Why Children in Somalia Have No Food

A field worker walks across the dry ground to a dust-covered tent. She crouches down next to a mother who, avoiding her gaze, holds up the arm of her little girl for measurement. Even before placing the plastic band around the girl’s stick-thin arm, the field worker knows severe malnourishment when she sees it. Starvation has taken hold of this child.

child arm measurement food crisis in Somalia
A boy’s arm measures in the red, indicating severe malnourishment.

Why is Somalia in a Food Crisis?

Somalia is experiencing a severe hunger crisis.

A short rainy season in 2016 led to a poor harvest, and the rains have not returned since. In some parts of Somalia it’s been two years since they’ve seen any rainfall. Without rain, the soil cannot support crops or grass to feed the livestock that herders depend on for their income and meals. Animals have died and food is scarce.

With years of crop failures and few livestock remaining, the cost of food has increased exponentially while the availability of food is decreasing at the same rate. The lack of available food creates high levels of food insecurity among the majority of the Somali population.

What’s World Concern Doing to Help in Somalia?

Without food and proper nutrition, children, especially the youngest ones, have not been able to grow and develop normally. Rural communities suffer the most, and many mothers are desperate to feed their starving children.

World Concern offers a simple and extremely effective solution for malnourished children in Somalia. A daily packet filled with a powerful peanut-based paste is saving lives.

One packet contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients a child needs to grow healthy and strong. The paste is also gentle enough that it will not cause pain or discomfort when a child, who has not had proper nutrition in months, begins to eat it.

From the moment a child begins to take an emergency nutrition packet once a day, her health begins to improve.

young girl eats nutripacket in Somalia
A little girl eats from a nutripacket in Somalia.

After a month of taking these packets, the changes in a child become more and more noticeable. Distended tummies begin to recede, small faces begin to fill out, and mothers aren’t woken up by the cries of their baby’s hunger during the night.

Due to the food crisis plaguing Somalia, kids need this nutrition immediately. If a child is severely malnourished for more than a month, their chance of making a full recovery diminishes. The good news is, help is available in these powerful nutripackets, which begin to work immediately.

Find out more about the hunger crisis in Somalia and save the life of a child today.

What You Need to Know About the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Noor, a young mom, gave birth on the run. A month later, her malnourished body cannot produce milk to feed her baby. Every day Abu, her baby, grows weaker. She tries to crush rice and mix it with water, but it’s not enough. Her other five children run around and drink from contaminated ponds. If Noor isn’t eating, her children aren’t either. 

Banu and her two children sleep in the town’s chicken coop, cramped between 30 other refugees. With no money to buy shelter materials, they have no other option. Banu’s one year-old is sick, but she cannot buy the medicine he needs.

rohingya refugee crisis camp
A refugee camp with makeshift shelters for families                                                          Photo courtesy of Medair

Conditions in the Rohingya refugee camps are dismal, with hundreds of thousands in need of help.  Families are without the necessities to live, with thousands more flooding in each day.

We are doing what we can for the Rohingya, but without increasing help from the international community, this is now the largest refugee crisis in the world.

World Concern is responding, but needs support in order to reach the Rohingya refugees in greatest need.

What is the Rohingya Refugee Crisis?

An ethnic group of about 1 million, the Rohingya people have lived in the Rakhine state of Myanmar for centuries.

Over the past few decades, the Rohingya began to suffer increasing persecution and violence. Without the ability to own land and seen as “illegal,” the Rohingya have little to no rights in Myanmar. At the end of August the violence escalated after a police and army base were attacked. Violence ensued, and families fled their homes in search of safety.

This mass exodus creates an enormous problem, as Bangladesh does not have enough support or resources to help this many people.

What’s Happening in the Rohingya Refugee Camps?

Lala is very thin, and very pregnant. Standing under three sticks of bamboo held together with twine, a team member asked, “When was the last time you had something to eat?” She responded, “Someone gave me a biscuit 24 hours ago.”

rohingya refugee mother in a camp
A Rohingya refugee mother with her starving baby                       Photo courtesy of Medair

Forced to flee with barely their lives, families have nothing. No food, clothes, shelter, or the ability to take care of themselves.

Temporary hospitals overflow with refugees suffering diarrhea, skin diseases, and gruesome wounds suffered during their escape.  Latrines are rare, adding to the already high risk of spreading deadly diseases. Families drink, wash, and bathe in ravines flowing with polluted water. Reports of trauma and shock are common, most all refugees having lost a family member or friend to violence.

