Do You Recognize This Tune?
A publication of Canadian Baptist Ministries
Also in this issue
Signs of Everyday Grace: Seeing with Fresh Eyes Where Are You? Excepts of Dialogue with CBM Field Staff from Europe and the Middle East Sisterhood of Pain and Healing: Stories from the Border of Rwanda and DR Congo
mosaic is published three times a year by Canadian Baptist Ministries. Copies are distributed free of charge. Bulk quantities available by request.
c o n ta c t 7185 Millcreek Drive Mississauga, ON l5n 5r4 Tel: 905.821.3533 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbmin.org Managing Editor Jennifer Lau Editor Laurena Zondo Art Direction Gordon Brew
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I wonder how deeply we believe in God’s gr ace . John Newton thought that grace was “amazing” when he realized that even he, a man who formerly captained slave ships could be forgiven. Do we believe this? What about current members of ISIS (the Islamic State)? Can they be forgiven? For some of us, this is a hard question to answer. We take a deep breath as we realize that the only answer that flows from the Cross of Christ is “yes”, but, frankly, we may not even like that answer! I can think of five key reasons why grace matters so much as we seek to embrace a broken world through word and deed: • Grace forces us to realize that everyone needs grace – not just victims but also the victimizers. We speak of the world being broken, but at the centre of this are broken people. It is far too easy for self-righteousness to creep into mission efforts and to separate the world into “good” and “bad” people. Grace is a curative for this. It helps us empathize with the wounded, but also with those who wound (who are themselves wounded). • Grace allows us to plunge into the fray of a tumultuous world because we know that we will be forgiven on the journey. Our job is not to live life carefully, in the vain hope that a lack of engagement will keep us “pure.” As we embrace the brokenness of the world we may find that we are not as strong as we hoped we were, and that we ourselves need forgiveness.
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.
• Grace is a promise that our own brokenness will be healed as we offer healing to others. We sometimes labour under the mistaken notion that mission flows out of our strength, whereas in reality it flows out of offering our own journeys of healing to those around us, and discovering that as we serve, we are served and blessed.
Winter 2015 Do you recognize
If you're trained to read music, you know what's on the cover.
grace when you
You can hear the tune in your head, how sweet the sound!
Similarly, if our hearts are not trained, we will miss the signs of Amazing Grace all around us. In this issue of mosaic look for the
colourful signs of grace shining in the midst of a broken world.
learn.. .............................. 4 Signs of Everyday Grace: Seeing with Fresh Eyes
9 Starting Thought: Stand Up to the Evil Giants just think..................... 10 12 Where Are You? Excepts of Dialogue with CBM Field Staff from Europe and the Middle East
• Grace leads to joy-filled and hope-filled mission. Too much Christian mission has been problem-centred rather than Godcentred. The daunting problems of our global community can lead to either obsessive, messianic-like activity, or disconnected, tuned-out fatalism. Neither of these are Christ-like responses. Rather, we are called to sow the seeds of the Kingdom with grace and hope and joy, because we know that ISIS does not get the last word. God does. • Grace allows us to participate adventurously in the planting of God’s Kingdom, without us having to control the final results or make sense of how the story is unfolding. That’s because grace is based on God’s character and activity – it is not based on the latest news report on television. While Christian mission does engage the principalities and powers and is thus very serious, it is also true that the battle belongs to God and that we are called to participate in the overflowing grace that comes from the cross. A little grace goes a long way.
16 Sisterhood of Pain and Healing: Stories from the Border of Rwanda and DR Congo 20 She Matters in Rwanda
the view........................ 22 From China to Germany and Back Again
see ................................ 23 Parting Shot touch............................. 24 Grassroots Heroes
Grace and peace, Rev. Sam Chaise Executive Director of CBM
Connect with Sam and what’s happening in CBM’s global network of ministry. Follow Sam on Twitter @samchaise_cbm.
