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Christian Aid (May 2018)

Dear Friends,  

When you know you can make a difference, when you have both the ability and the will, there’s only one piece of the jigsaw missing. The resources – or to be more blunt – money to do it!

That may sound very simple reasoning – but I find ‘simple’ a good place to start!

In this month of May, in and through churches across the UK, we’ll all be part of Christian Aid’s persistent and faithful effort to stand alongside the poor of our world and make a difference both to their lives and the ways of the world that perpetuate poverty.

This year, Christian Aid are sharing stories of success with us. Stories of how it is possible to lift people’s lives out of destitution and bring them the hope of improvement in their opportunities, security and conditions. “We know how to make it happen ….” Christian Aid, and their partners in fighting poverty, tell us.

Let me share the story of hope they’re inviting us to be a part of this year.

In 2010, you may remember, there was an earthquake in Haiti. Many people lost their homes and friends and family members. One such person was a woman called Vilia. Having lost her mother and with no home for her children, she was vulnerable and afraid. Christian Aid, along with their partner organisation called KORAL, in Haiti, were soon at work to bring about relief by rebuilding. They built 700 ‘disaster proof’ homes – bringing effective learning into play from their long experience in fighting poverty and supporting people towards a more dignified and self sufficient life. Vilia and her family moved into one of these new homes and were safe.

When, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused devastation as it passed over Haiti, the ‘disaster proof’ homes stood up to the wind and the weather. Of the 700 of these homes built by Christian Aid and KORAL in Haiti, just one of them needed some repairs after the hurricane.

Many of the homes and buildings around them were demolished – so Vilia and her family opened their doors and gave shelter to 50 of their neighbours in the aftermath of the storm.

“We know how to do this … ” Christian Aid are quite clear in telling us. And time and time again they share with us the stories of the people who struggle with the restraints and vulnerabilities of poverty – who, when given a little help, can be part of making a huge difference to their lives and the life of their neighbours and communities all over the world. “Poverty is an outrage” Christian Aid remind us, “It robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive.” And they show us how, in so many ways, how we can stand along side people trapped in poverty and be part of making the world a different, more fair and just, place.

We are invited, or is it challenged, to :
Stand together this Christian Aid Week – 13th – 19th May.

Jesus once told his disciples that ‘you will always have the poor with you’. And some will read this in a way that allows them to shrug their shoulders and say ‘there’s nothing we can do’! But I don’t think this is what he meant. I think Jesus was telling us that the scandal of poverty will always need our attention and we are always challenged to stand alongside the poor and be part of lifting their lives out of the poverty trap.

In this generation, at our time in history, we do know so many ways to do this. This Christian Aid week let’s each think about how we play our part in changing the lives of the poor.