Christmas is not always merry. Indeed, the season’s festivities can make some people’s despair feel particularly bitter.
This was the case for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of America’s best-loved poets of the 19th century – and the subject of a new film I Heard the Bells, to be released in select Australian cinemas on 1 December.
Sick and tired of giving trinkets to people who already have everything?Why not give a Better World Gift instead!
Better World Gifts do much more than meet immediate needs like clean water, food, health and income. They allow people to live with dignity. They can also end poverty, not just for individuals, but for whole communities.
These are gifts that give hope.
Each gift you give supports the community-driven work, run by BWA’s Christian partners.
It’s about making a bigger, lasting difference by helping individuals and families develop long-term livelihoods, health, education and leadership skills . . . and that’s a big picture!’
You will help end poverty, thanks to the lasting impact of your Better World Gifts, along with the wonderful work of people on the ground.
The range includes physical gift items for your friends and family (eg. tote bags, journals, colouring books). As well as gifts to give to communities who need your help (eg. chickens, blankets, emergency shelter)
Help is supplied so you can select the perfect gift Filter for age group, passions/interests, global region and price range.ad ReCharge
Love Out Loud Kids’ Videos
Love Out Loud is a Christian charity, established to produce Christian videos for kids everywhere!
Featuring 100 videos of 25 minutes duration on the Love Out Loud fresh new website. Lessons are designed to be streamed into a} School Scripture Lessons, b) Kid’s Church, or c) for Parents at home to use with their family.
All content is available on the website and is 100% free for home and church use. YOU WILL ENJOY …
Melissa Lipsett, CEO Baptist World Aid, explains the impact of women empowered to change their world.
It’s illegal, but 40 per cent of girls in Nepal are married before they turn 18, and seven per cent before they turn 15. The Nepalese government is hoping to eradicate child marriage by 2030, but is this even possible? Will this ever change?
I believe it will. Here’s why
I recently returned from Kapilvastu in West Nepal. It’s a region that has major development challenges and a general lack of adequate services. For example, there are no toilet facilities or running water in people’s homes. There are few opportunities for people to generate income and, sadly, high levels of gender-based violence and child marriage.
The challenges are overwhelming, but here’s the thing: communities ARE overcoming them. Baptist World Aid works with local Christian Partners who share our belief in the dignity, value and equality of all people (Gen 1:26-27).
Our Partners bring the locals together in community groups, and it’s the locals who lead the transformation of their communities. Ninety per cent of these community leaders are women. They’re known as self-help groups, and they’re courageously changing their world.
What self-help groups do
Working as a committee, with elected positions such a chairperson and treasurer, members collaborate to make the changes they want to see in their community. These women showed me how they had depolluted their pond and water source.
Some of them have started small businesses. And I heard stories of how they confronted perpetrators of domestic violence as a commanding group of 17! I saw leadership, determination and courage from the same people who were, until recently, considered less than their husbands, brothers and sons.
Emerging from poverty
Every one of these women, these “change makers”, has a story. Many were married as children and didn’t have the opportunity to go to school. Quite a few are now mothers, surrounded by little people with constant needs that are hard to meet. In the past they might have given a daughter in marriage to ensure she—and her remaining siblings—would survive.
But the gains they’ve made in emerging from poverty means they now say, ‘No more! We will not allow our daughters to suffer as we did’. And they mean it.
As I travelled through the area, it was evident that wherever poverty was effectively diminished, girls were in school.
One extraordinary facet of these self-help groups is that are made up of traditionally antagonistic social groupings, but there is no infighting. They are too busy changing the world.
Baptist Word Aid CEO Melissa Lipsett warns of imminent devastation
Regretfully, the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa* is reaching dire levels. Baptist World Aid is taking proactive steps in anticipation of an official declaration of famine.
The United Nations declares a famine in conjunction with the affected country. They use a metric called IPC to monitor hunger through phases of severity from one to five. Famine (phase five) is triggered when:
an area has a minimum of 20 per cent of households with an extreme lack of food;
over 30 per cent of children are experiencing malnutrition; and
two in 10,000 people are dying daily from starvation, malnutrition or disease.
With, 21 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia experiencing acute food insecurity, we expect this declaration any day.
The United Nations declares a famine in conjunction with the affected country.
God is Faithful
This is sobering and feels overwhelming. But I’m convicted, as always, of God’s faithfulness.
To practically help address global crises, Baptist World Aid Australia has joined with 14 other Australian humanitarian aid organisations to respond in the Horn of Africa through our Hunger Crisis Appeal.