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.
by Anna Robbins, Director of Doctoral Studies and Academic Dean of Acadia Divinity College, and Associate Professor of Theology, Culture and Ethics
struggled with sever al false starts on this article, and couldn’t figure out why. I had been invited to comment on the graceless culture in which we live, and to consider how Christians might respond. Sounds easy, right? As I wrote, I found myself grasping after examples that displayed a lack of grace in everyday life. And though they are there to be found, if I dug hard enough, I realized something important. We assume that we encounter a lack of graciousness all the time, but when I really think about it, this is not true to my experience. In fact, I meet a lot of graciousness in my life, day by day. When I come to a stop sign, the other driver waves me through ahead of him. The woman at the drive-through chats with my child and digs out some crayons for him. When I leave my car with the headlights still on, a helpful and smiling young man comes eagerly to my rescue. The local u-pick intentionally undercharges me for my wheelbarrow full of pumpkins. An atheist colleague invites me for coffee and a chat. I receive a phone call from someone I met only once wishing me a happy birthday. We are conditioned in our culture to be critical, and to deconstruct the motives of others. If somebody is kind, perhaps they want something from me. There must be an ulterior motive to the smile, the handshake, the greeting. We are also psychologically inclined to emphasize one negative experience in a day, over a wealth of positives. We leave the house in a new outfit, and receive many compliments through the day until one person says, ‘Wow, you look tired.’ That’s the one that sticks! Our confidence is deflated, and we forget all the other good things that were said. Or, we drive many miles, encounter countless courteous drivers, but it’s the one who cuts us off that we remember.
There are, no doubt, occasions when we are dismayed by the lack of graciousness we encounter. Sometimes, people can be rude, ignorant, and offensive. We are not surprised to encounter negativity from time to time. Not everyone is constantly overflowing with love for others. What is perhaps most dismaying is that often, these people are Christians. Sometimes it’s even me. We’ve probably all experienced the hurt of a greeting unreturned, the loneliness of exclusion or the sting of a careless, barbed comment from a Christian brother or sister. If it can happen inside the church, it certainly can happen when Christians encounter others outside of the church. If I think about where I have met the least amount of graciousness in recent years, it has been from Christians who really ought to know better, and do better. Maybe it feels worse because we expect so much more. This past summer was a difficult one for many Christians with a compassion for God’s people around the world. Day after day we were bombarded with stories and images of unimaginable violence, massacres and beheadings. Unfettered
evil. If you’re like me you received emails from friends or colleagues, or Christian organizations pleading for prayer, and begging for intercession on behalf of the slaughter of Christians in Mosul or Baghdad; seeking peace for the people of Gaza or Nigeria. It seemed we had become a world devoid of grace. What made it worse were the online discussions, the message boards filled with vitriolic grandstanding, often from Christians directed towards other Christians, that would make my atheist friend blush. Differing in their views over what needed to be done, and who is responsible to do it, they seemed often to forget that Jesus Christ himself is party to our discussions, whether they are online or personal. We are eager to receive grace, but less enthusiastic about allowing it to shape our response to those with whom we disagree. Grace, after all, is something we should know a bit about. Although our culture has largely rejected the tenets of Christianity, in practice, the shadow of its influence is long over our land. Grace lingers in our expressions of human kindness. We understand intangibly that people have inherent value, they matter, and to care for others is almost a basic instinct. There is a common grace that God gives to society that theologian Martin Luther
believed restrains sin enough to keep us from killing each other. I like to think that it can go beyond that to accomplish positive things too. When we encounter a graceless world, Christians have some rich resources to bring to bear. But often we hesitate. Perhaps we underestimate what grace can do in the everyday, and how a little yeast can work through the dough of contemporary culture. Grace in the Bible is not something that we make, rather we are made by it. We are recipients of grace, not its creators. A biblical understanding of grace seems to focus almost exclusively on what God in Christ has done for us in providing a reconciled relationship with him and each other. Once it is received, grace goes on parade. Because of grace we are given gifts and opportunities to share them with others. Grace is love that goes beyond justice, to empty the self and focus on the other. Grace changes us, and turns us inside out. Perhaps part of the problem for us in seeing grace at work around us day by day is our lack of imagination. We are eager to acknowledge grace when we encounter it in church, or when we are being intentionally ‘Christian’, but we are far less inclined
