I S S U E 0 3 | Summer 2021

Photo of Jennifer Lau in duotone

As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a season and time for everything. Things never stop changing. The world is changing more rapidly today than at any other point in history. How do we live as God’s people at a time when there is constant change? As believers, we know that God is the one thing that never changes.

Though change is constant, so is God’s love for us and his creation. The world needs to know who we are as followers of Jesus, to hear the message that the Church and God’s people bring, now more than ever. This is not the time to withdraw, but the time to reimagine all the things God can do through broken people, living in broken communities, in a broken world.

In this issue of CBM Responding, we are turning our focus to education. Access to education is not a privilege, it’s a human right. (UN Universal Human Rights – Article 26). CBM is active in educational programs in 9 different countries. Did you know that the single best tool to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty is education?

The long-term effects of the global pandemic are putting millions of children’s hopes for the future at risk. That is why the 2021 Active in Mission – Run • Bike • Walk-a-thon will focus on education and continue to keep kids in school, provide school supplies, and give them the hope for a brighter future. You can read more about this successful effort last year and the goals we have set for this year.

In this issue, you will also find a reflection from Lilian Yang, CBM National Field Staff, about her personal experience of being educated in Myanmar and how current events in her home country are impacting youth today.

We also highlight that change can begin in our homes and neighbourhoods through It Starts Today, a story of development work done with dignity to empower women and girls with a hand-up through local church and genderbased programming.

A lack of access to education is a justice issue and so is global access to COVID-19 vaccines. CBM is supporting the Love My Neighbour Project, a national campaign for global vaccine equity. This important advocacy campaign is led by Millennium Kids founder Sara Hildebrand and supported by the Canadian faith community. I had the pleasure of speaking with Sara recently, which you can watch on the CBM YouTube channel.

Being called to be bearers of God’s light, the power of being a messenger of the good news is that we reflect who he is. When we live out the gospel, it is God’s heart that we are expressing, not just our own. We must trust that it is God’s power that is at work, not our efforts alone. God is with us through all changing seasons.

It is a privilege to be able to partner with you, as your prayers, encouragement, and financial support enable us to keep working on your behalf in places of need. Together, let’s continue to embrace the call to serve our broken world through word and deed.

Grace and peace,
Jennifer Lau
Executive Director

A Year Like No Other!

During this time of the year, all across the country, the denominations gather for their Annual General meetings.

This is always a wonderful time to connect as a family of churches. Sadly, due to COVID restrictions, we will not be meeting face to face this year. We are, however, taking part virtually and it is with deep gratitude that I present the impact our shared ministry had in, “A Year Like No Other”.

The outpouring of love and generosity from Canadian Baptists this past Christmas was truly exciting to witness. Whether it was a gift of gratitude, in honour of someone special, or simply an act of love, your gifts have made an impact on the world’s most vulnerable. Here are the results of what your compassion accomplished last December.

Where Most
Needed
> $100K

Over $100K went to Where Most Needed, making the greatest impact to strengthen the response of local churches and ensure that CBM programs around the globe are adequately funded.

Poverty
$169,679

Over $80,000 was raised to distribute livestock, seeds, materials, and training to alleviate poverty.

In Canada, the sale of crops grown on 3 acres of land went to support CBM’s food projects through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Most Vulnerable: Kids
$67,803

In Myanmar, 24 kids from remote tribal villages received an education at an urban boarding school.

95 scholarships for higher education were provided for marginalized youth in the Philippines.

In the Dominican Republic, 120 vulnerable children and youth received school supplies, clothing, and skills training.

Crisis Response
$56,164

In Lebanon, 126 Syrian refugees and vulnerable families received assistance with medical care.

Over $4,000 was raised for the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support people struggling most due to the pandemic.

Most Vulnerable: Women
$14,074

In North Eastern India, 111 women from the Mising tribe were gifted weaving materials to produce traditional shawls for income generation.

In Rwanda, 225 women received literacy training to provide hope and dignity.

In Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camps, 164 families gained free and easy access to a grinding mill to turn maize into flour, to save money and time.

Nurturing Leaders
$7,755

In Cuba, 27 church leaders received training and supplies to carry out ministry in vulnerable communities.

28 pastors in the Dominican Republic benefitted from assistance with transportation, food, educational, and training materials.

In the Golden Triangle region of Asia, 31 pastors and students received theological training and resources for church planting for a month.

Now you can give a gift of hope all-year round at hopefulgifts.ca

Lilian Yang joined CBM as National Field Staff in the Golden Triangle Region in July of 2019. In response to growing ministry opportunities and increased challenges in the region, as well as flourishing interest in mission partnerships from Canadian churches, Lilian’s appointment came at the right time.

Lilian serves alongside Chinese Ministries Team Leaders Fiona and Conrad Kwok and works with CBM’s partners in the region. Her main role is to help equip local pastors and laypeople in Christian education/theological training through Thailand Bethel Theological Institute (TBTI). She assists local churches, organizations, and seminaries to develop training ministry in sharing the gospel and expanding community outreach.

