The United Church of Christ's delegation to Japan and the Philippines has reached its completion. On our journey to Asia and the Pacific, which began Aug. 4, we have learned about disaster response and deep poverty. We have increased our understanding of how devastation impacts the lives of everyday people, just like you, and just like me. First-hand accounts go a long way into helping us see past our own levels of comfort. And it was in the uncomfortable times that we allowed ourselves to be open to a new truth. We have learned through first-hand accounts of the great impact the United Church of Christ, One Great Hour of Sharing and Global Ministries have made and continue to make in impoverished communities striving for life. It proved to us why disaster relief and rehabilitation are essential following disasters long after most people have forgotten the images that once were on news broadcasts, or that made front page news. Through this trip, we have become witnesses to great need and suffering, hope and blessings.
Participants have blogged along the course of the journey. The journey in our own words ....
Who are the missionaries you support through OGHS, and what are they up to these days? Here are snapshots of – and thought-provoking quotes from - Timothy and Diane Fonderlin, Teresa and Anil Henry, Donald and Maryjane Westra, and Karen and John Campbell-Nelson, with links to their web pages and blog posts.
Last summer thousands of unaccompanied children fled from violence and hunger in Central America to seek refuge in the United States. Through UCC ministries and with your contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing and Neighbors in Need, you have created family. Read this update from Bethany Children's Home in PA.
Karen Campbell-Nelson serves with the Evangelical Church of West Timor as a Professor. Her appointment is supported by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, Disciple's Mission Fund, Our Church's Wider Mission and special gifts to support her work.
In the middle of January on the island of Sumba (to the west of Timor), a young woman, 20 years old, was said to have fallen—or jumped—off the bus she was on and died. The Chief of Police in West Sumba, who learned from the woman’s parents that their daughter had sent them a cellphone message (SMS) saying she was uncomfortable as the only woman on the bus, was suspicious of bus driver’s claims and initiated an intense investigation.
Feb 15th is Transfiguration Sunday. Mark 9: 2-9, The whole context of the Transfiguration story is that Jesus is teaching his disciples what it means to follow him. As part of that experience, Jesus takes those disciples, Peter and James and John, to a high mountain apart, and chooses to give them a glimpse of his fullness. The writer of Mark describes it poetically as “his clothes became dazzling white such as no one on earth could bleach them.” Jesus appears, talking with Elijah and Moses. To know the fullness of Jesus is to experience his role as one of the prophets who spoke into being what no one could imagine and as integral to life in all generations.
Vocational Education is a key that opens doors for people to learn what they need now to earn a better living in the future. It is making a great impact in Honduras.
There is always more need than we are able to support. Yet, one smile and one flicker of hope in the eyes of a child make it all worthwhile.
When the Iraqis fled their homes from Mosul last summer, they had little with them when they arrived in Jordan. The impending winter became a challenge that required an immediate solution. A distribution to provide vouchers for children’s winter clothing had been planned, but seeing reports of rain, Father Emmanuel called the Orthodox Initiative to move the scheduled distribution up, bringing aid and relief to families before the storm came.
FIRM, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Services was established over twenty years ago to assist with the needs of refugees, mainly Hmong, Lao, and Slavic, who now reside in the U.S.
On September 13, 2013, more than a foot of rain fell on the farming community of Longmont, Colorado. Water saturated the ground. Creeks and rivers rose. And the St. Vrain River broke out of its river bed, flooding hundreds of houses outside of the designated flood plain.
Late 2014, and mid-2015 mark the 10 year anniversaries of two of the largest disasters in recent history—December in Southern Asia and Africa; and August in the US along the Gulf Coast.
When there’s a huge natural disaster, victims’ stories are broadcasted and people from around the world can hear their struggles. With all the destruction and loss, it’s hard not to ask the question, “Where is God in all this?”
Donors, including CWS are supporting a local NGO with big capacity, and providing assistance for the farmers who got affected by Nargis.
In 2013, the World Health Organization reported that 1 in 3 women globally will experience Sexual or Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in her lifetime. A study released in 2011 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already produced similar findings in the US, while noting that along with 1 in 3 American women, as many as 1 in 4 American men will experience this violence as well.
The situation in South Sudan constitutes a humanitarian crisis. Over 3 million people are at acute risk of food insecurity. Despite some signs of progress along the way, nine months of peace talks have seen few tangible results.
Wessington Springs, SD: Two local congregations say 'thank you' to the wider United Church of Christ and One Great Hour of Sharing.
By 2015, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day will drop to roughly half of what it was in 1990. Still, 805 million people remain chronically undernourished.