to be on the look-out for grace on the train, in the grocery store line-up, or in the traffic jam. When we open our eyes to see things as they are, we find grace everywhere, even in some of the most unexpected places. And in the places where we don’t see grace, we are to be grace. Sometimes we treat grace like our finest china; something to be polished and put on display but not touched, except for very special occasions. We think of things like the grace shown to us in Christ that brings about our salvation, we think about ourselves as objects of God’s singular grace. Or, we think of dispensing rare grace in dramatic, life-changing events, like the Bishop in Les Misérables, who told police that he gave the stolen candlesticks to Jean Valjean, and the course of a man’s life was forever transformed. There is a store where I used to shop that sold the ‘everyday dress.’ The idea was that you could buy a very special piece of clothing that was as comfortable as it was beautiful; that you wouldn’t need to save it for a special evening out. It was designed to be worn on any day, for any occasion. That’s what grace in our lives should be like. Everyday grace.
Despite the fact that we abound in grace, it is not easy to put grace to work everyday in contemporary culture. So much of life mitigates against prioritizing the other, nurturing self-protection and self-promotion. Consumer culture depends on promoting the myth that the self is the centre of the universe: I am the one who decides about everything; I am the one who chooses. It creates endless desire for the ever new that can be purchased and owned. But we are never satisfied; the quest to be fulfilled through the next purchase is an endless retreat from grace as we seek selfsatisfaction and self-fulfillment in everything from toothpaste, education and career choices to relationships. Everything and everyone is expendable, and replaceable with a newer model with updated features. Everyday grace can’t be bought at any price. It costs everything yet is freely given. Grace turns our cultural reality on its head. By its nature, grace comes to us from God as gift, begging to be lived, every day. It says to the lost, ‘I've found you’; it says to desire, ‘Be satisfied,’ it says to the lonely, ‘I'm here.’ It says to each of us that we have been sought out and found and saved to the uttermost. In the light of grace we know who we really are. The band U2 once released a song simply titled, Grace. In the song, Grace is personified as a girl who walks the streets, bringing music to silence, as she looks for the good in everything. As she ‘carries a pearl in perfect condition’ we are told that ‘what left a mark no longer stings.’ Why? ‘Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.’ I wonder how often we are tempted to point out the stain, emphasize the error, highlight shame, rather than see how the grace that transforms our lives should be lived out in the everyday. Unfortunately, our response to God’s grace as Christians is often less than what it could be. We don’t always live it out well. When we find our views under pressures of criticism or legislation, we seem unable to articulate a reasonable and winsome wisdom in the public sphere. Instead we often come across as shrieking banshees, mourning the past and appearing sharply critical and damning of others. We are known for what we are against rather than what we are for. Grace lives in our engagement with the world. We forget that there is nowhere that grace can’t go; Jesus is already there. There are times that it may be appropriate to point out error, or to uphold truth. But could we do it with a tone of grace? Could we engage with a confidence that grace is sufficient, and with a humility that recognizes our own frail condition? How we are seen to respond when under criticism and pressure speaks more loudly than the words we use, no matter how cleverly-turned. More than that, perhaps we could simply allow grace to work through our lives everyday, so that we are the first to smile, the first to hold the door, the first to ask the other how things are for them, and listen with sincerity. To be counter-cultural is to move ourselves out of the centre, and realize that place belongs to Christ. As we receive his grace, we pour ourselves out wherever we go, splashing grace all over the encounters we have with others. Grace in the every day.
