Don’t let families freeze in Ukraine this winter

They've lost so much:

Don't let families freeze in Ukraine

People like you are shivering with cold right now in Ukraine. Even though they’re inside. You can help keep them warm.

Fighting for survival in Ukraine continues long after you’ve escaped the shells that exploded close to your home. The temperature falls to as low as minus 25 degrees in winter, and to survive you must find warmth. But for many people, that warmth is as distant as the peace they once lived in, a peace that must seem even more difficult to hope for after Russia captured three Ukrainian naval vessels earlier this week.

Children, the elderly, family after family have all had the foundations of their lives shattered by the war between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists. We’ve sat with them and heard their stories. And they’re heartbreaking.

An elderly woman holding a stick stands in front of firewood
You can help the elderly keep warm in Ukraine this Christmas.

Alexander and his family witnessed their town being destroyed by shelling and constant shooting. They had no choice but to flee, though even after they did, they were not out of danger. Winter was coming, but the one source of heat in the empty house they found to live in – a stove – was damaged and Alexander couldn’t afford to restore it. Months of watching his children suffer from the bitter cold, in danger of all the illnesses that come from it, lay ahead.

Were it not for the local Christians who came to their aid, Alexander, his wife Maria and their five children would have suffered more than the human body can withstand. The Christians who helped them are being supported by BMS World Mission. They’re being supported by you. That support provided a ceramic heater for Alexander and his family, providing enough heat to keep one room warm. One place to escape the cold. One place for a family to live.

“We wouldn’t be living here if not for the Christians helping us,” says Alexander. “Thank you for your help. What you’ve done cannot be described by words.”

There are countless people like Alexander and his family fighting for survival this Christmas. You can help them by giving today.

A Ukrainian family in a damaged house, that they escaped to
Alexander, Maria and their five children, have survived Ukrainian winters with your support.
A small gift will make a huge difference

£6 can supply enough wood and coal to keep a family warm for a week

£14 can protect a child from cold by clothing them in thermal underwear

£25 can provide a family with a ceramic heater

There are local Christians on the ground in Ukraine desperate to deliver the supplies that families need to keep warm this winter. They need your help. Will you make a donation today?

“No one expected that this conflict and this war would last so long,” says Igor Bandura, Senior Vice President of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. “We are praying that through our presence, God would be present there among people.”

As you prepare for Christmas, please do think about giving the gift of warmth to a Ukrainian family like Alexander’s. To the families that Igor meets. To the people who are shivering in a room without a heater because war has destroyed their livelihoods and their peace.

Please give today. Please be the difference.

Two boys shovel coal into a bag
Children in Ukraine are shivering today. You can help them.

In pictures: meet the South Sudanese refugees you’re helping

In pictures:

Meet the South Sudanese refugees you're helping

It’s the largest refugee crisis in Africa and the third largest in the world. Over two million people have now fled the conflict in South Sudan, with more than a million of them ending up in Uganda. The numbers are overwhelming – but the people are amazing. And you’ve been helping them. Here’s how.

Forced to flee their homes because of the fighting, South Sudanese families arrived (and continue to arrive) in Uganda with nothing. You’ve been supporting some of the most at-risk people in Palorinya and Bidi Bidi refugee settlements, as well as helping those who have settled right by the border with South Sudan.

BMS local worker Patrick
BMS local worker Isaac

You’re supporting these two amazing men – Patrick and Isaac – to run projects to help displaced South Sudanese people. Both Patrick and Isaac are South Sudanese refugees themselves, and they have huge hearts for those struggling in the settlements. By giving to BMS World Mission, you’re helping them to reach out to people with disabilities, widows, single parents and other vulnerable people.

How you're helping: food

You’ve funded the transport and logistics to enable 1,700 severely malnourished children to access Plumpy’Nut, a special peanut-based paste to help them get healthy again. This little boy is nearly at the end of his treatment and is doing much better!

Dube is now growing food to support himself and his family. Dube has a disability with his leg, and you provided him with seeds and tools to start growing a harvest. His is one of 100 families you’ve supported in this way.

