Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Overcome evil with good

‘Do not repay anyone evil for evil… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:17-21)

Recent events have shown that evil is at work in our world. We saw it in Finsbury Park just last week and in the London Bridge attack earlier this month. We saw it in Manchester two short weeks before that. We see it in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. And we see it in DR Congo.

EPED persevere in serving street-living young people, despite the current dangers.

DR Congo has been experiencing unrest for months, now. Millions of people have been affected by politically-motivated violence, hundreds have died and, as ever, it’s the children who are suffering most. Life on the streets of Kinshasa is dangerous at the best of times but, with violence and threats of violence increasingly widespread, the city’s street-living children are more vulnerable than ever.

Evil is lurking in Kinshasa and when we’re faced with this kind of evil, our reflex can be to either run away or retaliate against those responsible. But our friends at EPED refuse to give way to fear and anger. Despite the curfews and uncertainty, they persevere in reaching out to children on the streets, offering them medical treatment, counselling and hope in the name of Jesus. EPED is overcoming evil with good.

What a powerful example to us. How might we show this kind of courage and steadfast, godly love? Let’s not be cowed by threats of evil. Let’s reach out to people who are suffering and need to know the love of God. Let’s overcome evil with good.

 

Find out more here about EPED’s valuable and courageous work.

 

 

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SCWA at the UN

SCWA has been invited to address a UN Witchcraft and Human Rights Experts workshop, due to take place in Geneva in September. Carolyn Gent (BCT’s Networking and Training Coordinator) and Pastor Abel Ngolo of EPED will represent SCWA at the event, and speak about how witchcraft is defined and SCWA’s work in tackling witchcraft accusations against children.

The workshop is being organised by the UN Independent Expert on albinism, Lancaster University, and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network. Through it, the organisers hope to raise the profile of witchcraft-related abuse and propose specific action to address and prevent abuse of this kind. An event like this marks an important step towards bringing witchcraft accusations to the fore, extending practical help to individuals and agencies facing the issue, and bringing the issue into the UN Human Rights system.

It is hugely encouraging that witchcraft accusations and the child abuse linked to it have been noticed by such an influential body, and this workshop presents us with a wonderful opportunity to speak into the issue and highlight what the Church is doing to address it.

Please pray for Carolyn and Pastor Ngolo as they present SCWA’s work; that their message will be well received by the audience. And pray, above all, that lasting change will result from the workshop.

See more about SCWA’s work here.

 

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Last chance: World Weekend of Prayer

One last reminder: this weekend (3-4 June) sees the World Weekend of Prayer for children at risk. Our friends at Viva are aiming to inspire Christians all over the world to pray for children at risk, and even to mobilise a million children to pray for their peers. And it’s not too late to get involved.

We’re right behind this initiative because far too many children are at risk through violence, poverty, sickness, homelessness and lack of opportunity, because God loves it when children pray and, above all, because prayer makes a difference.

Please join us by getting our home group, your church or your children’s group praying, over the course of the weekend. The Viva website has a guide to the weekend, activity ideas, discussion outlines and informative webinars, all available for download. Click here to find all the resources you’ll need for the weekend.

 

And if you’d like to pray regularly for BCT, click here for our latest prayer requests or to download our Prayer Diary.

 

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Big progress on HIV

Leading medical journal, The Lancet, announced this week that HIV patients taking the latest antiretroviral drugs can now expect to live nearly as long as the rest of the population. (The BBC also broke the news, in slightly more accessible terms!) This is clearly terrific news. There are two things we should mention, in connection with it:

Firstly, the study which underpins this announcement focuses on patients from Europe and North America. The situation in the global south is not quite so rosy. Although progress is being made in developing nations, poverty, stigma and lack of access to medication are still pushing HIV infection rates alarmingly high. (According to a 2016 UNAIDS report, 35 million people worldwide are now living with the virus.) There is a lot of work yet to be done.

Secondly, and more positively, the progress in treating HIV is a reminder that change is possible. In the case of HIV, this change has taken in excess of 30 years, but it has indeed come. It’s an encouragement to persevere in addressing other issues which may, at times, seem insurmountable. For example, as we and our partners address witchcraft accusations against children, we frequently bump up against deeply-ingrained cultural beliefs, which must be challenged in order for real change to come. It can be a long, painstaking and even discouraging process. But if change is possible with an issue as serious, complex and intractable as HIV, change is also possible with child witch accusations. May God give us the faith and determination to persevere.

Find out more here on what we and our partners are doing to challenge accusations of witchcraft against children.

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Time to say goodbye

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to tear down and a time to build’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)

My five-year-old son refuses to wear trousers. No matter what the weather, he’ll insist on wearing shorts. His favourite pair are a slightly garish plaid design in blue, yellow and green. So it was a sad day last week when it became clear those shorts just don’t fit him anymore. When I checked the label, I realised the shorts were meant for 2-3 year-olds. No wonder they didn’t fit a five-year-old! But he’s outgrown them. Some new shorts will need to be bought.

It can be hard to let go of something good – something you might even have loved. But sometimes, in order to grow, in order for something even better to be possible, we have to leave something good behind.

This has been our experience recently. This month, we said goodbye to PCM, with whom we had partnered for eight years. It was a very difficult decision to go our separate ways, because so much good has come from our partnership and because the PCM team are still very dear friends of ours. But BCT and PCM have both outgrown this partnership and there is not much more either organisation could do to strengthen the other. In order for both sides to grow, flourish and see God do even greater things, it is the right time to say goodbye.

We truly believe this could be not the end but a new beginning for PCM, and we pray that, in God’s grace, they will go from strength to strength and see the lives of countless children transformed. Already, PCM and the people of Pukusu are benefitting from the agricultural and fish-farming expertise of ACDI-VOCA, an organisation we were able to connect with PCM before the end of our partnership. This input could dramatically change the diet of Pukusu’s children.