Stand Up to the Evil Giants A reflection by Tom Mei, CBM Field Staff, Asia
THE RECENT VIOLENCE in the Middle East, and the systematic eradication by ISIS of minorities, including large numbers of Christians, in Iraq has given me reason to ponder where is God in all of this? This is not the first time violence has visited innocent people. Human history is one that is full of violence and injustice. The story of God’s call to Moses informs us that after 400 years of enslavement, God finally says these words: Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people… And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” exodus 3:7–10 The answer from scripture to my question is that God is not unaware of the plight of those who suffer. However he does not respond the way we think, or at least the way I think he ought to respond. I’d like him to swoop down from the heavens and rain fire on the bad guys. I’d like him to fight for the innocent, even kill for them… but he refuses to comply with how I want him to act. Instead he waits and rather than rain fire on the ‘bad guys’, he sends someone like Moses – a reluctant prophet. It’s understandable that Moses was reluctant because he is only too aware of his own lack of resources, abilities, and shortcomings. Moses was a nobody, a runaway hiding in the desert of Midian, hoping no one would ever notice him. God hears the plight of his people and instead of sending an army to deal with the evil empire he sends one, ill-equipped man. From every point of view this is a mission impossible. The phrase that jumped out as I reflected on this text is in verse 10: “Come I will send you.” Into the violence and madness
From one crisis to another: early January, a serious winter storm hit Lebanon, leaving Syrian refugees to seek warmth by huddling inside tents around fires. CBM and our partner, Lebanese Society for Educational & Social Development, are providing emergency aid.
of human suffering, God sends people who are ill-equipped, under resourced, fully aware of their own inadequacies to do something impossible. I find myself at odds with this strategy and yet there was Moses who faced Pharaoh with just a stick…and a wild belief that God had sent him and was with him. Compared to the war machine of Pharaoh the staff of Moses seemed ridiculous. And yet what seems ridiculous to us, so contrary to our values, often becomes the instrument of God’s deliverance. My mind goes to a photograph of a father in the Middle East holding the small body of his mutilated daughter. As I think of that father embracing the broken body of his child, I think that perhaps the hardest thing for God to do is not to strike out but to suffer with, modeling for us these words: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep… Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. … “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. romans 12:14–21 Those of us who follow Jesus are ‘sent’ into our world to live this out. In the face of the giants of evil in our world, these values seem ridiculous and contrary – a stick to face a tank – impossible to live out. And yet what are the alternatives to our broken world? It seems to me that humanity is in need of deliverance. And like Moses, we who are sent out may not look like much, and the values we hold in our hands might seem powerless against the giant of evil, but they are the tool through which God will subvert the powers of this world and set humanity free.
This can be read two ways How do you choose to read it?
excepts of dialogue with cbm field staff from europe and the middle east
by Terry Smith, CBM's Director of International Partnerships
I RECENTLY SAT DOWN with three of our Field Staff to discuss how we, at CBM, serve God in dark places of gracelessness, particularly in Europe and the Middle East, where they are based. What are the unique challenges we face as we seek to be witnesses in hateful, violent and seemingly hopeless times? Their answers may surprise you.
THE DISCUSSION GROUP Jeff Carter: Youth Ministry Training Coordinator and Advisor for the European Baptist Federation, an organization comprised of Baptist federations and unions from across 51 countries.
Rupen Das: Senior Consultant for Relief and Development for European Baptist Aid, previously served as Director of Relief and Development with Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development before redeployment to serve the broader network of Baptist agencies in Europe and the Middle East.
Elie Haddad: President of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary which equips leaders for the Church in the Arab world with students this year from Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Armenia.
mosaic—winter 2015 Jeff: When I first arrived, Europe as a whole was still emerging from the Communist era. There was a huge amount of enthusiasm among young people…new economic growth, the rise of secularism and access to material goods. But, in 2008 and 2009, the first people that were really hit the hardest were young people in terms of employment and opportunities. Spain, for example, has 86% unemployment among those under 30 years of age. So you have an entire generation now that went from the highs of enthusiasm to complete and utter despair and lack of hope for the future.
