Archive for the ‘News’ Category

DR Congo still needs our prayers

Despite a widespread vaccination programme, the Ebola crisis in DR Congo is rumbling on.

According to The New Humanitarian, a ‘militarised’ response to the crisis has deepened hostility towards aid workers within local communities. Security forces are reportedly being heavy handed in enforcing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including threatening violence when people refuse to take the prescribed precautionary steps.

This is exacerbating an already tense situation in which healthcare workers were treated warily by communities who largely didn’t trust them or understand what they were doing.

Please continue to pray with us for a swift, sensitive and effective response to this crisis. For as long as the Ebola epidemic continues, lives will be lost. Please pray especially for Patient (pictured), a team member at LVLE, who is taking part in an Ebola treatment and prevention programme 300km to the north of Goma.

 

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Standing in the Gap

‘Standing in the Gap’, the SCWA prayer campaign, is up and running again for the third consecutive year. The last two years of the campaign have offered really valuable opportunities for focused prayer around the issue of child witch accusations, and for the children affected. What’s more, we have seen clear progress in SCWA’s work and growth in its network since we started praying in this way. So, we believe it is not just wise but necessary to resume the ‘Standing in the Gap’ campaign.
Please join us in praying, especially between now and the end of January. And do forward the prayer bulletins to anyone in your church or community who might be interested. The first prayer bulletin of this year’s campaign can be found at https://stop-cwa.org/posts/prayer-campaign-3a and a new bulletin will be posted every two weeks.
Join us for four months of sustained prayer for children accused of witchcraft, their communities, and churches and agencies with opportunities to speak and act on the issue. The first prayer bulletin of the campaign is available now.
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Witch Way Forward

Thousands of people around the world are affected by harmful practices relating to witchcraft: either being accused of witchcraft and abused as a result, or themselves being subjected to horrendous violence as part of occult practices.

Next week, the UN will debate a ground-breaking resolution on harmful practices related to manifestation of belief in witchcraft.

Ahead of this debate, our friends at WHRIN, alongside Lancaster University and the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights of Persons with Albinism, have launched the Witch Way Forward campaign, to influence the UN and other stakeholders to take action on this issue.

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All the latest from Rwanda

Thank you so much for praying for Susie while she was in Rwanda, visiting APRECOM. Susie is now back in the UK after a very encouraging time with Odeth, Emma and the team.

Susie tells us: ‘In my prayer requests before I left, I wrote, “Please pray that we will keep in step with Holy Spirit; be daily filled with his presence; be effective in imparting his truth and word throughout the trainings and that he will bring about outcomes that exceed all our expectations.” These prayers were wonderfully answered above and beyond all we had hoped for. Thank you for being part of the adventure through your prayers and all glory to God for his goodness and faithfulness!’

You can read all about Susie’s time in Rwanda and APRECOM’s wonderful work by downloading her full report here.

 

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Do not disturb

‘Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing;
God never changeth.’ St Teresa of Avila

I always find St Teresa’s words comforting, largely because I get ‘disturbed’ quite easily – I’m a bit of a worrier. And there’s a lot going on in the world at the moment which could disturb us, if we let it.

After a year of Ebola in DR Congo, 2,300 people have been infected and, if anything, the spread of the virus is accelerating. In the UK, we are facing the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, carrying the threat of food and medicine shortages. New research is revealing just how extreme the climate emergency is. And for us and our project partners, the issues affecting the children we serve are huge; at times, those issues seem completely intractable.

Yet, there is still hope. Our God is the same, ‘yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). He is strong, he loves us and he is utterly faithful. So we should not be disturbed, whatever is going on around us.

Of course, that’s not to say that we should just ignore the problems in the world. Far from it. We have the power to act: to bring change on big issues, to influence decision-makers when we can’t bring that change directly, to play a part in God’s plan to make Earth more like heaven. When the challenge is just too great, we can pray to the one who endures forever, who can literally move mountains. There are some alarming things going on in the world but then, that’s always been true. It’s up to us to choose whether or not those things disturb us!

We and our partners are bringing change on issues that harm children. You can be part of this work, too. Here’s how.

 

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Susie in Rwanda

Susie with APRECOM’s Odeth (centre) and Emma (right)

Our Director, Susie Howe, is currently visiting APRECOM, our partner in Rwanda.

Susie says: ‘It’s a joy to be visiting APRECOM again. Whenever I spend time with Odeth and Emma, the extraordinary women who run APRECOM’s work, I come away inspired and thankful that BCT has the privilege of being a running partner with them.’