Henry is unable to walk and therefore cannot farm for himself. He has two daughters and his wife left him because of his disability. Henry isn’t living in an official refugee camp and so isn’t eligible for government support. You’ve been providing him and 1,000 other people with food rations – essential for their survival.

How you're helping: maternal health

Jane gave birth to her baby, Irene, while fleeing the conflict in her village. She had no medical assistance, and after she gave birth she had to get up and carry on walking. Her story is not uncommon. Thankfully, Jane survived. But pregnancy and childbirth are terrifying concepts for people living in the refugee settlements. There’s a lack of access to health care, which means health conditions that can normally be easily managed end up costing lives.

By supporting BMS, you’re helping women access the medical checks they need to stay healthy during pregnancy. Irene is pregnant and has high blood pressure, but thanks to you, she’s aware of her health condition and is being carefully monitored. If anything changes, she will be rushed to a health clinic in Bidi Bidi refugee camp where she lives.

Irene found out about her blood pressure because of the cradle device – a highly accurate automated blood pressure device that also detects heart rate and shock index. You helped pay for 714 cradle devices, which means that all 17 NGO-run clinics in Bidi Bidi now have access it. On top of that, over 450 volunteer health team workers covering the entire settlement have use of their own cradle device to monitor the health of people in their community – detecting high-risk pregnancies and other potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Women like these are getting accurate blood pressure checks when they come for check-ups in Bidi Bidi’s health centres. That means that conditions that could have been missed before are being identified.

Angok is one of the 450 volunteer health workers now armed with a cradle device. He goes and visits people in his community and monitors their health. It’s really simple to use the device, and Angok is now able to make sure pregnant women at risk of illnesses like preeclampsia get help before it’s too late.

How you're helping: destigmatising disability

You’re supporting South Sudanese Christians and churches to help people like Harriet. People with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people in the refugee settlements. You’re helping us to find them, to support them, and to help them and their communities understand that they are important and have value.

You’re empowering the church to destigmatise disability and make sure the people who need help most receive it.

Thank you so much for supporting our work amongst South Sudanese refugees!

Want to help South Sudanese refugees? Click here
icon

Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: update on our response

Indonesian earthquake and tsunami:

update on our response

BMS World Mission is responding to the situation in Indonesia, where over 1,500 people have died after an earthquake and tsunami struck.

You will have seen images of the devastation on the island of Sulawesi, which was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday. Access to the affected areas is challenging for responders due to damaged bridges, landslides and fuel shortages.

The official number of people killed in the disaster is expected to continue to rise. Many of the deaths happened in the city of Palu.
BMS has been communicating with partners in Indonesia in response to the tragedy. You can help today by joining us in prayer, and you can also make a donation at the bottom of this article.

The scene of devastation caused by an earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi
You can help the response to the devastation on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Please continue to pray as agencies and governments from around the world help people on the island.

Prayer points for Indonesia:

– Please pray for the people of Sulawesi who are suffering unimaginable grief right now. Pray that they have the basics of food and clean drinking water, and medical help.

– Please pray for the first responders as they search for survivors. Pray they have shelter themselves and are kept safe as they work in dangerous, very difficult conditions.

– Please pray for the partners we’ll be supporting. Pray they are given all the resources they need from agencies and governments from around the world.

– Please pray for the long-term response. Pray that people will remember Sulawesi in the months and years to come, and that this city and the surrounding area would recover from this tragedy.

“Your prayers are crucial at this time, so please continue to pray for people in Sulawesi,” says BMS World Mission Relief Facilitator Rachel Conway-Doel.

“Please pray for our partners who are on the ground assessing both the immediate and longer term needs for the area. We will be working closely with the local churches, as they respond to the affected communities. Thank you for your continued prayers, generosity and love shown towards all those affected by this disaster.”

We’ll bring you updates on how BMS is supporting the response in Sulawasi. To make a donation to the response, please click the button on the right.

Thank you for your prayers and generosity in this most traumatic and difficult of times for people in Indonesia.

I want to make a donation to Indonesia Click here
icon

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
icon

Could you be called to mission overseas?

You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

Here are some of the ways you’ve helped people in desperate need this year.

