Winter 2020 A publication of Canadian Baptist Ministries
Kids at Ris
Embrace What You Believe
cover & inside cover photos: Johnny Lam Photography
KIDS AT RISK
EMBRACING HOPE RELIEVES DESPAIR This issue of Mosaic is the fourth in a multi-part series that features the foundational causes anchoring CBM’s ministries around the world.
POVERTY BUILD THE CHURCH JUSTICE KIDS AT RISK
or a child living in rural India, accessing education can be a challenge – especially for girls. Government schools and well-trained teachers are limited in remote areas. Many families rely on subsistence farming to survive, and the cost of school supplies is often out of reach. In India, CBM partners with local churches to establish tutoring centres for rural children. This support empowers children to learn and helps break the cycle of poverty. See page 12 to read more.
RT AT H E A right YO U N G a ve t h e
ld h ild shou e Ev e r y c h this issu In . a kid e b s t r s o t ju u to trib , o u r co n ic a to s e o k M li of wa s r what it e nd b l m e ia rem te n t a ull of po f – their d il r h o be a c Lo o k f . e r u t u r the f read hope fo s a s yo u o t o h p issue . adorable es of this g a p e h t through
Winter 2020 contents
4 Saved by a “Childlike” God: The Call to Welcome Children in Jesus’ Name 3 Terry Talks: Working Above the Waterfall 10 Change-Makers: Inspiring Next Generation Leaders Working for a Better World 12 Building a Brighter Future: Education Empowers Rural Children in India 14 Outside Our Four Walls: A Reflection on Global Mission 16 GodSent: Reshape Your World Through Global Mission 18 Traumatized Children: Restoring Hope and Healing to Children of Conflict 22 The Last Resort: Protecting Vulnerable Children from the Tourist Sex Trade
7185 Millcreek Drive Mississauga, ON l5n 5r4 Tel: 905.821.3533 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbmin.org Mosaic is a community forum of local and global voices united by a shared mission. Mosaic will serve as a catalyst to stimulate and encourage passionate discipleship among Canadian Baptists and their partners. Mosaic is published three times a year by Canadian Baptist Ministries. Copies are distributed free of charge. Bulk quantities available by request. Managing Editor Jennifer Lau Editor Nicolette Beharie Art Director Gordon Brew
Working Above the Waterfall A
man was sitting by a pool of water, just below a waterfall. As he looked at the water, he noticed a swimmer frantically trying to make his way to the shore. The bystander threw off his shoes and jacket, jumped into the water and rescued the man. After they swam to shore, and caught their breath, they noticed two other swimmers floundering in the torrent below the falls. They both jumped in to save the drowning people. A short while later, three others came over the falls, fighting for their very survival. And on … and on … and on. During a brief respite, the first person began to wonder what was happening above the waterfall that led to so many people falling into the water. He dashed up the embankment around the falls and there he saw the problem: the mooring of a footbridge had been broken. This caused the unstable condition, which led to so many near-deaths. Fix the bridge, he thought, and the risk of multiple drownings would be radically reduced. When the staff and global partners of CBM work with kids at risk, we find ourselves on both ends of the waterfall. We are certainly seeking to save as many children as possible from the perils of violence, sexual assault, child labour, illiteracy, predatory and other unjust practices and, indeed, life without God. But there is a second, longer view that we witness over and over again. And that is when a child’s life is spared, the “multiplier effect” is huge. When we engage in ministries among vulnerable children, we are not only helping them, but we are making a huge impact in risk reduction within entire communities. CBM’s Western Canada Representative, Dennis Shierman, and his wife, Judy, moved from Indonesia to Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1994. For several years, they laboured alongside the Latin America reps, David and Cathie Phillips, and our Baptist partners to develop a vibrant ministry: Casa de la Amistad, or the Friendship House, where children of incarcerated parents are offered a safe environment. While children no longer live inside the prison due to new government policies, they are still stigmatized by their parent’s situation. The Casa provides them with educational support, psychosocial care, nutritious meals, health care and hygiene training. They also learn stories from the Bible and are invited to find faith in Christ. For children who attend the Casa, it’s a safe
place to thrive and learn and just be a kid. Casa de la Amistad has ministered to thousands of children in its over 30-year history. Many of these same children, now grown up, have gone on to careers in civil service, law enforcement and many other professions. Several have also become caregivers and guardians to other kids who are at risk of delinquency. In Robert McAfee Brown’s delightful little book, Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes (Westminster John Knox Press, 1984), I discovered that “the least of these” in Matthew 25 was, in the language Jesus spoke, Aramaic, a common term used to describe children. When we serve the needs of kids at risk, we are doing it for Jesus. In this issue of Mosaic, discover the rich blessing of working with children above the waterfall (through stories of education, youth outreach and prevention), while also attending to the gruelling but needy work below the waterfall (with victims of rape, child poverty and displacement). Jonathan Wilson and I have written an article ‘en duo’ – he grapples with the macro-view of our scriptural mandate, while I recount the micro-view of specific endeavours to care for kids at risk. And now this word from a proud father: My second daughter, Caitlyn, is studying at Tyndale University College in the Bachelor of Education program. She wants to be a teacher – like her mom. When she was pressed in her interview for her motivation to become a teacher, she replied without hesitation, “Because it is my very best shot to help change the world.” Thank you for taking your best shot at changing our world by caring for kids at risk.
Terry Smith CBM Executive Director
Saved by a “Childlike” God T H E C A L L TO W E LCO M E CHILDREN IN JESUS’ NAME by Jonathan R. Wilson and Terry Smith
Charles Spurgeon, known as the great Baptist “Prince of Preachers” of the 19th century, was credited with saying that we must read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. While Scripture stands as our ultimate authority in mission, the current context in which the Church finds itself shapes and prepares us for a biblical integration of faith and practice. This article, written by two theologians and mission practitioners, performs a sort of duet: All four hands are at work, engaging our readers around one of CBM’s core causes – kids at risk. Jonathan plays the lead, or melody, of God’s immeasurable love and acceptance of children, and calls us to both patience and presence in response to God’s command to attend to children and the fatherless. Terry adds the harmony to the article, enjoining us to consider specific or particular examples of CBM’s commitment to kids at risk.
hen we commit ourselves to be on mission with Jesus where kids are at risk, we are moving to the very heart of Jesus’ life and teaching. Jesus welcomed children and set them before his disciples as exemplars. He tells us, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37) In this call to welcome children, Jesus fulfils the call of the Old Testament to care for children (for example, Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and especially for children who are most at risk: the “fatherless” (Psalm 68:5). Our commitment to “kids at risk” is our act of obedience to the call of God in the Old Testament that is embodied in Jesus himself. When we are called to welcome children and defend the cause of the fatherless, we are confronted with the conflict at the heart of this world and the kingdom of God: the conflict between life and death. According to the United Nations, every five seconds, a child under the age of 15 dies. The risk of infant death for a child in sub-Saharan Africa is 15 times higher than that of a child in Europe. The risk of dying before reaching the age of 15 is twice as high if you are born into a poor family in the Global South.
