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Updated: 23 weeks 5 days ago

Three years after Nepal earthquake, families recover, rebuild

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 10:23

As Santosh Gurung (pictured below) worked the fields of his farm in Paaudukharka, near the town of Gorkha, Nepal, on April 25, 2015, he was separated from his wife and their toddler son by nearly 100 miles of mountains and valleys while they visited relatives in Kathmandu.

Santosh’s home was one of the half million destroyed by the massive earthquake that shook Nepal that day, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring nearly 22,000. Uninjured, he was desperate for news from his family. With the phone network down, it took more than nine hours for him to learn that his wife and son were also safe.

Thanks to your swift response to provide immediate aid and the promise of true recovery, Lutheran World Relief was soon in this remote rural community.

Two years later, meet the people and see the progress of the people whose lives were transformed by generosity by checking out our visual story on Exposure.

Santosh Gurung, 26, at his farm in Paaudukharka community, near Gorkha, Nepal.

Read more

The post Three years after Nepal earthquake, families recover, rebuild appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

LWR responding to humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:10

Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region is in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The region is already struggling under the weight of decades of fighting. Now a suspected chemical attack in the suburb of Douma has international tensions heightened even more.

Lutheran World Relief is working with partners on the ground to mount a response in Eastern Ghouta — a region largely cut off from humanitarian aid — to provide essential supplies to families, most of whom have little else to survive.

Our partners on the ground are currently assessing the situation, but we need to be ready to move quickly. Will you support this work with an emergency gift today?

DONATE NOW

We look forward to adding more details to this post as we know more about the situation unfolding, and the details of our response.

Thank you for reaching out to people in need around the world with Lutheran World Relief.

 

The post LWR responding to humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ghouta, Syria appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Restoring hope in Mosul, Iraq

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 16:34
God saved Mosul. Islamic State all but destroyed it.

Today, Lutheran World Relief and its supporters throughout the United States are rejuvenating lives in the city once known as Nineveh – the one Jonah was sent to save almost three thousand years ago – one traumatized child and one surviving adult at a time.Days after Mosul’s liberation from the Islamic State group (IS) in July 2017, Lutheran World Relief began serving thousands of people scarred, scared and longing for lives free of risk and repression.

With the support of our donors, we are carrying out the city’s only psychosocial counseling and recovery support. We are one of only a few international NGOs working in an area where as many as 4,000 civilians perished, 900,000 fled, 30,000 IS militants were killed and more than 90 percent of houses and buildings are dust and debris. Our work has reached individuals, children and families. We’re helping people build hope, and helping people heal.

And it is all because of your generous support.

A 21-year-old man holds his certificate from a mobile technology and electronics training course run by LWR in West Mosul. This program is made possible with your support.

As thanks, we’ve put together a visual story that takes you to the frontline of this work. See the places where your gifts are making a difference — and the lives being transformed as a result.

Read the full story

The post Restoring hope in Mosul, Iraq appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Will Easter come? (A Good Friday reflection)

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 06:00

“The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!” – Psalm 22:26

Good Friday is the darkest day of the Christian year. Many of us literally turn the lights out in our sanctuaries and drape the altar in black. It’s the day we encounter the death of Jesus; a death which our own sin and brokenness has a hand in, even 2,000 years later.But for me, Good Friday actually isn’t the most harrowing day of Holy Week.

Personally, the toughest day has always been Holy Saturday, that day between Good Friday and Easter.It’s the anticipation of thinking, “Is it going to work this time?” Will we show up at church on Easter Sunday and hear the same story of new life, or is there still a chance that death wins? Because that’s how it looked last time we were together on Friday night.

But thank God, (spoiler alert) Easter Sunday always comes!

That feeling of anticipation, the fear of wondering if it’s going to work this time is a feeling which exists in many of Lutheran World Relief’s projects around the world. We work with families and communities full of need. Communities that have seen dry fields and empty stomachs, with no sure promise of rain. We work in communities that had long struggled, even before a natural disaster drove them deeper into poverty.

And thanks to the generosity of the Lutherans with which we partner, these communities are able to find new ways, new sources of hope. New ways of growing crops. New ways of providing for families. New ways of protecting themselves against the unknown. But there’s always that fear. Is this new way going to work? Or is it just going to lead to more need and emptiness?

Then, like Easter Sunday, after what can be a tense and excruciating wait, new life rises from the dirt. In farming communities where your support has made an impact green things are growing which bring new life to families and new hope to communities.

So this Good Friday, and if you are like me Holy Saturday, as you live with that tension between the death and resurrection, remember these families around the world, your partners, who are nervously anticipating new life springing forth from the ground. And as we step out together in that new kingdom that Jesus announces let’s share with these communities in the abundance of all God has given us.

The post Will Easter come? (A Good Friday reflection) appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

War, conflict in East Africa continue to force families to flee for safety. You are responding.

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:02

More than 2 million people from South Sudan have fled from their homes in search of safe haven from war, violence and widespread food shortages. And thousands more are being driven out of Ethiopia due to conflict.

You are responding to the needs of these families at their most desperate time.

The Palabek refugee settlement in northern Uganda opened in December 2017 and is home to more than 37,000 South Sudan refugees. Other camps have reached capacity, including the Bidi Bidi camp, which is now the largest in the world with more than 287,000 people.

Amid the rows of tent-like shelters assembled on dry, cracked earth, there is an unexpected and extraordinary scene at Palabek: the beginnings of household gardens.

