Page 1

50 YEARS of


thanks to you

Photo: Tearfund

‘We believe we have an added responsibility to arrest the attention of evangelicals in this country, and inform them of the needs, requirements and opportunities to help.’ Tearfund founder George Hoffman writing in the very first edition of Tear Times ‘George was a little whippet – passionate and sold-out for what he did at Tearfund. He was God’s man for God’s moment. I’d like to think George would look at Tearfund today and say, “They are honouring Christ, focused on the Church and doing better than I could ever imagine.”’ Peter Meadows, who designed and produced Tearfund’s first communications (for more from Peter, see page 26)







Celebrating 50 years and looking to the future

Reflections on Tearfund past and present

Fundraise and help families facing hunger


WELCOME WE WON’T STOP ‘You realise it’s the Lord that’s called [us]. We’re here to show forth Jesus. And we all need Jesus,’ this is an ‘anonymous voice from Burundi’, recorded in 1969 by Tearfund founder George Hoffman and the first Deputy Director Bill Latham. It’s a teacher, supported by Tearfund, explaining why he hasn’t given up, despite conflict and brutality in the country. What struck me were the parallels with Tearfund’s strapline today, ‘Following Jesus where the need is greatest.’ Speaking to Peter Meadows (see page 26) he mentioned that some of Tearfund’s first communications were through field recordings sent out on 7-inch vinyl records. ‘We mailed them to churches and they played it to their congregations,’ Peter explains. ‘This was highly innovative. It meant people in church on Sunday had poverty brought home to them.’ So I tracked down one of the first, The Burundi Story, on eBay. It’s a fascinating snapshot (you can listen here: The voices are very much of their time and the approach to working in Burundi is very different to how Tearfund operates today – we’ve learnt a lot in 50 years. But the same spirit and determination is there: to follow and not to give up. Because everyone needs Jesus. So thank you for your prayers, actions and gifts – whether you are new to Tearfund, or you’ve been with us for decades. You are enabling us to answer our call and bring the love of Christ to poor families across the world.

Peter Shaw, Editor twitter @TearTimes | email

Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund



CONTENTS NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES 04 News Rohingya refugee crisis and more updates 22 The meanest of beans Raise funds for families facing hunger


25 Get your church behind Tearfund’s 50th Order your new church resources

FEATURES 08 Written in the scars A family torn apart in the Central African Republic 14 We won't stop until poverty stops Fleeing militia and fighting disease 20 People walking in darkness have seen a great light How a single light bulb can save many lives


30 Voices for change Inspiring communities to advocate for their rights

REFLECTION 26 Golden years Reflecting on Tearfund fifty years on


Copyright Š Tearfund 2017. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for the reproduction of text from this publication for Tearfund promotional use. For all other uses, please contact us. Cover image: Sorella from the Central African Republic Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund





‘Your support is literally life-saving’

When more than 600,000 Rohingya people fled across the border into Bangladesh, Tearfund and its partners responded quickly. Since August, exhausted families have been forced to survive in very basic conditions – many without shelter or clean water. The UN have labelled it the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world and a major humanitarian emergency.

The funds are enabling our partners on the ground to respond by giving out life-saving hygiene kits, safe drinking water and food to traumatised families. Latrines are being built to help stop the spread of disease, and medical assistance is being provided for those who need it most.

Dr Singh from our partner COAST Trust, who has been working in the squalid conditions of the Balukhali camp, says ‘In the last ten years, I’ve never seen this kind of suffering anywhere. The need is urgent.’ Tearfund launched an appeal as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee and, so far, our supporters have contributed over £240,000. Thank you!

Deputy Head of Asia, Cressida Thompson, says, ‘We are very grateful to all those who have prayed and given to our appeal. Your support is literally life-saving. We will continue to work alongside our partners in Bangladesh, even as this tragic story falls out of the news headlines. Thank you for standing with us.’ Above: More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar Photo: Andrew Philip/Tearfund



‘A third of all food produced in the world will never be eaten’ Tesco has committed to halving its food waste by 2030 – a fantastic success for our Renew Our Food campaign. Tearfund is urging all UK supermarkets to follow suit. Advocacy Director, Ruth Valerio explains why it’s important: ‘A third of all food produced in the world will never be eaten. This can’t be right and shops and suppliers can do their part by committing to halve what they waste and show us how they plan to do that by 2030, in line with the agreed UN Global Goals.’ The culture of wasting food has a big carbon footprint, making climate change worse and leading to more droughts, floods and less reliable rain. In a survey conducted by Tearfund, four out of five people said they would consider switching supermarkets if their current one was not doing enough to tackle food waste. So far, thousands of people have taken the Renew Our Food pledge to waste less food at home and called for their supermarket to play their part too. We’d love others to join in by taking action at Above: Tearfund Action team celebrate Tesco's commitment on food waste Photo: Andrew Philip/Tearfund

SOUTH ASIA FLOODS: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT Catastrophic flooding in August 2017 left more than 1,200 people dead across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It’s estimated that 41 million people have been affected by the devastation.