uguette* is a young, single mother who lives on a small plot of land in Rwanda with her two children, aged nine and three. Her smile and self-confidence belie a deep inner pain. She is struggling to live with HIV. Huguette contracted the virus after being raped. “My first child is now nine years old. I borrowed money from our church and bought two goats so that when I die my mother would have enough milk to sell, so she could raise my children,” says Huguette, who participates in CBM’s Guardians of Hope program, a strategic response to the global HIV and AIDS pandemic. “Today, I now manage a farm with 60 goats. I only hire people who are living with HIV and AIDS. Soon I will die, but my children are able to live because of the revenue of our little dairy.” ~ ts
Shouldn’t it trouble us to the depths of our being that humans create a world that puts so many children at risk – and perpetuate such a world? To understand how this can be and how we as followers of Jesus may respond faithfully and hopefully, we need two stories, two practices and three prayers.**
TWO STORIES The two stories we tell are the story of creation and the story of the fallen world – the story of life and the story of death. When we confront the number of children at risk in our world, we are facing the “story of death.” This is the story of a world having fallen away from life as God intends it, into the rule of death – “the last enemy to be destroyed.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) So many kids are at risk in so many ways because so much of the world is trapped in the story of death and enslaved to the fallen world. In Psalm 82 and Deuteronomy 10, the “secret agents” of death are the “gods” who take life away from the most vulnerable. These “gods” are the powerful warlords, human traffickers, and oppressors who are captive to the rule of death. They are slaves to the story of the fallen world, believing that whoever controls death rules the world. And much of the world is in thrall to these “gods,” trapped in a delusion that violence and death are the most powerful forces in the universe. When we get trapped in this way of thinking and acting, the fallen world (and death) are secretly in control of our actions. It is almost certainly the case that kids at risk are the most vulnerable. The number of children at risk around the world is staggering. And the factors are overwhelming.
elodie Bissell* leads an incredible program for Canadian churches and community organizations called Plan to Protect, which provides the needed tools for abuse prevention and protection. It is staggering to hear her recount the devastating stories of brokenness she has witnessed while helping to bring about healing. Although most of her work focuses on training and equipping churches and church leaders in abuse prevention, Melodie has frequently been called upon to walk alongside families and groups where risks have turned into abuse and violence. She has witnessed this enslavement first-hand and is driven by a holy rage to redress the power of death over children who are facing this. ~ ts
Globally, children face various situations that put them at risk: • disease • starvation • loss of childhood • child labour • child marriage • lack of clean water • lack of footwear • sex tourism • sex trafficking • emotional abuse • physical abuse • sexual abuse • lack of education • illiteracy • the absence of parents • no family • child soldier recruitment • forced migration
How can so many children be at risk – and in so many ways? Doesn’t our humanity rebel at this reality? Doesn’t it trouble our souls? How can we perpetuate such a world? But this story is not the ultimate reality. When we read about how many kids are at risk in various ways, we may feel despair. However, like Melodie, we can also think of ways to change the world – because we know that God is the God of life, and this is where we are called to the deepest acts of discipleship. If we focus on the story of the fallen world – as if some account of the fall, its origin and its logic can explain the presence of evil and guide our thinking and living – then we will be trapped in the logic and the story of the fallen world. If we begin to think the way the world appears to be – with children at risk and oppression and injustice being the most powerful forces – then the fallen world wins. It becomes the most real world and any other “world” becomes subordinate to the fallen world. But we also see and hear human beings decrying oppression and injustice and defending the cause of kids at risk. We who believe the gospel and follow Jesus know why we cry out against this injustice: our Creator has made us for everlasting and overflowing life. The cries for justice that we hear around us are the echo of God’s image in human beings. We know – through the Spirit by whom we believe in Christ – that the story of death is part of a larger story.
“ ... we can also think of ways to change the world – because we know that God is the God of life, and this is where we are called to the deepest acts of discipleship.”
The story of the fallen world and death is the smaller story; it is a story that is limited and constrained. But the big story reveals evil to be a weak, defeated power, a power whose wounds and devastation will one day be undone. This is the promise and the warning of Deuteronomy, the Psalms and the Prophets. It reaches its culmination in Jesus Christ. His crucifixion exposes death and defeats the rule of death. His resurrection announces his rule over all creation. His return will bring judgment on all who serve death and bring the new creation into full reality. Only this story guides us and sustains us in our commitment to kids at risk.
TWO PRACTICES If we bring these two stories – the fallen world and the redeemed creation – together in the midst of evil, then we will be called to two practices: presence and patience. These practices are possible as Christian practices only by the grace of God, that is, by our participation in the redemption of creation that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. To be present with kids at risk is to follow Christ, the Word made flesh. The Incarnation is not some new turn in God’s disposition toward humankind and the fallen world. The Incarnation is a new way of God being present. It is a coherent continuation of the story of the God who sought out the first humans in the garden after their sin (Genesis 3), who came to Abram and called him (Genesis 12), who appeared to Moses and came down to deliver the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 3), who continued this same “condescension” until its cosmic climax in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. He will culminate it as he dwells with redeemed humankind in New Creation (Revelation 21). God is present with us in the midst of evil, but in that very presence transforms the reality of evil, humiliating evil and triumphing over it in the crucifixion of Jesus. If we locate our practice of presence in the redemption of creation, then we place ourselves in Christ by the Spirit and
ranco* is a 10-year-old Bolivian boy who lives in extremely poor circumstances adjacent to the municipal dump in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His father was a violent man who threatened Franco, his siblings and their mother. After his father left, his mother couldn’t provide food for the children, and they suffered from malnutrition and disease. But a community development worker helped register Franco at Jireh, a CBM-sponsored children’s program offering nutrition, education, and spiritual and psychosocial care. Jireh is the ministry of Sinai Baptist Church, which ministers in an impoverished area of the city. They are living out the story of the redemption of all God’s creation, which is the bigger story. It is not the story of death and pain, but the one that cries out to a broken world that God’s Son, Jesus, is the healer of brokenness and the giver of life. ~ ts
know that we are already participating in the conquest of evil and the victory of life over death. This way of telling the story of what we are doing can sustain us for a lifetime – across generations – of joining God in welcoming children and serving life amidst death. But if we make the mistake of locating our practice of presence in the story of the fallen world, then we effectively remove ourselves from Christ. In this case, we become an anxious presence. Sure, we may make some things better, but we will always live with a sense of defeat and failure that will drive us to greater anxiety and more frantic activity that deepens our quest for control of this world.
