When I was at Fuller Theological Seminary, one of my professors, Bryant Myers, taught me, “The essence of poverty is broken relationships.”
Years later, this training shapes how I see the world and how I lead World Relief.
Myers taught that before the fall, God created five basic relationships in which each person was created to live: relationship with God, relationship with self, relationship with others, relationship with community, and relationship with creation.
When these relationships work properly, they make room for human flourishing. But when one or more of them are broken, they cause all kinds of poverty in our lives and the lives of others:
- Broken relationships with others can lead to conflicts.
- Disconnected from creation robs us of God’s purpose for giving life to the earth—that everyone has access to beauty and sustainable food, water, and resources.
- A broken relationship with ourselves impairs our ability to see the potential for change and transformation.
- And a broken relationship with God prevents you from experiencing grace and restoration.
Current crises, broken relationships
Over the past year, we’ve talked at length about how COVID, conflict and climate change have converged to create the biggest humanitarian crisis we’ve seen in decades.
In these crises we see evidence of broken relationships. War forces families out of their homes. Communities suffer from natural disasters. Women and girls experience more violence and discrimination. Our own brokenness often leaves us feeling hopeless and unable to engage, and our pride and division prevent us from seeking shared solutions to these complex problems.
It is clear that the old paradigms of humanitarian aid may not be sufficient. If we want to move forward, we must embrace a new vision. We need to remember that a prosperous world is a connected world, and it takes all of us to create lasting change.
At World Relief, we have a longstanding commitment to comprehensively addressing the world’s problems, enabling people and communities to reconnect and thrive. For nearly 80 years, we have partnered with local churches and community leaders as they create lasting change, and many of you have moved with us.
As we approach the new year, the issues we will face in 2022 have not been left behind. But thanks to the generosity of people like you, World Relief is ready to meet the emerging needs of our world. Together we will go far, go deep and go together in 2023and I want to tell you how to do it.
Go far: Ukraine, Chad and Ethiopia
From 2022 February. World Relief works with local churches and Christian agencies Ukrainein response to the devastating war that continues. This summer it became clear that a long-term presence in Ukraine is necessary to meet the enormous needs that will continue for many years to come.
World Relief has decades of experience working in current and post-conflict environments. Our team in Ukraine will draw on our technical expertise to increase the capacity of local churches to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those affected by war.
To Chadwe also found an opportunity to strengthen local churches to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
Southern Chad is a Christian-majority region with a high population density and few humanitarian aid providers. Existing local faith-based NGOs need capacity-building support from an international Christian NGO such as World Relief to increase and expand their impact.
We hope to open an office in Chad in 2023. at the beginning, we also intend to open an office in 2023. Ethiopia also.
Go deeper: Mental health counseling and disability inclusion
While others may focus on one area of intervention or provide only immediate assistance, we remain committed to a comprehensive response to needs with proven solutions that are sustainable.
For refugees and other immigrants, this means addressing the deep physical and psychological trauma many experience when they are forced to leave their homes and rebuild their lives in an entirely new culture.
Worldwide support offices in Chicagoland and North Carolina provide services mental health counseling for refugees for over 20 years. in 2023 we will be expanding this service line to include more offices to better serve the needs of those moving.
Our commitment to thriving societies is also reflected in the depth of our disability-inclusive programming. People with disabilities are among the most marginalized people 20% of the world’s poorest population in developing countries.
World Relief Malawi 2019 piloted programming for the disabled, reaching more than 400 people in its first two years through church-led initiatives. Since then, we have expanded our disability programs to church networks in Burundi and Rwanda, and plan to train churches in six more countries around the world.
Walk Together: Create Lasting Change
At the heart of our commitment to go further and deeper is our commitment to go together, to empower the individual and collective expressions of the church to fulfill its call to serve in word and deed.
Our newly formed Church and Community Engagement Team is working hard to engage more people and more communities in creating welcoming communities for immigrants in the US.
Globally, our Outreach Group initiative continues to provide volunteers to meet the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors, while Savings Groups bring people together, providing support and friendship as communities transition economically.
And then you – as you move forward in this new year, I pray that you will see yourself as part of a global movement that is creating change around the world. I pray that you find ways to strengthen the relationship bonds in your life so that the waves of lasting change can continue to expand.
The challenges we face are great. But the power of Jesus has greater hope as we walk forward together.
Do you want to be part of this global movement? You can make a difference in 2023 by joining World Relief. Learn more and donate today.
Myal Greene there is a strong desire for churches around the world to be equipped, empowered and meet the needs of vulnerable families in their communities. in 2021 he became president and CEO, serving fourteen years with the organization. During his eight years in Rwanda, he developed World Relief’s innovative church-based programming model, which is now used in nine countries. He also spent six years in a leadership role in the international programs department. He has previous experience working with the US government. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his wife Sharon have three children.