Viewing entries in
Development

Hands at Work Q2 2019 Update

Hands at Work Q2 2019 Update

In every Hands at Work community there is a coordinator - a local who takes on a leadership role and oversees the well-being of care workers and families, as well as the provision of services in their community. In Kalende, this is Fredrick - a man who is a tower of strength in the community and truly demonstrates the heart of Christ. As a team, we were touched and inspired by how open and honest many of the care workers were in sharing their struggles and personal stories. Their dependence on each other and Jesus to face significant challenges was evident.  One of the days we were in Kalende, a few of the men from our team were invited to join some of the male care workers in speaking to the young men about integrity. After this session, when we were all together for a group photo, Fredrick smiled at me and said “we stand together”! My heart swelled. Yes! That is essentially what these care workers do, day in and day out. They stand together! And it is what we do, as supporters of Kalende. Despite the physical distance, we stand in solidarity with this community and ask for God’s mercy and provision.

Fredrick’s passion for the well-being of those in his community was a moving experience for our team members.  He is a mentor to many, old and young. This month’s community update newsletter highlights this important work! It describes how Fred is journeying with families to build resilience through committed/persistent relationship. You can read the report here. 

Chris Meloche

**Chris and his wife Lilli will be visiting Kalende in July. We would love to send along some words of encouragement from our Commons community to Kalende! Stop by the information table at any service on June 23rd to contribute! You are also welcome to join in the next advocacy prayer gathering at Kensington Commons June 13, 2019 @ 7:30pm

Cyclone Idai Response

Cyclone Idai Response

Care Canada

As the scope of the devastation brought on by Cyclone Idai continues to unfold in Southern Africa, Canadian aid agencies are working together to rush emergency assistance to survivors.

Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe have been hit by what may be the worst ever disaster to strike the southern hemisphere, according to the UN. Vast regions have been flooded, destroying infrastructure and claiming hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. An estimated 2.6 million people have been affected and the need for food, water, sanitation and shelter is urgent.

Eight leading Canadian aid agencies are uniting their efforts and resources through the Humanitarian Coalition (HC) to raise funds for this crisis and respond to the needs of survivors as quickly and effectively as possible.

HC agencies were on the ground at the outset of the disaster, involved in search and rescue operations and airlifting supplies to areas that are inaccessible by road. They are providing tents, water and emergency supplies in all three of the affected countries. Special attention is being given to the protection of women and children, particularly in camps of displaced people. Workers on the ground report that families with children are struggling the most.

Commons has sent an initial $5000 to be matched by the Canadian Government to Care Canada to aid in the response and we will continue to follow the development to see how we can respond.

You can follow Care’s response through their website at www.care.ca


Hands at Work

We are also in touch with our ongoing partner Hands At Work as they respond to those in need. Commons continues to support the efforts of Hands at Work monthly.

MALAWI

Due to the mountainous location of the communities we serve in, they did not face the brunt of the flooding. However, consistent heavy rains over four days and four nights from the south have caused the loss of more than 70 homes of the children we care for.

MOZAMBIQUE

As we seek to understand the devastation and impact that this has had on the most vulnerable children we care for, pray for the local office team in Chimoio, and the Regional Support team, for guidance on how to address the urgent needs of our affected families. Pray for wisdom as we connect with government services and other aid agencies to support our children and Care Workers in the best possible way.

As light rain continues to fall, homes continue to collapse due to the unstable ground saturated with rain water.

As we seek to mobilize the local church in Mozambique to respond and take action in meeting the urgent needs within their communities, pray for a willingness and open eyes to see the devastating need within their communities.

ZIMBABWE

The total loss of crop due to the cyclone will have a devastating impact on the year to come, as many will face a twelve-month long hunger season.

In Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe we can expect in the coming weeks and months for there to be an increase in water-borne diseases and malaria. Please pray that we will be well equipped to care for the health of our children.

Thank you for standing with us in prayer.

Hands at Work Q1 2019 Update

Hands at Work Q1 2019 Update

Our religious beliefs are often difficult to separate from our cultural values and practices. We may believe in the person of Jesus but our beliefs about Him and how he works in the world are influenced by our experiences and context. 

In Africa, it is not uncommon to find that people believe in the power of both Jesus and witchcraft. A child born with a deformity, a debilitating illness, or the sudden death of a loved one are often viewed by members of the community as the results of witchcraft. This causes great heartache and isolation in communities - dividing families and leading to mistrust and mistreatment. The most vulnerable become even more vulnerable. 