“Properly understood and lived, our participation in God’s work of creation and redemption does not remove us from the world but thrusts us into the world with renewed life grounded in hope.” Our participation in the redemption of creation forms a second practice: patience. Patience is a primary mark of God’s work in the world. Just as God took time to form a people through whom the Saviour Messiah comes to us, God continues to work patiently. In the midst of the continuation of evil and the seeming lack of consequences for evildoers, we must remember Peter’s words of instruction and encouragement: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9) If patience is the key to understanding God’s own response to evil, then it must be key to ours as well. Patience means being steadfast in faithful obedience, knowing that the way Jesus calls us to is the
arie-Joseph* was introduced to Terry Smith last year while Terry was visiting a high school in Goma, a city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This nice, neatlooking 17-year-old young man told Terry about his past. Between the ages of 11 and 16, he served as a child soldier with one of the horrific armed militias in the DRC. Through his tears, he described the atrocities he was forced to carry out: torturing women and children, living for months in a state of hypnotic delirium, deprived of life and taking the lives of others. But he was rescued, received trauma counselling and rehabilitated by one of CBM’s local partner churches. Through the faithfulness of God’s people in caring for the vulnerable, even at such great cost, the work of redemption is carried out. ~ ts
ebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD). Few of CBM’s global partners demonstrate the practice of presence better than our sisters and brothers of the LSESD. Every year, their devoted and highly gifted team of ministry leaders incarnates the gospel in the dark places of human suffering for kids at risk, children with disabilities and refugee families living in shanty towns across the Bekaa Valley and in Beirut. Terry has written in the past of his wife’s Lebanese roots. She is the granddaughter of a Lebanese refugee who fled to Canada after his parents died. Today, Lebanon has become the home of nearly 1.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees who had fled their homeland. In fact, Lebanon hosts more refugees per capita than any other country in the world. As a result, thousands of refugee children struggle to access overcrowded schools in Lebanon. To help address this unprecedented need, our partners launched an education project in a Baptist church in Zahle, a city east of Beirut. CBM has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past five years so that God’s people can be salt and light among kids at risk in Lebanon. While the general population’s patience has worn thin with the influx of refugees, our Baptist partners continue to be present, as God’s hands and feet, in the Middle East. ~ ts ndrea* is a 12-year-old Honduran girl who was baptized at Hillside Baptist Church in Moncton, N.B. We want to use her own words, which she delivered in front of this very large and vibrant congregation. This is her testimony: My name is Andrea. I am 12 years old. I am from Honduras. We decided to move to Canada because our country was no longer safe. After many years of prayer, God said yes. God has helped our family in many ways since we came here. He helped us find a school for me and a job for my dad. God showed his faithfulness to us just like in Deuteronomy 7:9 – “So know that the Lord your God is God. He is the faithful God. He will keep his agreement of love for a thousand lifetimes. He does this for people who love him and obey his commands.” (ICB) When I was five years old and living in Honduras, I decided to become a follower of Jesus when I realized that I am a sinner and Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins. I decided to get baptized today because I feel like this is an important thing God wants me to do and it will help me grow as a Christian and bring me closer to him. To me, baptism is the proclamation of my faith and the next step to being a Christian. Baptism is like a way to tell the world that I believe in Jesus. Living for Jesus is important to me because it helps me have a happier life knowing that I will live eternally with him. I know God has a plan for me and I will always be loved, thanks to him. Andrea, whose family has known the risks of violence in Central America, understood the importance of faith in God and living for him. Andrea could place her life in the story of the redeemed New Creation. This is what enables faithful presence and patience with kids at risk until these stories are brought to their fulfilment. ~ ts
way of life – life that overcomes death, life that is everlasting because it is aligned with God’s intentions for all creation. And this will sustain us in our commitment to kids at risk, even when so little seems to change. The end of the story has been written in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; we have the calling to live now knowing that ending. Presence and patience are key elements of Christian faithfulness in any part of life and teach us the depths of God’s redemption of creation in Christ. Properly understood and lived, our participation in God’s work of creation and redemption does not remove us from the world but thrusts us into the world with renewed life grounded in hope.
THREE PRAYERS The Scriptures teach us three short prayers that we would do well to utter daily as we contemplate the plight of kids at risk globally: “How long, I AM, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?” (Psalm 94:3) “Rise up, O God, judge the earth.” (Psalm 82:8) “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) These three passages – How long? Rise up, and Come, Lord Jesus – represent a trilogy of Christian prayer in the midst of the fallen world and in the face of evil that is revealed in kids at risk in the world. They teach us to live most fully and faithfully in the story of the redemption of creation. As representative, they sum up the way that we pray so that we may be further formed in presence and patience, but most of all so that we may bear witness to God’s justice that has come in Jesus Christ. “How long?” is the prayer of lament that reminds us that we live in a fallen world, revealed powerfully in the vulnerability of kids at risk and the ways they are exploited by evil. “How long?” forces us to direct our doubts, struggles, anxieties, frenzy and failures to God. We place evil and suffering within the story of the redemption of creation. Our lament is no longer centred in this world, on humankind or on ourselves: When will we ever learn? What can we do amid so much suffering and so few resources? What lies within our power? How can we change the world?
Our churches are populated with compulsive doers, busybodies, ‘Get ‘er done’ folk, who often think that the work of redeeming God’s creation falls squarely on their shoulders. We busy ourselves as if there is no time to waste. But we would do well to take hold of the truth stated by Helmut Thielicke who wrote, “One day, perhaps, when we look back from God’s throne on the Last Day we shall say with amazement and surprise … ‘If I had ever dreamed that God was only carrying out his design and plan through all these woes, that in the midst of my cares and troubles and despair, his harvest was ripening, and that everything was pressing on toward his last kingly day – if I had known this, I would have been more calm and confident; yes, then I would have been more cheerful and far more tranquil and composed.’” ~ ts
“And when we avail ourselves to God, as we bear witness to God’s care for the most vulnerable, we affirm that God is the God of life.”
“Rise up” acknowledges that the world is out of alignment with God’s intentions for life. Whether during a Sunday morning service or the quietness of our own prayers, when we say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are essentially saying, “How long? Rise up, and Come, Lord Jesus.” And when we avail ourselves to God, as we bear witness to God’s care for the most vulnerable, we affirm that God is the God of life.
The “Come, Lord Jesus” prayer teaches us that the redemption of creation does not arise from any power or process that is of the world. The same Jesus who tells us that when we welcome children, we welcome him – and the one who sent him. What could be more radical than recognizing that we are saved by a “childlike” Jesus and a “childlike” God? The one who saves us and rules the world is also the one who grew in Mary’s womb and who lived as a “kid at risk.” Can there be a greater act of discipleship than for us to welcome children and defend the cause of kids at risk?
Name has been changed. Adapted from Jonathan R. Wilson’s book, God’s Good World, chapter 11.
Jonathan R. Wilson is Senior Associate for Theological Integration with CBM and Teaching Fellow at Regent College in Vancouver.
Terry Smith is CBM’s Executive Director. Terry and his wife, Heather, previously served in France for 20 years, focusing on inner-city youth, urban church planting, theological education and leadership development.
age 14, Kiera Hui wants to create a cleaner world for her generation. And she’s off to a great start. For her eighth grade science project, she developed a plan to better protect the environment. Her project made it to the Toronto Science Fair last year – it then went on to compete in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Her experiment? An alternative way to clean up oil spills and reduce waste. Kiera attends Spring Garden Baptist Church in Toronto with her family. Her love for God’s creation and science inspired her to dig deeper to find an innovative way to conserve the environment. “When I researched oil spills, many methods used harmful chemicals or released carbon dioxide into the environment, adding to global warming,” she says. “Many previous projects looked at cotton fibres compared to sawdust or other products, and cotton always seemed best.”
KIERA HUI CHANGE-MAKER FROM CANADA
by Kristine Brackman
“Our world is constantly being challenged, and despite all that we know to conserve and reuse, very few people actually do it. I hope to be an example to others by being innovative and bringing big ideas to fruition.”
Kiera found that recycled cotton textile cloths could absorb oil without retaining the water – performing better than cotton balls, which absorbs the water along with the oil. Since 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills, using discarded cotton garments addresses two environmental issues at once: waste reduction and mitigating pollution. According to the United Nations, over half a million children under the age of five die from air-pollution-related causes every year. Her experiment was one that wasn’t easy to prove, but her perseverance won her a silver medal in the Canada-Wide Science Fair held in Fredericton last May. Through her experiment, Kiera also discovered that oil-soaked cloths could be repurposed as igniters, pending further research. In the future, she wants to find a way to reduce soap and laundry detergent use, which could help increase algae blooms in lake water. Although Kiera travelled to a different province to showcase her successful project, Kiera knows she doesn’t need to go far to spark change. “My hope for the world is for a cleaner environment for our generation,” she says. “Our world is constantly being challenged, and despite all that we know to conserve and reuse, very few people actually do it. I hope to be an example to others by being innovative and bringing big ideas to fruition; I also hope other youth will express their ideas to the public and know that it is a true possibility for it to become a reality.”