“Three weeks ago, I had a husband and four children. Today, I have two children . . . my husband was decapitated. My house was burnt to the ground. While fleeing, I lost two of my children. I say I lost them because suddenly they were nowhere to be seen. I do not know if they are dead or alive.” – Selima, age 27.

rohingya refugee family
Selima and one of her surviving children                                     Photo courtesy of Medair

It’s difficult to reach families that live deep within the camps to provide emergency services and healthcare. With the sudden rush of refugees, official camps were not enough to house everyone, so makeshift camps sprung up along the border. The lack of planning, overcrowding, and poor hygiene make for a despairing situation for families in the camps.

Currently, the greatest needs in the camps on the Bangladesh – Myanmar border are:

  • Clean water and food
  • Sanitation
  • Permanent shelters
  • Safety for women

What is World Concern Doing in Bangladesh?

The World Concern team and our partners are providing hygiene kits and shelter materials to newly displaced families. As we’re able, we’ll reach more families and meet additional critical needs.

It is our mission to go to the hardest places, to serve the most marginalized populations, and to reach those who have yet to be reached. Rohingya refugee mothers and children are waiting, their hope and strength fading, for someone to come to their rescue.

If you would like to be part of the solution for Rohingya families, visit the World Concern website to learn more and give to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Emergency Survival Supplies Can Save Lives in South Sudan

As I see report after report of the destruction caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding, my thoughts turn to the crisis in South Sudan.

The images are chillingly similar. A woman stands amid the wreckage of her home in Houston, knee deep in water. A child in South Sudan stands beside a tarp upheld by a few sticks, wading in muddy water.

When disaster strikes at home, we can count on aid workers and our local government to provide shelter, food, and clean water. In places like South Sudan, none of these provisions are available.

Food, clean water, even the ability to close the front door to my home are all things I take for granted. Can you imagine living with no walls, no door – not even a bathroom to use in private?

After her home was burned to the ground during an outbreak of violence in her village, Gisma gathered her children and followed the path millions of South Sudanese walked (or ran) before her: to a camp for displaced families.

Gisma now sleeps on a rough sack underneath a ragged piece of canvas barely big enough for her to stretch out her legs. Her children can no longer stay with her for fear they will be swept away by the torrential rain that pours outside her tent.

woman displaced by crisis in South Sudan
Gisma sits under a makeshift shelter in a camp for displaced families.

“My legs are in pain, but I have no other option, I have to stay here . . . if the rain comes, I just have to endure,” grieves Gisma.

With no hope of regaining her home, finding food, or ensuring her own safety, Gisma’s circumstances can turn deadly at any moment.

It’s situations like Gisma’s where emergency survival supplies can make the difference between life and death.

What’s Included In World Concern’s Emergency Survival Supplies?

“What can I eat? What can I cover myself with?” Gisma asks herself each morning.

For people without the necessities for survival, World Concern steps in to provide kits stocked with food and other much-needed supplies. Each item received serves a specific purpose to meet the needs of moms and kids who have nothing.

Seeds to Harvest

a man in South Sudan receives seeds to plant

South Sudan has little to no supportive economy. That being said, agriculture and farming are nonexistent, one of the many results of the crisis. Even if mothers like Gisma had the resources to buy food, sky-high prices and food shortages would make it impossible.

Seeds to plant for the next harvest provide solutions not only for the present, but long-term development as well.

Shelter

woman in South Sudan receives emergency supplies
A mom in South Sudan receives emergency shelter supplies.

Many in the camps, like Gisma, live under makeshift shelters. A crucial element of the emergency supply kit, shelter materials such as tarps, rope, and tents provide additional protection from the rains and privacy.

Blanket and Sleeping Mat

Believe it or not, it gets cold at night in South Sudan. Blankets and a sleeping mat not only provide a clean place for families to lay their heads, but warmth and comfort when the temperature drops.

Clean Water and Water Cans

a sustainable source of clean water in South Sudan
Clean water for families in South Sudan.

Even during the rainy season, clean, safe drinking water is scarce. Children drink from dirty ponds, not knowing that doing so will lead to parasitic worms, or other deadly water-borne diseases. Access to safe drinking water, collected with the help of water cans, helps prevent disease and dehydration.

Mosquito Nets

Without a home families sleep exposed to mosquitoes. The rainy season spreads disease as standing water accumulates, serving as a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Mosquito nets protect children and their families from bites that can lead to malaria.