‘Thanks to your generous support we raised more than £270,000’ Above: Tearfund partner LAMB Hospital distributes food in Bangladesh Photo: Tearfund

Tearfund and its partners were quick to respond as nearly three quarters of a million homes were destroyed or damaged and crops and livestock swept away. Now that the flood waters have receded we’re continuing to stand with those affected and bring help where it is needed. Thanks to your generous support we raised more than £270,000 to help our local partners respond through a number of life-saving projects.



NEWS #WEARETEARFUND Envisioning young and emerging generations has never been more critical. The future of Tearfund depends on them. That’s why we’ve introduced We Are Tearfund – with a new website, events and group resources. We aim to see a generation working together to end extreme poverty – confronting climate change, the refugee crisis and inequality. The website features stories and videos of Tearfund’s work, and offers tips and ideas about how to make a difference. We’re also organising a series of Together weekends across the UK, for people to inspire each other and help those living in poverty. Please encourage young people to join #WeAreTearfund – visit or search for @WeAreTearfund on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

NEW REGULATIONS FOR COMMUNICATIONS You may not have heard, but big changes are coming into effect for all of us, meaning that you will have more say in your relationship with organisations who have your data – including companies and charities. At Tearfund, we’ve always strived to make sure we only communicate with you in ways that you want, because we value and cherish our relationship with you. We seek to be Christ-centred, compassionate, truthful, courageous and servant-hearted in the way that we engage with all of you. By keeping in touch with us, you can learn more about how your support is transforming the lives of families in poverty across the world. We want to be clear about how you want us to communicate, so that you don’t miss out on updates about how we are investing the precious resources you entrust to us. We will be in touch with you over the next few months about these changes, so that you can decide how best we should contact and update you. If you’d like to let us know your preferences now please email or call 020 3906 3906. We are happy to change how we communicate with you at any time.

We Are Tearfund aims to inspire a new generation Photo: Tearfund

Above: We love to share stories about how your support is transforming lives Photo: Matthew Joseph/Tearfund


DEWI HUGHES: AN INSPIRATIONAL VOICE FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY Dewi Arwel Hughes, a deeply loved and respected Tearfund staff member, sadly passed away on 4 October 2017. A prominent theologian and champion of those living in poverty, Dewi was Tearfund’s Theological Consultant and served on the Council and the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Alliance in Wales. Hywel Meredydd of Tearfund Wales says, ‘Dewi was an inspiration and an effective voice for people living in poverty. His influence extended beyond the printed word to his daily life, which embodied the values he cherished.’

‘Dewi was an inspiration and an effective voice for people living in poverty’ ‘Dewi was such a special colleague and a wonderful friend,’ adds Graham Fairbairn, former Deputy Director of Tearfund. ‘All of us who knew him can truly thank the Lord for the privilege. His commitment to Bible truth and Christian lifestyle was always such an example within Tearfund.' Our prayers are with his wife Maggie, five children and six grandchildren, along with his three sisters.

Above: Dewi Arwel Hughes

Giving thanks for Our young supporters and the launch of We Are Tearfund – pray that it would inspire, encourage and engage them. A flan-tastic Big Bake week, where we heard many great stories of people coming together to bake a difference. The decision by the UK government to double all donations to our appeal for the Central African Republic.



Praying for The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where peace and restoration is much needed after a prolonged conflict. People who have been forced to leave Myanmar and become refugees in Bangladesh. That they will be able to return home and rebuild their lives. Tearfund staff and our partners in South Asia who are involved in the response and recovery work following August’s floods.



Written by Andrew Horton ‘When fighting came to our village, we ran. It was like hell for us and our children.’ Sorella still struggles with the trauma of becoming a refugee.

Sorella and her family fled from their village after a coalition of armed groups seized power in 2013, leading to conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). They took refuge in a camp in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. The 34-year-old mother and her husband lived off one kilogram of rice and one litre of oil a month – feeding their six children a single daily meal of cassava bread. Every day Sorella had a new worry: she feared for her children’s safety and who would take care of her when she got older. ‘We survived by God’s power,’ says Sorella.

After two years they’d had enough and decided to journey home to a village outside Bangui. ‘If we’re going to die,’ Sorella decided, ‘we’re better dying in our own country.’ Armed groups had ransacked her house, leaving nothing. One year on, it’s still unsafe to walk in the village at night. Families live in fear of being attacked. The situation seems hopeless. But you have an amazing opportunity to have your giving doubled by the UK Government so that you can help twice as many women like Sorella.

DEVASTATING CONFLICT The latest conflict in CAR has been devastating for women like Sorella. Five years of fighting between armed groups has ripped through the heart and soul of one of the poorest nations in the world. Around half of the population – that’s 2.3 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance. Physical and sexual violence is used as a weapon of war, as revenge for perceived support of those who are rivals and to undermine the social fabric in the brutalised communities.