Lutheran World Relief’s expert staff and partners are teaching people how to prepare the soil and plant and grow vegetables in these challenging conditions. Families will soon be harvesting sweet potatoes, iron-rich beans and other highly nutritious foods that will provide food for the families that grow them or be sold for income. At least individual 1,200 gardens covering 265 total acres will dot the camp.

In addition, you’re providing critical and immediate relief through donations of LWR Mission Quilts and care kits.

Related story: You are bringing critical aid to children and babies at risk of starvation in South Sudan

Lutheran World Relief is also preparing to respond to another burgeoning crisis in East Africa. Conflict in Ethiopia is driving thousands of people across the border to neighboring Kenya, where our local staff are currently assessing the situation and determining how we can best respond to the needs of refugees and the host communities.

Thank you for your tremendous support for families suffering around the world. You bring light to dark places with your generosity. You are truly doing a world of good

With your continued support, Lutheran World Relief will reach more families affected by bitter war and conflict.

Please give today!

 

The post War, conflict in East Africa continue to force families to flee for safety. You are responding. appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Lenten Devotion – Isaiah 50:4-9

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 08:50

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Isaiah 50:4-9

“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens– wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” — Isaiah 50:4 (NRSV)

We live in a world where communication has advanced, but the human quality of this communication is deteriorating. It is against that backdrop that we, as disciples of the Lord, must spread his love around us. To successfully carry out this mission, I invite you to meditate on Isaiah 50:4, which presents the secret of the Lord’s servant: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.”

Thus, the servant of the Lord who communicates is known for using language for consolation, encouragement, recovery and the communication of grace as affirmed by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”

The tongue of a teacher is a gift from God, a gift that grows through developing intimacy with him and communicating his wonders.

Intimacy with the Master is the secret of the servant of the Lord. It’s achieved through morning listening, a fundamental characteristic of the Lord’s disciple, who never begins a day without spending time at the feet of the Lord. Each morning, the disciple wants to hear the voice of the Lord, who indicates which road to follow (Psalm 32:8). This listening will develop the follower into a good disciple who is always ready to learn from the Master. It is a time of learning that gives the disciple good things to communicate to the world.

The servant of the Lord who communicates his wonders can be compared to a river where water is flowing, rather than a backwater where it is stored. This means that what the disciple has received from the Lord is shared with others and that the disciple will receive more, as the Psalmist did in Psalm 78:3­-4.

The disciple is characterized by the desire for and the practice of communicating joy, peace, tranquility, love, comfort and communicating life around us. Indeed, the Lord is always ready to teach his disciple who finds time to meet him.

How do you listen to God’s voice? What are some ways you’ve learned from God which road to follow?

 

Prayer

Dear Lord, help me listen to you, so that, like Jesus Christ, I can be a blessing to those around me.

 

Noemie Nikiema served as IT Manager in Burkina Faso with Lutheran World Relief’s SESAme Project, which assists more than 500,000 people directly and indirectly to increase their capacity to meet sesame export quality standards, access lucrative markets and improve buyer-seller relationships. 

 

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The post Lenten Devotion – Isaiah 50:4-9 appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Lenten Devotion – Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:00

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” — Psalm 118:24 (NRSV)

Every day is a gift from God. And every day — even if it’s a tough one — is full, rich and precious, with new opportunities and blessings. Of course, it’s easier for us to recognize God’s hand and accept that it is acting in our life when everything is going well, when family and friends are in good shape, and when we are facing no significant economic or social problems.

Sometimes we are led to think that only the moments that make us scream with joy and happiness reflect the work and the presence of God in our life, that God has made happy days and wouldn’t be so involved in circumstances that we would qualify as bad ones. Those might include war, famine, natural disasters, starvation, and the economic and social vulnerability with which many of the rural families LWR works with are living. Are those tough moments also God’s works?

The Bible tells us that every day will have its own worries. God walks with us through trials to help us cultivate endurance. He never said life on earth would be a series of good events. How can we rejoice in the not-so-good ones?

First, by faith. The Lord is faithful and takes care that today we will not be tempted and tried beyond our ability to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He promises to be with us in every difficult moment, and we believe in that. The presence of God by our side, the privilege to count on him when things are going poorly, is a recurring theme that helps us accept and live every moment as the “day that the Lord has made.”

Second, we can rejoice by our actions. As our life is full of grace and God’s accompaniment in difficult moments, we must also return those blessings and that grace to our community. By accompanying the most vulnerable and helping to alleviate their pain, we can manifest and express our gratitude to God.

If our way and LWR’s way of working and accomplishing our calling is not based only on material and personal satisfaction, and if we give back with both science and conscience, we become instruments of God’s hand to help everyone, even the most vulnerable, be able to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.“

It reminds me of what Sentales Seratil, member of a local partner based in Northwest Haiti, said to me last year in an LWR focus group in Petite Riviere (Jean-Rabel): “LWR may not be aware of it, but the decision of working with us and providing seeds to us after this long drought was not a human decision. I strongly believe it was God’s decision.”

Let us rejoice!

How did you rejoice after a particularly not-so-good day? How did God accompany you, and how did you look with hope toward the next day?

 

Prayer

God who accompanies us through the valleys, fill us with your grace so that even when your presence feels far away, we can reach out to those in need. Every day is a day made by your hand. May the blessing of that be shared with all! Amen.

 

Justine Poldor serves as the Program Manager for Lutheran World Relief in Haiti.

 

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The post Lenten Devotion – Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Lenten Devotion – Luke 1:26-38

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 09:00

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Luke 1:26-38

 “Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” — Luke 1:38 (NRSV)

In the story of the Annunciation, Mary declares herself to be “the servant of the Lord” and courageously accepts God´s will in difficult times, when saying yes to the Lord meant losing your life. It is a great example of faith, love, obedience and humility.