A tarpaulin. A plastic groundsheet. Some thermal underwear. Did these items make your Christmas wish list?

You’ve given these – and other great gifts – to people in desperate need this year.

You’re providing a lifeline for Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Burma (Myanmar), and keeping hundreds of people warm in the harshness of a Ukraine winter.

As you wrap your presents and prepare for Christmas, consider this our thank you note for what you’ve already given. And a reminder of the suffering you’re helping to alleviate, in Jesus’ name, every time you give to BMS World Mission.

Refugees look through a gap in their shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Vital aid is reaching refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, thanks to your donations. Photo by Medair/Nath Fauveau.

Rohingya refugee crisis

The Rohingya people have witnessed their loved ones being raped, beaten and executed, and their villages reduced to ashes in a brutal military offensive. The scale of the terror inflicted by Burma’s soldiers is unimaginable, as is the exodus of those being targeted. More than 650,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed from Burma’s northern Rakhine State into Cox’s Bazar district in southern Bangladesh since August. Hundreds are still crossing every day, many of them children who have run for their lives.

How you are helping: By giving to BMS you’re helping more than 500 refugees. They arrive at camps exhausted, hungry and traumatised. They have next to nothing. The tarpaulin, ground sheet and stretch of nylon rope you’ve funded for these refugees are providing shelter. Thanks to you, Rohingya people have protection from the elements, and women can maintain their dignity thanks to hygiene kits containing sanitary products. People will also receive soap for washing and laundry, as well as a cup and a three-litre water jug.

Ukraine

The conflict that erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014 between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has displaced 1.5 million people and killed at least 10,000. Government pensions and social benefits have been stopped for people living in areas under separatist control, while schools and hospitals have also had their funding halted.

Help us respond to disasters Give today
icon

How you are helping: The temperature in eastern Ukraine is expected to drop to -7 degrees Celsius early on Christmas Day, and it could drop as low as -28 later in the winter. You’re providing over 1,000 people with coal, firewood, ceramic heaters and wood burners so they can survive, and children are being given thermal underwear.

Rachel Conway-Doel, our Relief Facilitator, talks about the crisis in Ukraine and what you can be praying for.

Syria conflict

Lebanon continues to host the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees and over 15,000 people from Iraq living there. Close to half of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are children.

How you are helping: You’ve already helped dozens of children who have had their access to education shattered by conflict, and that support continues.

Thanks to your giving, at least 30 more refugee children are being taught English, Arabic and maths this school year, and doing what every child has a right to do – play.

Refugee children sit behind desks during a class in Lebanon.
Refugee children in Lebanon are being given an education thanks to you.
Your support this year has been amazing – look at what else you’ve done!

Mozambique — You gave food to 1,000 people affected by a fuel tanker explosion in Mozambique.

Haiti — You helped provide cholera prevention and treatment through water filtration after Hurricane Matthew.

Nepal — You provided food, blankets and medicine to more than 1,100 people following severe monsoon flooding.

Philippines — You helped to give medical check-ups and disaster training for community leaders following July’s earthquake.

Bangladesh — You helped to fund the rebuilding of 50 family homes destroyed by landslides in June.

South Sudan/Uganda — You gave food, tools and seeds to over 1,000 South Sudanese people in danger of starving.

No matter how much you gave this year, you made a difference. People you will never meet have been fed, sheltered and comforted thanks to your kindness. We thank you for all that you have done, and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2018. Happy Christmas from all of us at BMS.

Winter is coming

Ukraine:

Winter is coming

It’s getting cold in Ukraine. Because of the ongoing conflict, thousands of people have fled from their homes. With winter on its way, BMS World Mission is working to provide heating for families displaced by the fighting.

The temperature’s starting to drop. Soon, frost will cover the ground. The heating will be switched on. But for people in eastern Ukraine, ways of keeping warm have been taken away.

Along the boundary lines of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine, tension between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has caused violent unrest for the past three years, and there are no signs of it stopping. Parts of these regions are now controlled by the separatists, with the Ukrainian government suspending support to the area. As a result, people are without hot water. The central heating no longer works. Coal, gas and electricity are becoming increasingly more expensive, with many people unable to pay their energy bills. And with extreme winter conditions on the way, being able to stay warm is vital for families in Ukraine to survive the next few months.