There are an estimated 600,000 internally displaced people in CAR, that’s an increase from 440,000 in April 2017. Despite relatively peaceful elections in February 2016, more than 450,000 refugees  from CAR still shelter in neighbouring countries. According to UNICEF, because of fighting and instability, almost two thirds of schools have closed. Classrooms are destroyed, teachers are in short supply and those that remain are often left unpaid. Because of the threat and reality of attacks, parents are scared to send their children to school.


A STRONG PARTNERSHIP Tearfund staff are on the ground in CAR, risking their safety to bring hope and help build communities’ resilience. Our local teams provide training in good sanitation and hygiene, enabling families to have clean water and protect themselves from water-borne diseases. We also teach business skills and provide tools to help people earn a sustainable income. We work alongside our partner, Association Centrafricaine pour la Traduction de la Bible et l'Alphabétisation. ACATBA is an evangelical Christian organisation that promotes literacy, provides smallbusiness skills and encourages community development. They also help women who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, and promote peace-building. Over the last year ACATBA have helped more than 1,500 people learn to read, write and start small businesses.

People who attend their training come mostly from churches and nearby communities. In many cases they can’t count, so it’s difficult for them to use money. That makes it very hard for them to start and maintain a small business.

‘I WANT THE FUTURE TO BE GOOD FOR MY CHILDREN’ SEEING THE LIGHT Sorella’s parents were farmers – too poor to send her to school. Unable to read and write, Sorella found buying and selling items at the market very difficult. Because she couldn’t count, she didn’t know whether she was being cheated. But, with her husband struggling to find work, the burden of providing for the family fell on Sorella. Thanks to Tearfund's partner, Sorella has learnt to read Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund


‘I was like a blind person,’ says Sorella. ‘My eyes were closed and I didn’t know anything.’ Then ACATBA visited Sorella’s church one Sunday and spoke about their adult literacy programme. This was a fantastic opportunity for Sorella. She started attending classes. Slowly but surely Sorella is learning to read and write. She’s been attending three times a week with 40 other local women for the last six months. Today, Sorella’s confidence is growing. She now sells a few items such as cakes, firewood, charcoal and soap. This business helps her earn money to support her family. ‘I want the future to be good for my children,’ says Sorella. ‘That is why I’m selling, little by little. I hope they can take care of me in my old age!’ A MOTHER’S LOVE

‘Literate women can advise their husbands and teach their children. The development of our country relies on women.’ NOT STOPPING Sarah is determined to stay for the long haul. She cherishes the opportunity to invest in these women’s futures. Many of the women who’ve completed the literacy course go on to start small businesses and build themselves new homes with the profits.

‘MY EYES WERE CLOSED. NOW THEY HAVE OPENED.’ ‘When we teach them, their eyes open. They start to read, and their life begins to become good. But if we stop at that moment, the country will not be good!’ Sarah knows she can’t stop, so she won’t stop. It’s too important.

Sarah Mboyeovam is in charge of ACATBA’s literacy and community development programmes. Strong and determined but with a warmth and graciousness about her, the women she teaches affectionately call her ‘mummy’. As well as teaching literacy with ACATBA, Sarah is president of the Women’s Association for Social Welfare which has set up an orphanage in Bangui. Sarah has her own inspirational story – it’s what motivates her to keep helping vulnerable women in her country. When she was 32, Sarah’s husband abandoned her and her eight children. They continued living in the family home, until her husband returned with armed men to force them out. Sarah refuses to be held back by her past. She is convinced that education is critical for the future of CAR. ‘If women are able to receive a better education, our country would not be going through these problems,’ says Sarah.

Sorella is determined to learn new skills and secure her children's future Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund


Sorella agrees. For her, the training from ACATBA has been life-changing. ‘My eyes were closed,’ she says. ‘Now they have opened.’

‘WE SURVIVED BY GOD’S POWER’ Her dream is to start a chicken-rearing business with her husband. ‘We trust God that this will happen.’ Sitting in the doorway of her home as the sun sets behind the corrugatediron roof, Sorella practices reading and writing. Her children play outside, taking a break from their classes. Thanks to the skills she’s learnt, and the income from her business, Sorella knows she can help secure their future. YOUR DONATION DOUBLED WHEN YOU GIVE NOW The UK Government has generously chosen to double all donations given to support women like Sorella. But you must donate by 31 January 2018 to take up this amazing opportunity.

£10 A MONTH could provide business start-up funding for one woman like Sorella each month. Until the end of January, the UK government will double your donations, or the first three months of new direct debits, allowing you to help two women. Please give today using the form on page 9, or the form attached to the letter that came with Tear Times, or phone 020 3906 3906.

