In 2020 so much of life as we know it has changed or stopped!
And even as life slowly starts to return, with summer holidays ventured and wedding ceremonies allowed, the return of the virus in other countries and local settings has seen quarantines swiftly re-imposed. This reminds us that the impacts of this terrible disease have sadly not gone away.
Summer typically brings lots of families and friends together to celebrate the nuptials of our nearest and dearest. But this year many couples have chosen to postpone their plans until ceremonies can include all their guests and everyone can celebrate together.
Horrifically in other parts of the world, marriage – if you can call it that, is on the increase.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him”. Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
So, please join with us in prayer this month as we lament the pain and injustice yet seek protection for children like Martha (below). Where forced child-marriage threatens her future and her life.
14-year-old Martha’s prayer is for God to intervene soon so she can go back to school.
As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in South Sudan, many families are at risk of losing their income sources and facing the tougher battle against hunger. In the UK severe, unending hunger is not something many of us are familiar with, but over seven million people in South Sudan already suffer from food insecurity.
And with it, 14-year-old Martha, along with other girls, fear another impact of this worsening situation – ‘marriages’ that girls like her are forced into. Because as livelihoods have disappeared parents are desperate to find other ways to help their children survive. Sold off as a dowry or given with the promise of their child having a better future.
“I am afraid of being married off early so my family can survive”, says Martha sadly.
Martha dreams of helping change the way communities perceive girls through education. But for as long as COVID-19 exists, Martha’s dream is seriously threatened.
As schools closed to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it left an estimated 1.9 million children out of education. Along with conflict in the country, the bright future Martha has been aiming for is now on hold.
“Nothing scares me more than staying home now. It scares me that girls will be the next target for their families’ survival.”
Urgent prayers needed
World Vision’s Protection Officer Anthony seconded Martha’s concerns. “The girls’ ordeal of being married has started. Reports are starting to come in from our supported schools that some of them are forced to marry…we are doing our best to look into this issue and address their concerns.”
In your family and church please continue to pray with us. Because together, our prayers are needed to empower vulnerable children in the most dangerous places to overcome poverty and experience fullness of life.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him”.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
JOIN US IN PRAYER
Heavenly Father, we lament with girls like Martha and others around the world who are afraid of the violence and abuse of forced child-marriage. These relationships are not consensual Father, there is an abuser and the abused. Lord, please help World Vision intercede with solutions, so that families have other choices than giving their children away.
Lord, we pray for the leaders across South Sudan. Nationally, locally and for faith leaders who make decisions for their people. Father God we pray that children are heard at the highest levels and that everything is done to protect and empower them as individuals and for the future of their nation.
Jesus, there are many people in our families, lives and workplaces that are being impacted by the secondary impacts of the coronavirus. Where furlough schemes have ended jobs and livelihoods are being lost and families are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Heavenly Father we pray you reveal the plans you have for all who are facing an uncertain future. Amen.
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- Are you a church leader, wondering what church life will look like after the pandemic? Be encouraged and ask questions at our free webinar, 13 August with a panel of New Zealand church leaders who have opened their churches
- • Virtual Global 6K for Water. Be a 6K water hero and change a child’s life journey forever. Did you know that the average distance a child in the developing world walks to collect water every day is 6K? Water that is dirty and will make them sick and taking up valuable time better spent in school.
Take part in our Virtual Global 6K for Water between 18 - 23 August and help bring clean water to children living in the toughest places.
- Are you a church leader looking to grow your church and build connections with children and families? Well look no further.
For the past 3 years, churches have told us how our Christian alternative Halloween activity pack, Pumpkin Heroes, has helped them to shine God’s light and connect with more children and families.
So, this year we’re delighted to offer Pumpkin Heroes your way, with activities that can be used in church or as a virtual event.
If you’re in the UK and affected by this email and the issue of keeping food on the table, please contact our friends at yourneighbour.org who are working with church networks and community partners across the UK to connect those in need in every local community to someone that can help.
We really value your prayers as these uncertain times continue, so please send your prayer requests to us so we can pray for you too email@example.com