Terry: How would
you say the world in which you serve has changed since you have been on the field?
Terry: Is the
Church keeping up with change or is it falling further and further behind?
Elie: In Lebanon, things are getting much worse – especially with the regional conflict that is taking place. The enemy used to be very deceitful – secularism and consumerism. Now, it’s taking a new shape. Some people have called ISIL/ISIS ‘evil personified.’ I’m not sure if I agree with them. But there is an evil that no one has seen before. It’s at our doorsteps. The Church can’t afford not to react and not to have a position. We either have to confront and deal with it or run away from it – no other options. Rupen: The history of the Middle East – and this goes back for centuries – has been one of conflict, and the last few years are no different. The Arab Spring has created competing visions of what society should be or could be; radical elements, modern elements, political, social and religious ideologies, all mixed in. The competing visions are really violent. They clash and that’s what you are seeing. We have witnessed a shift from pseudo-stability to radicalized elements exerting their vision violently.
Elie: In Lebanon we have churches that do not have a clue of what is going on and other churches that are really at the forefront. We are seeing new expressions of churches as well as new communities of faith that are emerging and not from our established churches, but in new ways. We have small groups that are popping up among refugees and among different people groups and becoming real places of growth for new believers. Jeff: Fortunately, there is that sort of ‘can do’ attitude, especially in Eastern Europe, where we see the most growth. Church-planting is on the upswing with entire congregations under 40 years of age. Rupen: After 20–30 years of deep hatred and wounds, Middle Eastern pastors are leading a process of reconciliation that is absolutely remarkable. Some lost family members and suffered horribly under Syrian occupation, but are now reaching out to Syrian refugees with love and hospitality. One pastor said ‘If I can’t forgive the Syrians, I shouldn’t be a pastor.’ It’s a remarkable statement… and a story that needs to be told…a true story of reconciliation.
Elie: It’s the crisis that is forcing change and not the theology that’s forcing the practice. It’s not that they are studying the scripture and coming up with conviction that is forcing them to change their behavior. It’s the crisis that is forcing them to review the scripture – I find that interesting.
Terry: What is
the catalyst for this missional response?
Rupen: I absolutely agree with Elie. Among the churches that we are involved in, the crisis has forced them to say ‘What does it mean to be a church?’ and ‘What do we understand the gospel to be?’ which was never part of the discussion even three years ago. You will have a very rich theology coming – there is significant thinking that is going on. Jeff: That’s what impresses me the most! You get people who seem to rise above their own station of misery through Jesus and through their faith and then reach out to others who are in the same boat to help them to find comfort. I’ve seen that time and time again. It’s not a hand reaching out, but an arm going around the shoulder and a ‘let’s walk together through this.’ This is Church-inmission coming alongside hurting people.
It’s not a hand reaching out, but an arm going around the shoulder and a ‘let’s walk together through this.’ This is Church-in-mission coming alongside hurting people. [left to right] Rupen Das, Jeff Carter, Elie Haddad, and Terry Smith
Terry: Can you
tell us about Christ-followers who are bringing hope?
Jeff: There is a Baptist church in the UK made up of elderly people, whose doorstep was overrun by young people getting drunk on Saturday nights and making an unholy mess of things. An 85-year-old lady in the church decided that she would hang out with the youth till 3am to get to know them. Then the whole church got motivated – not for a sense of protection for their property, but to build friendships with these youth who have nothing to do and nowhere to go. They made it their mission to build relationships and now there are some 50 youth who have joined in the activities of the church. Elie: Among the people we work with – students at the seminary and pastors at the churches – we’re seeing people who are willing to stay in the midst of this darkness so others can see Christ in them. I think our prayer for these people is that they will have the resilience, the strength, and the compassion to stay and continue to demonstrate the reality of God, not just talk theology but live theology. Rupen: Rev. Jihad Haddad (Pastor of True Vine Baptist Church in Zahle, Lebanon) comes from a very conservative, fundamentalist background, but God worked in his life and his heart and he sensed that he and the church needed to do something different. He never thought whether his theology would allow him to do it. He responded and he often challenges other pastors by saying, ‘This is the time that God has given us and He has asked us to be faithful.’
