Love them as I have loved you...

Love them as I have loved you…   Jesus

by Ebralie Mwizerwa

“World Children’s Day” will be celebrated on Monday, November 20. It is a time for the world community, churches and individuals from all walks of life, particularly believers, to express their dedication to and concern for the well-being of children. 

The World Council of Churches is inviting its member churches worldwide to mark World Children's Day by organizing celebrations for children on November 19-20 and letting the voices and thoughts of children be heard. In many communities around the world, I am sure the focus will be on the problems faced by children and the important role of churches in supporting young people worldwide.

One of the biggest challenges facing children in our world today is poverty. Many children living in poverty are orphans and others are vulnerable in indescribable ways that are unacceptable by the standards of our society. The Outreach Foundation believes that all children have a right not just to survive, but to thrive and fulfill their potential for the benefit of a better world. This means giving them access to basic services while understanding the difficult situations children face in different parts of the world. Today over 150 million children live on the streets or in absolute poverty globally. They are at risk because many of them don’t have loving caregivers, are living in unhealthy environments, or have been traumatized in some way. The majority of these vulnerable children are in urban centers of developing countries in Africa, but there are also street children in Brazil, Haiti, and other parts of the world. Many of these children suffer from health problems like cholera, tuberculosis, anemia, and HIV/AIDS. They are exposed to a variety of toxic substances. They are faced with mistreatment and abuse and often go unseen. Many have inherited the name “invisible children” with no right to protection. They face numerous risks ranging from lack of identification to inadequate protection, which often results in exploitation through trafficking and forced labor.

The Outreach Foundation takes Jesus’ command to care for the least of these seriously. We partner with several ministries caring for vulnerable children in Haiti, Syria, and Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan). Believers from these partner ministries are doing what they can to fulfill his command. We are all called to come alongside and to help ensure children’s care, safety, and human rights. There is still more work to be done, to love and prevent the devil from corrupting the minds of these children who represent our future generations.

This past February, an Outreach board task force analyzed children’s vulnerability. At the end of two days sifting through portfolios and exchanging ideas, the task force resolved to tackle the issue of children’s vulnerability and to pray for enough resources to empower our partners.

The task force agreed/concluded that children are most vulnerable when:  

•    They are without loving caregivers, separated from family. This includes orphans who are on their own, or who may be part of child-headed households due to absent, ill, or incarcerated parents.
•    They are living in poverty, lacking access to basic needs such as education and healthcare, often being forced into early marriage or hazardous labor.
•    They live in an unhealthy or dangerous environment, exposed to disease, displaced, or living in refugee camps.
•    They have been physically and emotionally traumatized from violent conflict or natural disasters, separated from family, displaced, forced into slavery, or forced to be child soldiers.

There are many ways you can celebrate World Children’s Day in your home this year or in your congregation. As a group or as an individual:

1.    Pray. Pray for children in a specific country, age group, or gender group. Pray for their health and their futures. My heart goes out to refugee children in war zones (Syria and South Sudan), in refugee camps, and street children. 
     ・ Deuteronomy 10:17-20
     ・ Matthew 25:37-40
2.    Take a few minutes and look up God’s promises to orphans. As you read God’s Word, ask him to share with you how you can participate with him in this mission. 
     ・ Matthew 18:1-6
     ・ Exodus 22:21-23
3.    Please consider advocating for a child as you feel God guiding you. Bring awareness to your family, neighbors, church and Sunday School class. Gather sponsorships for education, food, clothing and medicine. 
     ・ Leviticus 19:9-10
     ・ Proverbs 31:8-9
4.    Email us for more information on any of our ministry partners. Donate as the Lord leads you.

Please partner with us in providing shelter, hope, and compassion to these little ones in Christ’s name. You can designate your gift to "Vulnerable Children's Fund" or a specific ministry. Unless you specify a particular ministry, funds contributed will be sent to the greatest immediate need.

Ebralie Mwizerwa
Projects Coordinator

The Outreach Foundation