Brooke Pierce describes her experience eating refugee camp rations.Read More
SILVER SPRING, MD, June, 19 2018 – Thousands of refugees in Uganda will receive food assistance, thanks to a recent cooperation established between the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the World Food Program (WFP) and the Government of Uganda, through the Office of the Prime Minister.
The partnership, agreed upon in June 2018, will allow ADRA to provide food for more than 85,000 refugees currently settled in the district of Kamwenge, western Uganda. An influx of refugees is reported to increase as long-standing conflicts have forced many citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan to cross over the Uganda border. An estimated total of 1.3 million refugees have remained in the neighboring country, according to a UNHCR 2017 report.
“As a strong supporter of partnerships, this collaborative effort between ADRA and WFP is good news for the refugees in Uganda faced with the shortage of food, and is a strong testament that ADRA Uganda’s intervention efforts are being recognized,” says Imad Madanat, vice president of programs for ADRA International.
Since 1987, ADRA has forged a positive presence in Uganda creating long-standing relationships with up to 15 districts in Uganda. As a result of its deep-rooted network, ADRA collaborated with the WFP in food distribution between 1998, 2000, 2010, 2011, and again this year. ADRA has also been promoting school gardening initiatives in several refugee settlements, including Rwamwanja, Adjumani and Bidibidi to help boost school feeding initiatives in select refugee hosting schools.
“ADRA is committed to supporting the Government’s work to achieve sustainable development goals. This newly signed partnership with WFP will enable ADRA to address the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition and also help improve the social-protection system of refugees and host communities,” says Charles Ed II Aguilar, country director of ADRA in Uganda. “One of the strategic outcomes that WFP has focused on is to see smallholder farmers, especially women, in targeted areas have enhanced and resilient livelihoods by 2030. ADRA is committed to meeting this strategic outcome,” he explained.
With additional food needs that will be met through WFP’s assistance, ADRA Uganda will help provide nutritious meals daily for a year, and cash support aimed at helping the refugees generate income.
“ADRA Uganda has committed to a long-term presence in Kamwenge,” Aguilar says, “and plans to implement a range of livelihoods development interventions such as capacity building of refugees to operate kitchen/backyard gardens to grow crops and sustain food to support their families and also support in protecting the environment by planting 10,000 fruit trees.”
Online release: http://bit.ly/2M1m2yS
Dragutin Matak—an Adventist Pastor and theologian also serving as the General Secretary of the Croatian Religious Liberty Association—was one of three individuals to receive the 2016 Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Award on Friday, December 9. All three were “were recognized for their promotion of human rights, religious liberty and interreligious dialogue.”
Among his recent activities Matak was part of a delegation of religious representatives from Croatia who visited the religious and political leaders of Iran during the summer. In his acceptance speech Matak emphasised the need for personal moral responsibilities in achieving human and religious freedom.
Five days after a jihadist attack at the seaside resort of Grand-Bassam, the National Forum of the Religious Confessions of Côte d’Ivoire hosted a peace summit on March 18, “calling for a unified response to violence carried out by Islamic extremists.” Representatives from many different faith backgrounds attended the summit, which was held at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s West-Central African headquarters in the capital city of Abidjan.
The vice president of the National Islamic Council, Imam Mahamadou Dosso, read out a prepared statement that included:
No religion should lead somebody to kill his or her fellow beings. May God help us to overcome this evil.
Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in North America, has released a strong statement calling for the support of refugees -- Adventists Respond to the Call to Care for Refugees (Huffington Post, 9 Dec 2015). Jackson begins by declaring, "To close the door to refugees cannot be an option."
Further down in the article, Jackson shares what the Adventist Church is doing:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is responding and meeting the needs of refugees. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the humanitarian arm of the church has collected more than 25 tons of relief supplies in Macedonia for Syrian refugees. Here in the United States, our church has an established ministry that assists refugees seeking a better life for their families. Our Refugee Ministries team is ready to assist Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Jackson's message addresses both terrorism and refugees:
Make no mistake, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America unequivocally condemns the terrorist actions of extremists that claimed innocent lives in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, Mali and other places around the world. We mourn with and pray for the families of all the victims of these senseless crimes against humanity.
