Responding to Global Suffering

Posted by Roger Cooke on Fri, 18 Mar 2011 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

We live in a world of much pain and suffering. Anyone who has followed the recent events in New Zealand, Japan, North Africa and the Gulf, will be acutely aware of the many ways in which people’s lives can be turned upside down by unforeseen circumstances. And for every story that grabs the headlines, there are thousands more that remain untold. Every day, people go hungry, endure harsh oppression or struggle against poverty and disease.

It’s sometimes hard to know how to respond to human tragedies that take place in other parts of the world. It can even be difficult to really care, never mind pray. We need God’s help to have more compassion and to believe that our prayers make a difference. We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are closer to the trauma as they seek to respond in practical acts of love.

CMS Ireland has remained in close contact with our Global Partners in Egypt, where the Anglican Diocese also has responsibility for the countries of North Africa. Throughout February, Partnership Coordinator David Gough provided updates in his blog, which you can read here.

Although CMS Ireland does not have any partnerships in Japan or New Zealand, our sister CMS agencies have personnel working in these places and have been deeply affected by the earthquakes. Mission Director Ronnie Briggs has contacted CMS Britain, CMS Australia and CMS New Zealand with messages of support to staff and to Mission Partners. Ronnie assured them of our love and prayers during the unfolding crises in the two countries.

Rev Canon John Thew, Federal Secretary of Church Missionary Society Australia shares this message with us:

Your prayers and moral support are greatly appreciated. At this stage, I think there is probably little more that you can do, other than to continue to pray. Please pray through the still-unfolding aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, and the immediate trauma of the Japan earthquake and tsunami and nuclear power plant potential, that people will turn to God for the reassurance of His good purposes and love. Pray that Christians will be able to serve their neighbours truly and effectively, and their service and their confidence in the sovereignty of God will open doors for introducing the Lord Jesus to many.

CMS Australia Mission Partner Karen Darda is based in Chiba, just north of Tokyo. She asks for prayers:

1 for the immediate searches for missing people. Many are still missing (in one town of about 10000, 7000 are still unaccounted for). The tsunami waters have not receded in many areas so the search is limited.
2 for food, blankets and the basic necessities to get to those who are in evacuation areas, mostly schools. They are without electricity, gas or water. The reactor exploding means it is more difficult for food and water to be transported to areas north of it, in many cases the worst hit areas.
3 for the safety of those in the 20 km radius of the reactor. They cannot leave. No one can go in. Pray for their safety.
4 for Christians in these areas, that their faith in God will be a small light in these dark times.
5 for people to remain calm in the midst of uncertainty. People have panicked and where I live there is not much food in the shops and all the petrol stations are out of petrol. There have even been cases of people stealing rice. There is no need to panic and it means there is less to buy to send to needy areas.

The CMS Britain website also features stories from and prayer requests for Japan, click here to visit their homepage.

As we see events unfold across the world, let us respond with compassion and prayer, but let us also ask God’s blessing on the millions of people whose stories don’t get told.

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