Working within this alliance allows us to share resources and skills so that, together, we maximise our impact during international emergencies. This means we will be able to access a joint pool of funding through the generosity of donors who may be unfamiliar with Baptist World Aid. It also means we can channel funds to where most needed, through a trusted, expanded network. But of course, we need the help of our Baptist family too as we respond to this global crisis.
What Funds Will Do
Funds raised through the alliance and the Baptist family will help support the work of our local Christian partners in Kenya and Uganda—ensuring people can access:
emergency food rations to prevent malnutrition;
vouchers and cash grants to purchase household and livelihood necessities; and
training in innovative techniques that will help drought-affected farmers feed their families—now and into the future.
What’s causing the hunger crisis?
Please pray that food and water would flow through to the hungry and thirsty
Food and fuel prices have spiked worldwide in the wake of COVID. Four years of severe drought, and locust swarms have further compounded the situation in the Horn of Africa. Finally, the conflict in Ukraine has interrupted usual supply chains, making food even more scarce. To learn more about this hunger crisis, click here.
Please pray that food and water would flow through to the hungry and thirsty, and that God’s people around the world would hear the call to give generously. Together, we continue to serve Jesus as we strive to make a better a world for all.
Monsoon rains regularly affect the north of Pakistan. However, this year recent rains, combined with melting glaciers, have created catastrophic flooding. Over 1,400 have died since June, a third of whom are children, and the floods have affected 33 million people. Sadly, the death toll rises daily.
‘There is no question Pakistan’s tragic floods will require a long-term response. A recovery that will take years,’ said Laura Fontaine, International Programs Manager at Baptist World Aid. ‘That’s why we have begun the immediate work of partnering with other Christian organisations and their local partners who are currently doing food and shelter distribution.’
Crops and livestock are destroyed and infrastructure between many villages is now non-existent. Pakistani officials say more than two million acres of agricultural land is flooded, preventing remaining farmers from planting new ones. They are calling the floods the worst in the region’s history.
‘Where do you drain the water? It’s an ocean. It’s a merciless sky.’
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s Climate Minister
Pakistani government’s response
The government distributed water pumps in recent weeks, but the equipment is overwhelmed, according to Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister.
‘Where do you drain the water?’ Rehman said. ‘It’s an ocean. It’s a merciless sky.’
The flooding comes at a particularly difficult time for Pakistan. Economic downturns, poverty and food shortages have troubled the country.
‘The human toll is unimaginable in every way,’ Fontaine said. ‘Pakistan needs our prayers and our coordinated help to bring immediate relief and begin the difficult but crucial work of long-term recovery.’
PLEASE PRAY FOR PAKISTAN:
That children would be safe, reunited with family, and have psycho-social support;
For quick and safe delivery of humanitarian aid, despite flooded roads;
That God’s people would provide ongoing support, prayer and assistance for the Pakistani people in the years to come.
How three generations of Baptist World Aidsupporters built a legacy of generosity
Sophia Russell recently chatted with three women from the same family from Wynyard: Shirley Wilson, daughter Cindy and granddaughter Kelsea Clingeleffer. Kelsea is the International Programs Coordinator at Baptist World Aid.
“Giving has shaped our lives to bring a perspective way beyond our backyard“
Shirley Wilson remembers the day she first decided to become a Child Sponsor with Baptist World Aid Australia.
It was 1977, and she was raising four children, working part time as a nurse, and helping her husband, Graeme, run a small poultry farm in the northwest of Tasmania.
A guest speaker from Baptist World Aid Australia visited Wynyard Baptist, and spoke about a Child Sponsorship program. He explained that Australians could provide a monthly gift to support the work of Christian Partners working in places like Bangladesh and India. The funding would support children in those countries, helping them build a future free from poverty.
‘I decided it would be a good thing,’ Shirley said. ‘I’ve always loved Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40, “as much as you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did to me,” and I wanted to put it into practice’.
A Thrilling Discovery
After that Sunday, Shirley decided to support Anika*, a Child Partner living in India. Anika was nine years old, which made it easy for Shirley’s similarly aged daughter, Cindy, to connect with her. Cindy was thrilled to discover Anika enjoyed the same things she did—skipping rope, running games, playing outside with friends. But Cindy also learnt that their lives were vastly different.
‘It was an interesting education to have insight into somebody else’s world,’ Cindy said. ‘That’s when I started to think outside my own community.’
‘It was an interesting education to have insight into somebody else’s world,’ Cindy said.
Cindy loved exchanging letters with Anika so much, that when she got her first job as a teenager, she used her pocket money to become a Sponsor.
‘Mum’s example had a big impact on me,’ she said. ‘We can’t all go overseas, but this is how we can contribute’.
One Generation, to the Next
Cindy didn’t stop contributing—even when she married her husband David and they had children of their own. And even when it wasn’t easy. ‘David lost his job about 20 years ago,’ Cindy said. ‘We clung on to our Child Partner for as long as we could, so it was heartbreaking when we couldn’t support him anymore’.