Resorting to violence in the name of God or Allah is wrong.
But to deny innocent women, children, and men who are fleeing war, hunger, and disease refuge because of fear and prejudice is just as wrong.
To read the entire article on the Huffington Post, click here.
It has been brought to our attention that the editors of Sojourners have posted a signature campaign for students -- College Students of Faith Say 'No' to Falwell's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric. The post begins:
An alarming wave of Islamophobia is sweeping our nation, and we are troubled by the participation of Christians. Just last week, the president of Liberty University called for Christian students to carry guns to "end those Muslims before they walked in" and "teach them a lesson."
The campaign asks students to pledge the following:
We pledge to challenge Islamophobia whenever and wherever it occurs, including on our own campuses — to foster relationships with Muslims based on friendship and not fear, and to serve the common good by maintaining a firm commitment to racial and religious diversity.
The Adventist Society for Religious Studies (ASRS) recently released the following statement on the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe:
Statement on the Refugee Crisis Adventist Society for Religious Studies November 21, 2015
In light of the present refugee crisis engulfing the globe, we as a body of religion scholars who are committed to the full gospel of Jesus Christ who said, “I was a stranger and you took me in” (Matt. 25:38); and who take seriously the Word of God in Deut. 23:9 that we must not oppress the strangers “because we were strangers in the land of Egypt” (cf. Lev. 19:34), the Adventist Society of Religious Studies asserts the following:
- As sojourners and pilgrims ourselves, we recognize that we are all expatriates who have been called to manifest the principles of God’s eternal kingdom in all of our decisions.
- As people with patriotic sympathies, we understand the power of the type of fear that saps human compassion, but we believe that we ought to always practice the perfect love that casts out all fear.
- As creatures of national cultures, we acknowledge that we are comfortable with the familiar; however, our commitment to Christ compels us to reject xenophobia, outright racism and competitive religious extremism.
- As members of the human family, we accept all men and women as our siblings, regardless of their religious confession or country of origin.
- As followers of Christ, we will be the Good Samaritan to the victims of war; we will willingly clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned and receive the refugee. We invite others to do the same.
Two Adventist doctors--Gillian Seton and James Appel (a member on the APF Advisory Board)--who have been screening potential Ebola patients at Cooper Hospital in Liberia, are currently in the United States. Dr. Seton plans to return to Liberia, while Appel will be returning to Chad where he has worked for more than a decade. We feature Appel's book, Nasara, on the APF resource page.
Here is a non-exhaustive round-up of the considerable media coverage they have received:
LLU Alumni Deliver Health Care at Ebola Stricken Region (ANN, 15 Aug 2014)
Dr. Gillian Seton, a 2008 graduate of Loma Linda, has served since February at Cooper Adventist Hospital in Liberia as a participant in the university’s Deferred Mission Appointment program. The program, developed by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, provides financial support to medical and dental students committed to overseas mission service.
Another physician, Dr. James Appel, a 2000 Loma Linda graduate, is expected to arrive this week in Liberia to provide medical care alongside Seton at Cooper Adventist Hospital. Appel has spent the last decade as a family medicine physician in the north-central African country of Chad. (article link)
Back from Africa, Loma Linda University Med School Grads Discuss Ebola (Steinberg, The Sun, 28 Oct 2014)
Seton and Dr. James Appel were in Loma Linda recently to attend the Global Healthcare Conference at Loma Linda University and speak to community members.
Lack of protective gear, few sinks for handwashing and little training in infectious disease control combine to make hospital work in West Africa dangerous, as this year’s outbreak Ebola takes its toll, according to Loma Linda University medical school graduates back from the continent.
“I am very disappointed by the American public’s reaction (to the Ebola threat),” said Seton, 33. “It makes me very angry.”
