Baltimore

So Much Happening in Twenty-Thirteen...

by Larissa Peters, World Relief Communications Liaison I don’t know about you, but I have an especially good feeling about 2013. I admit, I keep a journal, and on the first of every year, I wonder what will fill its pages. The same is true in managing this blog – what will be the stories, reflections, and prayers that fill this year?

So many things are happening at World Relief, and so many great things we get to be a part of this year as more and more stand for the vulnerable! So I thought I would share 13 of the ones that I’m personally excited about and that others could even join:

In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Immigration Reform: From publishing the book Welcoming the Stranger in 2009 to speaking at Willow Creek Church and the G92 Summit, Jenny Yang – Vice President of Advocacy & Policy  and Matt Soerens – US Church Training Specialist are truly affecting change for the immigration system. We believe this is the year for reform. Want to keep up to date on the issue? Follow Jenny and Matt on twitter at:  @JennyYangWR and @MatthewSoerens.
  2. Peace building in the Congo: Village Peace Committees are changing their communities in the DR Congo. Conflict still abounds, but the grassroots movement of the Church is transforming lives. This is something to be a part of!  Follow updates and watch our video.
  3. Our partnership with Pure Charity: if you haven’t checked this organization out and you shop online or use a credit card (which should cover most of you), click here now. Here is a creative way to raise funds: shop and the stores you shop at will give to your charity of choice. World Relief has a few projects of their own there, and you’ll find Pure Charity at the Justice Conference. I already wish I knew about them earlier – I have to admit I’ve become slightly addicted to online shopping.
  4.  Fighting the battle of slavery: more and more people are taking on the cause of anti-trafficking. Currently, there are 14,500 people trafficked into the US each year (this is a low estimate). But our offices in Spokane, Tampa, High Point (and even internationally in Cambodia) are fighting to prevent that number from going up. Follow World Relief’s efforts on twitter and find out how you can promote awareness through races, workshops, or advocacy.
  5.  Church Partnership: Churches around the US have partnered with World Relief with a commitment of investing in a country or program for 3 to 5 years. Building relationships with the field and giving opportunity for long-term sustainable development, partnership is about wholistic mission. More and more churches are signing on, and we are excited about the changes it is bringing! Want your church to be part of this?
  6. Catalog of Hope: This year, our Catalog of Hope has a new section: fair trade items that benefit refugees in the US, empower women in Burundi, Rwanda, and Indonesia, and provide a monster for children in the US. A monster? Yes! See what this is all about.
  7. Stand Together Project: The premise is simple: Empowering women who are heroes in their own communities around the world. Check it out here: www.standtogetherproject.org.
  8. Savings for Life: A woman in Rwanda had never held a 5000 Franc note (worth $8 USD).  For the first time in her life this year, she saved up SIX of them because of her Savings group! How much more exciting can that get? Savings for Life is making credit available to those even the microfinance institutions can’t consider.  Watch a video on what Savings group is here: www.savings-revolution.org .
  9. Reviving and strengthening marriages in India: There is a quiet and unique program in India. One that is saving marriages, helping couples to be faithful to each other, and actually preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Check out the story on India.
  10. Volunteering with refugees in the US: more and more people are asking, “What can I do?” Our US program with refugees provides tangible volunteering. I can promise you that your 2013 will be incredibly enriched by befriending a refugee and welcoming them into your home and life.
  11. Volunteering with refugees in Indonesia: you have to check this unique opportunity out:  living in Indonesia and ministering to refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Sri Lanka. You can read about some of the volunteers’ experiences here: www.worldreliefindonesia.com .

12   AND 13

Tis the season for conferences! So I’ll have to just wrap them all up into the last two: Churches and organizations are stepping out and bringing awareness to issues of injustice, educating their communities on how to respond. World Relief is privileged to be a part of these conferences with other Justice advocate hall-of-famers:

My hope is that these 13 (and then some) inspire and encourage you.  And may this year be full of all that is more than we can ask or imagine!*

*Ephesians 3:20

RIDE/365

WWS

We are a 1 1/2 weeks away from the start of RIDE/365. The team has been training daily for the last six months, with their recent 45 mile bike ride taking them through scenic northern Baltimore County.

Kris Bailey is part of the crew and heads up Women Who Stand/Baltimore.  She visited Cambodia last January and has a deep passion for raising awareness for the vulnerable in Cambodia and Malawi. Here is her “Why” on joining the RIDE/365:

Ride a bicycle for 365 miles? Are you kidding??  No way!!

Now drive 365 miles?  Hand out snacks and drinks?  Read a map?  These things I can do.  Taking a quote from the movie Rain Man, "I'm an excellent driver."

It is a privilege to participate in RIDE/365 as part of the crew.  And I'm excited to help fund two World Relief programs that serve vulnerable women and children in Cambodia and Malawi. 

I've had the privilege of visiting Cambodia and seeing the poverty, the limited services for those at risk, and the children whose black hair is now rust-colored from poor nutrition.  The ability to grow the moringa tree, which is so high in nutritional value, can be the difference between life and death for people with HIV, and can bring new hope of sustainable nutrition to families and communities.  And then, as a mother of two children, it is moving to be part of providing an opportunity for children in Malawi to go to school, children who normally would not have that option.

Race Pace Bicycles is providing pre-ride support through bike repair classes, bike fittings, bike tune-ups, nutritional tips, and sending equipment and tools possible repairs needed on the road. Clif Bar is providing food and drinks for the race and training rides.

This ride couldn’t happen without the support and encouragement of family and friends.  You can be part of the support team, too, without having to get on a bike!

1.  Donating to support one of the riders.

2.  Join us NOW in praying for the safety of these riders, both in their training and during the ride itself.  We can also be praying for the health and safety of the people in Cambodia and Malawi for whom we are riding.

3.  Be a part of the “Welcome Home” party on Sunday, September 23.  Watch for more details.