The volunteers and staff at Hands at Work have a question they like to ask when discussing Christian faith with others in Africa. “Do you know the Jesus I know?” This question becomes the starting point for discussion about the character of God and how he works in the world. It challenges cultural beliefs and practices both in Africa and, I think, here in North America as well. Our world is broken and hurting, but God is good and faithful — always working to heal and reconcile. He doesn’t judge based on colour or gender and His heart is ever with the hurting, the lonely and the vulnerable. 

Please continue to pray that those in Kalende - and other communities where Hands at Work is present - will clearly see Jesus for who He is, and that this understanding would transform communities and bring new life and freedom! 

The first monthly advocate prayer gathering was held at the beginning of February. We spent time praying for specific families and children in Kalende and for Marc and Michelle Damour, who serve with Hands at Work in Zambia full-time. The next gathering is scheduled for March 7th @ 7:30pm at Kensington Commons. Everyone is welcome! Please take a minute to read the attached most recent report from Kalende for more ways you can be praying for and partnering with this community!

Darlene Wall

Update: Hands at Work - Nov 2018

Update: Hands at Work - Nov 2018

In our North American culture , we can become very focused on tasks and to-do lists. What we accomplish can become where we place our value and priority. My recent trip to Zambia reminded me of the importance of building healthy relationships. Our focus was not on completing physical tasks but on encouraging the Care Workers. As a team, we learned the immeasurable value of just being present with someone. We listened to their stories, shared some of your own, read God’s Word together, laughed and cried and prayed together. It was beautiful work that is difficult to measure except for the smiles, hugs and words of gratitude for the time spent in community.

This is the hard work of building community that the Care Workers continue with the support of Hands at Work. Despite very challenging circumstances, there has been reconciliation and increased unification between the Care Workers in Kalende over the past year. Praise God! Would you continue to pray for them as they meet together, support each other and care for the children in Kalende? Would you consider being a part of the Spring 2018 Commons Team, as we work to show our support and partnership with this community by being present? George Snyman and Marc and Michelle Damour will be sharing more about the work Hands is doing in Zambia on Nov 30th at 6:30pm at Kensington Commons Church. Let’s show our support by being present as they discuss their work with the vulnerable in Africa. For a more detailed update on Kalende, check out the attached community report!

–Darlene Wall

Hands at Work also provides us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 


Update: Hands at Work

Update: Hands at Work

"I continue to be touched and inspired by the care workers in Kalende, specifically their dependence on each other and Jesus to face the many challenges that the community faces. I am quite moved by many things, but in particular Frederick (who leads the care workers) and his passion for the well-being of the Community.  My heart swelled when after some intentional time discussing with the men and boys about integrity, and getting to know each other deeply, Frederick commented that "we stand together." This was not in reference to our team alone, but to the Commons community as a whole. They were curious about our church and in the end affectionately wished to call their group Kalende Commons." 

- Chris Meloche visited Kalende with the Commons Church team last month

Hands at Work also provides us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 


Update: Hands at Work

Update: Hands at Work

We are so thankful for our relationship with Hands at Work and the privilege to participate in the amazing work that they are doing. Commons Church is invested in a long term relationship with the community of Kalende Zambia providing resources to community leaders as they care for orphans and vulnerable children.

We are also sending a team back to Kalende in April 2018. If you're interested in supporting the team you can use the button below.

Hands at Work also provides us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 


 

Kalende Report

Lydia* is named after her grandmother. The two have lived together, alone, since Lydia was a young baby. After her mother’s death, Lydia’s father abandoned her; going to marry another woman in another province. Growing up, Lydia’s grandmother has been the only family Lydia has known. Life has never been easy, but it is becoming increasingly more dif cult for the grandmother to care for Lydia and herself as she gets older, is a widow and has no other family members to support her... 

 

Update: Hands at Work

Update: Hands at Work

We are so thankful for our relationship with Hands at Work and the privilege to participate in the amazing work that they are doing. Commons Church is invested in a long term relationship with the community of Kalende Zambia providing resources to community leaders as they care for orphans and vulnerable children.

We are also currently in the planning stages to send a team back to Kalende in summer 2018. If you're interested in participating head over to www.commons.life and click on the "Africa" tab.

Hands at Work provides us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 

Also, mark your calendar because George Snyman, founder of Hands at Work will be with us on October 29 teaching at all four services. 

Update from IJM

Update from IJM

Commons supports the IJM field office in Thailand that provides citizenship access to marginalized people groups.

Citizenship is perhaps the most basic protection humans have developed. Without it, no country has to defend you. No hospital has to care for you. No school has to educate you. No employer has to properly pay you. If you are wronged, there is no recourse. If your child is harmed, there is no justice. The UN says that not having citizenship is the single greatest factor making a girl or woman vulnerable to exploitation like sex trafficking.