Despite their troubled past, Sorella works hard to look after her family Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund


CELEBRATING OUR 50-YEAR JUBILEE AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE Written by Nigel Harris, Tearfund Chief Executive Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund


Persistence is in Tearfund’s DNA, because our father God is relentlessly loving, and we want him to be at the very heart of who we are. As we enter our fiftieth year, we are more determined than ever to beat poverty! There will be no holding back, and it’s this conviction that’s behind our campaign: We won’t stop until poverty stops. This is Tearfund’s fiftieth year. And with a little age comes much experience. We’ve learnt to take our lead from Christ, quite literally: following Jesus where the need is greatest. We’re called to do as he did here on earth, restoring relationships – between people and God, people and themselves, and people and the wider creation. We’ve learnt that this restoration is the key to overcoming poverty. Biblically, the fiftieth year is a year of Jubilee and we want to offer that spirit of release and restoration to people living in poverty. RESTORED AND RELEASED Birungi, age 22, lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As a child from a poor family – and a girl – Birungi wasn’t allowed to go to school. In her own view and that of her community, she had nothing to offer, and no opportunities available to her. Birungi felt helpless, and feared for her future. Through his local church, Birungi’s uncle heard about a skills workshop run by Tearfund’s local church partner, Action Entraide. He encouraged Birungi to learn new skills. She applied and was accepted and she learnt to sew. Birungi’s faith and understanding of God grew as she spent time with the teachers. Her selfbelief blossomed. At the end of her training, our partner gave Birungi a sewing machine, which she used to start a tailoring business. She’d soon

Birungi has learnt tailoring skills and started her own business Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund

saved enough money to buy a piglet, which she raised and sold, using the profit to buy a calf. Birungi now plans to breed and sell cows – a good, stable livelihood in the DRC – as well as grow her business.

‘I LONG TO SEE OTHER GIRLS RESTORED AND SET FREE.’ BIRUNGI ‘For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.’ Romans 8:14-16 TRUE FREEDOM Birungi rejoices over her newfound stability and independence. But more important to her is restoration and freedom. She’s found self-worth through her faith in Jesus, and is no longer brought down by the social brokenness that labels her ‘just a woman’.


She is confident in her identity as a precious child of God, capable of great things, and she’s a role model for those around her. ‘I long to see other girls restored and set free,’ says Birungi. She’s been set free by choosing her own path, and has now overcome the limitations faced by many poor families in the DRC. MORE TO DO Birungi is one of hundreds of thousands of people we’ve seen released from material and spiritual poverty over 50 years. Stories like hers fuel our belief that an end to extreme poverty is possible. But the need remains great. In the DRC alone, 87 per cent of people still live below the poverty line. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS Powerful in-roads against poverty have been made. Countless individuals like Birungi and communities like hers have been or are being released from poverty. But there is more to do. We won’t stop until poverty stops.

For nine months last year, I was part of a group from across Tearfund intensively praying and planning for the future of Tearfund. We sought God’s guidance, looked at how to reaffirm our Christian distinctiveness and set out how we can have the biggest impact as part of the global church, while helping release communities from poverty and respond to disasters. We looked into our key priorities in the coming years, deciding on the three areas of focus opposite:


ROMANS 8:16 Birungi has new confidence thanks to skills gained from Tearfund's partner Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund


CHURCH AND COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION This is our passion and calling; it empowers, it’s sustainable, and it’s cost-effective. But, most importantly, it enables communities to permanently lift themselves out of poverty. The Church is the largest civil society organisation, with millions of local churches. The Church is also God's primary agent for mission – to bring people into the kingdom, experience release from sin and enjoy restoration in a relationship with Jesus Christ. If every one of those local churches brought transformation to its community, the earth would be very different. And Tearfund is leading the way worldwide, enabling churches to do just that. ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY The rate and impact of environmental degradation is hitting the poorest people in our world – people who have done the least to cause it – first and hardest. We are committed to relief and development that is environmentally and economically sustainable. We are called to be stewards of God’s creation, and will work towards a world where everyone can meet their basic needs, where people live within environmental limits and inequality is no longer accepted. FRAGILE STATES Our guiding principle of following Jesus where the need is greatest takes us to fragile states: countries suffering deeply as a result of protracted conflict. We are committed to staying in these places for as long as necessary, working through local partners alongside our operational teams to respond to immediate needs. And to address longterm problems, no matter how complex.

For more about these key priorities download our Impact and Learning Report here /impact – or request a printed copy: email or call 0208 3906 3906. Burungi is an inspiration to girls in her village Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund


If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or have further questions, our supporter services team is on-hand. Just call 020 3906 3906 or email Thank you for joining us as we follow Jesus where the need is greatest.

Thank you for joining us as we follow Jesus where the need is greatest



At Tearfund, we are one body with many parts. And you are an integral part of that body. We want you to be deeply involved in all that we do – not cheering us on from the sidelines. You are partners with us in the work God has called us to do. Your prayers, gifts, actions, feedback and encouragement are crucial.

We have a number of exciting things planned for this year to enable you and your church to pray, act and give to end extreme poverty.

So, whether you’ve been with us for 50 years or 50 days, thank you. Let’s move forward together, saying: WE WON’T STOP UNTIL POVERTY STOPS... Celebrating across the world at the Big Church Day Out and in South Sudan Photos: Tom Price/Tearfund

We’ve produced resources to encourage your church to play its part, including a film featuring Birungi, children’s activities, response cards and more. To find out about how you can get involved in Tearfund’s fiftieth year, complete and return the form on page 25 or visit





Let’s cry out to God in prayer, knowing that he will act. We aim to raise one million prayers to overcome global poverty.