Mary invites us to follow her son, even with all our sins and difficulties. It doesn’t matter what condition we find ourselves in, because having Jesus in our lives means having a steadfast hope that God has an immense love for us and will lead us out of our desert.

In this season of Lent, when Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days before beginning his remarkable ministry of hope, let us take a journey of introspection toward hope, too. Let us journey inside ourselves and identify all those things that take us away from God, even though God never leaves our side. Let us resolve to change our lives with the certainty that Jesus will never come down off the cross, that he is always there for us, because of the immense love he has for us.

I remember the thoughts of a contemporary spiritual writer, who said that faith isn’t just about feeling God´s presence or his will in our lives, it’s about offering ourselves to God without hesitation. What that means is different for all of us. For that writer, it was like tracking a star through the darkness without knowing where it would lead. It comes down to being called to follow and trust in God in the midst of our everyday chaos even though we don’t know where that will take us.

It’s like Mary! This is what true faith looks like.

How is the faith that you live every day like that?

 

Prayer

Thank you, God, for allowing us to live another day. Each day is a new opportunity to grow nearer to you and to fill ourselves with your immense love, your infinite kindness and your great mercy.

 

Claudia Pineda serves as a Program Manager for LWR in Nicaragua, where she and the LWR-Nicaragua team work with farmers and partners to improve livelihoods, build resilience to climate change and promote water conservation and crop diversification.

 

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The post Lenten Devotion – Luke 1:26-38 appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

In Bihar, empowering women and girls uplifts whole communities.

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 15:45

This reflection was generously shared by Darcy Huffman, a member of The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd in Olympia, Wash, one of the congregations that is directly supporting communities in India through Partnership Bihar. In this post, Ms. Huffman reflects on her experience after visiting the project in January 2018.

Have you ever heard of something called a witness tree?

The Urban Dictionary defines a witness tree as a “solitary tree amid remote or wide open landscape. Usually a witness tree has been around for many hundreds of years and is the only witness to the history in that area.”

In January, my traveling companions and I came across such a witness tree in Pandedih, a remote village in the Bihar State of India. It’s funny how a tree, like a mountain, can capture your heart no matter where it is.

We were in India to visit villages that are part of Partnership Bihar, a Lutheran World Relief that launched in October 2016 with the mission to create year-round food security and sufficient nutrition for 4,000 farming families, or some 20,000 residents. The $1 million project is being funded by 10 congregations in the United States from coast to coast, including my church, The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd in Olympia, Wash.

Pandedih was the last of our village visits. In the days before our group had visited two other villages, JoraAam and Kusumdih, each rich and unique in their cultures and their progress in the project for which we were visiting.

But somehow, Pandedih was special for me. Perhaps it was the way they welcomed us into their homes. Perhaps it was the fresh peas they picked for us right from the fields, handing them to us like they were offering us their hearts. Perhaps it was the young woman who insisted on practicing her English with me as she led me around introducing me to every single one of her family members. Perhaps unlike the other villages, it was because the people were more forthcoming of their questions about what our lives were like. It seems that they were just as curious about our lives, as we were about theirs. They wanted to know among other things, if we all had cars, if we grew our own food and if we arranged marriages for our children.

Honestly, I think it was because these women were so sure of themselves and they knew exactly what they wanted from this program. When asked, without hesitation they told us that they want 1) peace in their village, 2) an equal opportunity for boys and girls to go to school, 3) gender equality, 4) enhanced food production for better nutrition and income and 5) to eliminate the need for their husbands to migrate to the cities for work during the non-growing season. Currently about 98 percent of the men in the village are away from home, working in factories for six months of the year.

Panmuni Murmu, 25, holds tomatoes she has just picked from her small farm. She says her proudest moment was passing her 10th Standard exam (equivalent to high school graduation in the US), because it isn’t common for girls to complete that much education. As her family is able to increase their income, she would like to invest in livestock in order to build up their family assets. (Photo by Brenda Kimaro for LWR)

The social changes in the village have already been substantial. One of the most significant changes is that the women and girls in the village are no longer eating last, thereby getting more food and nutrition. Their families are now eating together, a feat that I pointed out, many of our families have a hard time doing.

Another significant change is the elimination of money lenders in the villages because of the formation of self-help groups. Each self-help group works as a small “credit union.” Each time the group meets (usually weekly) women will bring 10 rupees (about 15 cents) if they are able. They pool this money and then lend it to other women in the group for various needs like medicines, school, or farming supplies. The money is paid back in installments at a very low interest rate.

The men in the village seem most supportive of the changes in their wives and daughters. You could see the pride in their eyes, and in the eyes of their sons.

As I left Pandedih and the witness tree that day, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of changes the tree would witness in the future. I am confident that with the continued support of Lutheran World Relief and their partners the future of the village is in good hands

The post In Bihar, empowering women and girls uplifts whole communities. appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Lenten Devotion – Isaiah 7:10-14

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 09:00

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Isaiah 7:10-14

 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14 (NRSV)

I began to work with Lutheran World Relief about six years ago. I had experience with what I thought were similar institutions, but little by little I began to realize that LWR is different. My colleagues have a special kind of spirituality infused in their work. They are committed to bringing about change in the lives of the people we work with, and their enthusiasm and commitment is truly inspiring to me.

Every week or so, the whole LWR Peru team meets to read a Bible passage and reflect on it. Those reflections inspire our work as we accompany people on their journey, seeking to help them and learn from them, and thanking them for the opportunity to serve. I was also lucky enough to learn from a special LWR guide, Pedro Véliz (see his Lenten devotional here).

