Alliance Justice and Compassion resources and promotes the local and global ministries of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada that seek to bring wholeness and well-being to people made vulnerable by circumstances of poverty, disaster, and injustice. May the stories and thoughts inspire the reader to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Friday, August 5, 2011

East Africa Drought Response

We contributed $105,000 (with CIDA match is $525,000) to Food Aid projects that our CFGB partners are managing.  The programs are being managed by Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and Food for the Hungry in Ethiopia and Kenya.  Click here to view a powerpoint.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update on Baby David Case...

A follow up to the last Blog Entry...the Rescue Centre was awarded legal guardianship of Baby David!!! 

Our International Worker, Lizette writes: "This case establishes a precedent that we want to take advantage of to inform the population and the authorities of the rights of children and the need to establish or enforce a proper procedure for placing these children in good centres so that they can be legally adopted by caring people. As we prepare for the next steps, please pray for us, that God would give us wisdom and coworkers who would help us with this media campaign we want to set up in the next few months. We are looking at preparing radio programs, posters and flyers that would inform and inspire people to do the right thing concerning throw-away babies."

Interesting that on the same day I received this news, another of our International Workers in the same West African country, Colette, wrote of a 7-month old girl that was very sick when she arrived at their rescue centre.  She hung on for 3 weeks but died yesterday.  Here is a moving quote from Colette:  "I have been praying and asking the Lord if we should continue in this project (Source of Life - Infant Rescue Centre). I am convinced we should – WHY? This center is an act of Spiritual Warfare. It is completely opposite of what the destroyer of life does. It is a declaration to the unseen forces in the heavenly realm that every life is precious in God’s sight and HIS people will destroy the works of the devil by saving the lives of the innocent."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fighting for Justice for Abandoned Babies

In a West African country where we work, it is not uncommon that a newborn is throw away.  Two of our workers, Lizette and Collette oversee very different ministries in this country but both are seen by locals as people who will love and value these babies. 
As babies were brought to Collette, it was obvious that there was a need to open an Infant Rescue Centre.  Currently there are eight babies who are being nurtured to health and wholeness until they can be adopted into a loving Christian family. 
There is another group interested in saving these babies...  Unfortunately, they are known child traffickers who have vested interest in getting possession of these babies in order that they can sell them! 
Today I received an email from Lizette asking us to pray for 'Baby David.'  This is a young infant that has been a part of her ministry.  These child traffickers are attempting to get custody of this little one pictured below:
Here is an excerpt from Lizette's letter:  "Today may be the deciding day! Please pray for justice. The cries of hundreds, even thousands, of babies, thrown away by their mothers or stolen from their parents are rising up to God, as they are sold out of country into adoption, slavery, for sacrifices or for organs. My heart is totally torn by this massive tragedy, but God is able to touch the hearts of the judge and counsel,so that this country's child protection laws will be upheld, and child traffickers' schemes be foiled. We are fighting not only for David, but for all babies thrown away. They need to be loved and cared for until good families are found for them, families who will adopt them legally, love them and raise them up as their own."  
I sit and write this from my office, thousands of miles away.  How do I respond?  How do I participate in this battle against injustice?   I pray...AND I contribute funds to the C&MA's Global Advance Fund which supports Lizette and Collette to be there leading these ministries.  I also contribute money to the two projects that specifically enable the care for these precious lives.  The C&MA's Baby Rescue Centre  and the C&MA's Kids in Crisis. I invite you, the reader to do the same!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pigs + Prayer = Powerful Presence

On a recent trip to a Caribbean Island to visit our international workers and the microeconomic program they oversee, I was deeply impacted by what I experienced. Our 25 churches on this island are house churches.  
The pastors of these churches sacrifice their living space in their homes in order to provide a ‘sanctuary’ for their small congregations.  A wall knocked down between a living room and a bedroom creates a space large enough to hold some pews.  Many families then share one bedroom!  As many of the pastors and members of the congregations live in poverty, our team initiated a microeconomic program for church members several years ago. 
I walked through small communities visiting members’ projects – one after another:  some were raising pigs (the most common project), some growing crops, others sewing clothes, or painting furniture... the initiatives too varied to list them all here.  