Terry: In the Jewish tradition, there is a beautiful word-picture – Tikkun Olam – that literally
means Repairing the World. Our presence and engagement in the dark places of brokenness, gracelessness and pain brings about healing and repair. We are God’s agents of shalom. Whether through social justice, proclamation or simple deeds of kindness, God is using us to help bring about healing. Thanks for being such people in places of darkness each day.
STORIES FROM THE BORDER OF RWANDA AND THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
by Anne Drost, CBM’s Central Canada Regional Representative
PHOTO: Johnny CY Lam
THIS PAST NOVEMBER, I was honoured to be part of a team of 11 women from Canadian Baptist churches who went on a special trip to meet with 11 of our sisters from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These women who are supported by CBM have experienced the horrors of civil war, including rape, beatings, machete cuts, and other unimaginable pain. Because of safety concerns, we met with them across the border in Rwanda. I knew it was going to be a time of friendship and solidarity. It became so much more. We worshiped together in at least five languages. They taught us some of their songs and we taught them some of ours. They taught us to dance and how to really praise God with our whole body. We shared in relaxing, day-at-the-spa kind of activities, with manicures and massages. They adorned our heads with colourful, traditional wraps. But then came time for the stories. One by one these dear sisters poured out their hearts to us.
I knew it was going to be a time of friendship and solidarity. It became so much more.
One young woman was at home when rebels burst in. They raped both she and her mother, and killed her father. Then they gathered up food and other supplies and forced her to leave with them. For over six months, she was kept captive and repeatedly raped until she managed to escape. She walked for six days back to her home only to find that no one was there. She was six months pregnant and all alone. One day she heard about a project for traumatized women who were victims of violence. She joined the group and eventually even found her mother. But it was not a happy reunion. Her mother refused to allow the baby into her house – she was too angry and confused because the child’s father was responsible for her own husband’s murder. Fortunately, because of the support group she and her baby have a place to live. They also help ensure she has food. She is grateful for the support and the vocational training she has received, but is still in despair. "I lost my studies, I lost my school, I have this baby who my mother disowns, and I have no peace." Another woman lived with her husband, her son and daughter-in law. They were all asleep when rebels attacked. Both women were gang raped. Her son tried to fight the men off and was wounded with a machete while her husband ran and hid. Early in the morning, the rebels finally left, taking food and whatever else they could carry. They later returned many times, taking clothes, animals and anything else of value. Her husband left the family, ashamed of what had happened. She went to the hospital for treatment, but still suffered much trauma and emotional agony because her family would not accept her. She was introduced to counseling through the support group and her husband and son came with her. It was hard for them, but after a time they moved to another community together in an attempt to start a new life. They live in poverty because everything was taken from them. She also recently discovered that she is now HIVpositive and she lives with that stigma. But she too is thankful for the support group and the help they provide her. Our hearts broke as we listened and we cried and prayed with those who shared their stories. We too shared our own personal stories of pain. And some of us that day, Canadian and Congolese, revealed deeply held secrets that had never been spoken aloud before. The gates of heaven opened and healing and wholeness was showered upon all. Through God’s healing ministry we were no longer strangers. We were sisters. We are now bound by the love of God to one another. Before we parted ways, we each took the name of a sister to remember in prayer and we walked together to the nearby border, arms wrapped around each other, tearfully singing, ‘God be with you till we meet again’, leaving each other in the trusted and tender care of Jesus.
The team of Canadian and Congolese women with some of the staff in Rwanda who helped to facilitate this special gathering in Gisenyi, a Rwandan town which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Through God’s healing ministry we were no longer strangers. We were sisters. We are now bound by the love of God to one another.
