Word & Deed May 2022

MAY 2022

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A Growing Impact

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When Disaster Strikes

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Solidarity Sunday

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Pray for Sri Lanka

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Field Staff Updates

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Welcome to our first Word & Deed Newsletter! We’re so happy you’ve joined us. Be encouraged by our shared impact as you read and learn about some of the things that God has been doing around the world through our ministry partnerships.

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Photo of Jennifer Lau in duotone

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Spring is a time to remember God’s faithfulness and rest in the hope that God is doing a new thing. While we witness the new life springing up around us, our hearts are also heavy as we witness the destruction and chaos unfolding in Ukraine.

In times of desperation, Jesus’ Church has the opportunity to provide hospitality, relief and comfort to those fleeing and help demonstrate God’s loving kindness. Churches all around the Ukrainian border are doing just that. In this crisis, we trust that God’s redeeming power is at work. Please continue to pray for the people affected by this violence and turmoil.

We also continue to carry on our other work, as we embrace a broken world through word and deed. In this issue, we provide you with a snapshot of the work that was accomplished in 2021. Through your generosity, over 200,000 individuals worldwide directly benefitted from CBM programs and projects last year. During these unprecedented times, the support of Canadian Baptists has allowed us to grow and expand our programming, impacting even more individuals and families in Jesus’ name. Find more impact numbers by turning to the centre pages of this magazine.

Also inside, we provide an update on the results of our Fall appeal in 2021, in support of church planting, evangelism and leadership training efforts around the world. One of those initiatives is in the mountainous region of Myanmar amongst the unreached Lahu people. The Lahu Villages Project is an inspiring work that has been made possible because of your support.

Providing education for kids at risk is one of CBM’s priority focus areas as the world emerges from COVID. The long-term effects of the global pandemic are putting millions of children’s hopes for a brighter future at risk. Access to education should not be regarded as a privilege, but a basic human right. (UN Universal Human Rights – Article 26). It is the single best tool to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.

That is why the 2022 Active in Mission – Run – Bike – Walk-a-thon will once again focus on education and helping to keep kids in school. You can read more about this successful effort last year, learn how churches across Canada raised funds, and see the goals we have set for this year.

As we grow our reach and expand our programs, we must also increase our staff capacity to respond to those in need. I invite you to meet our newest Global Field Staff, Kathryn Scott. She is joining the Latin America team, as she faithfully responds to the calling God has placed on her heart to serve.

Empowering women is another important part of CBM’s work. We know that a better and more just world means working together to create gender equity for women in all areas of life. Inside, we share with you two stories from CBM’s Empowerment of Soura Widows program in India, which trains women with income-generating skills that can help lift them out of poverty. CBM has multiple projects around the world that benefit and empower women to improve their own lives and subsequently their families and communities.

On March 8, we recognized International Women’s Day by hosting a special episode of Mosaic where I spoke with Cynthia Westfall, Abby Davidson and Renée MacVicar. We had a meaningful conversation on women in leadership and why representation matters. You can watch our discussion on CBM’s YouTube page. In addition, we also heard from three of our Field Staff – Lilian Yang, Patty Nacho, and Laura Muema – as they shared updates from their region and gave encouragement to women and girls.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership in the work of God’s mission. Your commitment continues to help bring transformation to the lives of so many.

Grace and peace,
Jennifer Lau
Executive Director

Q. You had the opportunity to travel to Romania and witness the work of our church partners on the ground. What are the needs and how are the churches responding?

There is a multitude of needs, but the biggest right now is providing safe places for people to rest and sleep and receive warm meals. Baptist churches in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Georgia have opened their churches to refugees, providing beds, food, and clothing to those in need.

In Romania, our friends at All4Aid have set up multiple ‘Houses of Grace.’ One is a warehouse that was donated by a local developer. South of Bucharest, the mayor of the municipality has generously offered a local kindergarten as a space for 40 Ukrainian refugees to stay long-term. In return, All4Aid will complete the work and leave a legacy for improved education in the community going forward. A small team of volunteers from Canada helped with the renovations needed. It is inspiring to see innovative partnerships such as this as people offer what they have to meet the needs of people in Jesus’ name.

Q. CBM is working with our partner, the European Baptist Federation to respond to needs in Moldova and Ukraine. Can you tell us more about this?

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and the refugee crisis has had a huge impact on its economy. Still, Moldavians have come together to respond to the needs of Ukrainian refugees. Since February 24th approximately 330,000 refugees have arrived in Moldova, many of whom later moved on to Romania. The Moldova Baptist Union is receiving refugees from Ukraine and responding in numerous ways. They are providing emergency shelter for 1,600 refugees in churches and Baptist camps. These shelters provide space to sleep, meals, and personal hygiene supplies. The Moldova Baptist Union is also providing care at a medical clinic and offering transportation to those who wish to travel onwards from Moldova to another destination.