“I hope I can take [my children] into a world of hope, a good future, and development,” Gisma prays.

That’s my hope for Gisma and the many others displaced in South Sudan, too.

But until then, emergency supplies help bridge the gap while they wait for peace to come.

Learn more about the crisis in South Sudan and give emergency survival supplies here to save a family.

A Pillar of Hope, A Pastor to the Hopeless

In a dimly lit church building on a mountainside in rural Haiti, Pastor Samuel bows his head and prays. He prays for the mother whose child is sick again, for the father who cannot provide his family with enough food to eat, for the grandmother whose sickness is only getting worse and for the fate of his wavering community.

With cracked and calloused hands resting heavy on his knees, Pastor Samuel whispers an amen and lifts his head again. As if he weren’t busy enough preparing for sermons, counseling villagers and praying earnestly on behalf of the sick and the needy in his village, sixty-something-year-old Pastor Samuel has just returned from his daily 6-mile round-trip trek back up the mountain from the local market.

Lestage village church
More than 350 villagers attend Lestage village’s church each Sunday and often visit Pastor Samuel during the week to ask for prayer and support.

For more than 30 years, Pastor Samuel has lived and been a pastor in Lestage village. “We have monthly prayer services to meet the needs of the community,” Pastor Samuel explains. “We pray for healings and even go door-to-door to pray for people.” While more than 350 people manage to fit inside of this small church building on a weekly basis to worship and listen to Pastor Samuel, many residents of Lestage village have lost their faith.

As one natural disaster after another has beat down on this small mountain community over the years, the people here have begun to lose hope.

“After each disaster you end up losing everything you were expecting to grow. Suddenly a hurricane happens and you end up losing it all,” one villager and church member, Michelle, explains.

Farmer in Lestage
Farmers in Lestage have struggled over recent years to produce enough food for their families to eat since years of natural distastes has ruined their once fertile land.

Members of the church often come to Pastor Samuel for prayers or even for money and provisions for their families in times of great need. “We don’t have the tools that we need to offer to the community,” Pastor Samuel says, “…sometimes we evangelize and turn people to Christ, but we don’t have Bibles to give them to help them grow in their faith.”   

A man of great faith and a true pillar of hope for his wavering community, Pastor Samuel can no longer do this on his own. He needs support, encouragement and the tools necessary to help loosen the grip of poverty that has overtaken his community.

Children in Lestage
Through World Concern’s One Village Transformed program, children in Lestage will attend Bible Studies and learn about the love of God.

Through World Concern’s One Village Transformed program, rural pastors like Samuel will get the support that they need to equip and meet the needs of their community. Oftentimes, in fact, churches like this become the greatest champion of supporting and implementing this change. Working together, through prayer and with your help, they will begin their journey towards holistic, physical and spiritual transformation.

Become a One Village Transformed sponsor today and walk with the people of Lestage village!

 

World Humanitarian Day – Walking in Her Shoes

“There are no roads where we work,” Irene Nyambura, World Concern’s One Village Transformed coordinator in South Sudan explains. Over the years, Irene has gotten used to going beyond the end of the road to reach the communities where she works.

Irene enjoys building relationships with members of the communities where she works in South Sudan.

Born and raised in Kenya, Irene has been working with extremely remote communities in South Sudan for a couple of years now. On a typical day, the One Village Transformed coordinator visits at least half a dozen remote villages and homes where she meets with community leaders and families and oversees training sessions in each village.

“Seeing leaders plan for their own communities and sharing this with us is very fulfilling,” she says. The mother of two especially enjoys seeing and hearing stories of progress among the people she works with. “For instance, the first time we visited Kuanya village, there was no road to get to the village. The community was happy to receive us and promised to make it easier for us to access them. Shortly after, they cleared off thickets for us, now our vehicle can drive in.”

In light of recent tensions within the young, volatile nation of South Sudan, however, Irene’s job can be even more challenging. In February, Wau town, where World Concern’s office is located, was under fire. “The gunfire was heavy. We could hear it very close to our office. I didn’t think we would make it,” she says.

Even as a humanitarian worker, Irene is not shielded from the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary citizens. “There are times when I cannot get food. Sometimes there is not enough water and I have to stay thirsty…There are few or no toilets in the village…” she says adding that long drives on rough terrain are back breaking.

Villagers in Magai Village, located in rural South Sudan, love working with Irene.

“Working in South Sudan has been a humbling experience. It has taught me to see things differently and stop taking some things for granted, especially God,” explains Irene. The people she meets daily tell her that they wouldn’t be alive had it not been for God’s grace. Seeing what they have to go through, she knows it’s true.