I have visited several of the places where LWR has projects, and in each one I have found very grateful people who recognize that LWR is helping them improve their lives. When I participated in the distribution of LWR School Kits in a small school in the Peruvian rain forest, for instance, the children were quite young, and I didn´t expect that they would be so happy to receive notebooks and pencils. I had seen this kind of joy when my own children received a toy of some kind, but when I saw these children clap and laugh over the School Kits, it made me acutely aware of their needs and how important this small gift was for them. Of course we told them where the kits had come from: “Our Lutheran brothers and sisters in the United States prepared them for you with great kindness.” I will always remember their little faces and their joy, and they will continue to be an important motivation for me in my work.

As a mother, when I visit some of the LWR project areas, it has been difficult for me to see the children´s unmet needs. But I know that we must have faith that these difficulties will be overcome, and I know we are not alone on this journey, that people we don´t even know are giving generously, reaching out to us just because they want to help their neighbor. From my part of the LWR world, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to you for helping us help others.

When you reflect on difficulties you see in the world, how do you find hope? How do you think you might be best able to give help?

 

Prayer

God who gives gifts: From the gift of your son to the simple gifts that help us learn and grow, thank you for being such a generous giver. Remind us that to follow you is to be generous in all we do, just as Mary was generous in welcoming you into the world. Amen.

 

Gladys Soto serves in Peru as the Regional Finance Officer for LWR’s Latin America team.

 

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The post Lenten Devotion – Isaiah 7:10-14 appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Protecting the future by preserving water sources

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:52

On a recent trip to Colombia, I was struck by the sense of collective responsibility farmers had for the preservation of their community’s natural resources, especially its precious sources of water.

The community faced a problem: the livelihood of its coffee farmers, so important to the community’s economic well-being, was taking a toll on the precious Guarinó River watershed. The wastewater from washing and processing the coffee beans was polluting the river.

In an effort to protect the ecosystem and reverse the environmental damage, Lutheran World Relief teamed with the Starbucks Foundation that sought to protect and preserve ecosystems for sustainable coffee livelihoods.

Addressing the wastewater from coffee processing required new equipment that makes the process more efficient and uses less water. In the wet method of processing, the coffee bean is separated from the fruit that surrounds it.  Traditionally, this step in wet milling used a significant amount of water. At the end of the processing, the water that contained organic matter was returned to waterways, a step in the process that was responsible for the death of many waterways in Latin America.

Leonardo demonstrates his waste water treatment equipment during a recent visit to his farm.

Newer de-pulping equipment that has been introduced greatly reduces the amount of water needed in this step, and requires little, if any fermentation or washing.  Any effluent is then collected in wastewater treatment systems to reduce the organic pollutants before being released again to the river – often cleaner than when it was first removed for wet milling.

I had the opportunity to meet Leonardo, one of coffee farmers who participated in the project. When I asked him what he got out of doing that, he told me, “a lot more work!”

Cleaning the water from his coffee production didn’t increase his bottom line, but he knew that if he dumped untreated wastewater, it would pollute the water source for local school and his neighbors further down the hillside. He was proud to have the ability as a result of the project to be able to care for the environment and his community.

The post Protecting the future by preserving water sources appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

How farmers in Kenya are learning to cope with severe drought

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 15:44

The New York Times recently reported that changing climate conditions and accompanying droughts are once again pushing countries in East Africa to the brink of famine.

The page one article highlights the severity of the situation: people trapped in a cycle of poverty are now struggling even more because the land they depend on for survival is often too dry for growing crops and there is not enough water to support livestock.

Julius Ndemange, a 65-year-old farmer in Makueni County, Kenya, lives in this harsh reality every day.

Julius Ndemange stands on his 13-acre farm in Makueni County, Kenya. (Photo by Brenda Kimaro for LWR)

“When you grow maize, if the rains fail, you fail,” he says.

As part of the Lutheran World Relief program in his community, Julius and his neighbors are learning ways to cope with this new reality, especially the severe water shortage.

The methods they are learning are designed to capture as much rain water as possible and direct water straight to the crops’ roots.

For example, farmers are learning to create zai pits —shallow holes that are about 2 feet wide by 2 feet long and 2 feet deep with a mound of dirt on three sides to direct rain fall into the pit. Farmers plant five seeds in the pit — one in each corner and a fifth in the center — and then cover them with a mixture of soil and manure. The zai pits are effective for concentrating nutrients and water on a crop’s roots.

Aerial photo of zai pits. (Photo by Jake Lyell for LWR)

Farmers are also learning how to build terraces, which are especially useful on hilly land. The layered platforms slow the flow of water, reducing erosion and conserving water.

With better irrigated land comes more opportunity to diversify crops. Julius used to grow only maize, which is the primary crop grown throughout the region. Now he grows and sells mangoes, pigeon peas and cow peas. Crop diversification further improves soil fertility, resulting in better crop yields over time.

Julius spreads manure around the bottom of one of his mango trees. He spreads it in a circle a couple feet from the tree’s trunk so the nutrients can seep down into the soil near the ends of the roots. (Photo by Brenda Kimaro for LWR)

The effects of a changing climate in East Africa are tremendous. Despite all his efforts, Julius lost nearly 20 percent of his mango trees due to drought.

He is pressing on, as is Lutheran World Relief.

This work is reaching more than 38,000 people in Kenya and is directly supported by Lutheran congregations in the U.S. as part of Isaiah 58:10 – Project Kenya.

