Each year as we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection at Easter, the Global Outreach Commission seeks out beneficiaries for our annual Easter Sacrificial Offering (ESO). This offering is collected and distributed to those who are working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the global church in some of the harshest parts of the world.
This year we’re excited to announce that after much deliberation and prayer, the Commission and Session have decided to support five ministries that are working in areas of relief and development while also faithfully proclaiming the gospel around the world. We’ll profile two of our relief projects in this article and our three development projects later this week.
Relief vs. Development
Terminology can be confusing, but Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert give us a helpful clarification in their book When Helping Hurts. They define relief as that which gives an “urgent provision of emergency aid to reduce immediate suffering during a crisis.” Relief ministries are our way of providing immediate care to those suffering as a result of violence, unrest, and unforeseen circumstances, whereas development deals more with long-term sustainability and improvement. Following this model, our two ESO projects working in relief ministries are as follows:
Caring for Widows and Orphans in Nigeria
In Psalm 68, David reminds us that our God is the “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows.” God’s care and love for widows and orphans is a major theme we see throughout Scripture. The calling on the church to care for them is something one of our long-standing partners takes seriously. He’s working with others in his community to provide physical and spiritual care for widows and orphans that have suffered tremendous hardship and loss. These women and children have not only lost their loved ones as a result of recent unrest, but many have also lost their homes and all sources of income. Our partner is working on the front-lines, meeting their immediate needs while also helping women and children re-establish themselves, offering schooling, job training, food, and spiritual care. Pray that the Lord would protect our partner and his family and that many would come to know the love of the Lord through their work.
Caring for South Sudanese Refugees
After twenty-one years of civil war, famine, disease, and nearly two-million deaths, few could fathom the thought that the people of South Sudan would face another war in 2013. This, however, is the reality that many Sudanese face today. Since 2013, nearly 400,000 people have been killed and 4 million people have been displaced as a result of the war. Many fled to the neighboring country of Uganda, seeking refuge from the violence. One of these displaced refugees is named Peter. He and his family were displaced and settled at the Koboko Refugee camp in Uganda. Peter was motivated by what God has done in his own life to see his fellow Sudanese come to know the love of the Lord. This motivation has led him to partner with the Lausanne Movement to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those displaced to refugee camps in Uganda. At a recent Lausanne training event, Peter recalled : “I was reminded that Jesus, who knew what it was like to be a refugee and to suffer, intimately understands and shares in the pain of his people” (Cf. Matt. 2:13-14). Our partnership in this ESO project will provide food, education, and gospel ministry to the thousands of displaced Sudanese.
We encourage you to pray for the work taking place around the world and invite you to give as you feel so led. You can give to the ESO here.
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