Oil spills are a common and serious problem that negatively affects the ocean environment. This environmental disaster requires innovation to clean up oil spills, which are primarily in oceans. It poses a risk to our environment, our drinking water supply as well as the marine biosystem.
Two main environmental concerns are oil spill cleanup and overﬂowing landﬁlls due to textile waste. This experiment investigated the effectivity of absorbing oil using various cotton materials. Recycled cotton cloths were most efﬁcient textile, which amassed oil without removing excess water. Diverting textiles for oil spill cleanup is one method to protect the environment.
Oil spills can most commonly occur in 4 areas as shown in the infographic. There are currently methods for cleaning up oil spills but often involve chemicals which are harmful to the environment by polluting our air and water and affect birds and ocean life.
Using materials to soak up oil and leave the water is the best solution that remains environmentally friendly. Many experiments utilized absorbent natural materials like sawdust, clay, and raw cotton to clean up oil spills. Cotton balls were often the best natural material that was able to soak up oil, ﬂoat on water and pose no harm to the environment.
The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether recycled cotton textiles are as effective in absorbing oil spills as cotton ball ﬁbers. This would allow recycling of cotton textiles to be diverted from garbage dumps and utilized for cleaning oil spills on water in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Another area to tackle is textile waste. 85% of textiles are thrown away into the garbage and 81 pounds of textiles are in landﬁlls every year! Since there are so many cotton garments that are thrown away into garbage dumps, many people are looking to repurpose clothing, towels and rags into other useful items or utilizing the ﬁbers to make other items.
The experiment will use 3 different cotton items: cotton balls, cloths and towels. They are all made from 100% natural cotton with the main difference being the ﬁbers density and absorption. The cloth and towel will from recycled material. The experiment will test which type of cotton may work best at picking up oil while conserving the water.
Since most garments are made of cotton ﬁbers, it may be purposeful to solve two problems. If the abundance of textiles may be diverted from fast-growing landﬁlls to be used for cleaning up oil spills, then the environment will beneﬁt because we have recycled. Even harvesting new cotton or developing chemical sponge to clean up oil uses chemicals and energy resources, which affect our environment. The oil soaked cotton textile pieces may be used for other purposes like ﬁre igniters so there may be investigation into tertiary uses.
HYPOTHESIS If cotton balls have been shown to be effective in absorbing oil into its ﬁbers, then cotton textiles which are denser and organized cotton ﬁbers should absorb an equal or increased amount of oil than cotton balls.
RESPONDING TO OIL SPILLS AT SEA DISPERSION
Chemical dispersion is achieved by applying chemicals designed to remove oil from the water surface by breaking the oil into smaller droplets.
Also referred to as in situ burning, this is the method of setting ﬁre to freshly spilled oil, usually while still ﬂoating on the water surface. BOOMS Booms are long, ﬂoating barriers used to contain or prevent the spread of spilled oil.
Skimming is achieved with boats equipped with a ﬂoating skimmer designed to remove thin layers of oil from the surface, often with the help of booms.
Last year, 14-year-old Kiera Hui won a silver medal in the Canada-Wide Science Fair for finding an alternative way to clean up oil spills and reduce waste.
ABSORBENT PARTICLES Solidify the oil into pieces to be picked up.
CHEMICALLY DEVELOPED SPONGES
Created by scientists that can soak up oil and ﬂoat on water.
85% of textiles are thrown into the garbage and 81 pounds go to landﬁlls every year!
Textiles thrown into landﬁlls can take 2-5 months (cotton) or 40-50 years (leather) to decompose.
I N S P I R I N G N E X T G E N E R AT I O N L E A D E R S WORKING FOR A BETTER WORLD
hirty-year-old Emmanuel Cyzia from Kigali, Rwanda, is passionate about engaging youth in peace and community development initiatives. Emmanuel has experienced first-hand the result of violence and hatred. At the age of five, he witnessed the genocide rip through this country. “I recall a few things … I knew something bad was happening. When we were running away, I saw people crying in the street … people killing.” Despite having to flee for safety, through God’s grace Emmanuel and his family survived.
EMMANUEL CYZIA CHANGE-MAKER FROM RWANDA
by Laurena Zondo
“I was able to disciple new young leaders and now it is so wonderful to see that they are the ones organizing the camp, under my assistance … I am so thankful that God allowed me to raise up other people, to engage them in youth ministry.”
Pictured at the first peace camp in 2010, Emmanuel and some of his new friends practise a peace song for talent night. He was inspired to write the song at camp. Today, his church choir continues to sing his peace song during the annual Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
During his troubled teens years, Emmanuel was invited to attend a peace camp held by CBM’s partner, the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda, and it changed the course of his life. “It was very impactful. We heard about servant leadership and teamwork and ways to bring peace in society, to be a catalyst wherever God has placed you … and we had opportunity to share our talents and discover new skills. I created a peace song that my [church] choir still sings during our annual commemoration of the genocide every April.” After graduating from secondary school, Emmanuel started Bible clubs and peace clubs among children and youth in neighbourhoods and schools. In 2017, concerned by the high rate of drug use, teen pregnancies and sexual immorality that he saw among youth, he adapted a former church crusade called HIG – Hunga Irari rya Gasore (“Flee from Youthful Passions,” 2 Timothy 2:22) – into an annual camp to mentor, train and encourage youth to set a biblical foundation to guide them in life. “I was able to disciple new young leaders, and now it is so wonderful to see that they are the ones organizing the camp, under my assistance.” Through Emmanuel’s church, he is now serving across the country, training pastors and leaders from different churches in discipleship and leadership. He has also helped to lead evangelism campaigns in schools and villages, and community compassion efforts – such as repairing the homes of poor widows – with teams of youth from his church. “I am so thankful that God allowed me to raise up other people, and to engage them in youth ministry.”
Building a Brighter Future E D U C AT I O N E M P O W E R S RURAL CHILDREN IN INDIA by Suraj Komaravalli
ndia’s economic growth and contribution have been noticed around the world. News headlines recognize its information technology successes, space and missile initiatives, and the growth of its educational institutions and businesses, to name a few. However, there are two sides to every coin: while economic growth takes centre stage, the poorest of the poor continue to live in India – especially in rural areas. According to a 2011 census in India, the number of children living outside of urban centres is high. A survey of more than 470 million children under 18 years of age found that about 74 percent were living in rural settings. Children from impoverished families that rely on subsistence farming face various risks: discrimination based on caste, limited access to education, poor health and sanitation, malnutrition, disease, child labour, sexual abuse and exploitation.
