Various Christian groups are working to meet the immediate needs of people suffering from flooding, mudslides and a volcanic eruption in Central America.
More than 150 people have died in Guatemala alone and at least another 100 people are missing after Tropical Storm Agatha dumped heavy rain on the poverty-stricken nation last week. The storm has also killed 17 people in Honduras and ten people in El Salvador, according to official figures.
Members of Action by Churches Together (ACT), an alliance of church-based relief groups, have responded to the tropical storm by helping with evacuations, supporting temporary shelters, cleaning up debris, and forming response teams to assess the damages in the affected nations. more >>
Israel’s deadly attack on a convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza is “a crime,” said a large network of church-based relief organizations.
“This incident could easily have been avoided. This aggression has been heavily criticized and condemned by the worldwide members of ACT Alliance,” said John Nduna, general secretary of Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance.
ACT is an alliance of 100 humanitarian and development organizations working in 130 countries, including the Gaza Strip. more >>
Afghanistan suspended two church-based aid groups on Monday over allegations that the organizations are proselytizing in the Islamic country.
Church World Service and Norwegian Church Aid cannot operate while authorities investigate the claim.
“We are not proselytizing,” said Maurice Bloem, deputy director for international programs at CWS, to The Christian Post. “If you would speak with the local community and organizations they will confirm that we stick to the code of conduct for an NGO (non-governmental organization), which is you should do your work and not proselytize.” more >>
A massive shortfall in funds threatens to close a center for homeless women and children, announced the nation’s largest rescue mission on Monday.
The Hope Gardens Family Center, operated by Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, needs $2.8 million by June 30 or it will be shut down. The resort-like family center currently houses 34 mothers, 74 children and 23 senior women. All of the residents, including children, were formerly homeless.
“You can’t cry wolf every time there is a problem, but this is a serious challenge,” said the Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, to The Christian Post on Tuesday. “We are in danger of closing something down that we fought so hard to open and gave everything that we had, and that I had, to get it open.” more >>
Three workers for a Christian relief organization were abducted in Sudan Tuesday evening, the group reported.
The Samaritan’s Purse team of two Sudanese men and a 36-year-old American woman from California was stopped by a group of armed men 25 miles southwest of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. Samaritan’s Purse is working with the U.S. and Sudanese government to secure the safe return of its workers.
“I have visited Darfur several times and it is one of the most difficult places in the world to work,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, in a statement. “I’m asking for the prayers from people around the world for a quick resolution and the safe return of our Samaritan’s Purse staff.” more >>
The officially atheist Chinese government on Monday requested religious groups and people of faith to help with the rebuilding efforts in a northwest province devastated by a massive earthquake.
In an open letter posted on its official website, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs asked the religious community to donate towards reconstruction in the Tibetan area of Yushu in Qinghai Province, which was ravaged by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake on April 14.
According to the letter, the religious community has already donated more than 86.9 million yuan, $12.7 million, for the quake-hit area. The religious affairs department hopes religious leaders and individual believers can make further donations. more >>