As we look out into the world today, we must hold the words of John 1:5 close to our hearts: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ It can be easy to lose hope, with conflict, disasters and hunger crises dominating the headlines. But the light is there. Jesus Christ – the Light of the World – cannot be consumed by the darkness. Across the world there are stories of this light breaking through and transforming lives.
It is the church today – ordinary people of God – who are able to help bring in this transformation. And you can join in.
Leading by serving
Across the Sahel region of West Africa, in Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, violence is rising due to shortages of resources, including food. This has been caused in part by the worsening droughts and floods in the region – the effects of the climate crisis.
Attacks from armed groups continue to put communities at risk, as well as our local partners and staff. Ambushes, kidnappings and carjackings happen regularly. Roads and bridges are often targeted by armed groups, making it difficult to reach people in need. And landmines – small explosives – are often placed on the sides of roads, making travel increasingly difficult.
Noorie Dudley-Sam, from our West Africa team, shares with us how it is through the understanding of the kingdom and of Jesus Christ as king that underpins her role at Tearfund. And how it sustains her through challenging times to serve where the need is greatest.
‘Jesus Christ is the king of God’s kingdom,’ says Noorie. ‘A kingdom that has no end. A kingdom that is not of this world. A kingdom that cannot be overthrown or ruined. A kingdom with a king who does not take advantage of his subjects, but serves to be served.
‘God has ordained Jesus Christ with the greatest authority to lead his kingdom. Jesus Christ possessed all of the talents to lead God’s kingdom. He is selfless; he laid down his life on the cross to rebuild a relationship between God and ourselves.
‘He is a teacher. He is love. Jesus Christ has wisely used his talents. What are we using our talents for today?’
The role of the church today
Today (Friday 3 June), marks 100 days of the conflict in Ukraine. The war rages on and the future remains uncertain. But one thing is steadfast – and that is the outpouring of support and love from the local church.
Tearfund's local partners have been working relentlessly to provide food, safe water, shelter, and trauma counselling to those fleeing conflict – both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, such as Poland, Romania and Slovakia. They have also been sending trucks filled with essential supplies to people still living in Ukraine.
One of our church partners working in the region shared with us the following message:
‘We continue to do what we were called to do as a church: serve the people and preach the gospel. What it means to serve people is now very clear – to respond to their needs.
‘And the needs are also clear: to be near, to listen, to encourage, to cry together, to clothe, feed, heal, take into the house and into the heart. But in order to share all this, you must always be strong, filled and ready to give, to sacrifice. Perhaps this is what we ask you to pray for.’
Alex* fled Ukraine and is now staying at a refugee camp in Slovakia being run by one of our local partners.
‘I am thankful to God and to Christians from different European countries who helped me and other people from Ukraine during those strenuous days,’ Alex says. ‘[The camp] is well organised and volunteers helped us with food, clothes, and useful advice. Enough support was given to everyone who needed it… everywhere I go, I meet people with open hearts who are ready to assist.’