We’re proud to spotlight Irene on this #WorldHumanitarianDay

Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we recognize Irene Nyambura, a humble servant to God and to the communities she works with in South Sudan. Thank you, Irene for all that you do to help train, grow and equip communities with the tools that they need to thrive and succeed for generations to come.

 

 

Homeless – but not without hope – in South Sudan

One year ago, World Concern staff were evacuated from Wau, South Sudan, when armed conflict broke out in the area where we’re working. Although our team was able to resume work within a few weeks, for tens of thousands of people, life is far from returning to normal. More than 40,000 are still living in squalid camps around Wau.

A young man crouches over a piece of leather he’s fashioning into a shoe. Shoemaking was not ever in his plans, but for William George, one of 12,000 residents of the Cathedral camp near Wau, South Sudan, it’s how he spends his days.

“I am a graduate of Catholic University, faculty of agriculture and environmental science,” says George. “But because there is no job, it’s not good to beg, so that’s why I decided (to start shoemaking). I don’t want to be idle. That’s why.”

William George is one of 12,000 people living in the Cathedral camp near Wau, South Sudan. The university graduate is making shoes to survive.

One year after the conflict broke out near Wau, very little has changed, except that the population of the camps here has multiplied.

“It seems as though someone is in a jail. You are not free to move. I will just stay here till night and then I go inside and sleep. In the morning, I will just come like this. There is nothing new. You eat, sleep. There is no improvement or anything,” explains George.

At the Cathedral camp, where George is, World Concern is distributing shelter materials in partnership with IOM. While the materials provide a welcome shelter from the rain, camp life has been extremely difficult for families who fled here.

Food prices continue to skyrocket on a daily basis, and many people are surviving on wild leaves. But, recently, even wild leaves are being sold at the market.

Women in South Sudan collect wild leaves for food. Recently, even leaves are being sold in the markets as a means to survive.

Another 39,000 people are living in a camp outside the UN base near Wau. Things are equally difficult there.

“We are stranded here, no food to eat, people are getting sick, no shelter and no school,” said Regina Augustino, a mother of four whose husband was killed in the conflict.

“When the rain falls, this is the worst part of my life here,” she says, holding her youngest. “If I look down, the water is reaching my knees; what can the young children, like the one I am holding now do? If I don’t properly hold him, the water can carry him away.”

But there is no escaping the rain.

“All of my children were crying including the eldest who is about 14 years. When I asked them, ‘Why are you crying?’ they asked me, ‘Mother, don’t we have an alternative place to settle because in this place we are dying. If not at all, we better go back to our old home so that we can at least be rescued from this rain.’ Life was not easy. If we go back we will be killed, I told them.”

Regina and her children huddle inside a makeshift tent at a camp for families who fled violence in South Sudan.

Regina survives by collecting firewood and selling it. “I buy anything that the money can buy, and give it to my children. That is how we cope.”

For George, Regina, and thousands of other families living in South Sudan’s camps, their only hope is peace.

“I hope for a better life, a good future. At the end if there is peace and stability, there will be hope for a good future,” said George, who leans on his faith. “In certain situations, people may think that God is not there, but as a believer, I believe that God is there. If it were not for Him, I would not be surviving up to this moment.”

Regina, too, looks to God for help. “I pray for peace in our country … I have hope that if peace comes someday. We will be able to rebuild our lives.”

World Concern is providing emergency assistance to displaced families in South Sudan. You can help here. We’re also partnering with One Day’s Wages to transform the village of Ranguo as part of a long-term plan for sustainable development of this community. You can join us by donating here.

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Akol Akol (far right) talks with some of the kids he served. This picture captures his love and passion for seeing the lives of these precious young men transformed. Akol Akol passed away suddenly on July 6.

Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.”

Many of you have heard the sad news of the death of a World Concern staff member in South Sudan. Akol Akol was playing soccer and sustained an injury, was rushed to the local hospital where he died 30 minutes later. He was a much beloved staff member who knew the Lord, and worked as a peace maker in his community.

Peter Macharia, our Africa Area Director, wrote this word of tribute:

“I’ll miss Akol Akol. He started soccer teams in Magai and Mayen and the young team loved it a lot. Through soccer he would share the love of Christ and engage young men on how to better their lives and stay away from crime. When I last visited South Sudan he asked me for more soccer balls. He also brought me his new wife to say ‘hi.’ They were expecting a baby.

