April 13, 2004
Armenia: "Human Trafficking Is Ruinous"
UMCOR will cooperate with the United Nations and the government of Armenia in a counter-trafficking program similar to its current activity in Kosovo. Characterizing human trafficking-- the coercion of people, usually women and children, into prostitution-- as "ruinous," a UN official announced the launch of the two-year project. UMCOR's part will be operation of a safe house for trafficking survivors. Other program components include raising public awareness and strengthening the capacity of government agencies to combat trafficking criminals. Your gifts to UMCOR Advance #333615, Anti-Trafficking, will assist efforts like this in a meaningful way.
Iraq: Teaching Democracy
UMCOR is partnering with ACT member Norwegian Church Aid to provide support for the development of civil society in Iraq. Educational programs for children and adults on issues of human rights, a topic that could only be discussed in secret during the Saddam regime, will be provided as well as skills training. Participants will explore and practice principles of democracy in community efforts to rebuild infrastructure. Contributions to UMCOR Advance #623225, Iraq Emergency, will help make these successful.
Afghanistan: Rehabilitating Former Child Soldiers
In spite of clashes in the north and west of Afghanistan reported in the news Monday, April 12, efforts at stabilizing communities go forward. Twenty-three years of armed conflict often involved adolescents and children as fighters, porters, cooks, messengers or cleaners. UMCOR will work with UNICEF to restore 3,000 of these "child soldiers" to productive roles in their communities. A top priority of the project will be to reintroduce the youths to childhood activities. In addition UMCOR will enlist regional hospitals in providing medical exams and treatment. You can help with a generous donation to UMCOR Advance #602225, Afghanistan Emergency.
Sudan: Refugee Crisis Deepens
In the impoverished savannah borderlands between Sudan and Chad, where 110,000 women, men and children have already fled from fighting in the Darfur region, thousands more have been stranded due to fuel shortages. An UMCOR grant is providing seeds, tools and blankets to families camping in the open or in public buildings. Many still lack basic human necessities and are at risk of attack by roving militia bands. Officials are calling the situation one of the world's worst disasters affecting civilian populations, according to a Reuters report. Please give to UMCOR Advance #184385, Sudan Emergency.
Haiti: Use a New Bulletin Insert for a Mission Minute
UMCOR has created a new bulletin insert about Haiti's civil crisis. Please download, print, and distribute it to every member of your congregation this Sunday. Take a minute for mission to talk about the Methodist Church of Haiti's expanded emphases on assisting families and children in this difficult time. Health care, spiritual care, school fees and hot lunches are the priorities. Or use the document as a resource for a sermon on Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-44; or Luke 9:12-17. Encourage healing in Haiti by encouraging generous gifts to UMCOR Advance #418325, Haiti Civil Emergency, and to UMCOR Advance #418790, School Hot Lunch Program.
New Resources: "Multiplying Hope" and "A Place Where You Can Serve"
Works of recovery and life-changing ministry supported by your donations become real in two new UMCOR resources produced to help you animate your church's mission focus. "Multiplying Hope" is a 7-minute video (also available in DVD format) that illustrates the ways United Methodists are in the lead to ease the pain when catastrophes strike. You can order by calling toll-free 1-888-862-3242. In a new brochure, "A Place Where You Can Serve," volunteers personalize UMCOR's work in their stories of giving and receiving. It's free, with a small charge for shipping and handling. Phone your order today to 1-800-305-9857.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit umcor.org. You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.
And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.