We want to see 50,000 actions to overcome global poverty this year, to see justice flow and creation restored.

We want five million people released from poverty during 2018, seeing lives restored and God-given potential released.

If you haven’t already, please join us for a year in weekly prayer. Go to to sign up to our One Voice weekly prayer email.

Having access to clean, renewable electricity enables people living in poverty to unlock their God- given potential. (Find out more on page 23.) Call on those in power to act: request your campaign postcards at

The UK Government has generously agreed to double donations to Tearfund’s work in the Central African Republic until the end of January. See page 8 for the full story.

We’ve also produced resources to help you pray as a church, including prayer station ideas and liturgy. Download these resources at

We’ve produced resources to help your church hold a Service of light to pray and stand in solidarity with people who lack access to electricity, and to be equipped to take action. Download these at churchresource

Another way to be generous this year is to leave a gift in your will to Tearfund. See page 28 for a faithful couple who have done just that. Or sign-up to take the Mean Bean Challenge – live on a limited diet for a week and raise sponsorship money for Tearfund. Turn to page 22 to find out more.




Darkness kills. And nights used to be pitch black in Madzangina, a rural village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Women going into labour at night faced a three-hour journey down a dark road by motorbike to the nearest hospital with electricity. Mortality rates among mothers and babies were frighteningly high.

changed whole communities for good. We won’t stop until poverty stops.

Destin survived two births in these lifethreatening conditions and the suffering she and her babies went through was shocking. Around a quarter of health facilities in the DRC do not have access to electricity.

Tearfund’s Renew our World campaign unites thousands of Christians worldwide to take action for a fairer world and a redeemed creation. Our combined voices are amplified so we can influence governments and international agencies. Our cries are heard by decision makers who change policies and practices to lift people out of poverty.

More than one billion people like Destin have no light at night. This means communities are held back, particularly women who can’t go out safely after dark. No electricity means that health clinics can’t store medicines in fridges. Children can’t read or do homework in the evenings. Expectant mothers like Destin, and their children are put in unnecessary danger.

Our calling is to tackle the causes of extreme poverty and bring light to the darkest places. It starts with the church and with you and me. When we put our faith  into action we see lives restored.

For Destin and the mothers of Madzangina this means a health clinic in their community with a solar-powered light. Just one bulb, but one huge step forward. LIGHT-BULB MOMENT

SHINING IN THE DARKNESS In Luke 4:18, Jesus proclaims good news to the poor that will set the oppressed free. For 50 years, thanks to your support, we’ve unlocked people's God-given potential and

When Isabelle gave birth the story was very different. Her son was born safely near her home in the solar-lit clinic.


'I was hurting and my abdomen was aching,’ says Isabelle. ‘I got here at 4pm. The nurse checked me and said it was almost my time, so I waited.’ Her son was born at 4am. And, while darkness surrounded the clinic, the room was bathed in light. Isabelle knows it would have been very different without medical help. ‘I would have gone to Nyakundi,’ she says. ‘But it’s hard to get a motorcycle at night.’ Nyakundi is a three-hour journey away. ‘I would have suffered. It’s good there is a hospital to give birth here.’


The quickest and cheapest way to improve access to energy for people living in poverty is through energy like solar power which is local, clean and renewable. This will bring light to dark places, whilst not damaging God’s creation or contributing to climate change. The UK Government funds access to energy through the World Bank. But just three per cent of the bank’s energy funding is for local, clean and renewable energy. That leaves 97 per cent – more than £2.3 billion – spent on polluting fossil fuels, such as coal-fired power plants. As a shareholder in the World Bank, the UK Government has a powerful voice in shaping its priorities. We are calling on the government to shift the balance to renewable energy. We won’t stop taking action, bringing light to darkness. Join us in asking the UK Government's World Bank representative to invest in local, clean and renewable energy. Not fossil fuels. We want to see more mums like Destin lifted out of darkness – more women giving birth safely in the light. And whole communities – women, men and children – living safer, healthier lives. Isabelle whose daughter Salumu was born safely at night with the help of a solar light Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE You can unlock the God-given potential of mums like Destin, Isabelle and their children. Take action today by visiting or call 020 8977 9144 and order campaign postcards for you and your church to complete and return. Thank you.



THE MEANEST OF BEANS WRITTEN BY GIDEON HEUGH Photos by Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund

Deep in the forest of war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) live the Mbuti pygmies – an ethnic group so marginalised that even some development agencies have abandoned them. But Tearfund has a challenge for you to help them... The DRC is a country of cruel contrast: it’s one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, with an abundance of gold, diamonds, copper and oil. Yet, because of unjust exploitation, ethnic conflict and corruption, most of the population live in abject poverty. Up to 43 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. Among the Mbuti pygmies, the figure is even worse. They live in a potential paradise, but have been denied the opportunity to reap its fruits. Chief Musimbwa with his children

‘THE MODERN DAY PYGMY HAS BEEN VICTIMISE D, OPPRESSED AND DEGRADED’ ‘The modern day pygmy has gone through generations of being victimised, oppressed and degraded,’ says David McAllister, Tearfund’s Country Director for the DRC. They are a deeply misunderstood people in the DRC, many consider them to be subhuman – claiming they are 75 per cent animal. THE LOST WAYS Gold and diamonds in their forest means inevitable mining. In some cases, this has poisoned the Mbuti pygmies’ water supply. ‘This didn’t happen before the gold diggers came,’ one villager told us. Most pygmy tribes were hunter-gatherer societies. However, decades of hunger and oppression means that much of their knowledge is being lost. They want better lives for their children – but don’t know where to start. ‘Our life is full of hunger,’ says Musimbwa, chief of this Mbuti pygmy tribe. ‘There is lots of food in the forest, we don’t know how to get it anymore. This is why we look for other ways.’