Seton and Appel bristle at the notion that Ebola can spread like a wildfire.
“The only way to get Ebola is if someone vomits on you, defecates on you, urinates on you or bleeds on you,” Seton said in an interview. (article link)
James Appel Documents Journey to Liberia (Appel, Adventist Health International)
Loma Linda University grads staying in Ebola-plagued region (Steinberg, The Sun, 17 Aug 2014)
In Face of Ebola, California-Trained Doctor Treats Patients in Liberia (Aliferis, State of Health, 21 Aug 2014)
Colorado doctor helping the sick in Ebola-stricken Africa (Illescas, Denver Post, 24 Aug 2014)
Dispatches from Ebola-Hit Liberia (Appel, Spectrum, 8 Sept 2014)
Loma Linda physicians: U.S. Ebola preparedness inadequate (Steinberg, The Sun, 25 Oct 2014)
Headlines: Gillian Seton Says Ebola Epidemic Exaggerates Risks (Dietrich, Spectrum, 28 Oct 2014)
6 QUESTIONS: Missionary doctor returns from epicenter of Ebola outbreak (Kleckner, KULR 8, 30 Oct 2014)
Adventist Videos on Ebola
NAD Social Media Campaign - The Ebola Crisis in West Africa (NAD). "The North American Division is starting a social media based funding campaign to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Adventist Health International manages two hospitals in Sierra Leone and Liberia. They are working to provide much needed health care for the people of this region. Please support the dedicated medial professionals and staff who are putting their own lives on the line to provide relief to those suffering in West Africa."
[vimeo 108797800 w=500 h=281] <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/108797800">NAD Social Media Campaign - The Ebola Crisis in West Africa</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/nadadventist">NAD Adventist</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
Adventism, Ebola, and You (3ABN). "Due to soaring interest in our 3ABN Today Live program, “Adventism, Ebola, and You,” we have just posted this two-hour program on YouTube. Viewers can watch this fascinating interview with Dr. Peter Landless, director of Health Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, as well as Dr. James Appel, and Dr. Gillian Seton, who have just returned from caring for patients at the Cooper Adventist Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia."
Tyler Wigg-Stevenson confesses in his book The World Is Not Ours To Save that he believes there will be no perfect solution for this world's great injustices "until the kingdom of God comes." However, "the absence of evident solutions does not absolve us from the pain of loving the world as Christ loves it" (p. 60).
I was reminded of this when I read about Liv Olsen, who works to save young girls from being trafficked in Thailand (Gry Haugen, "Safe at Home," Adventist World, September 2014, pp. 40-41). Olsen, who is 82, "has a passion for children, especially children at risk. When Olsen, from Moss, Norway, was 78 years old, she traveled from Norway to Chiang Rai, Thailand, to visit the newly constructed Keep Girls Safe shelter, which she helped finance through ADRA Norway in cooperation with ADRA Thailand" (p. 40).
The Keep Girls Safe program has three initiatives: a "home for vulnerable girls; educational support for girls who remain in their villages; and value-based awareness campaigns and training for parents and adolescents that seeks to warn them about the dangers of human trafficking and exploitation" (p. 41).
The article reports two statistics that exemplify Wigg-Stevensons point -- (a) the shelter can hold up to 40 girls and (b) worldwide, 40 percent of girls and young women in prostitution are from northern Thailand. Liv Olsen cannot solve that massive injustice, but she can care for those forty. And even this care must be given in collaboration with other volunteers and organizations. We can't do it all, but we can do something. Olsen's dedication shows what personal sacrifice can accomplish:
Over many years, Liv Olsen has saved money to be able to give poor girls in northern Thailand a home. To be able to do that she has, for example, ridden a bike instead of taking the bus to get around town. (pp. 40-41)
May we all live as faithfully as Olsen regardless of the particular mission God calls us to.
[Featured Photo: SAFE AND SECURE: Children who benefit from the Keep Girls Safe Shelter can look forward to a future that won’t be marred by the prospect of human trafficking. Credit: Adventist Review.]