He was deeply loved by all those that met him. He was also deeply passionate about his work, loved World Concern, was always eager to learn, and full of laughter. When he joined World Concern in 2012, he couldn’t speak a word of English, but within a very short time, he would engage in an English conversation as if it was his mother tongue. He longed to see Magai and Mayen transformed. We will definitely miss him. We are praying for his dear wife.”

Our team in South Sudan thanks you for your prayers. They spent today with Akol Akol’s family. We are praying for God’s comfort and the peace that passes all understanding to stand guard over their hearts. Through it all, we trust in the goodness and mercy of our Lord, knowing that this is not the end. We take comfort in that blessed hope of life everlasting with our Lord.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to have known and served with such a kind and good heart. We pray now for his family and our precious team in South Sudan as they grieve this great loss.  

God bless you,

Jacinta Tegman, President
World Concern

 

The Untold Story of a Trafficking Victim

“First they lied to me; they told me it was a good workplace with a high salary…I believed them…”

When it comes to human trafficking, there’s no rules or road maps on how the $150 billion industry operates and there’s certainly no discrimination when it comes to victims of trafficking.

We often talk about girls and women who are sold into sex trafficking, but the truth is, this deceptive and heinous crime lures and threatens the lives of boys, girls, men and women alike. And those living in Southeast Asia are at an even greater risk.

It wasn’t until recently that Lao-native, Kanoa (not his real name), realized he had been the victim of human trafficking. Only 15 years old at the time, Kanoa found himself working as a modern day slave before risking his life and escaping the horrifying situation. After attending a few workshops at his village’s local youth trafficking awareness center, Kanoa finally worked up the courage to tell his story, for the very first time. Here’s what he said:

“My parents separated when I was young because of alcohol problems and domestic violence. My father drank a lot of alcohol and gambled. After they separated, my father disappeared in the war. Everyone assumes he died, but no one really knows.

My mother went to Thailand many years ago. She never came to visit. Later, she came back for 20 days, and then she died.

When my parent died, I was just five years old. I moved around to wherever I could find a job. Sometimes I would pick coffee beans…or work on a construction site. Other times I would fix motorbikes. Whatever would help me to survive.

One day a family asked me to stay with them. They were so kind to me, so I called them mother and father. I lived with them until I was 11 years old. Then I chose to go work in Thailand illegally. Again, I did everything, whatever an employer asked me to do – like shrimp farming, animal raising, cleaning and construction.

I worked with them about four or five years, and then they sold me to the fishing ship. First they lied to me; they told me it was a good workplace with a high salary. I believed them.

While I was on the fishing ship; people forced me to work without salary and they treated me and other co-workers like animals. They forced us to work very hard and they hurt us like non-living things.

Whenever people couldn’t work for them anymore, including people who tried to run away, they just killed them and threw them into the sea. When people tried to run away and hide, the ship owners would track them down and kill them. Sometimes people ran to the police for help. But the police just sold them back to the cargo ship, again.

I was on the fishing ship for one year. I couldn’t sleep well every single night. I was scared. I was worried. I planned to run away.

One day the fishing ship docked to pick up more workers; while the situation was messy as the crew focused on imprisoning the new workers, I took that opportunity to run away. I ran into the forest. They tried to find me and kill me, but they didn’t find me. I spent 3 days in the forest hiding from them without any food and water.

Finally, I decided to go to the police even though I feared that they would sell me back to the fishing ship. But I was lucky. The police helped me and sent me back to Laos.

It was horrible; the hardest time in my life ever. Sometime I was thought that if I couldn’t run away I would commit suicide by jumping into the water.

I never shared this story with anyone before. The first time I shared was with the youth and World Concern team at the Youth Center.

The reason why I never talk about this story is might be caused from no one asking me about my life in Thailand and I didn’t know who should I talk to. When I came to the youth center I felt that I had friends who would listen to me… I feel safe to share.

At first, it hurt me a lot and I just want to forget it all; I don’t want to talk about it again but I feel better after sharing this story with friends and people around me.

Kanoa’s story is only one of millions of others just like it, and sadly, most of them will remain untold. Kanoa was just 5 years old when he was left an orphan, alone and vulnerable to the countless threats around him. It’s children just like this who we are working to protect and keep safe. For just $48, YOU can protect a child just like Kanoa from becoming a victim of child trafficking.

What Every Parent Wants

Every parent knows what it’s like to care for a sick child—the uncertainty, the frustration, even the fear.

