Archive for November, 2016

Universal Children’s Day

Sunday 20th November marks the UN’s Universal Children’s Day – the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a chance to celebrate the progress that has been made all over the world in defending children’s rights and enabling children to grow and thrive. But it’s also a poignant reminder that the rights of millions of children are still in jeopardy. As the UN acknowledges, over 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes due to conflict, poverty and climate change and millions more are facing unspeakable violence in their communities. Around 263 million children are out of school and last year nearly six million children under five died from mostly preventable diseases.

This Sunday, let’s celebrate and give thanks to God for the children whose lives are better and more secure because of the work of UNICEF and of our own partners. But let’s also seek God’s blessing and protection on the millions who are still at risk, and commit ourselves afresh to serving the most vulnerable of children.

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Gideon’s army

‘The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men… I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”’ (Judges 7:7)

Gideon must have felt sick with fear. He’s on his way to fight an overwhelming Midianite force with an already tiny army and, apparently at God’s direction, he has to watch some of his most able fighters turn and head for home. Surely the only possible outcome is a messy and humiliating defeat?

At a Sleep Out for BCT event in Oundle, our friend Ian rightly pointed out that our own army is small and that the scale of the opposition can seem overwhelming. The issues we seek to challenge are huge: injustice, poverty, abuse of the most vulnerable, and deeply-ingrained false beliefs. But God does extraordinary things when even a few people have the courage to stand and fight. Because our friends at Oundle Baptist Church joined the battle by praying and taking action, more street-living children in Kinshasa will be reached, cared for and helped to discover a life away from the streets. Little by little, vulnerable children can be set free from the issues which hold them back and make them suffer, if we do not shrink from the battle.

Let’s fight on, knowing that God is with us and that even the most fearsome enemy can be defeated when we pray and when we act in line with God’s desire for justice. Like Gideon, we will discover that the battle belongs to the Lord.

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Togo: Action on child witch accusations

As part of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition, BCT has a very exciting opportunity to be involved in an emerging project in Togo. In partnership with SCWA, our friends at Mission Enfant pour Christ International (MECI) are spearheading an initiative to mobilise churches across the country to address the issue, aiming to bring to an end accusations of witchcraft against children there. Already, with MECI’s leadership, a number of key church leaders and theologians have drawn together, and a series of focus groups have been conducted,  discussing the roots, realities and responses to witchcraft accusations against children. These focus groups will help underpin the next step: a round table action forum planned for Lomé at the end of this month.focus-group-poissongui-sept-2016

We truly believe this project could have a huge impact, but none of our efforts will be effective unless God equips us. So we would really value your prayers for the initiative.

The action forum could be instrumental in counteracting the phenomenon of accusations of witchcraft against children within Togo, but a number of factors could prevent that. Firstly, the recent focus groups have revealed just how deeply ingrained belief in witchcraft is, within Togolese society. A good proportion of the delegates to the action forum may believe very firmly that children can be and often are witches. Please pray that, as they hear a biblical perspective on the issue, the delegates will welcome the message and commit to acting on it, rather than simply dismissing what the speakers have to say.

Secondly and perhaps most importantly, we’re very aware that the issue of witchcraft accusations against children is a spiritual battlefield. Please pray for supernatural empowering and protection for everyone involved in the event: for the theologians addressing the forum, for the team organising it and particularly for Liz and Gad Numadi of MECI, who are spearheading the project.

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