Occasionally, people tell me they would like to get involved with social action, but they aren't sure where to begin. I encourage people to take a first step by working with those who are already engaged. Don't start from scratch. Don't reinvent the wheel. Skip the beginners mistakes by working with professionals already active on the ground. One easy first step is to raise money for projects and organizations that you respect. In the process you will hopefully learn more about the issues involved and will be increasingly prepared to expand your efforts on a given issue. Here are four quality Seventh-day Adventist campaigns, projects and organizations that your APF Peace Chapter or Peace Church could support:
ENDITNOW CAMPAIGN. The Adventist News Network and Adventist Today recently highlighted this campaign to end violence against women and children (link), and I interviewed Heather-Dawn Small in 2010 (link). "To learn more about enditnow and its digital resources, visit www.enditnow.org. Also, to learn how to implement a campaign in a local congregation, go here."
IRAQ REFUGEES (ADRA). We all would like to end the violence in Iraq and in other parts of the region. One positive action we can take is to support ADRA's efforts to care for those displaced by the violence. Read more at Adventist Today.
Natalia López-Thismón, Associate Director for Communication at ADRA International, shared: "You can give to the Middle East Emergency Response Fund at ADRA (you just make your check out to that or call in). Alternatively, you can contact ADRA Kurdistan directly and make your contribution. The churches could hold fundraisers for these efforts. It would be very helpful."
REFUGEE MINISTRY (AFM). Adventist Frontier Missions reports: "During the summer of 2014, more than 1 million people were forced to flee their homes in northern Iraq. Most were offered a simple choice by radical Islamist fighters—convert, leave or die. Today, more than 1 million IDP have fled into Kurdistan, a region in northeast Iraq, where they have found temporary sanctuary. Many are living in schools, churches, church-yards and other public facilities. Many are Christians who were driven out simply because they bear the name of Christ. They cannot return to their homes, and they have no end destination for their journey." "We have already started to minister to the physical needs of the IDP of northern Iraq through a latrine and shower project for IDP families, but we want to combine this with ongoing ministry for the spiritual needs of the IDP and their host communities" (link).
Click here to watch Conrad Vine and Doug Hardt sharing about this project on 3ABN. While living in Lincoln, NE, Doug was active in this work; see Union College Hosts Interfaith Iraq Memorial and College View Academy Hosts Fundraiser for ISIS Victims.
KEEP GIRLS SAFE (Human trafficking; ADRA Thailand). "The girls at the Keep Girls Safe shelter are all from extremely poor families, most of them from different villages in the hills and jungles of Northern Thailand. The shelter is able to accommodate up to 40 girls, most of whom have come from difficult backgrounds caused by sickness, death, drugs, abuse, and lack of care and education. These and other factors may lead to human trafficking, which is prevalent in this area of Southeast Asia. Reports say that girls as young as 8 years old are forced into prostitution, but others are exported to developed countries in Asia, North America, and Europe, where they are forced to do menial tasks with little or no pay, work long hours, and receive no benefits or medical care" (Adventist World, 2014). Read more at ADRA International, ANN (2006), ADRA AU, and an ADRA video (2009).
There are numerous organizations you can partner with, both locally and internationally, but any of these four Adventist ministries would be a great place to start if you want to do something but just aren't sure how to begin.