As many children set off for school in my neighborhood this month, I enjoy watching the anticipation on their faces as they walk by with new school bags and clothes. That same emotion runs under our work this month organizationally as CRWRC begins the official launch of our new name, World Renew. In essence we have the same character and are driven by the same Spirit of God to do justice, love mercy, and serve Christ and God’s people around the world who are living in situations of poverty, injustice, and disaster. Yet, there is something exciting about having a new name that gives us even more opportunities to share God’s compassion worldwide. There is something wonderful about being reminded each day we work that we are here because of God’s renewing work in us and we are called to spread God’s renewing work with His people and communities around the world.
How have you experienced God’s renewing work lately? In my recent trip to Bangladesh with six students from Kings University and their team leader, Roy Berkenbosch, we regularly saw evidence of God’s presence and renewing power. With support from CRWRC/World Renew’s partner, SATHI, a slum area in Dhaka changed dramatically as 465 families in the Uttaran people’s institution were reached through programs in leadership, health, literacy, and income generated through village savings groups. As staff from SATHI trained and talked with them about the ways that faith and values impact their lives, they realized the need to care for their children in ways that God expected them to by fighting child labor and early marriage. When I asked the Uttaran community leaders what inspired them, they said, “We do this for our babies and children because God wants them to live in a much better situation than we do, with better housing, greater access to education, and in a just and peaceful society.”
During a community visit with staff from another partner, PARI, we were amazed by the stories we heard from one primary group. In just five months, a newly formed group of 20 women had succeeded in stopping two early marriages. When they heard reports that two girls, 13 and 14 years old, were going to be married, they approached the families involved and expressed their concerns. At first, the families did not seem to care. But when the group highlighted the laws that protected their daughters and warned the families of impending arrest, the plans for the marriages ended. In the process, this women’s group realized a key issue fueling early marriages is poverty. They then developed and implemented a strategy for increasing income through group savings, running small businesses, and buying land. No wonder changes like these have inspired them to name their group, “Morning Light.” As one member said, “We were blind before but now we see!”
We pray that God’s light will continue to shine its transforming and renewing power through all of us, through our partners, and through thousands of community groups around the world to overcome injustice, poverty, and disaster. Thank you for all you do in following His call to do justice, love mercy, and serve Christ.