Let's be honest--this autumn has been a tumultuous season in the U.S. to say the least. Every time we turn on our TVs, radios, or devices we are faced with a barrage of both positive and negative political messages. Then, as soon as we login to our preferred social media network, we are tempted to scroll through innumerable opinion posts from our friends and family members.
It can get overwhelming. We are so constantly presented with distractions and temptations that we can easily lose sight of the beauty of the Gospel. How can we get that sight back?
Imagine that your child was born with severe disabilities, requiring continuous care and attention. To make it worse, it was clear that your child would be confined to a wheelchair for the majority of their life.
As your child grew older and you learned to care for him/her, violent political conflict erupted in the city near your home. The local economy collapsed and your family was struggling to make ends meet, let alone stay safe from the conflict. As you tried to rebuild your economic stability, finances were increasingly tight--so tight that you realized you would not be able to provide the certain kind of wheelchair that your child would need. What would you do?
This is reality for certain families with children who have special needs in Kosovo.
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35
What do you want to be known for? What kind of legacy will you leave behind?
As Jesus' followers, we have a calling that is distinctive from any other in all the earth: to bring glory to God with all aspects of our lives.
This Friday, October 21st, IDES' annual Gift Catalog newsletter will be published.
Within it, you will find dozens of "gift" items that faithful supporters just like you provide for families in need around the world every single year. These aren't ordinary gift items like we are used to, like restaurant gift cards, Yankee candles, or that new power tool we've had our eye on. Instead, they are items that will help the families and communities we serve to stand on their own two feet, such as clean-water wells, seeds for farming, and livestock animals. What kind of difference do these items make? We're glad you asked!
Within the current political climate of our nation, it is increasingly difficult to practice self-restraint when it comes to sharing our opinions via social media.
I think we can all admit to at least one particularly pointed "post", "tweet", or "like" we probably should have thought twice about. We might find ourselves asking, "It seems that everybody else is speaking their mind without a filter, right? Why can't I?"
Everyday, Mrs. Cruz wakes up in a make-shift shelter in a landfill near Santiago, Dominican Republic.
The first question she asks herself is, "How will my husband and I feed our children today?"
This is reality for around 600 families living in a landfill referred to as "Hoyo de Bartola" or "The Hole."
During the week after a major disaster such as Hurricane Matthew, it can be very difficult to remember and believe that God our Father does indeed care.
Death tolls are still rising, and long-term recovery efforts have only barely begun. The only word that I can use that accurately describes the effects of a disaster like this is "devastation." And for an impoverished country like Haiti, devastation is almost an understatement. Where does the God of love fit into all of this?
"He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
'Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!'"
- Psalm 46:9-10
South Sudan is the world's newest nation.
It was officially established as a country in 2011 independent of Sudan after decades of civil war. Ever since gaining independence, it has been suffering through vicious and violent inner turmoil. Some say the conflict is caused by fighting over abundant oil fields. Some say it is caused by competition over livestock. Most say that it is caused by political power struggle paired with deep-rooted ethnic differences.
No matter the cause, the current violence and often-failed peace treaties have forced more than a million people in the region to flee their home villages in search of safety. Unfortunately for these internally displaced families, the warring army factions have also closed off the borders with neighboring countries to which the families may flee. This makes transporting of any international aid supplies into South Sudan extremely difficult, and it makes fleeing the country from inside nearly impossible.
UPDATE - 11/7/16
The long-term recovery process continues as families affected by the Hurricane begin rebuilding their lives. We have received several photos from our mission partners in Haiti of the damage and the work that is being done, which are posted in the "Featured - Oct. 2016" gallery on the Media page. More photos will be posted in coming weeks. Be the first to see them and stay up to date by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.