Rachel Conway-Doel, our Relief Facilitator, talks about the crisis in Ukraine and what you can be praying for.

Last year, Sergey, an elderly man living amidst the fighting, had the wall of his home heavily damaged. Not only did this let in the freezing cold, but it caused his heating system to break. BMS helped to fix the wall, and a ceramic heating panel was installed in his house, replacing the broken system. Because of your support, Sergey was able to live through the winter.

Along with local partners, last year BMS also helped another family with three young children, who had their central heating stop because energy to the building had been cut off. They weren’t able to leave the area because they were looking after their elderly parents. A ceramic heater was installed at their house, meaning they could keep looking after their parents and stay warm during the winter too. This year, thanks to your giving, we are able to help again.

Sergey, with his ceramic heater
Sergey, with his ceramic heater
A family sat by their ceramic heater given to them last year
A family keep warm thanks to a ceramic heater given to them last year.

Two million people are estimated to be living close to the boundary line of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with a further two million people estimated to be living in the non-government controlled area. In a crisis of this scale, we’re committed to helping Ukrainians keep warm this winter.

Support those in need. Click Here
icon

Working with local partners, BMS is helping one thousand people affected by this terrible conflict. We’re providing water heaters, which will give families and internally displaced people access to hot water. Ceramic heaters, coal and firewood are being given as ways for families to heat their homes. And we’re helping children receive thermal underwear, meaning they can stay warm while they sleep.

Because of your giving, Ukrainian families will stay warm and survive the winter this year, amidst the ongoing fighting. If you want to help continue BMS’ disaster recovery work, enabling us to support those trapped in wars, conflicts and natural disasters, consider giving today.

Broken art

Broken art:

Pictures by Syrian refugee children

All children’s drawings look the same. Stick-thin parents. Triangle-and-square houses. Cheerful colours. Perspectives that shift and bend like reflections in bubbles. But, when you look a little closer, some children’s drawings contain within them more pain, more of the things you and I are most afraid of, than any painting by Goya. Some children’s drawings are a shame on our world and a call to do something.

These pictures were drawn by primary-age children in a BMS-supported learning centre north of Beirut. They show the children’s responses to the exercise: draw your home in Syria. That’s where these little boys and girls are from. They are some of the million and more Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon.

A Green tank fires tennis balls at a house while the house is also being bombed

Their pictures of home look at first like any children’s art: bright, cheerful, freehand masterpieces, just waiting to be magnetted to proud fridges. But these drawings aren’t for fun. They are part of what BMS World Mission and Lebanese Christians have been doing to help the traumatised children we’re educating deal with one of the bloodiest civil wars the world has ever seen.

Look at them.

The olive-green tank, firing little tennis-ball shells at a house in which a family hides, the planes spitting missiles like drops of blood. Is that a baby or a doll in the father’s arms? The tears you almost fail to notice, pouring from the faces in another. The aeroplanes (or are they drones?) and their tell-tale dotted lines that seem to go straight through pencil-thin walls. These are not pictures of play-acting or the children’s favourite programmes on TV. They’re memories of trauma in primary colours. When you look, actually look, it’s almost too much. But keep going. They have to.

Drawing of a before and after scene, the before being of a house while the after is of a violent black scribble

The house on the right, with the sunflower-yellow roof and schoolhouse-red walls, is labelled “before”, twinned with a violent scribble of black (and only black), which is called “after”. One picture that we cannot show you here depicts a person being shot. Another has no details, shows no forms, is just a simple mat of Rothko black – a little boy’s remembrance of home.

Support BMS disaster recovery Click Here
icon
Drawing of a playground by a Syrian Child, some Arabic up in the left hand corner translates as "I miss my friends."

And then some respite. The playground scene. Seems happy enough until you translate the Arabic and talk to the child, when it becomes perhaps the hardest in the whole collection. “I miss my friends.” Miss playing on the slide and swings.

