Disciples News Service

Boundless compassion, a world away

Submitted by Week of Compassion

With God – and through your generosity – we can do “more than we can imagine.” Week of Compassion works with partners all over the world so that we are prepared to respond quickly in times of crisis.

Photo Credit: Church World Service

In September of 2018, an earthquake caused a deadly tsunami in Indonesia, off the coast of Sulawesi. More than 4340 are known to have died. In the aftermath, needs were overwhelming. Conditions were unsanitary, and thousands of people were left without basic necessities of food, water and shelter.

When disaster strikes so far away, and so many people are suffering, it seems impossible that we might be able to make a difference. In a place so small and remote, many would not even be aware of its existence on the map. But our faith tells us that God’s love knows no limits. There is nowhere we can go that is beyond the reach of God’s love and mercy.

And so our compassion must also be boundless. As Disciples of Christ, we are called to bear witness to the love of Christ in even the most remote corners of the earth. Where people suffer most  –  that is where our gifts are most needed.

Through our partnership with Church World Service and ACT Alliance, we are able to help provide 235,000 liters of water daily as recovery efforts continue. Water treated from a local source arrives at multiple distribution points, where it is further treated. Ultimately, this water reaches nearly 3,000 households a day.

Beyond the fundamental necessity of clean drinking water, Week of Compassion also helps provide important hygiene items to people in need. In local congregations all over the United States and Canada, Disciples collect critical items like diapers, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes – and other essential items that many of us take for granted every day – and assemble them into hygiene kits that are ready to deliver. In partnership with CWS, we make sure that these kits go to the places where they are needed the most.

Even with so much good work happening, recovery is still a long journey. About 15,000 homes were destroyed in the tsunami, and more than 67,000 families remain without basic shelter. As both government and non-government humanitarian agencies work together towards permanent solutions, our partners provide resources like mosquito nets, solar lamps, and sleeping mats – plus tents and tarps – to make life more manageable in the meantime. The goal of transitional shelter is to help families regain permanent housing and minimize displacement. This is one of many ways that we can provide long-term support in places of suffering, long after more urgent needs have been met. As communities continue to rebuild, our ministry is one of ongoing relationship.

Your gifts, your prayers, and your compassion reach from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth; from a disaster in our own backyard to a place of suffering half the world away. Wherever we serve together, wherever we love our neighbors, God is with us… and that means more than we can imagine.

The 2019 special offering for Week of Compassion is Feb. 17-24. Give through your local congregation or online, and be sure to visit our website for worship materials and other resources!