Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Introducing the new SCWA film

We’re delighted to be a founding member of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition. Tens of thousands of children worldwide are falsely accused of witchcraft and, as a result, face untold abuse. So, we believe it’s vital to catalyse a Christian response. SCWA is determined to work with affected churches and communities to bring to an end the phenomenon of child witch accusations.

SCWA’s new film explains more about who we are, what we do and why it matters.

If you want to be part of a movement bringing this awful practice to an end, here’s more about how you can take action.

 

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Change of plan

‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.’ Woody Allen

Or to put it another way…

‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.’ (James 4:13-16)

There’s nothing wrong with making plans, in itself. Imagine how chaotic life would be if we never planned anything! The problem comes when we assume we know best and start boasting about how amazing our plans are. God may have other ideas, as I’ve found out recently.

I started work on Monday with big ideas of what I was going to achieve during the week, but those ideas were soon scuppered. I work from home, so my normal routines and habits have been disrupted by the presence of my two sons, who are off school for six weeks’ holiday and need feeding, watering, entertaining and transporting to various social engagements! Up until Tuesday evening, I was feeling highly frustrated. It was nigh on impossible to get into the right frame of mind to tackle a significant work task when I was liable to be interrupted at any moment by a small boy demanding a fish finger sandwich. But now I wonder whether God might be in this, somehow. Is it possible that he’s using this disruption to remind me of my more important responsibilities? I believe my work matters, of course. But I also believe God cares more about how I’m doing as a father than how I’m doing as a writer. So I’ve been taking this opportunity to spend time with my kids. I can always work in the evenings, when they’re in bed!

Our friends in Zambia know how it feels to have God disrupt your plans, too. The team at Wukwashi never meant to get involved in Kabompo, a 14-hour drive from their base in Kitwe: their new support group there was the result of a mix-up. Last year, the team had been well on their way to their farthest-flung support group, in Chitokoloki, a good couple of hours further west from Kabompo, when they received a call cancelling the visit. But God showed he had a bigger plan for that trip… and for the children of Kabompo. Aborting their visit to Chitokoloki, the team made their way to Kabompo mission station. There, someone told them about Mr Kayombo, a local man who’d been trying to help children with disabilities but who had neither resources nor support.

‘We’ve been praying for people like you for a long time!’ exclaimed Mr Kayombo when Wukwashi sought him out. Mr Kayombo now heads up a Wukwashi support group for 23 children and their families, with the help of eight volunteers. Wukwashi’s plans were good, but God’s were better.

When our plans don’t turn out quite as we hoped, it’s just possible that God has better ideas. Are we prepared to let God disrupt us and point us in a new and unexpected direction?

 

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We’re hiring!

The Bethany Children’s Trust is looking for a new Operations Manager. If you want to use your skills and experience to develop and strengthen the operations of a small and dynamic charity working on behalf of marginalised children, you could be just the person we’re looking for.

The successful candidate will have significant, proven experience in:

  • management responsibility within a charity;
  • organisational and team development;
  • policy development and ensuring compliance with GDPR and charity regulations;
  • overseas project development and working cross-culturally;
  • working with marginalised children.

Head on over to our employment opportunities page to find out more.

 

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Branded and beaten

The BBC has produced a vivid (and rather disturbing) feature on Nigerian children being accused of witchcraft.

It’s not an easy read, but brings to life the grim realities of what awaits children facing these accusations.

This illustrates why BCT is so determined to address the underlying causes of witchcraft accusations against children, and to bring the phenomenon to an end. As a founder member of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition, we have produced a ground-breaking resource, ‘The Heart of the Matter’, to transform how churches understand and treat children.

Take a look at the BBC piece and, if it inspires you to find out more about witchcraft accusations against children, why not sign up for SCWA’s regular news and prayer email? (Click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page.)

 

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New Champions film

At BCT, we are so thankful for our Champions for Children, a movement of people who refuse to accept a world where children are marginalised and forced to suffer.

These Champions give of their time, energy and resources to raise awareness of the issues affecting vulnerable children and what BCT is doing to address those issues. They make it possible for us and our partners to reach and help more children.

Of course, we are always looking to expand our network of Champions. So we have just launched our new film, which showcases what Champions for Children do, and exactly how they make a difference. Take a look!

Could you be a BCT Champion for Children? If you believe that all children should be loved, safe, nurtured and free to fulfil their God-given potential, then you are exactly the kind of person we want to hear from.

If you want to explore becoming a Champion, please contact us, using the form below.

I love what BCT are doing! Please contact me about how I can serve as a Champion for Children.

Thanks!

Name:
Phone number:
Email address:
Preferred contact method:
Best time of day for contact:


From time to time we would like to contact you with details of BCT events or campaigns. If you are happy for us to do so, please tick here:


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We need toys!

For the disabled children supported by BCT’s partner Wukwashi Wa Nzambi in Zambia, toys are not just a source of fun and amusement, but a vital means of therapy – helping to enhance their motor skills and cognitive ability and providing stimulation. They also help children who have been isolated and ignored to socialise with others. Wukwashi uses toys in therapy for disabled children in the ten support groups that they run and in its school for children with special needs. However, their existing toys are now old or broken and some support groups lack toys altogether.

Could you collect a box or two of good quality, second-hand toys from families in your church or community?

 

Suitable toys for Wukwashi

We need sturdy toys, in good condition, suitable for children up to four years of age. We can’t ship very large toys. The following toys are good for helping children with physical and mental impairments to enhance their motor and cognitive skills, and to provide them with fun and stimulation:

  • Stacking toys like bricks and hoops.
  • Shape sorters (where you have to put the correct shape into the correct hole).
  • Large, chunky ‘Duplo’ type Lego pieces. (Not the small ones, as these are hard to grasp.)
  • Sensory toys like rainmakers, rattles and shakers.
  • Musical toys like drums and cymbals – anything that makes a noise when children can bash it. (Not toy flutes, as cleaning the mouthpieces after children have used them would be difficult in Wukwashi’s context and we don’t want to spread chest infections etc.)
  • Balls of all sizes, but must be soft, whether sponge or plastic.
  • Trucks/cars etc, large and small, (but not too small to easily grasp,) that can be pushed along.
  • Skittles.
  • Activity toys where you press buttons or pull levers and something happens like a noise or a flashing light. (If battery-operated, has to be a standard AA or AAA type of battery that can be purchased in Zambia, but not button lithium cell batteries.)
  • Abacuses.
  • Hand puppets – the sort you pull on like a glove – and finger puppets.
  • Large, fat wax crayons and colouring pencils (easy to hold in hands with contracted fingers).
  • Colouring books.

 

When you have the toys…

All toys need to be packed into sturdy (preferably double-walled), well-taped and sealed cardboard boxes, preferably no smaller than 18x12x12 inches.

Please type the following notice and tape it onto two sides of the box:

For Wukwashi Wa Nzambi, Zambia.

Contents: Freely-given therapy toys. Not for re-sale. For charity use.

Please address and post the box to: Tony Cox, Medical Missionary News, Unit 1, Victory Close, Fulmar Way, Wickford, Essex, SS11 8YW

The box will be sent on the next available container. We are grateful to Medical Missionary News for their amazing support in freely-freighting the boxes to Zambia.

Thank you!

 

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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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