For me, what always gets me is the moment I realize I can’t comfort my son. Or when he complains about something that I can’t possibly solve on my own. It’s heartbreaking because I want to be his protector, his hero, and make everything right again.

Most parents would gladly trade places with a sick child. And this is Alexi’s lament right now.

“When my son gets sick, it’s like I am sick too,” he says as his little boy sits quietly on his knee.

John is Alexi’s youngest (and sickest) son. All his children have been sick at one time or another, and all with the same symptoms—severe diarrhea, constant nausea, horrible stomach pain. This father is very familiar with effects of intestinal worms, some of which come and go, but John’s problems are persistent. And the worms are refusing to move.

“He’s really suffering right now,” Alexi tells me. “If it’s not the pain in his tummy, it’s the fevers. It’s one or the other and I don’t know what to do.”

This father of six lives in Haiti, high up in the hills and far removed from anything we would describe as livable. There is no medical clinic in this village, not even running water. There are no faucets. No flushing toilets. No place to bathe.

This is why John is so sick. The dirty water and unsanitary conditions are the perfect breeding ground for parasites. These nasty worms are now multiplying in John’s belly, and sapping all the nutrients from his tiny body. The cure for this horrible condition?

A miracle pill that costs just 44 cents. 

But Alexi can’t afford it, and that was the reason I was visiting him. Thanks to the generosity of donors, World Concern is distributing these life-changing tablets to hundreds of sick Haitian kids.

The 44-Cent-Cure is the most cost-effective solution to poverty’s biggest problem, because within days of taking the pill, the worms are dead, John is cured, nutrients are being absorbed back into his body and he’s able to return to school and enjoy life as a happy, healthy child.

Alexi is a farmer, or at least was until Hurricane Matthew destroyed his crops.

Now, Alexi survives day-to-day, working odd jobs to scrape together enough money for the occasional meal and to send his kids to school. He’s planted some corn and some grain, but the plants are not even close to harvest yet.

So this single father does what he can and puts on a brave face. Yet he admits even this is getting harder and harder to do. Especially since John has been so sick.

“I am responsible for him and have no time to cry,” he whispers, not wanting his son to hear how difficult things are. “I must work.”

In just a few days, the pill that we gave John will have killed all the worms in his belly. His fevers will be gone. The nausea and diarrhea will be gone. And Alexi can return to work.

All because of a pill that costs less than 2 quarters.

Alexi and I have something in common. We are both dads and dearly love our kids. We love Jesus. We both  work. And we both want our families to be healthy.

After praying together, Alexi and I shook hands. And that’s when his story really hit home for me. Our hands could not have been more different.  His are strong; his palms calloused and his fingers tough and weathered. Mine are the exact opposite. We have lived vastly different lives.

The biggest difference though? I am in a position to help.

I had the opportunity to pray with Alexi last month. Will you join us in praying for the families in Haiti who need your help?

Oh my dear World Concern

With all that’s happening across our world, we wanted to take a moment and thank you for all that you’re doing. The work of World Concern happens because of you—your prayers and your faithful support. And it’s through you, that Christ is shared, and lives are changed. This poem, written by a young Bangladeshi girl that was saved from child marriage, illustrates your impact perfectly.

Oh my dear World Concern,

From far away you are praised,

Your wondering works will never fade away.

You lightened up so many lives,

You will stay always in our hearts

Wiped out the darkness from our lives

You gave us a fulfilled life

Oh my dear World Concern.

As you ponder this precious girl’s thoughtful words, we want to leave with a reminder from Jacinta Tegman, the World Concern president, who shared a few years ago the reason for the season, and why our journey with the poorest people can be so life-changing.

With this in mind, we encourage you to pray about how you can show the love of Christ to a family that’s waiting for hope, and healing this Christmas.

Merry Christmas from everyone at World Concern!

As we celebrate this special time of year, it is a wonderful time to remember that God himself came to earth. What is so extraordinary is that He chose to identify with the poor and marginalized. He gave up all of His splendor, was born in a stable, and laid in a manager.

In 2 Corinthians 8:9 we read, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor.”

The heart of God is close to those who are poor, forgotten, and alone. Of all the classes and peoples on earth, He chose to identify with them. He lived and walked among them. He knew their pain and struggles. He opened His arms to bless and heal them. I am keenly aware that God continues to walk with the poor. He does that through you and me. I see it every day.

This Christmas, amidst all the joy we will experience, let us pause and remember. Join me in prayer for the poor and marginalized—those close to God’s heart.