Girls, however, are especially at risk – they face discrimination from their mother’s womb. Although banned in India, sexselective abortion and female infanticide is apparent. In some families, girls are considered a financial burden in light of dowry costs – an ancient practice that has been illegal in India for decades. Girls are also at risk of early marriage, which results in higher infant mortality and maternal mortality rates. Partnering with local churches in India, CBM strives to bring hope, healing and reconciliation to children at risk – both in word and deed. Last year, CBM worked alongside its newest partner in the country, Alempang Baptist Church in Nagaland. This congregation serves among the Mising community, the second largest indigenous group in the province of Assam. In addition, CBM continues to support rural children and their families in partnership with Soura Baptists and Oriya Baptists in Odisha, as well as Elim Compassion Ministries.
“CBM is addressing the challenges faced by kids at risk by helping them to break the cycle of poverty through education. As a result, opportunities for better jobs become available to them in the future.” Children living in rural areas often struggle to access education. In remote regions, government schools and well-trained teachers are limited. Poverty among rural families contributes to high dropout rates among students. Heavy rains, floods, festivals and health issues also hinder students from pursing an education. In India, CBM works with rural congregations to empower children and youth to learn and acquire skills training. Through tutoring centres at local churches, more than 1,800 students access afterschool support – including help with homework, oneon-one mentoring, and periodic testing to assess comprehension levels. For children with illiterate parents and limited resources, assistance from qualified tutors helps students to thrive in school.
[left] CBM is partnering with local churches in India to provide educational support to rural children.
PRAYER POINTS: As CBM continues to serve children at risk in India, please pray for the following:
An increase in the literacy rate among rural children
A desire among children to improve in their studies and pursue a higher education
An understanding from parents that education leads to a better life for their children
The strength and endurance of local churches to empower children in need
Now, students are improving in their studies, building confidence and expressing a desire to pursue higher education. Tutors and church leaders are also establishing relationships with the families of their students – allowing local churches to better serve within their communities. CBM is addressing the challenges faced by kids at risk by helping them to break the cycle of poverty through education. As a result, opportunities for better jobs become available to them in the future. For girls at risk of early marriage, education gives them hope to pursue their dreams. This demonstrates the heart of integral mission: healing the brokenness of kids through the demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ – while giving them opportunities to stand on their own two feet. In fact, this has been a witness to many parents in the communities where we serve in India. Together with local churches, CBM is bringing the kingdom of God to children at risk.
Suraj Komaravalli serves as Team Leader for CBM’s ministries in India. He lives in Hyderabad with his wife, Prasanna, and their two daughters.
Outside Our Four Walls
photo: Curtis Lai
A R E F L E C T I O N O N G LO B A L M I S S I O N by Curtis Lai
“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” ~ John Stott
hat a powerful reminder from John Stott, the late evangelical leader and theologian. It’s a reminder of who we are called to be. A reminder of what we are called to pursue. And a reminder to participate in global mission because we worship a God whose heart is concerned on a global scale. This is what we have been called to do as the global Church. And this is exactly what our partnership with CBM in recent years has led us to become as a local church. In 2015, North Toronto Chinese Baptist Church partnered with CBM to raise awareness and financial support for the Chagas project in Bolivia. In this South American country, Chagas disease is a silent killer among the poor. The disease can go undetected
[above] Last summer, youth from North Toronto Chinese Baptist Church visited CBM projects in Bolivia and worked alongside local youth.
for years as it slowly destroys internal organs, especially the heart. Children are particularly vulnerable, as this disease can affect their health and well-being during the critical stages of their development. Chagas is transmitted by an insect that thrives in adobe walls and thatched roofs, which are often used to construct rural homes in Bolivia. In partnership with local churches, CBM helps provide awareness training, medical treatment and simple home renovations to safeguard families against the disease. As a church, we appointed our high school youth group to spearhead our fundraising efforts for the Chagas project. When our youth began advocating for children at risk in Bolivia, things began to change. What resulted was a significant shift in our mission culture – in our youth ministry in particular, but also in the larger context of our church. Here are three ways that supporting children and families in Chagas-affected areas impacted our church.
1. IT HELPED US… DISCOVER A GLOBAL VISION
3. IT EMPOWERED US TO… DEVELOP AS A GLOBAL CONGREGATION
One of the biggest impacts that the Chagas project had on our youth ministry was that it helped our students discover a more robust vision of a global God.
Partnering with CBM on the Chagas project also empowered us as a congregation to become more globally mission-minded.
As the students rallied around the Chagas project in support of Bolivian children and families, through raising awareness and financial support, they were given an opportunity to better understand the global heart of God for the nations. They also came to realize that God has indeed called us to care for the needs of other around the world because He ultimately cares for them and pleads their cause (Proverbs 22:22-23).
Throughout the whole process, our students were given a gift: It’s not every day that youth in North America get a chance to rally behind a ministry project in another country, raise financial support for it, and then participate hands-on in that project in the field. This was an opportunity to pray, raise awareness and garner support for a need – but it was also an opportunity to enter into the need itself. A chance not only to send, but to go. And as a result, the mission culture of our youth group began to thrive.
Taking on the Chagas project helped our youth understand that God’s desire is for the Church to get involved. And part of that involvement includes engaging fully to advance the kingdom of God on a global scale.
“One of the biggest impacts that the Chagas project had on our youth ministry was that it helped our students discover a more robust vision of a global God.” 2. IT INVITED US TO… BE SENT ON GLOBAL MISSION In 2018, our youth group received a visit from Patty Nacho, who serves as CBM Field Staff in Bolivia. Her visit sparked something within us. She shared with us about the work in Bolivia – work that we had supported for several years – and many of us felt a stirring in our hearts. We were no longer satisfied being senders. We wanted to be sent. Last summer, we were invited to see the work of the Chagas project first-hand. A team of nine members – six youth and three counsellors – joined Patty and the CBM team in Bolivia for a twoweek trip. Together, we participated in the work that we had become familiar with on paper. And, in person, the experience was utterly transformative. Taking on the Chagas project provided our youth with the opportunity to not only be senders and mobilizers, but goers. We were able to get involved on the ground level of God’s kingdom work on a global scale.
How did this impact our youth?
How did this impact our local church? Partnering with CBM as a church pointed us to the importance of supporting global mission work – both as senders and goers. Many of the parents of the youth expressed they were glad their children had an experience that they themselves would have longed for at their age. In many ways, rallying around the project united several of our families. Partnering with CBM not only empowered us as a faith family, but also as a collection of nuclear families, striving to labour and be on mission together as brothers and sisters in Christ. It has also made us alert to the fact that the kingdom of God exists outside the four walls of our church. There are needs to be met all over this earth – opportunities for God’s kingdom to come. And Christ’s commission from Acts 1:8 rings with equal gravity today: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
At the end of the day, we only have three options when it comes to global mission: “Go, send or disobey.” ~ John Piper
Curtis Lai serves as Youth Pastor at North Toronto Chinese Baptist Church. He lives in Markham, Ont., with his wife, Vivian, and their 11-month-old daughter.
GodSent GodSent It
R E S H A P E YO U R WO R L D T H R O U G H G LO B A L M I S S I O N
is often said that mission trips can be life-changing – a gateway to a whole new world, and the beginning of a journey with God to impact the world.