Our leaders invited other denominations to participate and currently 20 churches from 7 denominations are involved.  The goal of the program is to provide financing for the poor so they can develop small businesses to help them out of poverty.  Another objective is to empower the national church to become economically self-sustaining through the tithes of their members.   As we visited with pastors and members they told me about a 24/7 prayer movement that has been birthed within this interdenominational relationship.  Their annual prayer retreat was attended by 280 pastors and leaders last time.  
Some of the microeconomic groups have started to include prayer and fasting at their weekly meetings. One of the pastors had the vision to invite people in the neighbourhood to participate in the micro program as a way to serve the community and express the love of Christ.  During the first 6 months of their involvement with the program, 20 community participants have made decisions to follow Jesus.  
One man told me that he sensed something very different in the people.  As he engaged with the small groups he soon came to know that it was the presence of Jesus that he was sensing.  He told me, “Now my life has been transformed; I am so thankful that they opened their group up to me!” 

I, too, discerned a powerful Presence in these believers.   Their passion for Jesus is contagious.  Through pigs and prayer, God is empowering His Church to impact that island nation!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

International Women's Day...For Many, Not Much to Celebrate

On March 8th the world is encouraged to celebrate International Women’s Day.  As I reflect on the reality for millions of women around the world, my heart is saddened for the fact that so many suffer injustices.  It is experienced in various forms such as: trafficked into the sex trade, prohibited from going to school, held in illiteracy, raped and abused,  forced to work in unsafe environments, chained in slavery, or even what might seem trivial, in light of the aforementioned - not allowed to drive a vehicle or to play sports.  As I have traveled and been exposed to many different cultures, it has become apparent that the only hope for these women is that Jesus would transform the worldviews of those that perpetrate these injustices. 

Worldview is defined as the way that someone sees and understands the world, especially in relation to their religious or political beliefs and ideas.   One aspect of a distorted (or sin affected) worldview sees women as second-class citizens, or even worse, valued less than property or animals – not worthy of having rights.  This ideology is one factor that precipitates unjust treatment.   Justice, from a biblical perspective, ensures all people are treated with dignity and fairness because all people are made in the image of God.

As I consider the ministries happening every day either by our global teams or local churches in Canada, I am encouraged by those that are intentionally ministering to girls and women that suffer injustices.  Whether offering literacy classes, vocational/skills training, maternal health education, goat-loaning, micro-economic opportunities, participating in the Defending Dignity initiative here in Canada (; as we are implementing these kinds ministries, we are ultimately reflecting a biblical worldview of Jesus’ love for and value of these individuals. 

So this month, as I think about the enormous issues women face in our world, I am motivated by Jesus, who declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Luke 4) As we continue Christ’s ministry of demonstrating and declaring this Good News, it is my prayer that the hearts and minds of the oppressors will also be transformed and that women who experience these injustices will truly be free!   

Friday, March 18, 2011

Compassion Ministries - Our Best Kept Secret

     Whether it is a poor widow in West Africa receiving loaner goats to start her own herd, or a hungry man that lives on the street being fed by a local church in Canada - these ministries are not the first thing you think about when you consider what the Christian and Missionary Alliance is.  In reality, the family of Alliance Churches in Canada is recapturing the strategic priority of justice and compassion that was a part of our genesis over 100 years ago.  We are on a journey towards restoring a biblical balance of experiencing and expressing the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     I have been mandated with the task of nurturing, resourcing, and promoting this by communicating our stories, promoting opportunities for individuals and churches to engage, and providing avenues for dialoguing, reflecting theologically and sharing best practices.  
     This blog will be one avenue to highlight stories from both churches and global ministry teams.  Here is a list of the kinds of ministries that we are engaged in: 

  • Community Health Education 
  • Medical clinics
  • HIV/AIDS education and care
  • Microeconomics
  • Well / clean water projects
  • Animal loans
  • International food aid
  • Agricultural development
  • Literacy 
  • ESL (English as a Second Language)
  • Work among refugees
  • Education for refugee children
  • Work with girls at risk
  • Vocational training 
  • abandoned baby rescue
  • Care for terminally ill cancer patients
  • Food banks
  • Clothing banks
  • Cold weather shelters
  • Chaplaincy
  • Parish nursing

Watch for specific stories in the coming days...