NOW GO! TAKE THE NEXT STEP. Contact CBM about a short-term mission opportunity overseas. Planning for trips in 2015 and 2016 is underway â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Kenya, Rwanda, Bolivia, India, Cuba and more. Go to cbmin.org for a complete list of opportunities.
THE CBM GIVE TO GO HUB An integrated fundraising tool for you or your church mission team. You can make a difference in the lives of people in need around the world. Put that desire into action, and embark on a life-changing global discipleship experience with CBM. The Give to Go hub will help you share your adventure and its impact with your family, friends and the world.
Getting started is easy!
She Matters in Rwanda by Laurena Zondo, Editor of mosaic
IT TAKES A VILLAGE – AND A CHURCH – TO RAISE A CHILD. That has been the experience of two young girls – Nadine and Aline*. Five years ago, Nadine and her six siblings were desperate after dad left the family and her mother became deathly ill. They had no money for food; no hope to go to school; and no place to live when they could no longer pay the rent. Fortunately, Pastor Jonas heard about their plight and intervened. He gave them part of his house to live in and enrolled them in a project he helped to initiate for children living in child/youth-headed households in his region. It’s a church-based project offered by CBM and our partner, the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda to provide support to the high number of orphans and vulnerable children living in their midst due to the tragic and compounding effects of the 1994 genocide, HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty.
school. “I want to become a nurse and help others in the same way that I have been helped.” Her older sister, whose ability to study was affected by years of severe malnutrition, was given the opportunity to take a hairdressing course. As their mom’s health improved with anti-retroviral drugs, she too had the chance to learn and now earns money with her new sewing skills, which together with advice about nutrition and vegetables from a new garden, enables her to provide one meal a day for her children. She has also become a mentor, offering counsel to others, like Aline’s grandmother. Aline was only four months old when she lost her mom to AIDS and her grandma was left alone to care for her newborn granddaughter. Pastor Jonas encouraged her to join the project where she and Aline received comfort and help, including school fees. Aline loves school and wants “to be a leader and help to solve problems between people.” She is already blossoming as a leader and is often called upon to help resolve disputes on the playground.
Unique to the project is that children are directly involved, from planning to evaluation, to ensure that their greatest needs – physical, emotional and spiritual – are met... To-date, 1,265 children have been assisted in three regions. Unique to the project is that children are directly involved from planning to evaluation, to ensure that their greatest needs – physical, emotional and spiritual – are met; and they are able to remain together, in their family and village, under the care of community mentors. Nadine’s family received access to HIV testing and health care, as well as help with school fees, uniforms and other basic school supplies. Nadine was thrilled to be able to go to
Today Aline and Nadine have a brighter, hopeful future – a fresh start that began when someone in the village intervened. You too can lend a hand, and a voice, to ensure that more vulnerable girls get the same opportunity. Participate in CBM’s She Matters.
* The names of the children have been changed.
[pictured left to right] Nadine, Pastor Jonas, Aline
She Matters in Canada
And he needs to hear it from you. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Make Some Noise in 2015! At least two-thirds of uneducated children in the world today are girls. There are many reasons why, but one of the biggest is extreme poverty. Ask our government to increase support for girls' education within the global community. Join our efforts to end the injustice of gender bias in education. Improve access to quality education for girls around the world. Make investing in her potential a priority.
Lend your hand. Raise your voice. All the tools are here @ shematters.cbmin.org
A little about myself… I first heard the good news of Jesus when I was a student in Switzerland. One of my neighbours told me and invited me to attend her fellowship. I had a very positive impression…by the end of the year (2003), I accepted Jesus as my Saviour… I know that students coming from China to Germany have a similar experience as me. They have never heard of Jesus, or maybe the name only, until a Christian reaches out to them.