I wonder whether anything good might be holding you back from something great. Is there anything which, even though it’s good in itself, is stopping you from growing and from pressing on into the plans God has for you? Might now be the time to say goodbye to it?

 

Our partnership with PCM is at an end, but we have five other partner projects, including LVLE, our newest partner. Click here to find out more.

 

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PCM is standing strong

Pukusu Children’s Ministries is standing strong and facing the future with confidence, thanks to you.

Our eight-year partnership with PCM is coming to an end because they’re now able to move forward independently, in God’s hands. We know they will go from strength to strength.

We’ve been privileged to help families in Pukusu learn to cherish and protect village children so that now, none of the many orphans and abandoned children there have to fend for themselves. We’ve also provided practical support in helping train and equip local families to grow more varied crops, tackling hunger through kitchen gardens and fish ponds.

Recently, we’ve connected the village with ACDI-VOCA, who will help them develop their fish farming and agricultural projects. And, as a parting gift, we’ve left them 15 sets of gardening tools to help families looking after orphans and vulnerable children to fight malnutrition. Thank you for enabling us and PCM to transform this village in remote DRC.

Click here to find out more about BCT’s other partner projects.

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World Weekend of Prayer

The 2017 World Weekend of Prayer for Children at Risk is coming on 3-4 June, with the theme ‘Teach us to pray’.

Our friends at Viva are asking individuals, families, small groups, Sunday schools and churches around the world to devote a weekend to praying for children and to equipping children to pray.

BCT is proud to be part of this movement, seeking to mobilise a million children to pray, so that lasting change might come, in the name of Jesus.

Take a look at the event website www.worldweekendofprayer.com which has downloadable prayer resources for the weekend and the run-up to it. In particular, check out the recent webinars on how to get children praying.

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Wukwashi is back on the road

Childrenand staff in front of WWN busHurrah!!! Our friends at Wukwashi have just taken delivery of a new bus! This bus will make a massive difference to children who would otherwise have huge problems in getting to school, to hospital appointments or to support groups, because of the lack of dedicated transport. It has special adaptations for people with disabilities and is much bigger and more reliable than the old bus.

BCT do not normally fund this kind of project,garfieldweston but we’ve made an exception because of the nature of Wukwashi’s work and the dramatic difference the bus will make to the children they serve. And we’re so thankful for the two extremely generous gifts which made this all possible. We’d particularly like to express our gratitude to The Garfield Weston Foundation for their donation of £10,000.

Click here to find out more about how Wukwashi supports disabled children and their parents.

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Hoping for a bumper crop!

A key element of PCM’s work is fish farming and community gardens, with the aim of producing food to dramatically improve the diet of poor and undernourished children. We are keen to see this project flourish, and we have been able to put the PCM team in touch with ACDI/VOCA, specialists in enabling the sustainable development of communities.

Dr Sullivan is welcomed to Pukusu

Dr Sullivan is welcomed to Pukusu

ACDI/VOCA has sent Dr Joseph Sullivan, an expert in fish feed and nutrition, to Pukusu to help locals hone their skills in fish farming. Through this training, we hope the community will be equipped to farm more productively and more sustainably. Dr Sullivan comments:

‘I was a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of welcome I received, particularly seeing the massive numbers of children at Pukusu who, despite bearing terrible hardships in their lives, gave me the most ecstatic welcome. Hopefully, this project will help them have better, more productive and happier lives.’

In addition to this guidance on fish farming, Pukusu is benefiting from training on soil fertility. Professor Christopher Graham is in Kinshasa now, to give input on the subject to community leaders. With improved understanding of soil fertility, Pukusu will be in a position to make informed decisions on how the community farms its crops, adding fruit and vegetables with vital nutrients to the diets of local children.

We’re delighted to have been able to put our friends in Pukusu in touch with people who can help them in such practical ways.

Find out more about PCM here.

 

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Dreaming big

There was a wonderful story in the news recently about a seven year-old girl who wrote to the CEO of Google, asking for a job. To her parents’ astonishment, Chloe Bridgewater received a prompt reply from Sundar Pichai, who she had addressed as ‘dear Google boss’. In his letter, Mr Pichai thanked Chloe for getting in touch and encouraged her to ‘keep working hard and following [her] dreams’. This young lady’s dreams are clearly ambitious, but who’s to say she won’t achieve them?

Gina's (L) life has been changed dramatically, thanks to EPED

Gina’s (L) life has been changed dramatically, thanks to EPED

Young people do tend to dream big. The reports we receive from our project partners reflect this, time and time again. Rosie grew up in poverty with no father and an HIV-positive mother, but she aims to become a professor. Seventeen-year-old Harry relies on a wheelchair to get around and lives in a culture which marginalises disabled people, but he is on the way to becoming a journalist. And Gina, despite have spent time living on the streets of Kinshasa, is back in school and planning to become a magistrate.

Our partners encourage the young people they serve to aim high, and so does the Bible. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul urges his son in the faith, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ And in Jeremiah 1, God speaks to the young prophet, calling him to a role so weighty and significant that Jeremiah initially struggles to take it in. With our God, young people can and do achieve extraordinary things.

So let’s encourage young people to dream big, as our partners do and as God does. Let’s ask God to enlarge our vision for children and help us see their full potential. Let’s make our churches and communities places where children are secure and free to reach for their dreams. Who knows? You might be investing in a future church leader, magistrate or CEO of Google.

Would you like to invest financially in helping a child achieve his or her dreams? If so, click here to find out how you can do that.

 

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