CBM’s SENT program allows Canadian Baptists to answer the desire that God puts in their hearts to go out into the world – on a short-term basis. The global discipleship experience offers participants an overseas trip and opportunities to put their faith into action when they return home. Although trips usually run for about two weeks, a new version of the program called SENT Intensive provides participants with a more in-depth experience. Last summer, the first team was assigned to the Philippines for an unprecedented three-month trip. Six young adults – Ethan Phillips, Andrew Conrad, Jane Nickerson, Rodney Steeves, Taylor MacDonald and Kathryn Scott – embarked on a cross-cultural sojourn designed to give them a full experience of living and serving in a culture different from their own. Michael Waddell, CBM Field Staff based in the Philippines, helped launch the new program. “When we began to discuss and design SENT Intensive, from the onset, we knew we wanted participants to experience the highs and the lows of living and serving overseas. We intentionally didn’t fill their schedules with activities and events because we wanted them to have the opportunity – and the challenge – of ‘figuring out’ what cross-cultural life and ministry looked like for them.” For three months, the group participated in various activities with local Christians. They joined the Capiz Baptist Youth Fellowship Union’s annual summer camp, which was held in the middle of a rice field with over 400 children and youth participants. They also met with leaders of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. Through this experience, they learned about the various ministries of the denomination around the country, and they engaged in the convention’s camp and retreat ministry called Camp Higher Ground. The group also travelled to Baguio City, a mountainous area of the Philippines, to attend the Asia Pacific Baptist Youth Conference. At this event, they witnessed more than 1,000 youth and young adults coming together from across the region to learn more about discipleship. “It was our sincere hope that this experience would be a transformative event in the lives of each participant, as well as those they build relationships with in the Philippines,” says Michael. “We wondered how they would live out their faith in a different culture and in a language different than their own. How would they learn from the faith practices of another culture? And, most importantly, how would God use their experiences to shape and transform their lives in the months and years ahead?” Expressed in their own words, the following are reflections from a few SENT Intensive participants:
Ethan Phillips We grew together and experienced many things. At the Asia Pacific Baptist Youth Conference, I came to realize that in my walk with Christ, I need to put in the effort to follow him. Before SENT Intensive, my faith was just on the back burner, but now my routine has changed for the better. Before the trip, I knew that I had to put the effort in, but I never did. I am so glad that I went on this trip, as it changed me, and I will keep the Philippines in my heart now.
Rodney Steeves Dealing with an uncomfortable season in his life, Rodney felt lost when he got called to participate in the program. After a four-year undergraduate degree and not being active in a church, my faith had become stale. And although it was always there, I often was at a loss and angry with God for the situations I was finding myself in. I needed revival. I needed a purpose. I needed to rediscover my Christian identity. SENT Intensive was a life-altering, faithshaping, heart-stretching experience that came at the perfect time in my life. I had no idea what I was going to be doing with my life, but God clearly did as he directed my path to the Philippines. He knew that I was ready for what he had planned for me next – a call to ministry! This trip is just the first step in a long journey, and it has completely changed my life. I can’t wait to see where he will send me next!
Kathryn Scott A sign outside of the childcare centre that CBM supports reads, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8) God used that verse during my time in the Philippines. What does that look like for us today? How do we live in such a way that we love people enough not only to share the gospel, but to walk through the journey of life with people? Over the course of three months, these questions were answered as I witnessed how activities and actions such as counselling, teaching, pastoring, farming, opening your home, sharing a meal, going out for coffee, leading games and activities and simply spending time with people can make a huge impact for the kingdom. Sharing our lives may seem messy, and it certainly takes a lot of time and effort, but it is so worth it! I thought of the many faces of the different people I encountered and developed friendships with – the stories I heard of triumph and struggle, and the way that God is on the move in all of our lives. My experience with SENT Intensive gave me a greater appreciation for God’s intentionality and produced continued clarity that my heart is for the nations and to be a disciple who makes disciples. What an incredible thing it is to be able to learn from, fellowship with, encourage, and serve our brothers and sisters globally.
“SENT Intensive was a life-altering, faith-shaping, heart-stretching experience that came at the perfect time in my life.”
I can honestly say the SENT Intensive experience was unique. Rather than having a predetermined schedule handed to us when we first arrived, we had a few big events that were set in stone and the rest was planned along the way. By being immersed in the community and culture, our team was able to network with the locals, creating everlasting friendships.
What does it mean to be SENT? CBM’s SENT program provides Canadians of all ages with a global discipleship experience, which includes an overseas trip and opportunities to put their faith into action when they return home. We are SENT as God’s people living up to and into the call to be disciples in a world of disparity and injustice. Be SENT out and challenge yourself to immerse, serve and learn in another culture. Be SENT back ready to become an advocate and put faith into action in your own community.
UPCOMING TRIPS FOR STUDENTS Brazil & Bolivia – July/August 2020 Through Praxis, CBM’s scholarship program for seminary students, participants will take part in the 2020 Baptist World Alliance Celebration in Brazil. They will also meet with local church leaders in Bolivia to learn practical examples of integral mission. Visit cbmin.org/applyforpraxis to sign up. Application deadline: March 31, 2020. Rwanda – August 2020 Canadian youth will partner with Rwandan youth to host Kamp Tumaini, a summer camp experience for children affected or infected by HIV and AIDS. Youth will gain valuable leadership skills as they serve alongside local youth. Application deadline: March 31, 2020.
UPCOMING TRIPS FOR CHURCH LEADERS Lebanon – June 2020 Join CBM Executive Director Terry Smith for this transformational experience. Participants will visit Syrian refugee relief projects, meet with local church partners, and take part in the Middle East Consultation at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. Application deadline: February 15, 2020. India – October 2020
contact Adrian Gardner, CBM’s Team Lead for Church Engagement,
Learn and grow as you serve alongside CBM’s newest partner, Alempang Baptist Church in Nagaland. This trip includes ministry among the Mising tribe, which is the second largest indigenous group in the province of Assam. Application deadline: March 15, 2020.
Interested? Visit BeSENT.ca to learn more.
To learn more about the SENT program, visit besent.ca or
Traumatized Children RESTORING HOPE AND HEALING TO CHILDREN OF CONFLICT by Nicolette Beharie
iba* was only six years old when civil war broke out in Syria. Although she doesn’t remember everything from the 2011 clashes, there are certain things she won’t ever forget. During the war, her father disappeared and is still missing today. A passing bullet also claimed the life of her baby brother. Hiba, the eldest of six children, then stepped in to support her grieving mother and younger siblings: After tragically losing her brother, she helped wash, wrap and bury the six-month-old baby. Now a young teenager, Hiba has grown up experiencing the harsh realities of war. In many ways, the 15-year-old has lost her childhood. She and her siblings can’t recall a time without war. In recent years, the United Nations (UN) has highlighted the mental health needs of children affected by violence around the world. “When children grow up in armed conflict, their deep mental scars are often overlooked,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore shared in a statement. “Prolonged exposure to violence, fear and uncertainty can have a catastrophic impact on children’s learning, behaviour and emotional and social development for many years. If ignored, toxic stress from witnessing or experiencing traumatic events can lead to an
“When children grow up in armed conflict, their deep mental scars are often overlooked.” increase in bedwetting, self-harm, aggressive or withdrawn behaviour, depression, substance abuse and, at worst, suicide.” The UN estimates that one in four children live in countries affected by conflict or disaster. For those who survive the violence, they are left with psychological scars that need special attention. If left unchecked, the effects of trauma can impact their health and well-being – disrupting their ability to learn. Through programs that support vulnerable children, CBM is working with global church partners to create safe places for children to heal and continue their education.
A NEW START Hiba and her family are among the 5.6 million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries since the war began. The UN’s refugee agency estimates that another 6.6 million people are internally displaced. Nine years into the conflict, the ongoing violence has created the largest refugee crisis in the world – more than half the country’s population has been forced to leave their homes.
