You help when others don’t: 4 ways you’ve been supporting relief work across the world

You help when others don’t:

4 ways you’ve been supporting relief work across the world

When a disaster or conflict hits a nation, we know you want to help. Thanks to your faithful support for BMS World Mission, you are.

Four disasters, each marked by terrible suffering and loss. You will have heard about the conflict in Ukraine, the civil war in South Sudan, the lingering devastation from Nepal’s earthquakes, and the impact of a tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. What you might not know is that by giving to BMS, you’ve supported the people who desperately need help. We’re in a strong position to respond in times of disaster as we’re part of a global family of Baptists.

BMS World Mission is part of the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), a collective of Baptist organisations from across the world devoted to supporting those left in crisis as they rebuild after a disaster strikes. But vital help wouldn’t happen without your support. “It has been a joy to see the Baptist family come together,” says Rachel Conway-Doel, BMS Relief Facilitator. “The potential we have to make an impact is very exciting.”

Here are some exciting ways that you, the BMS family, have already helped:

1. Keeping people warm in Ukraine

A truck carrying boxes.
Vital heating equipment is being distributed to people in danger of freezing in Ukraine, where temperatures can drop to minus 25 degrees in winter.

Over 1.5 million people have been displaced in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, leaving many of them with no means to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to help provide people in Ukraine with thermal underwear, ceramic heaters, coal and wood to help them get through the dangerous winter months. We’d like to say a special thank you to all those who’ve responded to our Ukraine appeal in the last few months. You’ve really made a difference!

2. Standing by the people of Nepal

A street of collapsed buildings
Nearly 8 million people were directly affected by the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015.

The media might not be there anymore, but BMS has continued to stand with the people of Nepal to help them rebuild after the catastrophic earthquakes that hit in 2015. Your giving has supported the rebuilding of public buildings and schools and provided disaster risk management training to help communities be better prepared should such a tragic disaster occur again.

3. Giving crucial support to South Sudanese refugees

A woman in a wheelchair
Many people with disabilities had to be carried out of South Sudan. You support has helped provide wheelchairs for people unable to walk.

Five years of civil war in South Sudan has forced more than two million people to flee this young nation. Many have sought refuge in Uganda, reaching camps that stretch for miles. BMS funds have so far helped provide vital food rations to 1,700 children suffering from malnutrition, as well as food, agricultural tools, wheelchairs and pastoral support to people with disabilities.

4. Coming to the aid of tsunami survivors

A destroyed van.
Thousands of people we displaced after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi last year.

Over 2,100 people were killed and 87,000 displaced after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in October last year. Your support provided people on the ground with emergency food and personal hygiene kits and helped to build shelters and provide counselling support to trauma victims.

It’s thanks to your heart for demonstrating God’s love that we can stand alongside people who need help. When South Sudanese refugees say praise God for providing food and a wheelchair, it’s because of your solidarity in the gospel. And when an earthquake victim who’s lost their home is able to take shelter, it’s you who’s helped to provide that roof. But there are so many others we would like to support.

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Please, give today and come to the aid of those who need to know Christian love across the world. Thank you.

Meet the Vokuhls

Nepal bound:

Meet the Vokuhls

Pippa, Toby, Jakey, Ella and Millie Vokuhl fly to Nepal on Saturday with BMS World Mission. Find out why they feel called to mission and what they’ll be up to overseas.

After months of preparation, Pippa and Toby Vokuhl are ready to begin an exciting new chapter of their lives, serving God in Nepal. They are part of Headington Baptist Church in Oxford and have three children: Jakey (nine), Ella (seven) and Millie (three).

Amidst packing up their house, saying goodbyes and doing other last-minute tasks, Pippa and Toby sat down with us to talk about the adventure they’re getting ready to embark on.

Pippa and Toby, along with their three children, Jakey, Ella and Millie.
Pippa and Toby, along with their three children, Jakey, Ella and Millie.

Have you always wanted to work overseas?

“I would say yes for both of us – since our teenage years we’ve felt called to work overseas,” says Pippa. “We both worked in separate places overseas before we got married. I worked as a physiotherapist in Uganda and Toby worked as a carpenter in Nazareth.
“Toby and I actually met at All Nations Christian College,” Pippa continues. “So even from the start of our marriage, mission was very much on the agenda.”

How did you decide to move overseas?

“When we started to consider whether an overseas assignment might be right for us as a family and if that was something God might be calling us to,” says Toby, “it led us to start having conversations with BMS.”

“We had a Skype call with someone in Nepal telling us about the project and whether Toby would consider taking this role,” says Pippa. “As we got off the call, we both looked at each other and went, yes! This is the right one! So we both had a deep peace about this being the right thing to do.”

I’m looking forward to being able to encourage Nepali Christians and likewise them to encourage us

What will you be doing in Nepal?

“My background is in construction management,” says Toby. “I will be working with a local BMS partner as part of their disaster response and resilience department, based in Pokhara – there’s still a lot of ongoing work in terms of the reconstruction of housing that was damaged in the 2015 earthquakes.

“I’ll be working with local colleagues to help with the construction of houses, as well as training craftsmen, giving people the necessary skills to build a better future for themselves by teaching them how to improve the quality of their own homes.”

“For me, it’s a bit less clear at the moment,” says Pippa. “Initially when we get there it will be about settling the family in.

The Vokuhl family will be based in Pokhara, helping with relief work.
The Vokuhl family will be based in Pokhara, helping with relief work.

“We’ll both be doing some language study for a couple of months, and then after that I’ll be praying that God will give me the right role.”