Previously, Lilian was in ministry in Thailand for several years, leading Bible study, preaching, translating, and participating in children’s and women’s groups.

She received her Bachelor of Theology from Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, B.A. from Kyaing Tong College in Myanmar, M.A. majoring in Pastoral Ministry from Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, and M.Div from China Evangelical Seminary in Taiwan.

Lilian is married to CBM Field Staff, Joseph Lee, and they have a daughter, Sophia.

PRAYER POINTS FROM LILIAN

Pray that God will protect the people of Myanmar amidst the current political situation.

Pray for Thailand as the third wave of the pandemic has begun in many cities.

Pray for the safety of teachers and students at Zheng Zhu student center, and for students to continue to grow physically and spiritually.

Pray for me and my family to have wisdom and strength to serve God in Thailand effectively, and also to
live pleasing to God.

  Learn More about Lilian Yang

Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia that has a population of about 54 million. In 1948, the country gained independence from Britain and was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011. A new government brought a return to civilian rule in 2011, but after a landslide victory by the Democratic party in the February 2021 election, the military seized control and declared a year-long state of emergency. Since the military coup, systematic restrictions have been enforced and corresponding protests have been met with escalating opposition, violence, and disappearances. CBM National Field Staff Lilian Yang is from Myanmar, and she shares her recent thoughts on the current conflict.

When I was a high school student, one of my friends who believed in palmistry looked at my palm and said worryingly, “Oh no! Your palm shows that your education line is broken. You will have lots of difficulties on your journey toward higher education.”

I don’t believe in palmistry, but my friend was right about my pursuit of education. In Myanmar, education isn’t ever easy. Schools require students to memorize all the content of the textbooks. The more you memorize, the more marks you gain. Even essays are a regurgitation of model essays. Our teachers never let us express our opinions, only memorizing the few model essays chosen for us. I loved writing since I was a child, but was never allowed to write.

In university, I chose distance learning. But who knew that universities didn’t teach anything? We had only ten days of intensive courses per year. During these courses, I was stunned by the teacher who spent the entire session scolding students for not working hard enough but failed to teach us anything. I had no choice but to memorize all the contents of the exam guides. At least I was well-trained in memorization.

When it came to exam day, I was disappointed that nearly all my fellow students were busy preparing how to cheat on the exam. Even worse is that someone was coming to collect money from each student to give to the examiner. This way, no one would be punished for cheating. I adamantly refused to pay but was surrounded by 4-5 boys who intimidated me into doing so. After the exam, while I was still feeling sad and angry about what had happened, my taxi driver asked me, “How was the test? Was it easy to cheat this year?” I was speechless and utterly defeated. Getting an education in Myanmar was a lost cause.

I transferred to another town in my second year of university. I didn’t need to pay the examiner there, but cheating was still common among students. Finally, I graduated, but I wasn’t proud of myself because the students who cheated were also able to graduate. When people asked me, “What major did you study?” “Where did you learn your English?” I could only respond with an embarrassed smile, but I was crying inside. I wanted to shout, “I learned everything through self-study!” How else could a student learn?

I can’t help but ask, “What’s wrong with wanting to be educated? Why is this path so difficult?” I gradually understood that some forms of political systems are afraid of intellectuals. Therefore, many constraints and roadblocks make it hard to get a quality education. Schools exist, but learning is restrained, encouraging “model answers” instead of independent thinking. It is a calculated policy to breed ignorance and blind obedience. Sadly, many young people fall into this trap and are even happy that no effort needs to be spent on learning.

Recently, there have been so many tragedies in Myanmar. Many professionals and university students lost their lives during this conflict. They were mercilessly murdered by the authoritarian regime. The path of education is difficult, not because of the fate read from my palm, but because of human and political manipulation. The people in Myanmar have started to realize that knowledge and independent thinking can lift us out of the vicious cycle. We no longer want to return to the days of being uninformed, unthinking, and ignorantly obedient. That is the reason so many have risked their lives to protest against this authoritarian regime.

It is a fact that education makes people strong and that knowledge is power. Knowledge leads to better decisions and actions. The people of Myanmar are demanding educated, wise people of character to be leaders of our nation. May Myanmar soon be free from the bondage of this present regime. May all young people of Myanmar be able to receive a proper education, finally breaking the curse of the broken education line.

May peace reign in Myanmar.

Through the Baptist World Alliance, our shared global Baptist network, we stand in opposition to the violence that continues in Myanmar since the military coup seized power following legal elections.

Medical professionals and first responders in Myanmar are being systematically targeted for violence and arrests by security forces during the ongoing military occupation. These inexcusable violations of international medical standards and agreements must be met with a global response. The actions of the military junta are in violation of established Geneva convention standards protecting medical personnel.