One Great Hour of Sharing highlights the Angel to Angel Project: Cards and Care for Prayers
Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme joined members of Bread for the World on September 30th for a conversation on global hunger which Highlighted - Food availability and access. Through the United Church of Christ, you are part of Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad by changing policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist.
The United Church of Christ is part of IMA WorldHealth, not only providing treated malaria nets in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also the personal touch of teaching people to hang it properly for optimal effectiveness.
For over 30 years the Federated Church of Rochester, Vermont has made Church World Service one of its major missions. Estelle Holmquist has been leading this drive since she started at the church.
OGHS supports Bread for the World. Get their annual report and join in on this wonderful Christian Bible Study about Food and Food Security in the World.
Welcoming Refugees is one of the cornerstones of the Refugee and Immigration Ministries of the United Church of Christ. Together with UCC Local Church Members, thousands of refugees have started their new lives with love and kindness.
In scripture, when God’s will is being done, resources are shared and everyone benefits. We see this perhaps most notably through iconic feeding stories such as manna in the wilderness, the miracle of the loaves, and the Last Supper.
The Muslim holy month of fasting and charity, Ramadan, came to an end with the Eid celebration on July 28th. During Ramadan, as the sun set and families gathered to eat a simple meal, many displaced Syrian refugees struggled for access to food.
Connecting the dots between Unaccompanied Child Refugees and Mayan Women’s Micro-Credit Project in Guatemala
One Great Hour of Sharing supports development initiatives that support women helping them to live out their dreams and earn a better living for themselves, family and community.
Through OGHS, we plant seeds that provide families with hope rather than despair. Farmers can now expand home gardens to ensure they can feed their families. Through OGHS, you help families plant hope. And that smells even better than freshly brewed coffee.
Every day hundreds of refugees struggle across the northern border of Kenya from South Sudan. Since violence broke out in the world’s newest nation on December 15th nearly 900,000 people have been uprooted. A ceasefire in January 2014 offered hope, but violence has continued unabated. At refugee reception centers in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia people are offered shelter, food and relief after their arduous journeys to safety.
Terumi Kataoka, Vice Representative of the Aizu Radiation Information Center, shared her words of thanks to everyone who provided assistance in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster in March 2011. She reports that life is going on, but the people still live with fear and anxiety.
Tim and Diane Fonderlin, OGHS-fully supported Global Ministries Mission Personnel serving in Haiti, help young adults through a micro-credit, micro-finance program.
A group of thirty newly arrived refugees from Myanmar (Burma), Somalia and Iraq surround Crystal Zook as she coordinates a cultual orientation session.
God’s amazing work in the world continues. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, you build networks of relationships that multiply this good news in ways we can only imagine. We invite you to consider your 2014 participation.
Through OGHS you are present with the Republic of Congo as the Church of Christ, a partner of UCC/Disciples Global Ministries, as children experience care, receive shoes and attend school. The Church of Christ in the Congo has been extravagant in the midst of their own challenges, caring for over 275 children, providing classroom space, teachers, and materials
You change lives through One Great Hour of Sharing. In these weeks before the recommended OGHS offering date of March 30th, we would like to send you a weekly note with stories of how you have Changed Lives through OGHS during the past year. Thank you. We also invite generous 2014 participation.
OGHS-Supported Church World Service, working with others to create web-based tracking measures to greater protect victims of sex trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography.
One Great Hour of Sharing provided blankets, food, clean water, shelter and medical care for communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Generous friends such as Luke, Irene, Margaret and others joined in the response to help those impacted. The UCC's support to Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts is projected to last three to five years.
The Hands of Peace Summer Program continues addressing the geographic, religious and cultural diversity issues of the Israeli-Palestinian reality through the bringing together of teens from the Middle East.
Inanda Seminary, a Global Ministries supported Christian school for black females in kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, recently received five new recycling stations funded by One Great Hour of Sharing.
Books were written, celebrities visited and the crisis in Darfur became international news. The United Church of Christ supported Dear Sudan and Tents of Hope, awareness and advocacy raising campaigns initiated by a UCC pastor. Countless UCC members wrote advocacy letters, and painted tents. One Great Hour of Sharing provided thousands of dollars for food, water, shelter and medical care. Unfortunately, Darfur rarely makes the news these days, though 2.7 million Sudanese remain uprooted in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
“Once I saw a young girl die in the hospital emergency room where I worked,” says Luis. “Her mother didn’t know how to read and write.” Shaking his head in anger, Luis continues, “And the girl just died. Her mother didn’t have any power to make any decisions for her. She felt really bad. She cried hard, and didn’t know what to do because she was dependent on her husband.”