Pygmies were a nomadic people, moving their villages every few months to avoid depleting the the forest’s resources. Many tribes now congregate around other populations, leading to tension and exploitation. PAID IN POISON In the midst of all this are stories of terrible human tragedy. For Matunda, a mother of three, the only way to get any food is to work on a nearby farm. She toils in the intense heat, but doesn’t get a share of the produce. She is paid in scraps – a handful of cassava leaves and yams. Her young family only eat one small meal a day. It’s barely enough to survive. ‘We don’t have the tools to cultivate our land,’ Matunda explains. ‘I feel incredibly sad when I don’t have anything to give the children, but I don't know where to get more food.’ The harsh diet of boiled yams and cassava leaves gives her and her children terrible stomach pain. Eating too much cassava can result in severe illness, as it contains trace amounts of poison.

IBLY ‘I FEEL INCRED ’T N SAD WHEN I DO TO G HAVE ANYTHIN REN’ D GIVE THE CHIL Matunda’s community sleep in leaky makeshift huts. There’s just one cooking pot for the entire village. There’s no safe drinking water, no school or money for medicine – it’s poverty on a scale that’s difficult to imagine. TRUE VALUE But there is hope, because the church is here. Tearfund is one of the only organisations going deep into the remote forest to

work with the Mbuti pygmies. Other aid organisations have contacted them in the past, then given up. ‘We need to work with people to change mentalities, and for that reason we work with the church,’ says David McAllister, ‘We believe at Tearfund that we’re physical beings, but we have a deep spiritual side too.’ Through the local church in nearby Madzangina, we’re reaching out to Matunda and the other pygmy families – helping them understand their true value, loved and created by God. We’re beginning to help the Mbuti pygmies acquire the tools and skills they need to grow their own food. We’ll also be providing them with hardy, high-yield seeds from Uganda. Farm worker Matunda is paid a handful of vegetables daily to feed her family


JOIN THE MEAN BEAN CHALLENGE But more must be done, and there are many pygmy tribes facing the same hardship as Matunda’s. To help raise funds for this work, and for many desperate communities across the world, Tearfund supporters will be taking on the Mean Bean Challenge again this Lent.

19-23 MARCH

This is what one Mean Beaner said last year: ‘Five days was a short time for us – although it wasn't easy – but knowing that this was their daily experience and would extend far beyond the five days was really sobering and motivating to continue.’ So, get your friends, family, church group together, take part in the Mean Bean Challenge and let’s beat hunger! Visit for details and to sign up.

From 19 to 23 March, you can experience a taste of food poverty by taking part in the Mean Bean Challenge. For five days you will eat a simple diet of plain rice and beans, and raise sponsorship money in the process. This will give you a challenging experience of hunger over a week, but the money you raise will be life-transforming for people like Matunda. Our Community Fundraising team (who are also taking part!) will support, encourage and motivate you as you prepare for and take the challenge. We will have a whole range of resources available on our website, including top tips and a nutrition guide. You can help families like Matunda's by taking the Mean Bean Challenge



PRAY Organise gatherings to pray with churches around the world. Download prayer station ideas written by 24/7 Prayer, as well as liturgical prayers and blessings to speak over your community

ACT Use your voice to speak up for people living in poverty and call on the World Bank to commit to invest in clean, local, renewable energy – including resources to help you hold a Light Service

GIVE Show our inspiring new film about Birungi from the Democratic Republic of Congo, give a short talk and hold a collection. Download resources, including children’s activities and a model talk


This is no ordinary year for us, and our new church pack is no ordinary resource. In 2018, Tearfund are marking 50 years of restoring lives, giving a voice to the voiceless, and empowering churches to lead their communities out of poverty. We believe that the church is the greatest force for good on the planet, and that, together, we can end extreme poverty. But we can’t do it without you, so please join with us this year.

