Stephan Bauman

Rwanda, Full of Heroes

Twenty years ago this month, a systemic and insidious darkness took hold of Rwanda. Conflict arising from post-World War Western interests manifested itself in the genocidal slaughter of as many as 1 million people. The wound is healing, but it is also spreading, reaching across borders into sister nations Burundi and the Congo. Since 1995, we have been pursuing restoration in Rwanda and her neighboring countries. At first, our presence involved immediate emergency response. Today, we are seeking to restore lives so the most vulnerable individuals and communities are empowered physically, spiritually, relationally, economically.

President & CEO Stephan Bauman writes, “Reconciliation doesn’t take place on a stage during a ceremony or in a courtroom. It takes place one community at a time.” The more we empower the local Church in Rwanda to restore the most vulnerable, the more we realize our role in the equation. We are not the solution, nor are we the heroes.

These local church congregation members are heroes. A widow in their community had taken in her grandson after his mother remarried and his stepfather rejected him. Together, the church members built the widow and her grandson a new home.

Church Building House Rwanda 1

They also began supporting the grandmother and grandson by providing resources that would help them thrive. They gave the boy a goat, which is a sustainable source of food and income.

Boy and Grandma Rwanda

The young boy (left) is also a hero. When the church was able to provide him with a second goat, instead of keeping it for himself, he gave one away to a friend whose family was also in need.

Boy With Goat

Heroes like these are supported, empowered and equipped through the local Church in Rwanda, a powerful force with the unprecedented ability to bring lasting transformation to the nation. This local Church places hope in the same Gospel and belongs to the same Body of Christ as churches around the world, even in our own neighborhood. We are intimately connected.

In 2 Corinthians 12:26, Paul speaks of the Body of Christ when he writes, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Today, as we stand alongside our Rwandan brothers and sisters in remembrance of the genocide, churches across the world enter into the suffering of the local Church in Rwanda. But we also rejoice, because the story of Rwanda is full of "heroes who make their lives the solution by daily choosing forgiveness and grace instead of retribution and bitterness" (Stephan Bauman).

EMPOWER a HERO each month.

GIVE a GOAT to a vulnerable family through our Catalog of Hope.

(Images by Sean Sheridan)

Ending Poverty Means Ending Violence


“Without an end to the violence that plagues so many in slums, labor camps, brothels, villages, and neighborhoods, our work to end extreme poverty, stop senseless disease among children, and create sustainable economic solutions could erode and even altogether unravel.” –Stephan Bauman, President & CEO of World Relief

As World Relief empowers the local Church to serve the most vulnerable, we come face to face every day with the reality that poor people are extremely vulnerable to violence. Many of the countries in which we operate are war-torn and lack a just rule of law. Around the world, nearly 30 million children, women and men are held as forced labor slaves. One in 5 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape – and sexual violence makes everyday activities like going to school, gathering water, using a communal restroom or taking public transport dangerous.

At World Relief, we see firsthand that those without protection often lack access to the opportunities, services and materials required to meet their most basic needs. In fact, four billion people – most of the world’s poorest people – live in places where their justice systems do not or cannot protect them from these crippling forms of violence. To advocate for the impoverished, we must also be advocates of peace and protection.

We are joining hands with our friends at International Justice Mission to address the violence directly contributing to poverty around the world. Today, IJM President Gary Haugan and co-author Victor Boutros are releasing their new book, The Locust Effect, to explain why the end of poverty requires the end of violence.

Learn more about The Locust Effect and ways to get involved with the fight for peace. Don’t miss IJM’s unforgettable new video showing what the world is up against as we work together to help the most vulnerable.

IJM Locust Effect Graphic

#Justice2013: Sound Bites of the Justice Conference

by Larissa Peters, your Official World Relief Tweeter...(thanks to Paul Kim and Allison Harp for these excellent pics)

If you’re like me, perhaps you felt that the Justice Conference was similar to those meals where you scarfed down as much good food as quickly as possible without truly tasting or savoring it.

I found myself frantically trying to record all the great quotes of the week end. My fear, however, was that I spent more time tracking the sound bites (pun intended) than I did remembering them, let alone digesting and internalizing them.

For those who weren’t able to taste everything, I thought I would put a couple of the favorite here (allowing one per speaker). My hope is that these bites become more than sound bites (as John Perkins so eloquently said), but that they become realities in each of our lives.

  • “We're not called to be them [the saints of Philly], we're called to be us. Get inspired." @ShaneClaiborne
  • "When you study God, you learn about justice, when you study justice, you learn about God." @KJWystma
  • "Your theology will influence your anthropology." @RevDocBrenda
  • “We live justly because it brings God to light. It brings reconciliation.” @LeroyBarber
  • Justice is doing more than saving the drowning people, it’s changing the ones who are pushing them into the lake. @NoelCCDA
  • “You cannot play the victim. When you think the grass is greener on the other side, it probably is. Water the grass you are standing on.” @EugeneCho
  • "If we are to have any hope for this era, we must not only recover justice, but we must recover prayer.” @GaryHaugen
  • “More people have access to mobile phone technology than clean water…twitter is a real-time information platform, not a social media platform” @Claire Diaz-Ortiz
  • “The DRCongo is the greatest tragedy to disfigure the human conscious.” @Stephanjbauman
  • Do-go-Mez-an-yeah "strengthen together" – Cyprien Nikiriyumwami
  • "Treating your neighbor justly is a way of loving your neighbor" - Nicholas Wolterstorf
  • “There is an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘Women hold up half the sky’.” – Sheryl @Wudunn
  • "It may seem counterintuitive to offer forgiveness before justice, but Jesus did." @realchailing
  • "Budgets are moral documents. They tell us who we care for and who we want to protect." @LisaSHarper
  • "We live out our call most fully when we are a community of faith with arms wrapped about a community of pain." @JohnMPerkins
  • And the final bite comes from @LynneHybels: “Remember you are standing on the shoulders of those who have been doing this [justice] for a long time.”

If, after the conference or reading through the numerous blogs and articles about it, you are wondering “Now What?”click here to see what we have going on this year and how you could get involved.

Thanks to ALL who contributed, spoke, volunteered, cheered, sang, and listened at the Justice Conference. We hope to see you in Los Angeles but to also continue the conversations year-round.