The post How farmers in Kenya are learning to cope with severe drought appeared first on Lutheran World Relief.

Lenten Devotion – Psalm 51:10-12

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:00

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Psalm 51:10-12

 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” — Psalm 51:10-12 (NRSV)

Having grown up on the farm homestead of my great-grandparents in South Dakota, I have an appreciation for farmers: their work ethic, their reliance on sun, rain and productive land, and their resolve to innovate in order to improve their yield and product.

So when I was asked by Lutheran World Relief to see what LWR does with Peruvian potato farmers living at 13,000 feet in the Cocha community in the Castrovirreyna province, I was intrigued and curious. There I met Daisy and her family. Daisy, like me, is a farmer’s daughter. Her family returned to their native land after fleeing from the Shining Path, a terrorist group. Fear drove them away, but a more powerful emotion brought them back: hope.

They returned to their hectare of land that had lain fallow for many years. Their seedling potatoes for this high altitude had been lost. The rains came less frequently, and the snowmelt had also decreased.

Fortunately, LWR found Daisy and several other small potato-farming families, and they started to trust “outsiders” to help them develop their farms again. LWR provided Daisy and the farmers with better potato seedlings that survive in a very harsh environment, so they were once again able to produce native potatoes. We gave these farmers the expertise and innovation of capturing melting runoff and rains in a pond. Then LWR taught the farmers about irrigation, so their potato crops are more likely to thrive and mature. Additionally, other vegetables were added to their crops to help diversify their diet and curb childhood malnutrition.

So when I read the words of Psalm 51—“a new and right spirit,” “restore to me the joy,” and “sustain in me a willing spirit”—I remember Daisy and her community in Cocha, Peru. They returned to their native land and had new and right spirits. They had hope, joy, and willing spirits coupled with the guiding and skillful hand of LWR.

Their example leads me into this season of Lent, a season of reflection, renewal, and, ultimately, joy.

Where do you see steadfastness, restoration, and hope in your world?

 

Prayer

Clean out, O God, the inner conflicts of my life. Search out, O Lord, the hidden motives of my life. Root out, divine master, the destructive actions of my life. May actions of faith, hope, and love increase in everything I am and in everything I do. Amen.

 

Louise Evenson serves as a Board Director for Lutheran World Relief. She resides in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she is a member of Ascension Lutheran Church.  

 

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LWR Field Staff Says “Thank You!” to LWR Quilters

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:26

Ahmed Oudou is a longtime driver for Lutheran World Relief in Niger. In 2007, he had the honor of distributing quilts and watching the gratitude on the faces of recipients who have very little. As quilters in the United States celebrate National Quilting Day, Ahmed wants them to know why what they do matters, from someone who has seen tremendous needs being met. He knows for a fact that LWR distributes much more than just quilts.

Ahmed said, “If I could be in their place, it would be such an honor to learn how to quilt, and even more so to use those skills to serve the most vulnerable people. The quilts provide comfort, particularly to women, while restoring the respect and dignity of the most vulnerable people in the world. I pay tribute to their courage and self-sacrifice to provide the dignity and hope for the thousands around the world.”

Ahmed Oudou has been the staff driver for LWR in Niger for over a decade [Photo: Loretta Ishida]

 

His First Quilt Distribution

The distribution Ahmed participated in was in the region of Maradi, in the southern part of the country. He recalls, “It was the first time I saw first-hand the activities supported by LWR,” in partnership with a local non-governmental organization (NGO).

The quilts were given away in the villages of Dakoro, Birni Lallé, Korahane, Bermo and Ajekoria. The actual distributions were done, for the most part, in the local schools and health centers. Ahmed estimates about four bales – 100 quilts – were handed out at each village.

The need they were addressing was a basic one. “In Niger, the majority of people live on less than $1 a day and sometimes eat only once a day. Those who cannot afford to eat enough cannot afford to buy blankets,” he said. As if the extreme poverty wasn’t enough, the area was emerging from an acute food crisis. “Severe drought had detrimental effects to households. External humanitarian support, including that of LWR, had allowed communities to adapt to these effects.”

Ahmed continued, “Most of the people who receive quilts are extremely impoverished, lacking clothes, a bed or even a small mat to lay down on.” Bedding is one popular use for quilts and one reason they are highly sought after. “The area of Dakoro, in particular, is known for periods of unbearable cold at night for women and children, especially between December and March,” he added.

 

A Message of Gratitude

At the distribution, one woman, Harira Tanko, told Ahmed in Hausa (the local language), “They gave us blankets to keep us warm when it is cold and gave babies clothes. Truly, this is a blessing, for this year we will not be cold.” She added that when the temperatures rise, the quilts would be used as mattresses for people who have no beds.

For Ahmed, the memory of the distributions and the strong emotions of the recipients have stayed with him – so much so that one of his wishes if he ever comes to the United States is to visit the warehouse that LWR shares with several partners at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland. There, the quilts are folded, shrink-wrapped and prepared for international shipping.

Ahmed wants to convey a heartfelt thanks for all the quilters and others who supply their skills and materials to make these distributions possible.  As he said, it isn’t just quilts you are sewing, but also dignity and hope!

 

Looking for another way to thank the quilters in your congregation? Nominate them as an LWR VIQ (Very Important Quilter)!

Click here to nominate a VIQ!

 

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These quilters saw their work in action – halfway around the world!

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 11:42

The quilters from Bristol Lutheran Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, were looking at a publication from Lutheran World Relief when they noticed pictures of quilts being distributed in Nepal. Several quilts looked very familiar as the group recognized their distinct sewing pattern. The quilts of the small church may well have worked their way to a country some 11,000 miles away, traveling across the eastern United States to the port of Baltimore, across the Atlantic Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope, crossing the Indian Ocean into the Bay of Bengal, before arriving finally in Nepal.