Some of the issues that Chinese students have when they arrive in Germany are… Earlier on, I thought it was only language and culture, but now I know they struggle with loneliness, the lack of family structure and support and little self-acceptance. Every year we hold a new students’ reception and we get 80–100 people per university and new students come to the church.
How these young, new believers grow in their faith… It is difficult for them to grow because normally they are here only for a year as part of an exchange program. By the time they accept Christ and see they need time to grow, many head back to China…we really have a small time to reach them and help them grow…when they return to China we try our best to connect them to a church where they live. For example, last year there was a student from Taiwan who we were able to connect to a local church and is now baptized.
A little bit about my family back in China… THE VIEW
From China to Germany and Back Again: Pastor Gang Xiao Dan shares about her heart for outreach ministry among students from China who are in Germany for post-secondary studies.
I am, of course, an only child. For seven years I prayed each day for them. I almost gave up. My parents were atheists under the Chinese communist regime. And they didn’t trust anyone. When they heard about my decision, their response was ‘OK, that’s your choice.’ When I went to study at seminary that was more of a challenge because I got a serious illness. I had to go back to China to live with them and they got to see what my beliefs really meant to me. My mom started to go to church and listen to Christian music and soon became a believer. Then she had the chance to read the Bible with my grandma who accepted Christ before she passed away. At grandma’s funeral service, the Christian message was shared and my mother’s parents also turned to Christ. My dad needed more time before deciding. He recently called me to say ‘I will be baptized this Sunday.’ And I never did anything except pray that God would do his work in their lives. It’s a great gift from God.
My dream for the ministry of the Chinese fellowships in Germany…
[above] Pastor Gang Xiao Dan
Pastor Gang Xiao Dan is one of the dedicated young leaders mentored by John and Ruth Chan, CBM’s Chinese Ministries Team Leaders.
There are a lot of opportunities in Germany because there are so many students who come to study. And 90% will go back to China. That’s one of the contributions that I can do for my country, China. Maybe all we do is plant the seed. They may later on have the chance to believe in Christ. My dream and hope is that those students who come from China will at least have an opportunity to hear the gospel and hear the name of Jesus.
A final thought… Thank you for sending missionaries here. We need more!!!
PHOTO: Johnny CY Lam
One of the literacy classes offered across the country by the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda. In 2014, 825 women learned to read and write and use their new skills to improve family, church and community life.
“WHEN THE WORLD HANDS YOU LEMONS, CHANGE YOUR WORLD” Summertime, for youth, is traditionally a time to relax and enjoy lots of free time to hang out with friends. But not this summer, for youth at Florenceville Baptist Church in FlorencevilleBristol, New Brunswick. Mariah Walker, one of the youth explains:
Discover God’s Hidden Treasure! Fun! Free! A new resource takes children on a treasure hunt around the world where they will discover wonderful ways to love God and their neighbour through inspiring and real-life stories from orphans and vulnerable children in DR Congo, Bolivia, India and Rwanda. Download your copy today at www.cbmin.org or email email@example.com.
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The idea of having a lemonade stand at the local farmer’s market came up when some of us decided that we wanted to make a difference in our community and in the world. It took several months to plan. We called our business, LemonAid, and our Pastor came up with our slogan, “When the world hands you lemons, change your world”… Someone asked me how we were going to change the world with lemonade. At first, I wasn’t sure. I mean, selling lemonade couldn’t change the world, could it? The further we got into the summer, the more I realized how important the work was that we were doing. With the money that we raised, we will change hundreds of lives! But it’s not just the lives of others that we’ve changed; we have changed our own. It is really awesome to know that God is working in and through us. This summer helped us all to see that God has a purpose for us and you don’t always have to do something big, like go on a mission trip, you can help with something as simple as making lemonade. Footnote: Over 1,000 lemonades were sold and over $2,100 was raised for a variety of local and global missions, two of which are We’ve Got Your Back (a church ministry that provides food for youth in local schools), and CBM’s Guardians of Hope, to help families most impacted by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.
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