Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Big BCT Walk

Following on from last year’s brilliant Walk for Wukwashi, a team of BCT Champions will be taking to the streets of London on 8th September, raising vital funds for our partners’ work with disabled children in Zambia, Rwanda and beyond.

Our Champions will be trekking 25km along the banks of the Thames, crossing 16 historic bridges in the process, all to help us in our efforts to support and empower children with disabilities.

Could you be among the BCT walkers? Find out more about the Big BCT Walk here. 

 

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Zambia report

Thank you so much for praying for Susie while she was in Zambia, visiting Wukwashi, our local partner.

Susie reflects: ‘My three weeks with Wukwashi were so inspiring. It wasn’t just the work of the Wukwashi staff and volunteers amongst children with disability that impressed me, but also the attitude of their hearts. Experiencing their love, compassion and delight in Jesus is infectious. And of course, being with the children was sheer joy. Most of all, I experienced God at the heart of all that we were doing and his extraordinary faithfulness.’

Susie has some wonderful stories to share. You can read her full report here.

Find out more about how we and Wukwashi are serving children with disabilities and their families.

 

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Ground-breaking forum in Zambia

Today and tomorrow, BCT is hosting and facilitating a forum called I Belong! in Lusaka, Zambia. The invited participants all share our goal of mobilising the Church to care for children with disabilities. Our hope and prayer for the forum is for children and adults with disabilities to be welcomed into the Church and enabled to enter into a relationship with God; to know, love and serve him, to reach their full God-given potential and be part of building his kingdom here on earth.

As part of the forum, we will be introducing ‘Transform Disability’, our new resource which equips church leaders to encourage their communities to accept and support children with disabilities. We hope that the forum will result in a collaborative network and three or four pilots of the resource.

Please join us in praying for I Belong! and for ‘Transform Disability’:

  • Please pray that all the organisations and churches present would be of one mind, and that their discussions will translate into practical action going forward.
  • Please also pray that we will get three or four firm commitments from organisations to pilot ‘Transform Disability’.
  • Pray for Eleanor North, who will be facilitating the forum.
  • And pray for the ultimate desired outcome of the forum: for children with disabilities to be fully welcomed into the Church in Zambia and enabled to fulfil their God-given potential.

 

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We’ve been to the mountaintop

This month marks fifty years since the assassination of Martin Luther King. King is revered – rightly so – even fifty years after his death, not just because of what he achieved himself, but also because of what he inspired others to achieve.

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

King espoused non-violent resistance. Whatever the provocation, he wasn’t afraid to confront injustice, but never responded to hate with hate or violence with violence. We can learn from this. Let’s be unflinching in speaking out and taking action against oppression – especially the oppression of children – but let’s do it with genuine compassion for our opponents.

‘With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope’.

King’s work was long, punishing and often thankless. It’s easy to lose hope when faced with overwhelming injustice, but he never despaired and never gave up. It would be easy for us, too, to be discouraged by an issue as seemingly-intractable as child witch accusations (for example), but it truly can change if we trust God and persevere. Indeed, it already is changing.

‘I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But… we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.’

King’s vision was long-term. He didn’t waver in his belief that this vision would come about, but he accepted that he himself might not see its fulfilment. May we have that same humility. Perhaps we will never see the full harvest from BCT’s work for ourselves. But who’s to say it won’t come in fifty years’ time?

May it be said of us, too, that we showed compassion for all people, even those who opposed us; that we persevered, even when the work was unforgiving; and that we trusted God for an abundant harvest, even if we don’t live to see it ourselves. And may we inspire other people to do the same.

 

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World Weekend of Prayer for children at risk

Our friends at Viva are again calling a World Weekend of Prayer for children at risk, this year on 2-3 June. This has been a hugely valuable event in the past, so we are again delighted to endorse it. If you are passionate about seeing God at work in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children, we would really encourage you to get involved.

You can find more information on the World Weekend of Prayer, and all the resources you need to make your church part of it, on the Viva website.

 

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Transforming families in Rwanda

‘Here in our community, we have become individualistic in our childcare,’ claims Pastor George. ‘Before, the whole community would take responsibility for raising children. But now, we only care for our own children and ignore those of other people.’

Odeth and Emma of APRECOM are leading a good parenting workshop for parents in Bukora. They are using a combination of group discussions and role plays, to help the parents understand God’s pattern for family and make practical changes in how they relate to their children.

