July Edition (2nd)
Looking back, reflecting and learning should always help us move forward in improved ways. In recent weeks, the science and learning from around the world has helped us move forward through the coronavirus pandemic. And events following the tragic death of George Floyd, are an outpouring of what happens when a systemic lack of reflection, listening and learning fails to improve the future for everyone equally.
The end of a school year is just one of those life moments where we reflect to see how much we have learnt, grown, and changed.
But the moment doesn’t stop there, it’s a journey.
For Joseph, life was a journey of growth from favouritism to pain, but with purpose. Sold into slavery by his brothers, incarcerated, chosen by Pharaoh to interpret dreams and save the world.
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”. Genesis 45:4-5 (NIV)
Joseph’s journey was monumental, but perhaps you can recognise yourself in Atul’s journey told below?
And our prayer is that more families and churches join us on journey’s like this – bringing hope to vulnerable children, by protecting them today and empowering them for tomorrow.
Atul from sponsored child to World Vision staff member. Now leading disaster response, including COVID-19, in Bangladesh.
Always looking to learn and grow
In his 17-year career, Atul has managed disaster responses to devastating floods and cyclones in his native Bangladesh. Today, he’s coping with a very different kind of crisis: containing COVID-19 in the world’s largest refugee camp—home to almost 1 million Rohingya refugees.
The pandemic poses problems that daunt even this veteran humanitarian worker.
How to distribute food rations safely? What if monsoon rains damage handwashing stations and contaminate water sources? What can be done to stem growing domestic violence among stressed refugee couples confined to cramped quarters? How to keep out-of-class children safe from exploitation and abuse? What if many of our staff fall ill and can’t work? The list goes on.
“In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we are on the ground delivering critical life-saving services, like food assistance and nutrition, and maintaining water networks,” says Atul who leads a team based in Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh. “We’re also helping the refugees to protect themselves by teaching them about frequent handwashing and maintaining social distancing. But it’s difficult because the camps are so overcrowded and congested.”
Quite a journey
Serving with World Vision is more than a job for Atul; it’s a calling.
“Coming from a minority myself, three things really prepared me to work with the Muslim Rohingya,” he says. “First, I came from a poor family. Second, I am from a Christian family and I grew up with Christian values at the Catholic seminary I attended. Thirdly, the experience and values that I learned from World Vision while I was a sponsored child.”
Atul’s life changed when at 10-years-old he was sponsored.
“The sponsor who helped me came into my life as an angel of God,” he says, “My sponsor never met me. He just looked at my picture and based on that, he trusted me and sent generous support. That generosity and confidence in me changed my life.”
I’m sure Atul’s sponsor had no idea what an extraordinary impact his ordinary act to sponsor a child would have in the world.
As the COVID-19 crisis persists, months of routine 12-hour days are exhausting. Yet Atul is relentless in tackling tough problems and refuses to give up hope for Rohingya children and families. People he loves, and people God has called us to serve.
“Can I see Christ amid the COVID-19 crisis in the camps? Easily. Jesus was a refugee who took shelter in a manger in Nazareth. He’s with us here now.”
In your family and church please continue to pray with us. Because together, our prayers are empowering vulnerable children in the most dangerous places to overcome poverty and experience fullness of life.
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:4-5 (NIV)
JOIN US IN PRAYER
Heavenly Father, we thank you for all families and churches across the UK who pray for and support vulnerable children. We may never see the seeds that we sow – but we pray that the good works we start You complete in children’s lives Lord. Help the ordinary become extraordinary, because in You, everything is possible Lord.
Lord as the school year ends, we thank you for all teachers who help others to grow, learn and make a positive impact in our world. And Lord we pray for all children wherever they live, to experience fullness of life.
Jesus, we continue to ask for your courage, strength, and wisdom as we live through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We give thanks for all those – like Atul, who are serving vulnerable children and families during this crisis Lord. Protect them as they help to save lives.
Share Together Amen
Share Together Amen on social media, and your friends and family can register to get Together Amen too.
- Watch Nancy’s story. Watch and see how Georgie never realised how life-changing her actions would be for Nancy. Inspire your friends and if you’re a Church Leader use for your online church services too.
- 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 at a time of year that can be difficult for Christians and that it has also helped them to reach out 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.
- 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 11-16 August and help bring clean water to children living in the toughest places.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org