Below is a quick prayer update and report from Thailand. Please read through and continue to pray for those who live and work in Thailand. 

Thank you for continuing to support us in prayer.

Praise God had 913 children received citizenship yesterday! Government officials are frequently overwhelmed by the amount of work they have, and as a result, reviewing applications for citizenship is often not a priority. This province had not processed any applications for more than three years before the Governor invited IJM to help check and process applications. Praise God that these children can now live in freedom in their homeland!
 
IJM Chiang Mai has recently hired a new investigator. Praise God for this individual and pray that they would work well with the child sexual assault team and would be a blessing to the office and the children of Northern Thailand.
 
When children who have been abused are required to testify about their abuse, this can be emotionally challenging and risks slowing the process of healing from their abuse. Thank God that a suspect confessed to his crimes at a preliminary hearing this week, and that as a result, the survivor will not have to testify.
 
Last month, the Royal Thai Government radically extended eligibility for citizenship and simplified the process of granting citizenship to eligible applicants. Thank God for this change! Ask God to grant wisdom and discernment to our citizenship rights abuse staff as they seek to partner with local government officials to enforce this new law.

In Christ
IJM Thailand

Update: Hands at Work

Update: Hands at Work

We are so thankful for our relationship with Hands at Work and the privilege to participate in the amazing work that they are doing. Commons Church is invested in a long term relationship with the community of Kalende Zambia providing resources to community leaders as they care for orphans and vulnerable children. We are currently in the planning stages to send a team back to Kalende this coming summer. If you're interested in participating email us right away at global@commons.church

Hands at Work provides us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 

Update: Hands at Work

Update: Hands at Work

We are so thankful for our relationship with Hands at Work and the privilege to participate in the amazing work that they are doing. Commons Church is invested in a long term relationship with the community of Kalende Zambia providing resources to community leaders as they care for orphans and vulnerable children. We recently had a team travelling to work alongside and learn from those leaders in July 2016.

Hands at Work has provided us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 

Update for World Refugee Day

Update for World Refugee Day

Monday is World Refugee Day and we wanted to update you on the relationships which have been growing between us at Kensington Commons and Syrian families in our community. 

Our sponsored family is doing very well and all members of the family are working hard at learning English. The youngest child will be attending a regular neighborhood grade 2 class in the fall and the rest of the kids will continue in their specialized LEAD class.

The parents, will be completing their level 2 class at the end of July. The father will continue in school while his wife will prepare for the new baby’s arrival in late August.

Three teachers from Commons have been tutoring the kids these last 6 months and will now be taking the summer off, several other volunteers continue to be part of the team.

The kids are registered for a three week day camp with the Bridges Foundation and are very active kids in their neighborhood, out on their bikes at the local park and playing hockey in their back alley.

Over the past 6 months, Commons has connected with 4 other Syrian families in different capacities. In each situation, where we have been asked to assist, we have chosen to stay in relationship with these families and continue to support in any way we are able.

A member of Commons has helped one of these children get a sponsorship into a pre-school registration for the fall and have connected 4 of the young girls with a Syrian artist for drawing classes. We will be getting all of the children out for skating lessons this summer to get a head start on next winter. All of the boys are anxious to start playing hockey and we need to get them steady on their skates first.

Our potential second sponsored family did not work out, as happens sometimes, they reconsidered coming to Canada. We are on the waiting list for a family with our Sponsorship Agreement Holder Mennonite Central Committee and will keep you informed if there is news this summer.

Thank you for your continued support. 

If any of you are able to help with baby needs or would like to join us for indoor skating this summer, you can email refugee@commonschurch.org 

 

2016 Q1 Update: Hands At Work

2016 Q1 Update: Hands At Work

We are so thankful for our relationship with Hands at Work and the privilege to participate in the amazing work that they are doing. Commons Church is invested in a long term relationship with the community of Kalende Zambia providing resources to community leaders as they care for orphans and vulnerable children. We have a team travelling to work alongside and learn from those leaders in July 2016.

Hands at Work has provided us with a quarterly update on what has been happening in this community. Read it at the link below and consider how you can support. 

 

Drought

At the end of 2015/early 2016, Sub-Saharan Africa experienced very poor rainfall resulting in a widespread drought and food crisis. In Zambia this has resulted in a signi cant increase in price for staple foods. Hands at Work is currently assessing the severity of the need in Kalende Community to ensure that the most vulnerable children continue to receive consistent access to basic services.

You can sponsor a child for $20/month and provide access to food, basic medical, and basic education or make a one time contribution to help offset the cost increases used by the ongoing drought in Sub-Saharan Africa. Simply add "Hands at Work" to the comment section when you donate.