which needs to be filled by further research and collaboration between economists and human trafficking scholars. Proper policy cannot be implemented without proper research to back it up.
Photo Credit: Flickr
About the Human Trafficking Center
The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.
Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.
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Parents everywhere are driven by a dream — for their children’s lives to be better than their own. Economic empowerment is not an end in itself, but a tangible expression of God’s love that radically improves the lives of children and families today — a transformation that lasts for generations and can help to lift families out of poverty. Yet millions of people in the most impoverished parts of the world lack access to the knowledge, capital, markets, technology, and information they need to build thriving businesses.
World Vision has learned the best way to help people is to empower them to unleash their own drive and talents. That’s why we work to give some of the world’s poorest people the tools they need to start or build small businesses, save money, take responsibility, care for their communities — and break the cycle of poverty in their families for good.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.—Matthew 25:35 (NIV)
Valentine Uwingabire’s five children used to cry for food. She says, “You can imagine a little child crying for food from the morning up to the evening.”
She tried farming in the valley below her home with little success. Then in 2015, World Vision started the Akagera Marsh Project in Nyaruguru, Rwanda.
Valentine says, “We were very happy because we knew World Vision has the potential … to initiate the irrigation system and also to put all the farmers together. So we felt hope that this is going to work. And indeed, this has worked so well for us — beyond what we even expected.”
World Vision funded the building of a water intake system plus canals along the sides of the valley. This system — completed in September 2016 — provides water during the dry season, but also channels floodwaters away during the rainy season.
Valentine’s first crops with the Marsh project were onions and cabbages followed by corn. She sold enough corn to earn $100 and had some left for her family.
The Marsh Project then linked the farmers’ corn harvest to a local corn-flour processing plant — another World Vision project. By grouping the farmers together and providing them access to markets, the farmers’ profits are greatly increased.
“I feel independent,” Valentine says. “When I wake up in the morning, and I see that I have sacks of beans and every kind of food, I feel good. I feel secure.”
Join us in prayer for hardworking families like Valentine’s to break the cycle of poverty for good.
Pray for increased family livelihoods.
When families’ livelihoods improve, they can break from the cycle of poverty and sustainably improve their family’s education, health, food security and nutrition, and shelter.
Great Counselor, bless families taking the risk of starting a business. Grant them wisdom in their decision-making. May their successes benefit their children and family and then overflow to the community.
“From the fruit of their lips are people filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.” —Proverbs 12:14
Pray for families to manage their finances in a way that reflects the love of God.
It’s important for people to understand that they are created in the image of God, have great value, and have the power to move from poverty to prosperity.
Loving Father, let Your presence shine in and through families’ finances. May learn to be good stewards of what You provide for them more and more every day.
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” —Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
Pray for good weather so farmers can have healthy crops and animals.
Globally, 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture for income and food. Dry spells and floods destroy families’ crops, but poor weather conditions can also kill animals, another valuable source of food and income. Because the weather is unpredictable, World Vision teaches improved farming and livestock management techniques that help families to be more resilient when hard times come.
Holy God, we see throughout the Word Your powerful control of the weather. Please provide the right amount of rain and sun for farmers’ crops and animals. Use World Vision staff to help teach even more families how to overcome farm and livestock challenges so they can better provide for their families.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” —2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)
Pray that hardworking farmers will become resilient, so they have plenty of food during lean seasons.
World Vision’s community-led THRIVE model — Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments — addresses underlying causes of vulnerability for farmers, since the journey upward from extreme poverty to one of improved well-being is not without interruptions. Resilient families can withstand or recover quickly from droughts and other emergencies, adapting to a changing environment.
Merciful Provider, watch over farmers and their crops, especially during times of vulnerability. Help farmers learn and practice good storage techniques and other measures, so they don’t experience loss or waste.
“Those who work their land will have abundant food …” —Proverbs 12:11 (NIV)
Pray that women will be equipped to start and grow their businesses.