“With these students being loved and taken care of unconditionally, they have learned the emotion of empathy … and created a community of tolerance and genuine humanity.” refugees than any other country, is home to about 488,000 refugee children. As a result, local schools have overcrowded classrooms and struggle to accept new students. And the high costs of private schools are out of reach for most refugee families.
photo: Helen Manson
CBM supports the True Vine education program, which provides Syrian refugee children with an alternative education option. In partnership with a local church and the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), close to 600 children benefit from this program.
Like Hiba’s family, many Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon. But life hasn’t been easy. Nearly 70 percent of refugee families live below the poverty line. For those who lack legal documentation, accessing essential services like medical care, adequate housing and employment continue to be a challenge. To make ends meet, some families adopt precarious coping strategies to survive: working in unsafe environments, reducing meals and incurring debt for basic needs. Faced with these pressures, refugee children are at risk of exploitation and abuse – some families have turned to child labour and early marriage to help alleviate their financial burden. The 2018 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon – a report that assesses a representative sample of Syrian refugee families to identify changes and trends in their situation – found that more than half of refugee children were out of school. Most were adolescents and youth who reported the need to work as a reason for not attending. The costs of transportation and educational materials also pose a barrier to school attendance, especially as children get older. Although Lebanon has taken steps to increase access to education, it has been challenging to accommodate the sudden influx of school-aged children. Lebanon, which has welcomed more Syrian
“As Syrian refugees continue to flee to Lebanon, the Lebanese public education system has been unable to absorb the large numbers of Syrian refugee children,” says information from the LSESD. “Many of the children now enrolled in this program had been out of school for two to five years and were at risk of falling out of the education system completely.” The True Vine program helps fill the education gap by providing basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as psychosocial support in a safe environment. The program also prepares Arabic-speaking children to enter Lebanon’s education system, which provides English instruction. Sami* is one of the True Vine educators who helps refugee children adjust to learning. “When the children first come to the centre, they are afraid. But with time, they gain confidence,” says Sami, who is also from Syria. “Through the learning process, they become more confident; when they start to read and write, they become more confident ... I tell them ‘you can do it, you know how.’” Hiba is a student enrolled in the True Vine program, where she also receives regular counselling sessions with a psychologist. After losing her father and baby brother, Hiba was left traumatized. As a coping mechanism, she unconsciously suppressed the memories. But she continued to suffer from severe panic attacks that seemed to worsen when she arrived in Lebanon. Emily Talley, who works with CBM’s partner in Lebanon, says having access to trained specialists has a profound and far-reaching impact on the lives of children affected by war. “Children become adults, and there is a large chance that young people who grow up constantly being marginalized and deprived of basic security and emotional warmth will look at the world with vengeance and hatred,” she explains. “With these students being loved and taken care of unconditionally, they have learned the emotion of empathy … and created a community of tolerance and genuine humanity.”
“When a conflict erupts, youth face immediate consequences: hunger, disease, abuse, injury or even death. But once the conflict ends, they face emotional, social and economic challenges that continue into adulthood.”
Through the counselling support, Hiba was able to improve her mental health and focus on her education. She has built friendships with other students and now has hopes for the future. Hiba, who enjoys “making girls look pretty,” would like to become a prominent hairdresser one day.
TAILOR-MADE SOLUTIONS In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), CBM partners with the Baptist Church in Central Africa to provide counselling support to vulnerable children and youth through an initiative in North Kivu province. The project also provides vocational training and equipment to young people living with physical and mental challenges, including conflict-related trauma. In the DRC, decades of conflict and political unrest have increased the vulnerability of children. In the eastern region, which is rich in natural resources, armed groups recruit child soldiers and use sexual violence to enforce control. Women and girls are often targeted on their way to school or while doing chores for the family, such as collecting water. As a young teenager, Margaret was raped while searching for firewood. She became pregnant and gave birth to an albino baby – increasing their vulnerability. In her community, raped women and albinos both suffer from marginalization. At age 16, Margaret was unable to cope with the fear and trauma she experienced. As a result, she confined herself to her room and suffered in silence. Through the project, Margaret received the counselling she needed to start rebuilding her life. She learned about tailoring and designed a blouse for her mother to demonstrate her new skills. Now, Margaret can earn an income and better care for her son.
Muslim regions together in one room. Participants take part in workshops, problem-solving activities and group discussions that are aimed at breaking down religious barriers through positive education. The first event was held in Mindanao, a southern region of the Philippines that has a history of religious tension. Conflictaffected communities in Mindanao are among the poorest in the Philippines, says information from the World Bank. They suffer from poor infrastructure and lack basic services – including education and health care. In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, poverty rates are almost double the national average. Michael Waddell, CBM Field Staff based in the Philippines, says many of the youth who participate in the inter-faith gathering have witnessed some form of violence. When they first come to the gathering, they often have preconceived notions about the opposite faith group. But facilitators have found that much of their opinions come from stories passed down from their elders. To help break the cycle of violence, says Michael, the gathering helps youth to look ahead to the future – together – and rewrite their story. As an ice-breaker activity, youth are asked to share their hopes and dreams. “It’s pretty much all the same for each person: I want to be healthy. I want a good job. I want a wife and kids. I want to have an education,” explains Michael. “Looking at these sticky notes stuck on the wall, you can’t tell which ones are from a Christian or Muslim because they’re all the same. Everybody really shares the same kind of aspirations for life.”
FIGHTING FOR THEIR FUTURE
Glonel is a Christian youth pastor who was invited to participate in one of the gatherings. This gave him the rare opportunity to interact with Muslim youth in an effort to better understand one another. “Indeed, this gathering is life-changing,” he says. “It changed my perspective towards my Muslim brothers and sisters – even though we have differences, we also have commonalities.”
In the Philippines – where religious tensions have led to violent clashes in the past – CBM is working with local youth to address the root causes of conflict, so future generations can keep safe and stay in school.
By the end of the gathering, young people are empowered to go back to their communities and be advocates for peace and reconciliation. Many of the participants also form new friendships and continue to keep in touch through social media.
In 2017, CBM partnered with local faith leaders and organizations to launch the first Inter-Faith Youth Leadership gathering. The annual three-day event brings youth from Christian and
“These young people want something more than what they’ve been raised with,” Michael says of the violence. “They want to see life improve for themselves and their future generations.”
“This centre was a grace for me,” Margaret’s mother says of the program. “It came to build my household, which was broken, and to revive my daughter.”
A LASTING IMPACT Although war affects entire populations, the UN suggests “those who bear the heaviest burden are arguably a country’s youth.” When a conflict erupts, youth face immediate consequences: hunger, disease, abuse, injury or even death. But once the conflict ends, they face emotional, social and economic challenges that continue into adulthood. “Conflict situations undercut the efforts of young people to move forward with their economic lives, whether they stay in their countries or seek escape as refugees,” says information from the UN. “For many, this means deferring or giving up on personal investment in education. Additionally, while wartime economies may provide job opportunities for some, for most the uncertainty of wartime violence undermines any efforts to secure work or to start building a career.” At the end of 2018, the number of people displaced by war globally reached a record high of 71 million people. And half of the refugee population in that same year were children. As global conflicts continue to rise – and the youth population forecasted to increase by 2030 – supporting war-affected youth will impact sustainable development down the road. Terry Smith, CBM’s Executive Director, understands the importance of investing in the next generation. “I have witnessed, in working with CBM’s global partners for 25 years, both a deep passion and a stunning competency as they incarnate Christ’s love and acceptance for young people” he says. “Every year, through the ministries we support, the lives of thousands of children and youth are positively impacted and their futures
brightened in ways that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The work is slow, methodical and labour-intensive, but God is producing an ‘eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:17) through this. It is very likely the most strategic ministry we can engage in because when it’s done effectively, we are not only transforming individual lives, but the future of our world.” * Name has been changed.