We are responding to this crisis through our partnership with APBAid, the official wing of Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (ABPF) involved in the relief and development efforts. CBM is financially supporting a medical clinic to aid those injured in the protests and to support the witness of the local church in the face of this brutality.

“The significance of the protest is that the majority of them are young people in their teens and twenties, and the average age of casualties is 17 years!”

~ Roshan Mendis, Director of APBAid

If you wish to support these efforts, visit cbmin.org/crisis-response-myanmar.

We want to say THANK YOU – in 2020, you registered, got active, and raised over $31,000 for the Latrines for Life project! Because of your generosity and hard work, we can provide composting latrines for over 41 vulnerable families in rural El Salvador in partnership with the local church.

Families who receive composting latrines benefit through better health, less missed time at school and work, less financial stress, and greater privacy. The project creates a healthier environment for the entire community. Local farmers benefit from the availability of high-quality compost that comes from the latrines, which prevents waste from contaminating precious water sources. Latrines for Life also provides waste disposal education, health awareness training, and technical support to the community. Within months, illnesses decrease, and a renewed sense of community pride is restored.

The impact of your support goes far beyond just providing a safe and sanitary place to protect communities from illness. You are helping to restore dignity to those who need to know that they are not forgotten. Your participation in Active in Mission brings hope and healing to a broken world.

Watch Our Thank You Video!

Get Moving for Education

Most of us in the past year have had the chance to recognize what a privilege it is to physically go to school, that even the struggles of online learning are worth persevering through, rather than to go without education. Perhaps our perspective has shifted as we have witnessed our own children’s formal learning threatened, and we can understand how important it is to try to help our global neighbours resolve the issues that keep kids out of school. In many places, families face school fees they can’t afford or need their children to help support the family by working.

At the height of the pandemic, schools were closed for over 90% of learners. While schools shifted to remote learning such as radio, television, and online, an estimated 500 million students are being left behind due to lack of equipment needed for at-home learning, remote learning policies, and access to the internet. On top of that, 258 million students who were already out of school before the COVID-19 crisis. There has been much loss because of the pandemic; we cannot let the virus take the futures of millions of children as well.

Thankfully, through CBM’s partners and local churches, many of those students will not be left behind. It’s in the margins, the places that are overlooked, where the church is present and caring for those often pushed to the sidelines.

In 2021, Active in Mission is back! From July 18-25, 2021, we will be walking, biking, and running to raise funds to support education for kids. Education is a powerful tool to fight generational poverty, and you can get active this year to bring children around the world the education they deserve.

Just as we help our kids get out the door to walk or bus, or out of bed and onto their online class, we can partner together with communities to help solve their barriers to education.

Will you help these children along a path to a brighter future today? Let’s say YES and get Active in Mission together!

How to Take Action

  1. Go to activeinmission.ca and register your fundraising campaign page, either as a group or as an individual.
  2. Get social! Follow us and tag us on Instagram @readytobesent #ActiveinMission
  3. Between July 18-25, 2021, get moving! Whether you’re kayaking, rollerblading, walking, or biking, anything goes – as long as you’re active.
  4. Let your donors see the progress your fundraiser is making in real-time on your campaign page.

SUPPORT EDUCATION INITIATIVES LIKE:

  • literacy training in India
  • student centres in Myanmar
  • schools for refugee children in Lebanon
  • tutoring for street children in Bolivia
  • school fees and supplies for children in Rwanda
ACTIVEINMISSION.CA

In the big valley, at the edge of a village near the Buffalo Thorn tree, sits a little house. Inside lives a girl with big dreams. She’s eager to share with her little brother everything she knows about going to school. Join Aurore as she leads her mom and little brother towards a brighter tomorrow—and it starts today!

It Starts Today is an exciting new storybook from CBM that allows you and the children in your life an opportunity to learn about, share, and discover how to positively engage around the world and in your neighbourhood.

This story of hope helps children understand the plight of marginalized kids, specifically the girl child. It also demonstrates how development work is done with dignity, through local churches that empower women with a hand-up.

Purchase a copy of It Starts Today for $25, with free shipping across Canada. Every purchase will support education for girls around the world through
CBM and its church partners.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), two-thirds of the global illiterate population are women. Education is one of the most important tools to fight generational poverty.

  • Income levels increase
  • Child marriage rates decrease
  • Infant mortality rates are reduced
  • Country GDP increases

It Starts Today is a learning tool that supports education and spurs action towards change. Learning about Aurore and her family is an impactful way to introduce important global issues and viable ways to help.

Then, you can demonstrate generosity to those in need in your community. Find a local agency that needs support and ask them what you can do to help. Discuss this with your children and take action together.

Attach the tag that comes with the book if you are putting together a package or delivering items. This a great opportunity to help your children recognize needs in your area and take action.

This book makes the perfect gift for any child in your life. Order your copy today at cbmin.org/itstartstoday.

Share this page