When 2020 came to an end, many in humanitarian work were signalling COVID-19’s ongoing impact on poorer communities for the year ahead. Those just emerging from poverty had fallen back into it when the pandemic hit, losing work, housing and food, and experts now warn of humanitarian crises not seen since World War II.
In response, Baptist World Aid Australia began preparing for a year of pandemic-related challenges with its Christian partners in countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and Syria. And staff are digging deeper into God’s word, knowing that 2021 will require constant reminders of the hope Christ offers.
“Hebrews 6:19 tells us we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure,” said John Hickey, CEO for Baptist World Aid Australia. “We know this isn’t going to be an easy year, especially for those in already vulnerable situations. So we’re wanting to look more to Jesus, the author of our faith, as we work together in caring for those in poverty.”
That means Baptist World Aid Australia teams will be considering more how Christian formation shapes our responses to injustice in working toward a more compassionate world. With new resources for churches, prayer calendars and Bible study guides, the international organisation will also step up its advocacy efforts toward chocolate and fashion companies to ensure fair treatment of workers and suppliers. Plans for deepening ongoing partnerships and opportunities for giving toward children and families in poverty as well as disaster relief assistance are underway.
“Together, as God’s people, we want to respond to those in need throughout 2021,” Hickey said. “It’s going to require prayer and wisdom and sacrificial generosity in ways that might stretch us, but what a privilege it is to join in such work for God’s kingdom.”