The conflict in Syria begins its ninth year with no sign of ending at the moment. As global attention drifts away, more than 6.2 million internally displaced people are still struggling to shelter and feed themselves. The most critical time for these refugees is to live through the brisk winter every year. Between December last year and January this year, it was reported that at least 29 children and newborns died, mainly from hypothermia, while fleeing to refugee camp in the eastern region of the country or shortly after arrival .
Youtube screen capture of a SAT-7 ACADEMY programme, City of Stars
“Through satellite TV, we can reach out to 450 million people in this part (Middle East and North Africa) of the world, where most people have never met a Christian, seen a church or had a Bible in their own hands, but they can see the Gospel at home. They can watch our programmes in their language 24 hours a day — our production crew knows their problems and difficulties, and also their source of happiness.” —Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific
The conflict in Syria has already been 8 years. Although extremist group ISIS was reported driven out of the country, this multi-nations battle is yet to be ended. The Syrian government forces were still fighting with the rebels in May. Chronic warfare resulted in uncountable casualties and destruction. Millions of civilians lost their homes, and were either displaced within the country or have fled to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to seek asylum, such as Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. When their homelands were still devastated by conflicts, rebuilding their country seemed impossible. How do these refugees live in neighbouring countries? Why are their children and other Middle Eastern and North African children described as “the lost generation”? While facing multifaceted challenges, how does this younger generation bear hope for the future? Kurt Johansen, executive director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia and Pacific, a partner of CEDAR, answered our questions one by one.
(Photo taken in Kurigram District of northern Bangladesh)
Written by Tony Chan (Senior Partnership Development Officer)
Friends asked me, “Your organisation (CEDAR Fund) is for poverty alleviation. Why does it actively promote environment protection?”
This is closely related to CEDAR’s understanding of poverty. We believe that poverty is resulted from an impaired relationship. In the beginning of creation, relationships between man and God, man and man, and man and nature were good. However, man sinned and disobeyed God, and even exploited others and the nature for their own benefits. Those who were exploited became the poor.
In our seven weeks of Lent practice, we explored Creation Care from different perspectives. We also reflect on our relationships with the nature, neighbours in poverty, and our community through scriptures, songs, and actions. Creation Care is indeed propelling us to embrace the created world and all creations with care and love. This is what Jesus manifested to the world. Therefore, this care and love for creations and people are obviously evangelistic and missional.
Written by: Janice Cheng (Participant of CEDAR’s 2018 Exposure Trip to Thai-Burmese border and northern Thailand, church pastor)
“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”
These are lyrics from a classic children hymn called All things bright and beautiful. I looked it up on the internet, you will discover the songwriter’s intention was to explain the first sentence of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
Participants of this trip to Thai-Myanmar border came from all walks of life, including rookies in the workplace, retired people, pastors, Christian organisation’s staff, and seminary teacher. This combination enriched our reflections, discussions, and consolidation of faith during the trip.
In mid-March, CEDAR shared on Facebook (Chinese only) about a trip in Zimbabwe in southern Africa. Zimbabwe was continuously hot and dry, and Zimbabweans discovered that a particular fruit was growing which indicated forthcoming drought. When villagers were still waiting for rains and hoping for harvests in April and May, the sudden attack of intense tropical cyclone Idai shattered not only their homes, but also their hearts. Expected drought became unexpected windstorm and floods.