Through microloans, savings groups, and training, World Vision is focused on especially teaching women around the world about best practices in operating small businesses, such as tailoring, mat weaving, or selling crops they grow. As women gain confidence and contribute to the family income, they are able to positively influence decision-making on important issues such as nutrition, children’s education, healthcare, and child marriage.
Alpha and Omega, thank You for generous donors who help World Vision equip women and men with training and microfinance support to start their own businesses. Bless these small business ventures so families can live healthier, more secure lives. Help women become voices for improvement in their families and communities.
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” —Proverbs 31:17 (NIV)
Pray for World Vision and its partners to create opportunities for families to move beyond poverty.
World Vision’s fully integrated, proven approach to economic empowerment equips hardworking men and women to move from surviving to thriving. Ask God to continue to equip World Vision and its partners to provide the basics parents and caregivers need to provide for their families.
Almighty Lord, thank You for providing life-changing opportunities for families that struggle in extreme poverty. Equip World Vision and its partners working in Your name to reach even more families, empowering them to walk into the fullness of life You intend for them.
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” —Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
Contributors: Denise C. Koenig and Laura Reinhardt, World Vision staff
Twenty-four years ago in Rwanda, 800,000 people were brutally slaughtered in 100 days. The country still struggles with recovery and reconciliation. UNICEF estimates 95,000 children lost one or both parents during the genocide.
Francoise Mutuyimana was 12 when her father was killed in the 1994 Rwanda genocide; her mother had already died.
Soon Francoise’s life was miserable under her controlling stepmother who demanded long hours of work and tried to trade her in a forced marriage.
“I dropped out of school due to poverty and started working in other people’s gardens to survive,” Francoise says. At 16, living on her own, she gave up her dream of becoming a teacher.
When World Vision came to her village, Francoise joined a vocational program for orphans to learn tailoring. Now she has reached her goal and has become a teacher in the vocational school. She is also a wife and mother.
“I love my job, and I do it with passion because I have seen my fellow orphans transformed through tailoring and textile work,” she says.
While Francoise has found hope, the genocide’s painful effects still linger for many Rwandans. Pray with us for reconciliation in Rwanda and the children of the post-genocide generation.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.—James 3:18
Pray for mended relationships.
Abraham and Balancille were the same age as Francoise when the genocide exploded, and they later brought their unhealed emotional wounds into their marriage. For years, Abraham abused Balancille and their three children. But life improved dramatically after Abraham participated in a World Vision personal development workshop.
Holy Spirit, thank You for changing lives and reconciling people once so far from each other and You. The lingering pain might seem unbearable to some still lost in grief. Help people discover new life in Jesus and be reconciled with each other, so their children may see peace, love, and forgiveness demonstrated.
Pray for economic opportunities.
During the genocide, more than 40,000 people were killed in one day at a vocational school, in Murambi, southern Rwanda. Today, in a nearby community, Daniel Safari belongs to a group of young people, many of whom are orphans, who run a bakery and raise animals for income. Like Francoise, they have life-giving opportunities because of World Vision vocational training.
Lord, we stand in awe of Your provision for those who once struggled to make ends meet. We lift up adults who need a purpose and adequate income for their families. Help community leaders create strong markets and businesses that provide dependable opportunities.
Pray for educational opportunities.
Today, more than 88 percent of Rwandan girls attend primary school, but only 38 percent attend middle and high school. Jossiane, 14, stays engaged since World Vision renovated her school in Nyamagabe.
Lord, we pray for all children unable to attend school. In Your mercy, allow them to access school supplies and fees, transportation, and the encouragement of their families and communities to pursue academic success.
Pray for communities that continue to heal.
Peacebuilding and reconciliation programs for genocide perpetrators and victims help families heal, reconnect, and deepen their lives together. Where World Vision is working, the next generation has a brighter future thanks to development programs funded by child sponsorship. Sponsorship provides 9-year-old Amina and 12-year-old Ishimwe the resources they need to live hope-filled lives.