Susie has already been in Rwanda for a week and will be returning home in another week’s time. In the meantime, she asks for our prayers, particularly for the following points:

  • Pray that Susie and the APRECOM team will keep in step with the Holy Spirit, be filled with his presence daily and be effective in imparting his truth and word through training seminars.
  • Pray that, through those training events, God will bring outcomes that exceed all our expectations.
  • Susie will have very little rest, so please pray for supernatural strength and energy and for the joy of Jesus to flow in all that she does.
  • And please pray that Susie and the APRECOM team will be alert and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, hold things lightly and be ready to respond flexibly to every situation and circumstance, confident that God has everything in hand.

Thank you so much for praying.

Find out more here about APRECOM’s work, supporting children affected by HIV or living with disabilities.

 

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Please pray for LVLE

Please pray urgently for Jean-Paul, Edwige and the team at LVLE in DR Congo. There has been a confirmed case of Ebola in Goma, and Jean-Paul’s church (which adjoins his office) caught fire last week.

Please pray:

  • For protection from Ebola for all the team and their families, and indeed that the disease will be stopped in its tracks in Goma and generally. (You may have seen that two health workers were murdered in North Kivu; such is the suspicion around Ebola.)
  • That God will sovereignly protect the LVLE office and equipment as the windows have been smashed by the fire. Thank God that no-one was harmed in the fire and that the office itself was not destroyed.
  • That God will give his peace and comfort to Jean-Paul and the team, who are due to go out to Masisi as part of their training of church leaders in SCWA’s ‘The Heart of the Matter’ resource.
  • That the church will be enabled to restore their buildings soon and to quickly replace the chairs and the musical and other equipment lost.
Thank you so much for praying with us. These events are alarming but we know our God is sovereign.
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Past, present and future

‘In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 1:4-6)

It was wonderful. Our 20th anniversary celebration last month exuded joy and gratitude to God for all he has done for us and through us. We sang, we laughed, we dreamed, we ate and drank, and we celebrated God’s goodness. Inspired by three beautiful short films, created by our friend Phil Mash, we looked back to how it all began for BCT and remembered how God has nurtured and grown the work, and touched the lives of tens of thousands of children. We also looked to the future and outlined our plans to resource church leaders all over the world to reach marginalised children, in the name of Jesus.

In our experience – and in the Bible – God fulfils his plans for his people and does not rest until those plans are completed. We rejoice at how God has fulfilled his plans for BCT so far, but we are confident that those plans are not yet complete. God is not finished with us yet!

Please continue to pray for BCT; that we will hear God’s voice, follow his leading and obey his commands as we look to the future. May he have his way in us and our project partners, until his plans are completed – for his own glory and for the sake of the countless children who need to know and experience his love.

Above all, we all wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for journeying with us. We are looking forward to the next 20 years with expectation, and we hope you will carry on with us to see God’s plans continue to unfurl.

By the way, I hope the photos in this post will give you a flavour of what was an unforgettable day. And naturally, all three of the films I mentioned are now on our YouTube channel.

 

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Two prayer requests

Prayer is the engine that powers BCT’s work. It underpins everything we do and we believe passionately that, when we pray, our God answers. Right now, we’d really value your prayers for two particular things.

Firstly, Odeth from APRECOM (pictured) has a very severe bout of malaria. Of course, you won’t need me to tell you how serious malaria can be, so please pray that Odeth will recover fast and feel no lasting ill effects.

Also, it seems that the Ebola epidemic in DR Congo is getting worse. More than 1,400 people have now died, and it’s proving very difficult to control the spread of the virus, because of the civil unrest there and the widespread suspicion of foreign medical workers. Please pray that the epidemic will soon be brought under control. And pray in particular for protection for the team at LVLE and their families.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We know that our God is with us, and that he is for us, not against us!

If you’d like to pray for BCT more regularly, here’s how you can do that.

 

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A young life saved in Zambia

Carolyn, our Training and Project Development Coordinator, met Chico when she visited Zambia in April. He has hydrocephalus, his prognosis was poor and the local general hospital had done very little to help him. Our local partner, Wukwashi, immediately arranged for a referral for surgery at the main hospital in Lusaka, funding the transport costs and any additional medical costs that might arise.

We heard this week that Chico has now had a shunt fitted, which will stop the fluid build-up on his brain. Once again, Wukwashi wa Nzambi has lived up to its name – ‘God’s help’.

Carolyn comments: ‘This may not be the end of Chico’s difficulties, but there is no doubt in my mind that Wukwashi’s swift response saved his life, and his parents now know that they are not facing the future alone, whatever it may hold.’

This is just one example of how Wukwashi is making a huge difference to the lives of disabled children. Find out more here.

 

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