The discussion which follows Pastor George’s comment is animated. It’s obvious that the parents have an almost endless capacity for debate, and have strong views on why the community is not as proactive in caring for its children as it once was.

‘It’s because of the numbers of refugees who have flooded into this area,’ says one man. ‘We no longer have the close-knit sense of community we used to have. We would be afraid of interacting with a child we do not know.’

This is typical of the issues that APRECOM’s parenting training is seeking to address. Gradually, things are changing. Parents testify that they are now listening to their children and no longer beating them if they do something wrong. They are starting to build loving relationships with their children and to encourage them to attend the APRECOM children’s group.

In the coming year, Odeth plans to get parents from this group to help start parenting groups in other areas in Bukora, and to share their experience. ‘We have only just started’, Odeth smiles.

APRECOM is doing some extraordinary work in supporting marginalised children and families – especially those affected by HIV. Find out more here.

 

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800,000 Congolese children displaced

It’s hardly in the news, but the on-going violence in DR Congo is having a devastating effect. UNICEF reports that 1.3 million people have been displaced by the violence in Tanganyika and South Kivu alone. 800,000 of these people are children.

Displacement from their homes has left the children vulnerable to sickness and malnutrition, not to mention sexual abuse and recruitment into militias.

Please join us in praying for all the children caught up in DRC’s violence. Pray that the unrest will quickly end and that this generation of children will be able to recover from the traumas they have experienced. Please also pray for our partners in Kinshasa and Goma, where the situation is not as extreme but still very tense.

 

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Dust

‘From dust you came and to dust you shall return.’ Lent reminds us that we are human: frail, flawed and fallible. It is a time for examining ourselves; a time not to point out the flaws in others but to acknowledge our own weaknesses and to seek to remedy them, by the grace of God. It’s a time for some soul-searching.

With corruption and sexual misconduct coming to light in charities, in politics and in the entertainment industry, the covers are being lifted to reveal the fallenness beneath the surface of our society. We grieve that vulnerable people have been harmed. But we will not simply point the finger at other people. These revelations are a prompt to examine our own hearts, minds and processes, so that we can operate with even greater transparency and accountability.

The Bible urges us to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). The heart of BCT’s work is to enable minds and hearts to be transformed so that, ultimately, whole societies will be brought into line with God’s way of thinking. And we realise this starts with us. So we insist on transparent working relationships and rigorous accountability structures – within our UK-based team and in our partnerships with our overseas projects.

We believe passionately in what we do. We believe we are called by God to help restore the lives of some of the world’s most marginalised children, and to ‘hold up the arms’ of local believers who are seeking to do that, and we will persevere in that calling. We will remain faithful to the task God has charged us with. We have seen countless lives changed because of it.

Lent is also a time for reflecting on the good things God has given us. And we are reminded of just how many people stand with us by continually praying for us, encouraging us and giving towards our work. We are so grateful to God for those people. If you are one of them, please know that we will do everything within our power to operate in a way you can be proud of.

 

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Good news from Zambia!

Last week, we heard from Joyce at Wukwashi, who told us that the cholera outbreak in Zambia is now under control. As a result, Wukwashi has been able to reopen their school and reconvene their support groups.

This is terrific news and a big answer to prayer. Praise God for intervening and preventing a massive loss of life. Thank you all for keeping Wukwashi and Zambia in your prayers.

If you’d like to know more about Wukwashi’s phenomenal work with disabled children, click here.

 

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Witchcraft-related abuse in the news

More and more cases of witchcraft-related abuse are being reported in high-profile news outlets. Just this week, another case has been picked up by the BBC: a Dutch-Moroccan woman burning her son’s hands and stuffing his ears with cotton wool. With the increasing number of reports of abuse of this kind, we’re seeing a growing realisation in the west of just how endemic witchcraft-related abuse is.

The vast majority of these cases of abuse centre on a child who has been accused of witchcraft and then subjected to horrendous treatment in an attempt to exorcise him/her. Perhaps the most truly heart-breaking aspect of these stories is that the adult perpetrator so often sincerely believes they are acting in the child’s best interests; to free them from a demonic influence.

We’re delighted to be part of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition, and a key strand of this work is training: equipping church leaders to address false and harmful beliefs among members of their communities. Slowly but surely, we are seeing attitudes towards children change as a result.

Click here to find out more about child witch accusations and how SCWA is making a difference.

 

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