When David started working again, the first thing they did was ask if their Child Partner was still available to support. ‘I was so happy that he was,’ Cindy said. ‘That made me realise what a big impact our Child Partners had on us.’
Sponsorship also had a big impact on Cindy’s kids. Her eldest children, Kelsea and Braden, took over a newspaper delivery business as teenagers, and used their earnings to support a Child Partner themselves.
‘My mother’s heart sang!’ Cindy recalls. But for Kelsea, raised by big-hearted parents and grandparents who travelled with overseas mission organisations, generosity wasn’t something extraordinary. It was just part of the Christian life.
Generosity wasn’t something extraordinary. It was just part of the Christian life
A BIG Perspective
‘I always knew that there were communities that were in different circumstances to mine,’ Kelsea said. ‘In my family, it was normal to see the world as a bigger place, not just to focus on us.’
This perspective eventually led Kelsea to pursue a career in international community development, spending 22 months in Cambodia with the United Nations Development Program. At the beginning of 2022, she started serving as an International Programs Coordinator at Baptist World Aid. Her role, which focuses on building community resilience and responding to disasters, is a far cry from her paper delivery days. But her heart is the same.
‘While it’s easy just to focus on ourselves, God calls us to love our neighbour,’ Kelsea said. ‘That might be the person next door, or it might be someone overseas.’
Having a Heart that Rubs Off
Today, Shirley, Cindy and Kelsea still call the northwest coast of Tasmania home. And they continue their legacy of generosity. Shirley’s home is full of gifts she’s crafted for children in need overseas—girl’s skirts, doll clothes, toy hedgehogs made from old scarves. She’s still supporting children, now with friends from Wynyard Baptist Church. And she couldn’t be prouder of her granddaughter Kelsea.
‘You always hope that having a heart for others rubs off on your kids, and their kids,’ Shirley said. ‘It’s pleasing to know that we can make a difference to someone else’s life.”
Cindy, who is still part of Baptist World Aid’s Child sponsorship program, agrees. ‘We’re not meant to live as islands,’ she said. ‘As Christians, we’re called to live in community and support each other, even across the globe’.
*not her real name
Sophia Russell is the wife of a minister, mum of two children and the communication specialist at Baptist World Aid.
On 22nd November 2021, Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) released the Safer Spaces Toolkit. This is a resource to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.
The Safer Spaces Toolkit is an endorsed project of Australian Baptist Ministries aimed at resourcing pastors and church leaders to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.
The project working group is made up of Baptist women from around the country who have expertise in pastoral leadership, theology, teaching, domestic abuse and project management.
This project started because ABM recognised that domestic abuse resources were often available only by region, and wanted to create a resource that could be accessed by any pastor anywhere, with access to the Internet.
The Safer Spaces Toolkit is a work in progress and feedback and suggestions are welcome. To get in touch please send an email via the CONTACT PAGE
Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
READ MORE: NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step
18th November 2021
Big Hearted Gifts
Gifts that end poverty
Baptist World Aid (BWA) Big Hearted Gifts do much more than meet immediate needs like clean water, food, health and income. At their heart, these gifts are an expression of God’s extraordinary love at work in the world. They allow people to live with dignity, and they end poverty. Not just for individuals, but for whole communities. These are gifts that give hope.
Each gift supports the community-driven work run by BWA’s Christian partners. It’s about making a bigger, lasting difference by helping individuals and families develop long-term livelihoods, health, education and leadership skills.
Thanks to the lasting impact of your Big Hearted Gifts, along with the wonderful work of people on the ground, you help end poverty.
How it works
When you select a gift card for a family member or a loved one this Christmas, you’re also making a donation to a community development project. Your tax-deductible donation will fund vital community development projects that include the activity featured on your card.
You can give an eCard, a Gift Card (which is mailed to you for your use), or do a last-minute-dash and print your own as a PDF file.
Perhaps you need help working out what sort of gift to give? Use the Gift Generator to help you pick the perfect gift card, and make a difference on behalf of your loved one.
Tasmania Celebration Launch
Launceston and Hobart moments
A Time to Dedicate the Outreach Events with Will Graham, in 2022
LAUNCESTON: 6:30-8pm Friday 19th November Door of Hope Christian Church South Launceston
HOBART:6:30-8pm Saturday 20th November C3 Convention Centre South Hobart
On the 17th August, 23 Tasmanian Baptist leaders from around the state met in Longford to prepare to speak out for the needs of the global poor, refugees and survivors of domestic violence.
