Authored by Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, Canadian Director, World Renew
Imagine a life story where each day is a reminder that food is scarce and hard labor seems to reap little profit. That was the story for Jane several years ago until she was trained by World Renew’s local partner, Anglican Development Services (ADS) of Mount Kenya, in conservation agriculture techniques such as crop rotation and mulching. Farming families like Jane’s have been able to learn new ways to grow crops in severe conditions so that they can survive a food shortage crisis and withstand future disasters. This program in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania has been supported since 2015 through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, of which World Renew is one of fourteen member agencies.
When I met Jane on one of my recent trips to visit World Renew programs, this resilient mother of seven told me how she and many in her community were struggling to crop good crops and provide for their families. But, once she began to apply the conservation agriculture techniques in her field, what a difference they made!
“My neighbours thought I was crazy but I did it anyways. I ended up with such a bounty of food that I gave these people who doubted a lot of the corn I harvested,” said Jane. “Now I am also growing melons, tomatoes, lablab bean and corn intercropped with kale. I was able to buy chickens too and now our diet is very healthy. I am so excited by what I am learning and have faith that I will be able to put away hunger forever now.”
Today, Jane is able to use the money from her farm to send her children to school, and she has even started a small hotel business. What’s more, her faith and involvement with her local church have inspired her with a generous spirit to help other farmers in her community to learn new techniques so they can also succeed. In a cultural context where women do not always have the same opportunities as men, she is also living proof that women farmers have a vital role in helping communities overcome poverty and end hunger.
Stories like Jane’s are wonderful testimonies to the miraculous transformation that thousands of men, women, and children are experiencing in their hearts and lives as they find fresh opportunities to grow their skills, provide for the people they love, and experience hope in Christ. Their stories are also a testimony to generous gifts of God that are given to World Renew from churches in Canada and USA and then combined with generous gifts of church partners around the world to ignite deep and lasting change.
World Renew is an agency of the Christian Reformed Church of North America that aligns its work with God’s presence daily, “looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrew 12:2) as the great Story Changer of our own lives and the world. For over fifty years, we have had the privilege of joining communities around the world and serving as a witness to God’s powerful work among people experiencing poverty, disaster, and injustice who are rewriting their stories with the hope and courage that only He can give. As we join local Christian partners in this work together, our desire is to respond to this question: “How can our work extend God’s justice and mercy so that communities and individuals change their story of poverty, injustice and disaster to a story of a life that is flourishing and a society that is more just?”
Throughout the 30 years that I have served with World Renew, half of them overseas, I continue to be inspired by the deep faith and overwhelming generosity of the people who make this work possible—including the many Canadians who partner with us! By joining other agency members of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), for example, we are able to help even more families overcome hunger for the long-term. Last year, using matching funds from the Canadian government to CFGB, World Renew reached out to the hungry in 13 countries, providing support to over 230,000 people!
Let me share some additional recent numbers to give you a sense of the scope of our work in community development, disaster responses, and justice programs.
- In total, World Renew served people in 39 countries in 2016, responding to disasters and providing long-term community programs that helped 796,279 individuals.
- This ministry was supported by 2,885 volunteers who donated 250,392 hours of their time and talent to World Renew — roughly equivalent to 120 full-time employees for one year.
- Through World Renew, 296 North American congregations engaged in social justice and advocacy around issues such as creation care, immigration, and refugee policies.
- World Renew’s Disaster Response Services volunteers contacted 19,577 North American households to assess their disaster-related needs, and repaired 363 damaged homes.
- World Renew’s refugee program helped 217 people who originated from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran begin a new life in Canada last year.
- We engaged congregations and individuals in Canada through campaign to advocate for support for small scale farmers. Through the Good Soil campaign, which was supported through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, over 12,000 letters and cards were sent to the Prime Minister and members of parliament.
- Overall, World Renew, carried out a total of $31.6 million of ministry wherever the need was greatest in our world.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished when God’s people work together and walk alongside each other as they discover new opportunities to live out their potential. World Renew is always looking for new ways to engage God’s people around the world in fulfilling His mission of justice and mercy. We believe that if you want to change the world, follow God’s call into the lives of others and your story will be changed as well. There are many meaningful and exciting ways to partner in World Renew’s work addressing the effects of poverty, injustice, and disaster. To find out more, visit www.worldrenew.net.
This charity has been certified by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Charities that display our Seal of Accountability demonstrate ongoing compliance with high standards of financial and organizational integrity. To find out more about this charity or other Certified charities, visit giveconfidently.ca.