In my 14 years of working at World Relief, I have never felt the weight of compounding crises quite like I have this last year.
The same week I stepped into my new role as President and CEO, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti and Kabul fell to the Taliban, putting thousands of Afghan allies and civilians at risk.
Like many of you, I watched heartbroken and angry at the sight of such injustice as women and men chased after U.S. aircraft carriers, desperate to get to safety. And all of this on top of a global pandemic, on top of a global economic crisis, on top of unrest in places like Tigray and Geneina, a food crisis in DR Congo and a multitude of other crises that never make headline news.
We are living through some of the greatest humanitarian crises of our lifetime. It’s a lot to take in, and certainly too much for any one person to hold alone.
And yet, there is hope.
Called to Be the Church
In Acts chapter 17, the Apostle Paul writes that God himself gives life and breath to everyone, that he has marked out the appointed times in history and the very places where each of us exists. In other words, the church — that’s you, and that’s me — was created for such a time as this!
I will never cease to be amazed at the way God can move through his church and his people.
In my time serving as Country Director of World Relief Rwanda, I saw church members from our local Church Empowerment Zones come together in incredible ways to care for those suffering from AIDS, build peace among families who had harmed one another and lift their communities out of economic poverty.
Similarly, over the last few months, churches across the globe have responded greatly to the crises in Haiti and Afghanistan. Many of you have generously reached out with prayers and donations.
Together, we have welcomed and resettled more than 600 Afghan refugees since August. Our staff in the U.S. are currently working their way through 4,128 volunteer applications that have been submitted since August — that’s more volunteer interest in a six-week period than the total number onboarded for the entirety of the fiscal year 2020.
And with the help of 300 local volunteers, our team in Haiti has distributed kits of food and hygiene items to over 4,400 families affected by the August earthquake.
The wave of generosity has been inspiring. It has reminded us that while creating change that lasts isn’t easy, it’s possible when we move together.
How powerful it is to know that you and I were created for such a time as this? And what responsibility does this place on us, I wonder?
Today, the local church in Haiti is leading the way as we help the communities of Les Cayes rebuild. In the U.S., roughly 50,000 Afghans are living at U.S. military bases awaiting their resettlement assignments. Our U.S. office network of staff, churches and volunteers is preparing to receive as many as 7,000.
We have the opportunity to respond together as God’s church — to not be overcome by evil and injustice, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Across the globe, men and women just like you are rising up to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among them, and you can join them.
No one of us can carry the world’s burdens on our own. But when we move together, anything is possible. Will you join us? Learn more at World Relief.
You can move with us this holiday season by signing up for this four-part Advent series delivered right to your inbox. You’ll receive an invite to a virtual gathering plus updates on how to stay involved and make lasting change at home and around the world.