Our church has been talking for some time about what it means to actively engage in issues of justice in the broader community. Ten of us made it to the Converge conference because we saw when Baptist churches work together in areas like these, we’re much more effective. The work the different Baptist agencies have done in putting together the JUSTICE 2021 Report gives us a credibility and tangible way forward we simply could not do on our own.
Pastor Matt Garvin (Citywide)
Since then, Tasmanian Baptist teams have visited the local member in each of our five federal electorates, and to as many of our 12 senators as possible as part of Converge 2021. At each meeting they have discussed big issues, and presented each one with a copy of the Australian Baptist Justice 2021 report.
Check out the slideshow! Below there are photos of only five of the ten visits that took place.
Mr Brian Mitchell (ALP) Member for Lyons
Rodney Marshall, Jacinta Sinclair (BaptCare) and Jeff McKinnon
Mrs Bridget Archer MP, (Lib) Member for Bass
Ed Love, Kay Hunter, Maddy Svoboda, Jenna Blackwell, Karlin Love
Sen. Jonathon Duniam, (Lib) Clark
Stephen Baxter, Matt Henderson, Liam Conway, Michael Henderson
Sen. Peter Whish Wilson, (Greens) Bass
Jeff McKinnon, Kay Hunter, Stephen Avery
Sen. Helen Polley, (ALP) Bass
Kay Hunter, Ed Love, Karlin Love, Jeff McKinnon
Mr Andrew Wilkie MP, (Ind) Member for Clark
Michael Henderson, Stephen Baxter, Liam Conway
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) Franklin
Michael Henderson and team
Hon. Julie Collins MP, (ALP) Member for Franklin
Matt Garvin and team
Mr Gavin Pearce MP, (Lib) Member for Braddon
Nicholas Alexander and team
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) Braddon
Nicholas Alexander and team
Converge Tasmania Team visits to Politicians 2021
READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step
Finding God in Brazil: Personal stories to amaze and inspire
Author: Dr John B Dyer Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 978-1979439817 Available: $15AUD from Amazon >>>
Dr Dyer describes this book as a series of stories about his experience of living and working in Brazil over a period of 33 years. His story involves the stories of other people, and both become interwoven into a single fabric.
I found this book to be easy to read as it written in everyday language without the use of theological jargon. There is humility in Dr Dyer’s sharing. His sense of humour is evident as he tells of the lighter moments of being a missionary in Brazil. Clearly, he has an obvious love for the Brazilian people.
I am struck by the tenacity of both Dr. Dyer, and his wife Maria. They persevered through many hardships that come with living in a different culture. As well, there are difficulties with many subcultures, and a varied terrain and climate throughout Brazil. They also experienced personal tragedy with their first child being stillborn, and their second child dying 24-hours after birth. There is also adventure and danger. For example, John was hit by a car, and held at gunpoint in his own home!
A young child is miraculously healed of malaria in an Amazonian rainforest. And also a young man with cancer, given two-years to live in 1985, continues to serve God to this day. Yes, God still performs miracles.
John describes his book this way; “The aim of the book, written from the perspective of a Christian missionary working in the most remote parts of the country, as well as in some major urban centres, is to show how God is perceived to be involved in our everyday affairs.”
In my opinion, he has been successful in this aim!
Faith and the Arts is an awesome annual conference held in Poatina, Tasmania, targeting creatives of all disciplines and skill levels. The aim is “to come together to give time and space to their faith-art journey.”
I have always got heaps out of it, both personally and within my creative practices. There are always great speakers, highly skilled teachers, and a heap of fun. I especially appreciate the chance to try practices I am not familiar with.
This year it is online (Covid! they hope to return to normal in person in 2023). I am leading an afternoon workshop on Monday this year, called “Small Prophetic Art”. Hope to see you there.
Michael Henderson, Mission and Leadership Development Coordinator Tasmanian Baptists
Ethical Fashion Guide
Baptist World Aid’s 2021 Ethical Fashion Report finds lingering gaps in wages, sustainability
People, planet or profit? What’s most important to consumers in purchasing the brands they like?
Today you can find out. The 2021 Ethical Fashion Guide/Report is now on the Baptist World Aid website, along with some great new features for consumers to communicate directly with brands. This year’s report also explores the impact of COVID on garment workers; slavery/exploitation of all workers in the supply chain; and the environment.
The grades of the brand companies within the report/guide reflect some progress, but we have a long way to go!
About the 2021 Ethical Fashion Report
With its mission to end poverty, Baptist World Aid Australia has published the Ethical Fashion Report since 2013. As one of Australia’s leading publications on ethical fashion, the Ethical Fashion Report and Guide helps consumers make better choices based on thorough data from almost 100 companies representing more than 400 brands.
READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | STEP BY STEP