Reweaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace, and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others.

This quote from Timothy Keller reminds me how Canadian Baptists have been weaving these threads together for over 150 years to help those suffering due to poverty. Recently a friend of CBM read our Mosaic magazine series on faith, hope and love. She was encouraged by how those same values guide her own life.

She recognizes her own heart at the heart of CBM and she wants to encourage you to do the same. She is offering to match your gift to CBM if you respond before April 10, 2019.

For every $1 of support we receive, she will match it 1:1, up to $80,000. It is incredibly humbling for me to write that sentence to you! We are blessed by her generosity.

Let me take you to two different places where I will share the impact your support can have if you act now. These are places where I’ve seen firsthand what poverty and its effects look like on people’s lives and examples of the work we do in helping to reduce poverty globally.

Four kilometres from the nearest road, in the foothills of the Ghat mountains of India, there is a small village which I accessed after crossing a stream. Two simple boreholes provide some water for all 25 families and their livestock and gardens.

This is where I met Kosavi. She grew up here. Now she and her husband are raising three children under the age of 12. Their daily diet includes rice, vegetables and dal. On Sunday, they get some extra protein from mutton or chicken. There is little hope for improvement in their quality of life or educational opportunities for her children.

In this place, your presence comes through CBM and a group of Christians from a local church who run a project called Rural Education and Development (RED). Their goal is to share God’s love for those in need.

During their visits, RED instructs community members on how to cultivate kitchen gardens, grow vegetables, store their crops and pool their resources for communal support. It is model of ministry often called a “self-help group.” It is a living example of the interwoven nature of poverty reduction with dignity that comes through authentic relationships.

Kosavi expressed her appreciation this way, “This program is very important to us because, apart from the support money we are getting from RED, we feel very happy that there are some people who really care for us.”

Your support today will ensure that the RED project will continue to provide hope and support to people like Kosavi and her family.

From rural India, where CBM has faithfully served for over a century, let me take you to another village called Sirigual in the mountains of rural El Salvador, where one of our newest projects is located.

Imagine living in a community that lacks any safe place to go to the bathroom. In Sirigual and poor communities like it, inadequate sanitation contaminates the groundwater and increases disease. Many children
get sick due to poor water quality. In turn, they can’t go to school. Parents can’t work in the fields when they are attending to ill children. The closest hospital is almost two hours away. The roads are in poor condition and during the rainy season they are impassable.

There is another sinister aspect to this poverty. Makeshift structures over open-pit toilets leave girls and women afraid and vulnerable to use these facilities on their own, or at night.

Maria, who is 50 years old, is a single mother to five daughters and she knows the dangers well. She is a subsistence farmer who grows corn and beans to provide for her family. They have hugely benefitted from the latrine that was installed on their property by the local church. It retains the waste, stops it from spilling into the water table, and reduces waterborne illnesses. The latrine has changed her and her daughters’ lives.

Maria now helps the church to organize local teams to build more latrines for others in her community. “This opportunity has allowed me to understand that I can’t be indifferent to my neighbour, especially as a Christian.” What a challenge her words are. Maria has a grade three education, but she is willing do what it takes to protect her neighbours.

Your support for CBM’s poverty reducing projects, such as this one in Sirigual, will bring transformation to more families. You can ensure that more members of Maria’s community can build their own latrines, and enjoy healthier lives. Better health means children who get to go to school and parents who can improve their livelihoods.

Today you have the opportunity to weave shalom in broken communities through our collective efforts and resources.

When Canadian Baptists first went overseas, they were motivated by the faith, hope and love of the gospel. Now, over 150 years later, nearly half of CBM’s projects are directed to poverty reduction.

Today, I am asking you to act on your values of compassion, justice and generosity. Press your resources into the lives and needs of others to reduce suffering and inequity. I have witnessed the transformation in villages such as these, and I assure you, that your gift alongside the matching funds, will allow us to do so much more in 2019.

Will you give those in need your support today? Thank you for faithful partnership.

Grace and peace to you,

Terry Smith

Executive Director