It is too easy to tell ourselves that there is nothing we can do for these children. But that is a lie, meant by a selfish society to make us complacent, meant by the Enemy to discourage us. The fact is, you have already made a difference, and you continue to.
You are paying salaries for teachers in two learning centres, where 260 refugee children are getting an education. You’re helping our Lebanese partners share training and best practice with teachers, and you’re providing snacks and hygiene packs to kids who otherwise might be distracted by hunger, nits and sickness. You’re building an extra classroom in the north of the country and helping local Christians who started this work to provide a safe and stable space for children to learn and have a childhood for years to come.

These children have seen things most of us would never recover from. They’ve fled city after city, playing hopscotch on a burning map to get here. Your gifts and your prayers are giving them new colours and new memories to draw.

Picture of a house with humans crying inside while a plane flies over dropping bombs.
Picture drawn by a Syrian Child of a house being bombed

This article originally appeared in Engage. Hit the button on the right to subscribe to the BMS magazine for more great articles about the life-transforming work you’re involved in across the world.

Subscribe to Engage

Meet the people you’re helping after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

Meet the people you’re helping after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

You gave so generously following the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal and killed over 8,000 people in 2015. We want to introduce you to just a few of the amazing people your gifts are helping.

Sarita. Manisha. Ayushma. Krishna. Kamala. These names might not mean anything to you now, but after you hear their stories they will. They are the names of people who have shown great resilience and courage in the face of disaster, and you have played a part in their recovery.

Gorkha District in Nepal.

Our home was wiped out by the earthquakes. It was really hard. We had to live in these temporary shelters afterwards and it was especially hard for my mother because she’s getting older.

To meet these people, you have to go to Gorkha District. It’s a beautiful place – green rice paddies stack on top of each other as you go up the mountains, a stairway to heaven. From the top, you look down on sparkling rivers hugging rocky terrain and spots of technicolour as women stop their work to rest for a minute in the fields. But this breathtaking beauty has known huge suffering, becoming one of the areas hit hardest by the 2015 earthquakes. Five hundred people lost their lives and more than a thousand people were injured here. On top of that, 70 per cent of homes and 90 per cent of schools and health centres were destroyed.

Meet 5 of the people you’re helping in Gorkha:

Following the earthquakes, your gifts enabled BMS World Mission to give £100,000 to help with recovery in Gorkha District. Thanks to you, we are helping around 12,000 people rebuild their lives. Mostly vulnerable people with disabilities. Rebuilding homes, providing healthcare services, and empowering people through self-help groups and advocacy are just a few of the ways survivors are now getting their lives back. Your giving is going far beyond immediate relief, enabling people to break free from depression, access much-needed healthcare and go back to school.

Sarita, the gentle woman with incredible strength

Sarita stands in front of the new home that is being built.
Sarita stands in front of the new home that is being built for her and the children in her care, thanks to BMS.

“I enjoy being able to love and care for them,” says Sarita, as four young girls sit patiently on a bench and watch her every move.

Sarita smiles at ‘her girls’. She comes across as gentle and loving, but this is clearly underpinned with great strength. Her life and work have not been easy. She explains the heartbreak she felt when her husband left her and her son. It’s been hard for her to support herself and her family on her own. But she’s carried on. Today, she’s taking care of herself, her son and many other children. Sarita is a dorm mother at Bhawani Secondary School, caring for ten children with disabilities, 24 hours a day.

Sarita, her son and some of the children she looks after.
Sarita, her son and some of the children she looks after.

It’s a school that’s suffered the consequences of disaster – after the 2015 earthquakes, the 16-room building was destroyed. Today there are simple temporary buildings scattered across the school grounds so that children can continue their education. Sarita, her son and the children in her care live together in a tiny crowded room near the school buildings.

Living like this, combined with the children’s physical difficulties, makes life a daily challenge. “Everything has to be done in the room – cooking, living, storing things, reading and playing,” says Sarita. “It’s hard because it’s so cramped.”

BMS is doing something to help. We’re supporting work to build an earthquake-safe structure for Sarita and the children in her care. The new building will have multiple rooms, giving them protection from disasters and more space to live better. “This help is making our lives easier,” says Sarita. “Thank you.”

