FreddyLink’s Weekly Note

18 REASONS TO HAVE HOPE IN 2018

13.  Communities are beginning to recover and rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean and Atlantic regions was one of historic proportions, bringing some of the strongest and wettest storms on record in hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. World Vision responded to all three disasters, sending dozens of semi truckloads of relief and rebuilding supplies to communities in the Houston area; Immokalee, Florida; and various sites in Puerto Rico to help some of the worst-affected storm survivors.

As of Dec. 8, World Vision and local partners have helped more than 181,000 people with food, water, hygiene kits, flood clean-up kits, tents, tarps, cash assistance, and other household necessities. World Vision’s goal isn’t only to be the “first in” when responding to the most urgent humanitarian crises, but also be the last out — seeing families and communities through hardship to restoration. Thanks to a generous church partner, World Vision also opened a warehouse in Houston to provide supplies to sustain recovery efforts for the foreseeable future.

Jesus, we thank You for offering hope to those suffering from disaster — the hurricane survivor, the refugee, the family facing famine.

12.  Since the Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011, World Vision has helped millions of people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

Internationally recognized as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis will enter its eighth year in March. Yet amidst the conflict and hardship, governments are allocating funds to meet this humanitarian emergency, churches are raising a cry of prayer and support for people in desperate circumstances, and people worldwide are finding a way to engage meaningfully for the sake of Syrian children and their families.

“This is what gives me hope — seeing people from all over the world caring enough to help,” says Eyad, a mechanical engineer turned aid worker in Syria. “There is still goodness in this world.”

Good Shepherd, You see Syrians’ needs with a tender heart. Awaken us to the needs of Syrian children and their mothers and fathers. Let us not grow weary in doing what is right and good in Your eyes. Remind us to engage on their behalf as we would if it were our own families who were suffering.

11.  Restored relationships are possible — even in the worst of situations.

World Vision developed a reconciliation model after the Rwanda genocide that endures today.

Wherever Andrew Birasa is, Callixte Karemangingo is nearby. They work side by side in the coffee fields in Nyamagabe district, southern Rwanda. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In April 1994, when Rwanda erupted into violence, neighbor turned on neighbor, family turned on family, and love turned to hate. The genocide turned friends, like Andrew and Callixte, into enemies.

After Callixte was part of a group that killed Andrew’s wife’s entire family, Andrew turned him in to the authorities. Callixte was imprisoned. Yet after going through training in peace and reconciliation, the two men are as close as brothers again.

Merciful Redeemer, we thank You that Andrew and Callixte are no longer prisoners of their pain. Each new day reminds us of Your grace and the hope found in You.

10.  Innovative technology is transforming remote communities around the world.

Mobile technology and other innovations allow humanitarian organizations to work better and smarter, improving efficiencies so more resources can help people in poverty and communities in crisis. World Vision is expanding its efforts to apply new methods and technologies for development work. Over the past five years, World Vision has launched 22 pilot projects in more than a dozen countries. These pilot projects provide a way to take innovative solutions developed at a grassroots level and test them for potential scale-up into vital programs like Last Mile Mobile Solutions — developed by World Vision and now being used by a dozen other organizations — which is revolutionizing how disaster survivors receive food, cash assistance, and relief supplies in their time of greatest need.

World Vision is also a member of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation, launched at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

Alpha and Omega, we express our gratitude for new knowledge and technology. May we continue to learn more to further help Your children.

9.  Rosemary doesn’t know the hunger and hardship her family did.

Rosemary doesn’t know the hunger and hardship her family did. She has hope and dreams of being a chef.

Rosemary, 9, loves to cook and dreams of becoming a chef. One of the dishes she often makes for her family in Zambia is nshima, a cornmeal porridge with Play Doh-like consistency. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

This 9-year-old from Moyo, Zambia knows only the prosperity. She knows about plenty. She knows about learning. She knows about sharing. And Rosemary knows she’s free to follow her dream of being a chef. Five World Vision Gift Catalog goats, her family’s hard work, and child sponsorship helped to lift her and her family out of poverty.

Gracious Lord, we sing Your praise, giving thanks for Your blessings in the lives of people around the world like Rosemary and her family. May we carry Your hope within us.

8.  We are working toward a more open, inclusive, and fair world for people with disabilities by 2030.

Individuals with disabilities can face a lot of barriers — in their living environment, in the form of outdated laws and policies, and in the attitudes and prejudices of people in their community. But now five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations address needs in sectors such as education, economic growth, employment, governance, and infrastructure. World Vision operates disability-specific programming as well as disability-inclusive programming around the world.

7. Men in India are taking a stand against a harmful tradition — child marriage — that has tarnished the worth of girls for centuries.

Instead of conforming to society’s skewed understanding of a girl’s worth — merely as a profit-and-loss venture — Men Care Groups in Agra, India, educate and equip men on the inherent value of women and girls. Members of this World Vision program also support one another in leading their families with empathy and encouragement, convincing other community members not to marry off their teenage daughters.

6. World Vision has partnered with the U.N. and UNICEF to launch the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Together, we will support the efforts of those seeking to prevent violence, protect childhood, and help make societies safe for children. By 2030, we hope to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children.

5.  Cheru will soon walk minutes instead of miles for water that will no longer make her sick.

Last spring, we walked the Global 6K for Water with 5-year-old Cheru Lotuliapus, whose daily life in Kenya was consumed with finding water. The effects of this life meant Cheru and so many other girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa were not able to live up to their potential.

Today, World Vision is working in West Pokot County to bring access to clean water to Cheru’s community. So this spring, a standpipe will bring fresh water to Cheru and her family, just steps from where her mother cooks, washes clothes, and prepares tea.

4.  We can solve the global water and sanitation crisis within our lifetimes.

About 835 children under 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. So the sixth of 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations includes achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

World Vision is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds. We are increasing our impact and scope to reach everyone, everywhere we work by 2030.

3.  The end of the HIV and AIDS pandemic is in sight.

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 48 percent since the peak in 2005 when 2 million people died from AIDS-related causes. Countries around the world are focusing on the 90-90-90 targets of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS. The U.N. is working toward the goal of 90 percent of people living with HIV will be diagnosed, on treatment, and virally suppressed by 2020.

2.  We are 99 percent of the way to eradicating polio globally.

Unlike most diseases, polio can be completely eradicated because it cannot survive for long periods outside of the human body. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 20 million people are living with polio paralysis.

At its peak in the early 1900s, polio struck tens of thousands of Americans. But right now, this crippling and potentially fatal disease is at the lowest numbers and in the fewest places ever. In 2017, there were only 16 cases in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. With vigilance, the world could be polio-free by the end of 2018. If that happens, polio will join smallpox as the only other human disease to become extinct. 

1.  Extreme poverty is giving up ground.

In the last 20 years, the number of children dying around the world from things they shouldn’t — from hunger and poverty and disease — has dropped from more than 30,000 a day to just under 16,000. And the number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, dropped by more than 1 billion. Now the world’s nations have set an ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, and we are joinging them in this important work.

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