Holy Spirit, we thank You for Your miraculous work in restoring Rwandans’ lives. May more communities be reconciled through peacebuilding efforts, “that they may have life, and have it to the full,” as proclaimed in John 10:10.
Contributors: Chris Huber, Kathryn Reid, and Martin Tindiwensi, World Vision staff
The post Wrapping children in prayer: Reconciliation in Rwanda appeared first on World Vision.
This Easter, World Vision photographers bring you beautiful photos of Christians around the world worshipping and celebrating the good news of Christ Jesus: He is risen! Join them in their chorus this Easter weekend as we celebrate his resurrection with our own church families.
Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise. … Let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!—Psalm 96:1-4, 10
Gift Chola sings as part of a choir in northern Zambia. Gift used to walk a third of a mile carrying her family’s laundry to wash it at the closest stream. As she walked, she’d sing a song: “I’ll wait patiently for your blessings, God, I’ll wait.” She says people didn’t have time to attend church because of walking for water. World Vision brought clean water to her community a couple years ago. She now has time to sing in her church choir, and church attendance has more than tripled, as people now have time to attend services. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)
The choir at All Saints Anglican Church in Mudasomwa, Rwanda, sings for visitors. World Vision began working in this area at the same time Pastor Assiel Musabyimana started pastoring. He saw physical and spiritual poverty. “Because of not knowing God, the people couldn’t make an effort to change and to get out of that poverty,” he says. He saw World Vision’s work transform the community through post-genocide reconciliation training. He now helps lead, along with other pastors, a Bible-based curriculum World Vision created to help communities solve their problems by understanding that people are created in the image of God. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)
A mother lights candles while holding her daughter at Khor Virap Monastery in Ararat, Armenia. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)
Rosemary, an 8-year-old sponsored child, sings songs of praise with her church’s youth choir in Moyo, Zambia. Rosemary’s family is now thriving, thanks to World Vision’s support. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Ethiopian youth dance to rhythmic music as they worship at Kale Hiwot Church in Wonchi, where World Vision conducts training for church leaders two to three times a year. They have supplied this church with musical instruments, choir robes, and even new pews. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
It’s a Sunday church service with Pastor Rath Uong at the Samrith Methodist Church he started in Samrith village, Kampong Thom, Cambodia. The pastor became a believer after seeing the good work of World Vision staff. (©2008 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
People in the Kalawa area of Kenya pray together. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Nikki Garcia hugs her mother Veronica Garcia as she worships during the Sunday service at Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Houston on the Sunday following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. The church served more than 1,000 people in the first week following the storm, in part with relief supplies provided by World Vision. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)
A man drums as part of a choir in northern Zambia. Because of access to clean water, community members now have more time to attend church and participate in church activities like choir. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)
Visitors attend services inside St. Nicholas Cathedral in Saida, Lebanon. Tradition holds that the Apostles Paul and Peter met here to discuss bringing the gospel to the gentiles. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)
Josephine, a grandmother who single-handedly cares for the orphaned children of her own deceased children, fervently worships during services at Buhimba Christian Fellowship in Hoima, Uganda. Her pastor, Arthur, and his congregation learned how to reach out to Josephine after training through World Vision’s Channels of Hope program. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Bolivian mothers and grandmothers attend Sunday services at Reformed Church of God in Soracachi, Bolivia, where World Vision sponsors children and provides communities with clean water and economic empowerment opportunities. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)
A choir in Kenya lifts their praises to God. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
A child peeks through her fingers during prayer at an Anglican church service in Gasorwe, Burundi. (©2009 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Young girls get up and dance jubilantly during worship services in Nyamagabe, Rwanda, where World Vision has helped to bring reconciliation and transformation in the years after the 1994 genocide. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Children, many of them sponsored, hold candles while singing “This Little Light of Mine” in Moyo, Zambia. The community has been transformed through child sponsorship and Gift Catalog goats. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)