“As soon as the women saw the pictures from Nepal, they said, ‘Oh yeah, we did that one,'” said Ann Schwanke, a volunteer with the group. “We primarily use large pieces of material. We don’t cut up the material and make squares. The tops are always made of new materials while the bottoms are sheets. They are recognizable.” It was a confirmation of what the women in the group have long known but were happy to see: their work is helping people around the world.

“They were overjoyed to see that their work had contributed to the betterment of people a world away. You could see people were happy,” said Ann, who has quilted with the group for 20 years. “We saw a picture of one woman carrying several quilts on her head as she walked away from the distribution area.”

A woman leaves an LWR Mission Quilt distribution in Nepal’s Lalitpur District after the April 2015 earthquakes [Photo: Carrie Taneyhill]

 

This small church has been making quilts for worldwide distribution since the 1940’s, when Lutheran World Relief first began asking for them as one of the organization’s earliest projects after its formation in the aftermath of World War II.

Ann noted that the church has seven or eight quilters regularly working with the group. They work eight months of the year, meeting at the church on Tuesday mornings to put the quilts together. Tops and bottoms are made at home by the volunteers, as well as final sewing of the quilts. The group produces at least 400 quilts every year; in 2017, they made 430. “I would say that is pretty awesome for the size of our congregation,” says Ann.

Quilters at Bristol Lutheran Church gather around a completed quilt. The group is known for using large sheets of fabric for their quilt tops.

 

Each October, the quilts head to Minneapolis on a boxcar. While there are only a small number of quilters, the group draws in everyone for materials. According to Ann, “We’re always begging people for material and different supplies so we can make as many as we possibly can. With that many quilts you have to have a great deal of basic material.”

She ends with, “The world in great need. We will do as much as can.”

 

Want to know where your congregation’s Quilts & Kits go? Use the LWR Quilt & Kit Tracker!

Learn more!

 

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Drissa’s land has come back to life with a bumper crop of sesame

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 09:00

Drissa Banihou thought the land his family had worked for a quarter century was dead.

Four of the 10 acres he had farmed in the community of Tchériba, Burkina Faso, had borne no crops in five years because of drought conditions. Drissa, 31, wondered how he was going to support his wife and children, ages 5 and 2.

But this year, that land has come back to life. With the help Lutheran World Relief and our partners, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded project, SESAme, he and his extended family produced 80 tons of sesame.

Now, Drissa is planning for a brighter future for his farm — and his family. The transformation is nothing short of a miracle. And to think he had nearly given up.

After many seasons of frustration, the family had moved on from the land with the idea of cultivating it later, but that hadn’t worked. When he returned to it and still had nothing to show for his labor, Drissa began to despair.

“I thought the land was dead and wouldn’t produce anymore. I had no idea what I was going to do nor where to begin,” he said.

It was a dilemma. He had limited career options. His life was working the land. “I am a farmer,” he said. “This is my family life. I can never leave farming. There are too many lives at stake.”

Drissa Banihou (short-sleeved striped shirt) stands at his home in Burkina Faso.

 

Then he was introduced to a series of trainings all about growing sesame — the plant that produces sesame seeds and sesame oil — and is a high-value and extremely resilient cash crop that grows in places where many other crops fail. Despite a 1,500 percent increase in sesame production in Burkina Faso over the last decade, those involved in producing and marketing sesame in this West African nation were not benefitting from the lucrative international market because they were not growing large volumes of high-quality sesame.

Lutheran World Relief is changing that by helping the farmers grow, market and export sesame.

“We learned so many things about planting and harvesting,” Drissa said of the instruction he received from local farmers trained as agricultural extension agents, who visited his farm.

“I was surprised to learn after so many years of farming that you could have more sesame depending on the way the seeds were put in the ground. I never knew that.” he said.

They learned to plant in a square pattern, with four seeds in each corner, and how to make organic compost and use it as fertilizer. The hands-on instruction covered everything, from plowing and harvesting to cleaning the sesame and new storage techniques.

A Private Enterprise Agent (PEA) demonstrates how to use a bio-pesticide on sesame plants.

He and 30 other farmers in his community who are receiving help also learned how to apply bio-pesticide so it would kill bugs that often decimated crops, but would not damage the land or plants.

The trainings were backed up by technology that allowed the farmers to use Android smartphones to collect data, including farmers’ profiles, which allowed the local extension agents to help farmers with their individual problems. It turned the phones into case management tools.

As a result of this assistance, Drissa’s labors this season produced a bumper crop of sesame.

Sesame harvest in Dedougou. Sesame is collected and bundled to be transported to a warehouse for cleaning.

 

It has made a huge difference in his family’s lives. He can pay for school for his children and plans to build a better storage warehouse for the sesame, which will allow his extended family of farmers to store it and sell it for a higher price in the off season.

The local village is also seeing the benefits from bountiful harvests. Because other farmers are earning more money from greater yields, more children are going to local schools and the parents are buying more school supplies and uniforms — all a domino effect on the local economy.

Women from the TIN BA Association clean sesame seeds before packing it and storing it in a warehouse in Fada. The TIN BA Association received equipment through LWR’s SESAme Project.

 

“With the money earned from the extra sesame, we see more children going to school. Parents are able to buy school supplies and uniforms,” he said. “They can definitely afford more.”