There are a number of different ways in which your church can respond to this call, by praying, acting or giving – or a combination of all three. We won’t stop until poverty stops. To order these life-changing resources please complete and return the pull-out form above, email or call 020 3906 3366. All these resources are also available at: churchresource




Tearfund founder George Hoffman (far right)  and colleagues review photos from overseas trips Photo: Tearfund

Creative entrepreneur Peter Meadows played a key role in designing and producing Tearfund’s very first printed materials and logo. We can also thank Peter for the name Tearfund – it was he who suggested incorporating the ‘T’ as an abbreviation of The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund, rather than Earfund! He has gone on to co-found Spring Harvest, Premier Radio and establish Christianity magazine... At Tearfund, we quickly decided we had to become more professional and be a conduit for churches to carry out the work. I remember an early application to fund a Land Rover – lots of us thought it was a good idea. But someone with Africa experience asked what they’d do if it broke down. Pointing out – back then – the continent was littered with broken Land Rovers. We realised local knowledge was essential.

We started out by putting sticking plasters on poverty, but you can’t do that forever. You have to root out and deal with the causes. That’s harder to communicate but it’s absolutely essential. That’s when we grew up. Seeing Tearfund today I’m very impressed. It shows what God can do from a few people giving 50 years ago. God touched individual’s hearts and they responded. No one looked at the mess of the world and wondered how we could fix it. We just responded to what God was doing through people giving. It would have been easy for Tearfund to become less Christian. But I think the people who sent the first donations would be thrilled to see how Tearfund has maintained its authentic Christian calling. I am excited to see Tearfund working with integrity in today’s culture. It’s young, vibrant and looking to the future. I see passionate people, hungry to do more and have a greater impact.


Zena Butterfield and her husband Andrew, have been long-term faithful supporters of Tearfund. She served as a Tearcraft church representative, and worked for Christians Against Poverty... In the early 1980s we went to see George Hoffman at a hall in Sheffield. He was very inspirational. I remember him saying that one person can’t change the world but you can change the world for one person. The main thing that attracted us to Tearfund was that it was Christian. What is very important to us is that Tearfund cares for people’s physical and spiritual needs. The Son of God came, ‘to destroy the devil's work.’ And that work is to isolate people and make them feel unworthy. We decided to give regularly, inspired by a talk we heard in church: ‘Power lies in consistency.’ Many people, like us, give small amounts regularly. But it builds up and, over time, makes a huge difference. We decided to leave a legacy to Tearfund. A lot of our money is tied up in our home. Our children are grown up and we’ve provided for them. But we also wanted to leave something to Tearfund – that really matters to us. We’ve seen Tearfund grow, develop, mature and broaden its work. Not long ago, someone said to me that Tearfund has come of age now. And I thought, yes, it has. But, crucially, Tearfund has stayed true to what it was called by God to be from the start.

For more than 20 years Jane Acheloi partnered with Tearfund through Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) in Uganda. She now leads on their pioneering church and community transformation work... Tearfund has been our partner for 30 years. What I appreciate most is that we walked this journey together. We do not just get funds from Tearfund. At PAG we have a vision that we want to accomplish. We plan together and Tearfund understands our vision. Working with Tearfund has empowered us. What we’ve learnt through our partnership is that there are things that we can do for ourselves: 20 years from now we won’t need Tearfund. When we started, Tearfund funded 100 per cent of our work – and that’s been reducing over the years. We plan to reach a time when we are sustainable and do our work using resources available to us locally. If we can get 5,000 local churches in Uganda to raise a small amount of money each, when you put it together we will raise more money than we now receive in funding. Tearfund has helped us change the attitude of people in Uganda. People used to think we needed outside help to develop. Tearfund has been crucial in helping us understand the amazing resources we already have – and appreciate what God has given us. For me, that’s an exciting journey. When Tearfund started funding all of our work, it was great. But if it had remained like that it would not be. Tearfund is helping us on our journey, but soon we’ll be able to walk on our own.

If you would like to find out more about including a gift to Tearfund in your will, like Zena and Andrew, please request our new legacy booklet. Return the form included with Tear Times and tick the box at the end. You can also call 020 3906 3906 or email to request a pack, or visit

1 EVENT 40,000 PEOPLE Join the Tearfund team and thousands of others in 2018 for the UK’s largest united gathering of the church, coming together to worship and celebrate all that is good.



Tickets on sale now

Charity Number - 1127987


Written by Cheryl Bannatyne ‘The school had a thatched roof, no walls and volunteer teachers. The closest clinic was a two-hour boat ride away, then an hour walk.’ Tearfund’s Joanna Watson describes the situation in Owii village, Uganda, before the community learnt that had the power to transform. Governments providing healthcare and education is fundamental to our view of society. But where Tearfund works, communities often have little or no outside provision.

lack access to vital services they cannot provide – that local government should. A WIDER REACH ‘To make church mobilisation more effective, we’ve pioneered training in advocacy,’ says Joanna. ‘Local churches help their communities engage with officials. And hold them to account for the lack of services.’ After training by Tearfund partner Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG), the pastor in Owii taught his community about their rights, government responsibilities and how to work with local leaders.

MOBILISING CHURCHES ‘Working through local churches is at the heart of Tearfund’s approach,’ says Joanna. ‘We encourage churches to work with communities to solve problems with local resources.’


This approach has been developed over 15 years in more than 25 countries. It has successfully released communities from poverty in countries including Cambodia, Peru and Uganda. Many communities still

Equipped with a vision and the tools to interact with authorities, group members worked with the community, helping them understand the difference advocacy could make.


