Last week, a catastrophe occurred in Southern Laos displacing more than 6000 people in hours. A newly constructed dam collapsed under immense pressure from heavy monsoon rains. Nearly 5 billion cubic meters of water were released. This torrent of water and mud has swallowed entire villages, demolished roads, and drenched food sources – devastating lives. Today, thousands are still stranded, hundreds are missing and more than 30 confirmed dead. Sadly, it seems this could have been averted. According to the country's Minister of Energy and Mines, "substandard construction" caused the collapse. Even as they continue working around the clock to rescue people and recover bodies, additional concerns have arisen. During the Vietnam war, millions of tons of cluster bombs were dropped on Southern Laos, particularly in this province.
Miracles Take Place in Africa
The jungles of war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo teem with warring rebel groups. Some are former perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Some are Islamic militants who fled Uganda. Altogether, more than 70 armed groups operate in the region, making prospects for peace grim.
Yet in the nearby village of Cantina, where World Challenge has been involved in ministry, peace and joy are spreading rapidly. A local pastor recently dedicated the 9th new church planted under his leadership in just 3 years. What has sparked such vibrant hope in the shadow of armed conflict?
Kavuo is pictured in the center, wearing a purple skirt and light blue shirt.
How Pastors in Malawi are United in Overcoming Poverty and Disaster
I recently followed up on an invitation to visit Malawi in southern Africa. Francis, a local ministry leader and I had slowly been getting to know each other via text messages and emails. He’d told me about his work strengthening rural pastors, amidst the poverty, witchcraft, drought and countless other challenges faced by people in Chikwawa.
Lasting change in one of the few remaining communist countries in the world
In this Southeast Asian country, Christians, while tolerated in major urban hubs, still face daily hardship and persecution from communist hard-liners who see religion as a threat to their way of life. Mr. Phoum is a former atheist and Soviet-trained livestock farmer. His life radically changed 10 years ago when his cousin, a drunken gambler, suddenly acquired a disabling illness. Her erratic behavior and alcohol-induced antics were well-known and neighbors believed her worthy of whatever shame and disease came upon her except one brave local pastor.
Changing Minds Leads to God-inspired Hope for the Future
Isaiah 48:17 “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”
World Poverty Solutions was invited to share its vision for sustainable development with a group of 30 pastors from Burundi. One of the pastors heard of the work we are doing in other parts of Africa and wondered if God would begin to move in his community too. After seeing and experiencing many years of struggle in his family and community he felt now was the time that God would fulfill his word.
“He who wants to be great among you, must be the servant of all”
No one needs the Good News more than the poor. Especially those in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, the world’s densest concentration of impoverished people. Three out of four people in a city of four million are packed into nine massive slums. Families are forced to live in inhuman spaces—typically 8 people in a 12’ x 12’ dirt-floor room with no running water or toilet. To rent such space costs about $8 a month—and most households earn only $1 a day. Slum life here may be the world’s most oppressive existence on a mass scale.
Churches in Omaha, NE seek to change their communities from the inside out.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Loving family or friends is something that really comes easily to most. Being dedicated to God before all else? It’s a daunting task even for the most devoted. Loving your neighbors? It is much more difficult than loving your family and friends!
What if isolation became the exception and not the rule? What if neighbors began to think they do have the power to change and move from discouragement to a place of power? What if what Jesus said to us, began to be lived out by us in earnest?
Let me share an example of what can happen when!