The potential will only grow as this work enters its second year. Valued at $24 million, it is the largest LWR project, and will run a total of five years. It is expected to impact 500,000 people directly and indirectly by working with farmers, agricultural cooperatives, buyers, exporters, financial institutions and government bodies to increase their ability to meet sesame export quality standards and sell for higher prices in more lucrative markets.

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Lenten Devotion – John 3:14-21

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 09:31

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need.Check out the rest of the devotionals in the series. 

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

John 3:14-21

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 (NIV)

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from St. Augustine. He was a Christian leader in northern Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries. At one point in his Confessions he said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

As I contemplate this quote, it is a truly powerful and profound reality that God loves each and every person equally. No one more. No one less. You see, God doesn’t play favorites like we do. He loves all. He loves each one.

A few years ago, I was blessed to travel to Honduras to see the wonderful work that Lutheran World Relief is doing there. It was truly an aha moment. As we met with coffee and cocoa farmers whose lives and livelihoods had been affected by the good work of LWR, I was moved by one particular interaction. A farmer and his wife who lived in a remote location spoke of how LWR had helped them see God’s love in a whole new way. They talked of how, since working with LWR, they had a terrific new life as a family, far beyond what they ever imagined.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

I am so thankful for my interaction with this farmer and his family in Honduras. Their joy at how God had touched them personally in ways beyond their hopes was obvious and overflowing!

God so loved the world. God so loved each one.

As Christians, Lent is a time for us to reflect on the great love of God for us in Christ Jesus. He willingly gave his only son as the greatest example of love in action. As we believe in Christ, in this gift of love, we have the blessing of eternal life now and forever. We have a God who stretches his arms around the whole world yet loves each of us as the one beloved child he has always longed for.

As I left that Honduran farmer’s home, I said words of blessing: “Dios te Bendiga.” God bless you. But I was sure in my heart that God already had. He had blessed them with knowing and experiencing the love of God for them … and for all.

What was one particular event or time in your life when you felt God’s love directed at you as a parent loving their only child?

 

Prayer

God of love: We are amazed at your love for the whole world — and yet how you love each of us as if we were your only child. As we follow Jesus in lives of devotion and faith, lead us to bear your love to all people near and far. Amen.

 

The Rev. Timothy Runtsch currently serves as Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greeley, Colorado, and also serves as a member of the LWR board of directors. 

 

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March 17 is National Quilting Day. Here are five easy ways to celebrate!

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:22

Did you know that in addition to being St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 is also National Quilting Day and Worldwide Quilting Day? It’s true!

To celebrate, we here at Lutheran World Relief want to honor our dedicated quilters! Countless women, men and children gather year-round to cut fabric, sew squares, fill and tie Mission quilts that go to communities in need around the world. Time and again we hear – from our partners, and from recipients themselves – what a tremendous difference LWR Mission Quilts make.

In honor of this special day, we’ll be celebrating all things LWR Quilting from March 10 -17 on social media, especially on the LWR Facebook page. Here are some ways you can join in the fun, and celebrate your local quilting ministry.

Shout out your congregation’s Very Important Quilters (VIQs) Young “VIQs” at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, WI.

Every person that contributes to your ministry is special. That’s why we want to give you the opportunity to recognize them as a Very Important Quilter (VIQ). Nominate as many quilters as you like, and they’ll receive a special certificate of gratitude from us, thanking them for their service.

Nominate your VIQs!

Announce you are an LWR Quilter with this Facebook profile photo frame

Let everyone on your friends list know you are an LWR Quilter! Install this frame on top of your profile picture and let others know about your passion for reaching out to people living in poverty around the world through LWR Mission Quilts.

Here is how to install the profile picture:

On desktop: 

  1. Make sure you like our page, Lutheran World Relief, in order for the remainder of the instructions to work!
  2. Go to www.facebook.com/profilepicframes.
  3. In the left menu, scroll until you see the “Lutheran World Relief – National Quilting Day” picture frame.
  4. Click “Use as Profile Picture” to save.

On mobile:

  1. Make sure you like our page, Lutheran World Relief, in order for the remainder of the instructions to work!
  2. Go to your profile. Tap the “edit” symbol on your profile picture.
  3. Choose “Add Frame.”
  4. Scroll to the section called “Frames From Pages You Like.” Scroll until you see the above frame, and choose it. You’ll see a preview of your profile picture with the frame.
  5. If everything looks good, click the “Use” link in the upper right corner to install the frame, so everyone can see it!
Use Thrivent Action Team Funds to host a quilt demonstration Grace Lutheran Church Quilters and kit-makers in Hanlontown, Ia. created a Thrivent Financial Action Team to make Mission Quilts and Baby Care Kits.

Invite your congregation or community inside the process of making an LWR Mission Quilt by hosting a quilting demonstration/quilt-making event on March 17. If you have Thrivent Financial members in your group, apply for a Thrivent Action Team grant to support your event. Some ideas for how to use the grant:

  • Purchase a few bags of LWR Farmers Market Coffee to share with attendees!
  • Purchase extra batting to have on hand for your event.
  • Since National Quilting Day is also St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate with a lunch for volunteers of corned beef, cabbage and soda bread!

On March 17, we’ll be broadcasting live from Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville, Maryland, where the quilting group there has put together a community event with the support of Thrivent Action Team funds. If you’re in driving distance, join us! Or tune in to our Facebook page between 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST to check out this great event.

Host a quilter appreciation coffee hour after Sunday service Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville, MD, hosted a youth leader event that included piloting a quilting project for youth groups. Youth and leaders divided into smaller groups and worked together to cut and piece tops, pin and layer the Quilts for a local LWR Quilt Group to complete.

