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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Philippine Typhoon Haiyan

Please be in prayer for the Philippines as it was hit with a devastating Typhoon that has brought massive destruction. News sources are reporting that the death toll has surpassed 10,000. Hundreds of thousands have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Please also pray for the C&MA Churches of the Philippines (CAMACOP) as many communities with Alliance churches have been affected.

Here is an update from Bishop Jose Dalino, President, CAMACOP. He summarizes reports from District Supervisors:

CEBOLESA (Cebu, Leyte, Samar Islands): Two pastors are still unaccounted. Tacloban Alliance Church miraculously survived and became the haven of evacuees. Almost all church members of Tacloban lost their homes. In Camotes, Cebu our church and parsonage partially destroyed. 25 members lost their homes totally as well as their livelihood.

NEGPAS (Negros, Panay Islands): a) Roxas City, Capiz Alliance Church & school building totally destroyed. b) Sagay City -parsonage totally damaged. c) Barangay Rizal Outreach - church building totally damaged and livelihood of members.

Coron Island: Three Alliance Churches totally damaged, no update yet from other islands. 
Bicol: Our church in Calaay Alliance Church planting was damaged, including the members' rice fields, banana plants.
These churches represent whole communities that have been affected so please be in prayer for God to bring comfort and healing to the entire community.

Donations for Philippine Typhoon Relief may be sent to The Christian and Missionary Alliance National Ministry Centre, designated to Typhoon Haiyan Relief.  

We will be participating in the Canadian Government's matching program where for every dollar donated by individual Canadians up until December 23rd the government will set aside one dollar for their Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.  

We are in communication with partner NGO's and with CAMACOP leadership to plan our response. As with disasters of this magnitude, we will be supporting immediate relief efforts and long term recovery efforts. We will post updates as available.
Online donations can be made here.

Alliance Churches please note: Only donations collected from individuals are eligible for the government matching program. Money remitted for Typhoon Haiyan Relief from a general mission fund is not eligible for the match. Please specify the amount received from individual donations and if applicable, the amount allotted to this project from the church mission  fund.  Please indicate clearly in separate lines on the remittance form. Thank you! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Refugee Resettlement - Providing a Home Away from Home

June 20th is designated World Refugee Day by the United Nations. More than 45 million people were displaced last year according to the latest UN High Commission on Refugees report. These numbers are staggering; perhaps too daunting to motivate a response.
I have had several opportunities to visit refugee camps and listen to peoples’ experiences of flight. The stories have common elements.  Often at a moment’s notice, they grab the most important items and take only what they can carry. Their testimonies usually included loss of family members or threat of death or persecution. The refugee camps do not guarantee safety; only a different set of security and health risks.  Desperation and hopelessness prevail.  The C&MA has and continues to support several refugee relief programs in a variety of countries around the world.  BUT THERE IS MORE THAT WE CAN DO!  We can provide a home for those that have had to flee theirs. 

Many C&MA churches across Canada have been involved in assisting refugees to resettle in Canadian communities over the years. The result of assisting one family can have an impact for years to come not only on those sponsored but on their future generations.  We have our own story at the National Ministry Centre:
April Pitman works in our communications department. Her mother, Chhavy  Jeffs was a refugee in the 1970’s.  After fleeing Cambodia during the atrocities of the Pol Pot Regime, she arrived at a refugee camp in Thailand.  Relatives in Canada discovered that Chhavy’s family had made it to the refugee camp. They came to Kingston Alliance Church and asked if there was anyway the church would help.  When people in the church became aware of this need they were determined to reach out. They applied to sponsor the family.  Chhavy’s mother, meanwhile, discovered that twenty-three family members were in the refugee camp and resolved that they shouldn’t be separated.  Kingston Alliance found other churches in the city, including Bayridge Alliance, to partner with them. Soon all twenty-three family members arrived in Kingston and received love and care from these congregations. 

It is interesting to note that David Freeman (currently a C&MA Vice President) was a pastor at Kingston Alliance during that time. It was during a conversation at work one day that April and David connected the dots!
Watch this video to hear Chhavy's story of how refugee sponsorship impacted her family:
Oh that we could replicate this story over and over!  The C&MA Canada is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  This agreement allows our local churches to apply to sponsor refugee families.  For more information please email:
Note:  We are currently funding three separate relief projects for Syrian refugees in partnership with our Alliance World Fellowship churches in the Middle East.   

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Saving Lives with Tiny Strands of String

During a recent visit to Cambodia, I saw firsthand how this string has been instrumental in pulling young 8-12 year old girls away from the potential of abuse in a brothel towards a healthy, educated, wholesome life full of hope for their future!   
Kim Bui, C&MA International Worker with Vietnamese Girls
Pictured above are some of the young Vietnamese girls whose families live in Cambodia as refugees. They have no legal status in the country. They live in extremely impoverished circumstances where too commonly young girls are sold by parents into the sex trade. Our C&MA International Worker, Kim Bui, is providing an alternative for these girls. 
Three days a week, the girls come to Kim's and make string bracelets.  Hundreds of bracelets!  The sale of these are providing money for their school fees and uniforms.  Education is definitely a huge factor in providing healthy options for their futures.  Funds are also used to provide supplemental food for their families as needed. 
Kim also tutors them in reading using kids' Bible lesson material. They are learning about how much God loves and values them. She is also developing relationships with their parents in hopes that they will also come to know the love of Jesus.  Only then will we see the potential for the practice of selling daughters to stop in this community.  
A highlight for the girls is swimming with Kim at a local hotel pool a couple times a week. The hotel manager has allowed Kim to bring them for a minimal cost. This is such a blessing as normally they would never have opportunities like this. 
Who would have thought that tiny string bracelets could provide life-saving opportunities!  Please pray for these girls and for Kim as she continues to minister among them.  Pray, too, for more workers to go and join Kim in this venture!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prison Bars Can't Keep the Love of God Out!

On a recent visit to Taipei, Taiwan I spent an afternoon with My and Dao Nguyen (our C&MA personnel) on one of their weekly visits to a prison where they meet with the Vietnamese prisoners. We entered through 4 separate guarded doors where each door would not open until the door behind you had locked. As a woman, I had to wear a panic button around my neck. I was told, "Pull this in case anyone attacks you." By the time they gave me that, I had already passed through 3 of the guarded doors...No turning back! 
What an amazing experience, though, spending 2 hours meeting with many small groups throughout the prison talking to these men, hearing their stories, and praying with them. (With translation, of course.) Most of them were in their 20's serving 8 years to life-long sentences. (Some for murder; some robbery, etc.) Many are now following Christ and the Thursday meetings are their time to worship and learn biblical lessons. One group sang 'Amazing Grace' in Vietnamese which was definitely a highlight. 

There were other church leaders of seven different language groups who were meeting with small groups of men throughout the prison as well.  I learned that once every two months this facility allows a large prison-wide Christian service where all languages gather to worship and receive communion. Eight of the Vietnamese men I met are going to be baptized at this celebration next month. 

A great reminder that past mistakes and prison walls cannot keep someone from experiencing the grace and love of God!