Xxxx founder George Hoffman (far right) and colle Photo: Tearfund

ENGAGING LOCAL GOVERNMENT A key step was to prioritise community issues. ‘We identified problems that could be addressed by the government,’ says Solomon Olupot from PAG. ‘Then looked for the government sectors responsible and connected with them.’ Officials were suspicious at first, even asking the police to arrest the community leaders. They refused. Eventually, officials came to a community dialogue session – bringing police protection. But the community’s thorough approach won them over. ‘Before they approached us, I didn’t think much of these communities,’ admitted the District Chair. ‘Since they engaged with us, we saw how we can work with them. They produced a work plan which made me realise the community could engage in higher-level policy discussions.’ WORKING TOGETHER The community were willing to play their part. ‘The people in Owii offered community land, bricks and labour’ says Joanna.

Offering support encourages government, means less pressure on resources and demonstrates the community is motivated to take ownership. Local government now supply medicines and nurses. They’ve built a classroom and office, and supplied teachers and desks. They plan to upgrade a health centre nearer Owii, so that health provision is nearer the community. A WINNING COMBINATION The relationship between the Owii community and local government has grown closer and residents contribute to local government planning. Successful advocacy enables churches to build bridges with communities. They are empowered together to speak to government officials, who can respond effectively to their needs. The people of Owii now have a greater sense of worth. ‘We’re proud to have achieved what we set out to do,’ says advocacy committee member Anne-Marie Acipa. ‘We have transformed our situation.’ Owii village in Uganda now has better services through engaging with local government Photo: Andrew Philip/Tearfund

‘WHEN THE FIGHTING CAME WE RAN. IT WAS LIKE HELL FOR OUR CHILDREN’ When conflict in the Central African Republic reached their village, Sorella and her family fled – enduring near starvation for two years. They returned home to nothing. That’s why the business skills learnt from Tearfund’s partner are a lifeline. Read the full story on page 8.

£10 £10 a month could provide business start-up funding for one woman like Sorella each month. For the first three months, the UK government will double your donations, allowing you to help two women. Your donation will be doubled by the UK Government until 31 January.

100 Church Road, Teddington TW11 8QE Challenge House, 29 Canal Street, Glasgow G4 0AD Salem Chapel, Salem Lane, Church Village, Pontypridd CF38 1PT 241 Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 1AF +44 (0)20 3906 3906 email twitter facebook Registered Charity No. 265464 (England and Wales) Registered Charity No. SC037624 (Scotland) Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund 31875-(0118)


FOLLOWING JESUS WHERE THE NEED IS GREATEST Written by Claire Hoffman, youngest daughter of Tearfund founder George Hoffman and the determination to put God’s command to love into action. From the beginning, Tearfund was driven by the belief that ‘love is an active verb’ – a phrase my father used in many of his sermons around the world to explain why Tearfund does what it does. Because if we love as God calls us to love, he calls us to act as well. Cross in the courtyard at Tearfund's offices

Photo: Margaret Chandler/Tearfund

The cross is central to the Christian faith, and what it represents has always been central to the work of Tearfund. So it seems absolutely right that a magnificent and humbling wooden cross was planted at the charity’s head office to mark the beginning of Tearfund’s Jubilee journey in September last year. Attending the unveiling in Teddington, it was a privilege to be back where I had stood more than 30 years ago with my father when it was an empty shell of an office. I remember we did, momentarily, question how we were going to fill this new building. But my father’s unwavering faith in God, and the response of Christians to the command to provide justice and hope for the forgotten, means that today the building is home to a thriving team of staff and supporters. This would make my father feel hugely humbled. Now staff and visitors to the offices will be able to see this stunning cross which reflects the deepest foundations of an organisation built around God’s compassion: foundations which include a powerful sense of injustice

FROM THE BEGINNING, TEARFUND WAS DRIVEN BY THE BELIEF THAT ‘LOVE IS AN ACTIVE VERB’ With continued suffering and challenges in all parts of the globe, this Christ-centred action is needed as much today as it was 50 years ago. The huge difference is the scale of Tearfund’s transformational impact. This is made possible by the continued loyal and generous supporters, the commitment and professionalism of the staff, and the inspirational partners on the ground who are changing lives every day. In an old copy of Tear Times I spotted an article headline, ‘A future and hope’. That is what the resurrection promises us and what Tearfund continues to deliver for, and alongside, the world’s poorest and marginalised. Looking back on 50 years of determination to help care for both the physical and spiritual needs of the most vulnerable, we can also look ahead – and always at the cross to provide the centre.

‘I’d like to to say a very big thank you to Tearfund, the people of the United Kingdom and all those who are supporting us.’ Bobby from Liberia

Tear Times Celebrates its 150th Edition  

Tear Times celebrates its 150th edition and the start of Tearfund's 50th jubilee year, including stories from the Central African Republic a...

Tear Times Celebrates its 150th Edition  

Tear Times celebrates its 150th edition and the start of Tearfund's 50th jubilee year, including stories from the Central African Republic a...