The Vokuhls were the 'family of the week' on the BBC Oxford radio breakfast show back in November
The Vokuhls were the 'family of the week' on the BBC Oxford radio breakfast show back in November.

How did your children react when they found out they were moving?

“We were really encouraged by their response – they were really up for it and excited,” says Toby. “They’re now working through the sort of thoughts of losing friendships and how they can maintain them in Nepal, but in general they took it really well.”

What are you looking forward to when you go?

“Getting to know local Nepalis,” says Pippa. “Getting to know Nepali Christians and learning from them, being able to encourage them and likewise for them to encourage us – to be part of that global Christian family. I’m also looking forward to seeing my kids having new cultural experiences as well.”

“For me,” says Toby, “I’m really looking forward to meeting local colleagues, meeting with local Christians and joining in with the ongoing relief efforts, as well as the cross-cultural experience and the chance to learn new things.”

Even from the start of our marriage, mission was very much on the agenda

What can people be praying for?

“If you could pray for the kids,” says Pippa. “Toby and I have had experience overseas, so we know what to expect. But if people could pray for them with the transition, that they would just feel really settled and happy.”

“I think pray for general health really, that would be great,” says Toby. “It would be a shame to catch the flu just as we’re getting ready to go out!

“You can get tired and weary with all the work involved in a move, so also pray for energy, calmness and for peace. And please pray for the journey to Nepal and our stay in Kathmandu, before our journey to Pokhara where we will then settle ourselves in.”

If you’re an individual and want to commit to giving regularly to support the Vokuhl family, you can become a 24:7 Partner by clicking the box on the right.

If you’re a church and want to support the work they’ll be doing out in Nepal, you can become a Church Partner with us by clicking here.

Want to support the Vokuhls? Click Here
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Could you be called to mission overseas?

Building resilience: earthquake recovery continues in Nepal

Building resilience:

earthquake recovery continues in Nepal

Two enormous earthquakes rocked Nepal in 2015 and caused mass devastation; two years on, the healing isn’t over. Long after the cameras have stepped away, BMS World Mission hasn’t. Over the last two years we have given over £700,000 to Nepal to support recovery efforts and our latest project is focusing on helping people who were permanently injured by the earthquakes to rebuild their lives.

Destroyed buildings in Kathmandu following the 2015 earthquakes.

“You who stay close to the crushed
Cradle us
With wounded hands
And love, unshakeable.”

These are just a few of the powerful lines of a poem written by BMS mission worker Jenny Saunders that so perfectly captured the heart cry of Christians in Nepal and around the world after two earthquakes hit in April and May 2015. Jenny is a counsellor who was living and working in Nepal at the time and she wrote the poem in response to the earthquakes that caused mass destruction – killing over 8,000 people and injuring over 100,000.

Lives were devastated, but today we can see hopeful signs of restoration in a broken country. God stayed close to the Nepali people following the disaster, and BMS did too. We know that the scars left behind by a natural disaster might never fully heal, but our support is making a real difference.

click here if you're praying for Nepal
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In total, BMS has provided over £700,000 to support Nepal’s post-earthquake recovery. The money has helped Nepalis in a wide variety of ways. Straight after the earthquakes BMS support went towards providing emergency medical care, giving essentials like temporary shelters, food, water and hygiene packs and, co-ordinating relief efforts with partner organisations on the ground.

But healing takes time and in addition to an emergency response a long-term commitment to supporting Nepal was vital. “We knew that supporting Nepal after the earthquakes had to be so much more than providing blankets and tents,” says BMS Deputy Director for Mission, Steve Sanderson. “We wanted it to be about building the future resilience of the Nepali people.”

Be moved and inspired to pray by listening to Jenny’s beautiful poem in the video below. 

Recently, BMS authorised two additional relief grants amounting to over £40,000 to continue to support relief efforts in the country. We gave a grant of £8,633 to the Multipurpose Community Development Service (MCDS) in Nepal to support their important work in areas such as disaster risk reduction and relief. We also gave a grant of £33,000 to our partner the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) to support a project called GRACE that is providing services and advocating for people with disabilities.

Chris Drew, a BMS mission worker who is serving as the Country Director for INF International in Nepal says that the GRACE project is going to make a big difference. “It’s all about helping people re-establish their lives. Even though the earthquakes happened almost two years ago, there are still so many people in need of help. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable after disasters.”

The goal is to help over 11,000 people through the project, specifically focusing on people with disabilities. Many of these people were injured during the earthquakes, but the project is also helping those who had disabilities before the disaster. We’re working to rebuild homes and schools that were damaged during the earthquakes, ensuring these buildings have proper facilities for people with disabilities. So far, five schools have been resconstructed and 105 homes are being rebuilt.

A woman and child in Nepal.

Beyond rebuilding homes and schools, we are also helping people with disabilities find jobs. “When the earthquakes happened many people lost their homes, but many also lost their way to make a living,” says Chris. “We’re doing what we can to help them rebuild that part of their lives too.”

“We haven’t forgotten the communities across Nepal,” says Steve. “We know that people are still recovering physically, emotionally and spiritually and we are committed to walking alongside them in solidarity.”

Much like that line in the poem, our support for Nepal remains unshakeable. Thank you for your support, we couldn’t do it without you.

Give today

Your prayers and gifts are making a big difference in providing hope and healing to people who need it most. Because of regular giving, we’re able to step in as soon as disasters strike to provide immediate and long-lasting support. You can help by giving to BMS disaster recovery today!