Show gratitude to the quilters in your midst by designating your March 18 coffee or fellowship hour for quilter appreciation. Provide a few special treats, and invite members to say a few words about your treasured quilters. You can even set out a collection jar for donations to LWR’s Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund to help their gifts of love reach people who need them.

Show your congregation where LWR Mission Quilts go

On Sunday, March 18, during education time, host a screening of “How do LWR Quilts & Kits get from the U.S. to the places they’re needed?” This 13-minute long video chronicles how LWR Quilts go from congregations like yours to communities around the world. This video is a great conversation starter and way to show the tremendous global impact of your quilting ministry.

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Lenten Devotion – Ephesians 2:1-10

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:24

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the rest of the devotionals in the series. 

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” — Ephesians 2:8-9 (NRSV)

When I was growing up in North Carolina, I was blessed to have parents who loved the Lord and taught me and my siblings to do likewise. They took us to church as a family every Sunday. In fact, I was in college before I can recall attending church without both of them (except once when my mom was ill). They not only took us to church, but, more importantly, they also showed us by example what it means to serve God by working in various ministries. We didn’t have material wealth by any means, but we always seemed rich because our parents modeled being happy in Christ.

As a result, I learned to enjoy serving in church and elsewhere, and especially by reading the word of God. This passage from Ephesians has always been a favorite of mine because it speaks to lessons I needed to learn early in life. As the youngest of eight children, I often felt intimidated by the success of my older siblings. They were very intelligent and very good athletes; their names were always in the newspaper. So when people compared me with them, I worried about my ability to live up to those expectations, especially athletically. I wondered what I could do to have people praise me like they did my siblings.

My mother’s wisdom challenged me to consider that worrying was counter to having faith in God. As she taught me, God loved me because I was his child, a gift to the world, made in his own image. I did not need to be a great athlete or do things to live up to other people’s expectations because God had predestined me for his own purpose to live according to his will. It didn’t matter what other people thought because God’s grace was sufficient. Once I accepted that this gift of grace is free and I don’t have to earn it, I could understand the hope and joy my parents found in serving God and their desire that we know such hope and joy, too.

Realizing that, I could then discern how God was calling me to serve him, including as a member of LWR’s board for 12 years. Through quilts that provide warmth, work with farmers that promotes sustainability, and innovation that helps marginalized communities be self-sufficient, LWR transforms lives. By accepting God’s call to serve through LWR, my faith has grown, not because of anything I’ve done, but through my gratitude for the opportunity to be used to make a positive difference in the world.

How does the knowledge of God’s grace free you to live out your calling for the sake of the world?

 

Prayer

Most gracious and loving God, I thank you for your grace and mercy. I know I don’t deserve it, but I am grateful for the love you give me and the things you provide for me, chief among them salvation through the death of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Emma Graeber Porter, management consultant from New York City, a board member of LWR and of the new United Lutheran Seminary, is a member of New Hope Lutheran Church in Jamaica, Queens and founder of Graeber Consulting, Inc. She consults with many organizations, giving priority to nonprofit religious entities, to help them optimize the impact of their mission. 

 

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Lenten Devotion – 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:28

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the rest of the devotionals in the series. 

As we walk through the season of Lent together, announce to the world that the Hope of Christ makes a new season possible – a SEASON OF HOPEJoin us by energizing your congregation for global good through activities and service opportunities that connect us to our brothers and sisters in need around the world. Click here to get started. 

 

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

 “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NRSV)

In medieval times, among the people employed by the royal family was the royal jester. The jester was not unlike our image of a clown today: a person who performs at parties, shares jokes and generally seeks to entertain. Yet the vocation of the jester also included, at the right moment, the call to speak uncomfortable truths to the king. The jester, the one tasked with acting foolishly to entertain the masses, became the only voice of truth the ruler could actually hear.

I share this description not because I’m a big fan of clowns. In fact, if I’m honest, most clowns scare me a bit. Yet I’m drawn to the image of a jester because I think the truth of the gospel is best shared in a way that holds in dynamic tension both discomfort and joy.

In our day-to-day lives, we might see paying attention to how products like coffee or chocolate are sourced as trivial, even foolish. But I’ve seen firsthand in Nicaragua how the faith of Lutherans put into action through these products can make a difference for communities experiencing poverty. Joy comes from creating new opportunities through these crops—and the farmers who grow them—that the world sees as trivial.

The gospel foolishness of which Paul writes in 1 Corinthians sparks both a deep yearning for the call of the gospel and a delight in knowing that God has already claimed us. We can all hope for such a spark in our own lives.

Gospel foolishness is different from foolishness for its own sake. It’s more than funny jokes and silly skits. Paul writes, instead, about how the very wisdom of God seems foolish because it upends all normal human expectations. Following such a God, therefore, means we, too, must take up the call to become a bit strange — fools for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the world. Such actions might make us stick out of the crowd a bit. As the writer Flannery O’Connor once put it, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you odd.” Yet sometimes the people who are odd are the very ones through whom the truth is shared.

How are you called to put your faith into action for the sake of others, and how might that look foolish?

 

Prayer

God beyond all human wisdom, you call us to follow your surprising truth. Deepen our understanding of your ways. Guide us on the paths of life that we might be fools for your sake, and your sake alone. Amen.

 

Rev. Adam Copeland teaches at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he directs the Center for Stewardship Leaders. Adam serves as an LWR Ambassador. 

 

Want to receive more LWR devotionals and other Lenten resources delivered right to your email inbox? Click the link below to sign up!

Yes! I want to receive SEASON OF HOPE devotionals!

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