Nicolette Beharie serves with CBM as editor of Mosaic. Based in Ontario, she specializes in magazine editing and feature writing for non-profit organizations.
[below, left] CBM partners with local churches in the DRC to provide vocational training to youth in conflict-affected regions.
[below, right] In the Philippines, CBM’s annual inter-faith gathering encourages Christian and Muslim youth to promote peace.
P R OT E C T I N G V U L N E R A B L E CHILDREN FROM THE TOURIST SEX TRADE by Kathleen Soucy
ast year, I had the privilege of travelling to the Dominican Republic with my husband, Bruno, and Patricia Echegoyen, CBM’s Program Officer for Latin America and Rwanda. In a small beach town of about 50,000 people, located on the northern coastline of the island, we met 14-year-old Diego*. He lives with his father, who works as a gardener, his stay-at-home mother and four siblings. What Diego likes the most about where he lives is going to the beach with his friends. “There isn’t much to do because it is dangerous here,” he explained. “There are thieves, drug dealers and other dangerous people in our town. They don’t bother us too much because we don’t do anything to provoke them, but we have to be careful.”
“Faced with limited resources, some are compelled to surrender their children to the lucrative tourist sex trade as a last resort.” In addition to living in an area affected by violence and corruption, many of Diego’s friends live in broken homes – with parents who don’t know how to care for their children well and lack consistent employment. Faced with limited resources, some are compelled to surrender their children to the lucrative tourist sex trade as a last resort.
photos: Bruno Soucy
The Last Resort
In the Dominican Republic, the main economic drivers are tourism and agricultural exports, especially along the coastal areas. Most Canadians are familiar with vacation hotspots, such as Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. However, just minutes from beautiful resorts, communities are affected by drug trafficking, sexual exploitation and violence – most notably against women and immigrants of Haitian origin. Although Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola, the poverty level is significantly higher in Haiti, which is still recovering from the effects of natural disasters and political instability. Sex traffickers can be seen walking along beaches advertising young people – especially female youth – on their mobile devices like a restaurant menu for mostly foreign tourists. Sadly, the people who should be protecting the most vulnerable are often complicit. It is against this backdrop that CBM’s ministry partner, Iglesias Bautistas de Republica Dominicana (IBAREDO), is serving in and with the communities where its churches are planted. Founded in 2002, IBAREDO’s 20 member churches and their numerous missions are mostly small and located in poor, isolated neighbourhoods. Almost all IBAREDO pastors are bi-vocational and many lack formal theological training. Despite their limited resources, local congregations are actively engaged with their communities, often supporting vulnerable children and youth. Through mobilizing the hearts and talents of their members, these small churches are finding resourceful ways to meet the needs around them.
[left] CBM works with local churches in the Dominican Republic to provide safe spaces and learning activities for children at risk.
PRAYER POINTS: Please pray for IBAREDO churches, which are seeking peace, prosperity and justice in their communities.
Pray that God would give them wisdom and strength as they care for vulnerable children, providing safe places to help protect them from sexual exploitation
Pray that pastors, church members and leaders would be equipped to share the hope and healing that come from knowing the love of God
By the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were living in bateyes in the Dominican Republic. Although many were second- and third-generation Haitians born in the Dominican Republic, they had no legal citizenship status and no connection to Haiti. They basically became a people without a country. Today, most remain deeply impoverished and suffer from discrimination. As a result, young people living in these circumstances are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Emilia Estienne Moplisi grew up in an isolated batey community, located about 40 minutes from La Romana. The daughter of a pastor, Emilia is now leading one of the mission churches of Iglesia Bautista Bethel. At 33, she is a first-year student in IBAREDO’s theological program. She is also a member of the Pastoring of Pastors (PdeP) mentoring initiative, which CBM supports through its partnership with IBAREDO.
Iglesia Bautista de la Reconciliación is a 24-member congregation in Sosúa. Although small in number, they have clearly grasped the idea of being a church outside its walls – they want to be known by their service to the community. Pastor Enrique Meisson and a team of young people regularly teach music lessons to 40 children, aged 10 to 14. They also hold concerts, organize a softball team, run a hair salon and encourage young entrepreneurs to create their own work, giving them a viable alternative to drug trafficking or prostitution.
“As a single woman who has grown up in the community, I have had several challenges, including being told that women cannot be leaders in the church,” says Emilia. “I just persisted to do the work that I believe God has called me to do. Attending the PdeP has gotten me out of my own batey and given me a different perspective on the chaos and frustrations that I live with. The trainings and workshops motivate me to continue to give of myself to my community.”
Diego is just one of the many young people who have been blessed by this ministry. “I found out about the church music program from my sister, and I have been going for about a year,” he says. “I play the guitar and now I play in a band at the church called the Children of the Rocks. I would like to be an architect one day … I can even teach music to other kids.”
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Iglesia Bautista Bethel in La Romana, which is close to Punta Cana, is one of IBAREDO’s larger churches. Pastored by Miguel and Belkis Bonnet, this church has four extension missions in poor neighbourhoods in the countryside. They work among sugar cane cutters who live in bateyes – settlements for mostly Haitian migrant workers alongside sugar mills. Bateyes were originally built as temporary lodging for seasonal workers. But over time, as migrants remained in the country after the harvest season, bateyes developed into permanent communities with growing families. The conditions in these communities can vary – while some residents have access to running water and electricity, most lack basic public services and live in dilapidated dwellings.
~ Isaiah 1:17 *
Name has been changed.
Kathleen Soucy and her husband, Bruno, are CBM’s Latin America Team Leaders, who are based in Guatemala and serve throughout the region. They previously served in Rwanda, helping churches develop an integral mission approach to ministry that included programs in food security, care for orphans and vulnerable children, women’s literacy and more.
July 22-26, 2020
Calling all Youth! For the first time in history, the BWA is holding the Baptist Youth World Conference and the Baptist World Congress as one gathering.
This inspiring event includes: • Biblical teaching • Dynamic communicators • Creative arts expressed in worship • Practical insights for life and mission
This event happens once every five years – sign up today! Early bird youth registration - $250 USD (Early bird rate in effect until March 31, 2020)
CBM 7185 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 5R4
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
YOUTH MINISTRY SPEAKERS Flavio Ramos · Brazil
Emmanuel Oloruntoba Arotile · Nigeria
Renée Embree MacVicar · Canada
A Baptist pastor who served as a missionary in Morocco and founded the Evangelical Arab Mission of Brazil.
A Baptist pastor who served as National Coordinator of the Youth Ministries of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
The Director of the Next Generation Ministry Program at Acadia Divinity College.
For conference details, visit bwa2020.org
As partners in the Canadian Baptist family we exist to serve the local church in its grassroots mission. Together we impact our communities and beyond through the love of Christ.
FSC LOGO HERE