Ongoing crises worldwide
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving in 118 countries. Churches, schools, and other groups have organized fundraisers and held special services for those affected by the conflict in Eastern Europe. The ADRA family has been overwhelmed with prayers, donations, and other support from people all around the world! Thanks to this support, the ADRA team in Ukraine has been able to provide essential items and cash assistance to the refugees from Ukraine receiving vital support in countries throughout Europe.
While the world’s attention is on the continuing Ukrainian humanitarian crisis, others living in crisis conditions cannot be forgotten. Here are seven more countries where pastors and church members work with ADRA to help refugees.
1. Yemen. Yemen has passed the seven-year mark for conflict, with more than 20 million in need of humanitarian aid. More than four million people have been internally displaced, with nearly 140,000 more crossing into other countries. Yemen relies on Ukraine and Russia for 20 percent of their wheat supply, so hunger in the country will be affected by the Ukrainian crisis. ADRA is providing life-changing support for health, nutrition, livelihoods, protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene.
2. Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, 24 million people need humanitarian relief as they have endured repeated humanitarian crises. Women and girls are the most vulnerable in the country, facing restrictions around livelihood and education. While ADRA can share only limited information, urgent support is being provided.
3. Venezuela. Political and human rights issues, as well as lack of food, medicine, and services, have forced more than six million refugees and migrants to flee Venezuela. In addition, 8.4 million people affected by the crisis now require humanitarian assistance with medical care, food, and other urgent needs. The United Nations reports that this crisis is now the second-largest external crisis in the world. ADRA is serving those displaced from this crisis in multiple countries, including Colombia and Brazil, providing access to medical care and other essential services and resources.
4. Haiti. Political and economic conditions have caused years of unrest within Haiti. Haiti’s geographic location makes the country’s people vulnerable to earthquakes, tropical storms, and hurricanes, which destroy food sources, livelihoods, and more. Those who flee Haiti are at risk of being targeted by smugglers, face extreme weather conditions as they travel, and experience discrimination. ADRA has been serving Haitian refugees in Colombia, Mexico, and Honduras with cash assistance, access to health services, clean water, and more.
5. Ethiopia. Escalating violence in the Tigray region caused by civil war has caused a full-scale humanitarian crisis. More than two million have been displaced by the violence in Tigray. In addition, hunger is on the rise in Ethiopia as four years of inadequate rainfall have left the country facing one of the worst droughts in decades. Ethiopia depends on Ukraine and Russia for 90 percent of the country’s imported wheat, so the Ukrainian conflict will have a further impact on hunger within the country. ADRA is serving those affected by the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia by providing cash for work opportunities and essential resources.
6. Syria. More than 10 years of conflict within Syria has led to destroyed cities and infrastructure, displacement for about half of the country’s population, and an unprecedented poverty rate of 90 percent, according to the United Nations. The Syrian conflict has created 6.6 million refugees, most of whom have taken refuge in neighboring countries. Many Syrian children have only known war in their lifetime, and more than three million children are missing out on their education. ADRA has been actively responding since the beginning, providing urgent assistance and long-term solutions for education and more for those within the country and for persons displaced in multiple countries.
7. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Unrest and cycles of violence within DRC have left its people with the effects of a complex, years-long humanitarian crisis. Close to a million have fled DRC and are being hosted in other African countries. Five million more have been displaced within the country. Women and girls face increased risk of sexual violence, trafficking, forced and early marriage, and intimate partner violence. ADRA provides urgent support to those affected by this crisis within DRC and in other countries, including Uganda, where care for refugees includes a focus on women and girls. [ADRA]
To learn more and assist those in need around the world, visit ADRA.org.
The Great Commission alive and well
As the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD), in 2022, celebrates its centennial anniversary, IAD vice president Balvin Braham, coordinator of evangelism and the centennial celebrations, reported that five regions, created and specifically tasked to deepen their focus on mission, have reached millions through in-person and online evangelism.
“The Holy Spirit has broken the evangelistic glass ceiling in many ways through intercessory prayer, the finest technical team, a global audience, and the baptism of souls,” said Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath School and Adventist Mission director for the IAD and the main coordinator of the online evangelistic series Footprints of Hope. Featuring Glen O. Samuels, the series was uplinked from the island of Jamaica and conducted throughout the Caribbean, Atlantic Caribbean, Dutch Caribbean, and Belize union territories. After six weeks, 4,213 persons joined the family of God. Baptisms from that region have totaled 5,219.
Numerous lay and pastoral campaigns were simultaneously conducted throughout the region of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Venezuela. A seven-day evangelistic reaping series, Esperanza para un Mundo Enfermo (Hope for a Sick World) was conducted by Arnaldo Cruz of the Southeastern Conference in Florida, United States. Baptisms from that region have totaled over 17,000.
The region of Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, also saw hundreds of lay and pastoral campaigns in small groups and other modes of public evangelism, concluding with a two-week series held in that region by Melchor Ferreyra, IAD Personal Ministries director. “Don’t give up, there is still hope,” was the resounding message from the speaker. Baptisms from that region have totaled over 21,000.
Ahead of an evangelistic campaign for the five unions of the Mexican region, featuring Edgar Benitez Gutierrez, personal ministries director for the Central Mexican Union, thorough preparatory work has been conducted by pastors, lay preachers, and small group leaders. Baptisms from that region have totaled over 25,000.
Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists gathered at the Béthanie Adventist Church in Pétion-Ville, Haiti, to hear Vanel Louissaint launch two weeks of online evangelistic meetings across the French-speaking regions of the IAD, including Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana. A follow-up series will feature Pierre-Maurel Fleurantin. Baptisms from that region have totaled 8,663.
Baptisms for the division have totaled 76,086. “God continues to save those who each day are joining the church,” said IAD president Elie Henry, “and we say amen to that! Keep firm and constant in the work of the Lord Jesus, knowing that your labor is not in vain.”
[Nigel Coke and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News; Miqueas Fortunato, Gustavo Menéndez, Fabricio Rivera, Kayc James, and Balvin Braham]