Manisha and Ayushma, little girls with a love for learning

Manisha and Ayushma have been helped through BMS supported self help groups.
Manisha and Ayushma have been helped through BMS-supported self-help groups.

“She loves school,” says Manisha’s mum. “Even though only she just had her ear operation, she’s already asking when she can go back.” Manisha smiles at the ground, hugs her legs tight to her chest and sways back and forth on the straw mat.

The operations for ten-year-old Manisha and her neighbour, six-year-old Ayushma, wouldn’t have happened without the BMS-supported self-help group that their mothers attend. These groups were created in communities following the earthquakes as a way to empower people with disabilities, who were left particularly vulnerable.

Self-help groups are important because often people with disabilities are written off by their society and family members don’t know how to help. The mothers of Manisha and Ayushma struggled as they watched their daughters’ hearing deteriorate. “It was hard,” says Manisha’s mum. “It got to the point where we were having to yell at them constantly for them to understand anything.”

Manisha, Ayushma and their mothers.
Ayushma and Manisha, with their mothers.

When the mums brought this issue to their self-help group your giving has made possible, they found a solution. A BMS partner helped get the girls to a hospital. “We wouldn’t have known about this kind of service if it wasn’t for the group,” says Mainsha’s mum. “We feel very happy because financially we couldn’t have done this on our own.”

You’ve helped these two shy sweethearts. Thanks to their operations they will be able to learn, and to thrive.

Krishna, the loving son

Krishna and his mother.
Krishna has been blind since he was a child, he and his mother are being helped through your gifts to BMS.

“Our home was wiped out by the earthquakes,” says Krishna. “It was really hard. We had to live in these temporary shelters afterwards and it was especially hard for my mother because she’s getting older.”

Krishna’s mother Pahilee sits behind her son, watching over him as he speaks. You can see the love and concern they share for each other. They are also hard-working, and life has not been easy. They farm to make a living, yet they rarely have enough food to last them an entire year.

Krishna and neighbours at his home in Nepal.
Krishna and neighbours at his home in the mountains of Lamjung District.

On top of that, Krishna faces challenges everyday because he has been blind since the age of four. Krishna and his mother get a disability allowance from the Government, but they often have to rely on neighbours and borrow money to survive. Another earthquake could take everything they have.

Through your giving, BMS has helped to build a new earthquake-safe home for Krishna and his mother. “We are very thankful,” says Krishna. “And we are much safer now.”

Kamala, dreaming of the future

Kamala has been helped through BMS-supported self help groups.
Kamala suffered from severe depression. She has been helped through BMS-supported self help groups.

“I had depression,” says Kamala, her brown eyes glossy, near tears. “Because of this problem I couldn’t work to support my family and I had to quit my teacher training.” 28-year-old Kamala’s resilience is deeply inspiring.

Kamala has suffered with bone problems in her legs since she was a young girl. At 12 years old she had a surgery to fix the problem. Initially it worked, but six years later her condition came back, worse than it was before. The problems led to an infection in her thigh and made it extremely painful even to move.

“I would just lie in my bed all day,” says Kamala. “I didn’t even get up to use the bathroom, it was awful.” Her physical pain had a massive impact on her mental health, too. She stopped speaking to her friends and family and was starting to lose hope.

Two children in Gorkha District in Nepal.

Things got even more difficult for Kamala when she lost her home following the earthquakes. Despite all this, she wasn’t ready to give up. Seeking healing, she decided to join a BMS-supported self-help group. Members encouraged her to see a doctor and they prayed for her. This support led to two amazing things happening. A BMS partner supported Kamala financially and helped her get to a hospital, where she finally got the right medications to treat her depression and legs. And she became a Christian.

“I feel much better now,” says Kamala, with the biggest grin, the light coming back into her brown eyes. “My dream is still to be a teacher someday.”

