Archive for the ‘News’ Category

International youth day

Members of the Inshuti Nziza Troop in Bukora

Today is International Youth Day – a celebration of the energy, skill and idealism of young people. So, it’s only right that we acknowledge the young people connected to our partner projects, who are showing these qualities by the barrel-load. APRECOM’s Inshuti Nziza Troop are worthy of special mention. The members of the Troop have all been affected by HIV/AIDS. But remarkably, they have risen above their own (significant) problems and are pouring their time, energy and skills into serving other people. On a recent visit to Bukora – a community largely populated by displaced people – the Troop planted trees, served at a children’s club, helped build a church and a house, and distributed food and water to patients at a hospital.

Never let it be said that young people only take and never give back. The Inshuti Nziza Troop are showing just how much young people have to offer. It makes you wonder what the young people we see every day could achieve, given the right support and encouragement.

 

Find out more about APRECOM here.

 

 

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A new resource to stop child witch accusations

We are almost ready to launch a new resource to help church leaders handle accusations of witchcraft against children. This is very exciting as the resource has the potential to transform how whole communities view and treat children. We are now seeing the resource piloted, to ensure it is easy for pastors to use and as effective as it could possibly be.

Participants at the Kasai pilot event

The first pilot took place last month in Kasai, DRC. That this pilot even happened is a minor miracle, given the extreme unrest in the region. But the participants not only attended the event; they gave it their full attention and responded enthusiastically to the teaching material. Several of the participants report that their attitudes towards children have changed dramatically as a result.

A second pilot is in progress right now, in Togo. Please join us in giving thanks for such an encouraging outcome in Kasai, and in praying that the Togo pilot will be just as productive. We will bring you more news on the SCWA resource soon.

 

In the meantime, click here to find out more about our work addressing accusations of witchcraft against children.

 

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Why is no-one talking about this?

More than 3,300 people killed in just a few months. More than a million people displaced. Nearly 400,000 children left at risk of severe, acute malnutrition. The scale of the violence and upheaval in DR Congo – particularly in Kasai province – is staggering. Neither is this a sudden and unexpected development: trouble has been brewing for almost a year now, ever since President Kabila refused to stand down at the end of his second term. So it’s surprising and extremely disappointing that so few people outside the DRC are aware of what’s going on or seem to care about stopping it. Why is no-one talking about the violence in Kasai?

UNICEF say they need US$40.2 million for their relief effort in the region. We hope and pray that will be forthcoming soon. There seems a fairly glaring need for peacekeepers, too, but nobody seems keen to commit troops to that, right now. So, we’re also praying that will change. There’s nothing else we can do. But as we pray, we remember that our God moves mountains and that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and we don’t lose heart. Please keep Congo in your own prayers, too.

 

Click here to find out more about what our partners are doing in DR Congo.

 

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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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