The Ukrainian Baptist Union is currently operating about 600 emergency shelters in Baptist churches all across the country. These shelters are spaces for internally displaced persons to stay for a few hours or a couple of nights before moving on to another part of the country, or out of Ukraine entirely. The shelters provide food, a place to sleep, and personal hygiene supplies. Some shelters are also able to offer access to showers as well as clothing and other basic necessities. As food access within Ukraine becomes increasingly difficult, the Baptist Union has established channels for transporting food into Ukraine and eligible people out of Ukraine. A logistical centre has been established and includes a warehouse for storing goods and food before transporting it to shelters around the country.

GIVE NOW

CBM’s immediate and near-term goals are to reach as many people as possible and relieve the needs of those suffering. More projects are already being planned to sustain and scale these efforts. We will remain committed to this work and will not waver in doing all we can to empower these local churches to live out the gospel in full during this time of crisis.

These are the days that future generations will know as history. In the uncertainty of this time, we must continue to live and be a witness to God’s loving embrace for the wounded and the weary. Please keep praying for peace and the shared work that we are empowered to do through your generosity.

Solidarity Sunday 2022

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Full Service

This Solidarity Sunday service, “My Peace, I Give to You” calls us to stand alongside local churches who are on the front lines acting as the hands and feet of Jesus amidst so much conflict. It is also a time for us to reaffirm and proclaim our shared commitment to expressing the gospel through word and deed.

The full service includes:

  • A greeting and benediction from CBM Executive Director, Jennifer Lau
  • Four worship songs from the talented Rachelle Luk from Mississauga City Baptist Church
  • Stories of peace from our partners in Lebanon, Thailand, Latin America and Ukraine.
  • Scripture reading and prayers from the CBM Staff
  • a message of peace from CBM Field Staff, Dr. Suraj Komaravalli, CBM Team Leader in India.
Download the full service

Sermon

by Dr. Suraj Komaravalli

Suraj delivers an engaging sermon from John 16:16-33 and delivers a message of joy in these troubling times.

Download the Scripture Reading and Sermon

Worship

by Rachelle Luk

This moving recorded performance from Rachelle Luk includes the songs:

  • Lord I Need You
  • Not Yet I but Through Christ in Me
  • O My Soul (Original song written by Rachelle Luk)
  • God So Loved
Download the Worship Songs

Update from the Field

CBM Field Staff, Joe Bridi (Lebanon), Lilian Yang (Thailand), Polisi Kivava (D.R. Congo), and Kathleen Soucy (Latin America), answer the question “Where do you see God’s peace in your context?”.

We also hear from Maria Lahoud, who recently fled the Ukraine and is currently living in Romania.

Download the Staff Update

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Pray for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is reporting its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948. The shortages of cooking gas, fuel, milk powder, essential medicines, and daily power outages in addition to the resultant snowballing rate of inflation have made daily living a challenge to a large segment of the population. In an unprecedented public outcry, thousands of people demanding “total system change” have rallied in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his powerful brothers to quit politics amid a deepening economic crisis.

Asian Pacific Baptist Federation Press Release

As protests continue, please pray: 

  • Pray that God will have mercy and intervene.
  • Pray that justice will be done to the survivors of the Easter Attack and the perpetrators and minds behind the attack will be brought to account.
  • Pray that the president, prime minister, and cabinet will resign immediately making room for the interim/unity government.
  • Pray that the opposition parliamentarians will come together, and work together for the benefit of the nation.
  • Pray for protection for those who are protesting around the country. That the powers that be will hear these important voices of the common man and they need to be heard. Pray that the protests and protestors stay peaceful and non-violent, as there are more and more happening around the country.
  • Pray for the judiciary for impartiality and justice to be upheld and corruption curtailed.
  • Pray for the people of Sri Lanka who have been stretched beyond their capacity to cope in the past few weeks, who are tired, frustrated and bitter.
  • Pray that the people will remain hopeful, peaceful but dissatisfied and vocal in protest, and endure until change takes place.
  • Pray for the emergence of a credible political solution. Pray for courage to make the hard decisions and policies needed to bring stability to the economy.
  • Pray for economic improvement and for resilience for the Sri Lankan people, so that they may continue to push through the next few months/ years as the government seeks answers for these losses.
  • Pray for God to pour out His mercy on the people of this country and to bless Sri Lanka with the resources they need to help the country recover.
  • Pray that the Church in Sri Lanka will be a beacon of hope to the people who continue to look for hope in these dark times.
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Field Staff Ministry Updates

Dyck Ministry Update Spring 2022

Since our last update, I would say that our attitude has been cautiously optimistic, or rather, one of vacillating between optimism and caution. We made optimistic plans to return to Bolivia in February to set discipleship ministry plans in motion for the year and bring closure to some of our...

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Waddell Ministry Update Spring 2022

Here in my small community in New Brunswick, signs of Spring are starting to emerge. The snow is almost gone, birds are returning, warmth is returning to the sun, and our days are getting longer. All of these signs point to new life emerging from the ground that was once...

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