The people here may have been marked by natural disaster, but their dreams are about so much more. Their stories are full of strength, resilience and love – and thanks to your support, we have had the privilege of coming alongside them to help. Rebuilding homes, providing access to healthcare and empowering people to chase fullness of life in Nepal – that’s the kind of work that you are very much a part of. It’s God’s work, it’s transforming and restoring lives in beautiful Gorkha, and it’s made a huge difference to the names you now know. Sarita. Manisha. Ayushma. Krishna. Kamala. Thank you.

if you're praying for this Click Here
icon

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
icon

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!

South Sudan: how we’re helping people in the crisis

South Sudan:

how we’re helping people in the crisis

As South Sudan suffers through famine and civil war, BMS World Mission is responding to urgent needs.

A woman, young boy and baby are shown in South Sudan.
BMS is responding to urgent needs of the most vulnerable who are facing a famine in South Sudan.

Put yourself in these shoes: you’re born in north-eastern Africa, into a country with a history of war. From 1955 to 1972 and 1983 to 2005, millions lose their lives. And then there is hope. In 2011, the place you’re from becomes its own country – South Sudan. But hope vanishes all too quickly. In 2013, civil war breaks out. Your safety is threatened and you are forced to run. You leave everything behind – your home, your possessions and people you love. You travel many miles by foot to a refugee camp in neighbouring Uganda. Tired and hungry, you reach the camp to find out that food is running out. How will you survive the famine? How will you ever know peace?

It’s hard to even imagine this kind of life, if you’ve lived in the UK for most of yours. But it’s a reality in South Sudan. Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing civil war. Today people are displaced throughout the country and across borders into neighbouring countries. And now these people are at risk of starvation.

BMS is responding to this urgent need. Most recently we’ve given two relief grants of over £26,000 that will help around 1,400 people.

Watch the video below to hear from Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission. He shares how BMS is responding to the famine in East Africa and the importance of relief work at BMS. 

Inspired to give? click here
icon

One of the grants your giving has made possible will help the most vulnerable Internally Displaced People (IDPs) within camps in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Poor living conditions, an extremely high number of people in the camps and food shortages have made it a desperate situation. To help, we are giving food supplies like beans, maize flour and cooking oil to around 800 people, with priority being given to pregnant women, households headed by women, disabled people, the elderly and children.

The other grant BMS is funding will support a project providing emergency food rations and tools and seeds for harvesting crops for IDPs in Kajo-Keji County, near the border with Uganda. Around 600 vulnerable people will receive emergency food rations. Around 100 families will also receive saucepans, cups, plates, buckets and jerry cans. Beyond just handing out food, this project is also equipping and empowering people to grow their own food by giving them tools and seeds. This should provide an additional layer of food security for people in the next few months.

A large group of children during the famine in South Sudan.

Both projects have already begun, the first steps being to identify the people who will need help most and training workers to help them. BMS volunteer, Carwyn Hill, is assessing the situation in South Sudan to identify the best way for BMS to support IDPs within the country and refugees in camps in Northern Uganda.

Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission, knows how important it is to ensure our response is most effective in this fragile area and not forget the people of South Sudan.

“The crisis in South Sudan, both the conflict and famine, is receiving so little international attention and as such it is slipping from people’s minds. We urge you to pray for the people fleeing their homes, facing violence and losing everything,” says Steve. “Thanks to your support, we are able to work in collaboration with trusted partners to respond to the needs and are exploring how else we can work in the region.”

It’s really hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. But it’s important. We must not forget the people of South Sudan. We must all keep helping and praying. Thank you for your prayers and giving.

People who have fled their homes because of civil war in South Sudan.

All photos by Carwyn Hill

Give today

Want to do more to help people in South Sudan? One way you can is by giving to BMS disaster recovery ministries right now.

Pray today

• Pray for people who have lost everything, that they would feel God’s peace and practical help.

• Pray for the people of South Sudan who have faced significant instability due to famine, conflict and displacement.

• Pray for people working on the ground in South Sudan. Pray that God gives them wisdom to find resolutions.

• Pray for the new work BMS is exploring, that we would identify the most effective ways to help in this time of desperate need.

• Pray for South Sudan’s neighbouring countries, that they would continue to be welcoming hosts to refugees and that this added strain would not lead to more conflict.