In March of 2023, Cyclone Yaku caused devastation across northern Peru, with rains causing rivers to overflow and landslides adding to the loss of lives, homes, businesses, and schools. At least 71 people died, and more than 131,000 people were impacted. As the summer of 2023 continued, heavy rains continued to plague the country. By August, the Government reported 839,760 people needing humanitarian aid since the start of the rainy season in January. Of this group, 123,691 people have been rendered homeless, and 48,903 houses are reported destroyed or uninhabitable.
As medical volunteers from Global Care Force visited churches and villages across Ukraine over the fall and winter of 2022, they prayed that God would help them find at least one person in each location that would be the right fit for an inaugural trauma-care training.
It has been three years now since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the whole world. The pandemic affected billions of lives globally with disease, death, debt, and distress. It has seriously complicated an already broken world. But in the midst of so much brokenness, we have seen many churches become hands and feet of Jesus, salt and light to the world.
Compassion is the essence of how our faith is shown in action. Treating people with dignity, generosity, and open hearts, minds, churches, and homes—each of these is welcoming and honoring others in the same way we would welcome Jesus. This is the shape of our Nazarene life.
“We had no clue what was going on and what we will do.”
With that simple statement, Tolik Galagan sums up the deep feelings of Ukrainians who were stunned when war broke out in their nation. It was February 24, 2022, and in Vapniarka, where Galagan leads the local Church of the Nazarene, confusion soon turned to fear and grief.
“The church was very panicked,” said Galagan. “Everybody was sad that tragedy came to our country.”
In Przemyśl, Poland, the global Church of the Nazarene has been responding since the onset of war in Ukraine.
When the war broke out, the first Nazarene responder at the Polish-Ukrainian border was a Syrian pastor, seeking ways to serve. Soon after, a team formed, putting out the call for volunteers to come and physically provide resources to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes.
One of the most simple and profound aspects of God’s faithfulness is found in the word love. Love shows up in Scripture when describing both who God is and how God acts in the world on behalf of God’s covenant people. Love is embodied in Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, and it is His call to His disciples.
How do we find hope when all seems hopeless? And how do we find God's hope when it isn’t obvious? Perhaps this is what it means to have faith—that thing with the potential to be beautiful gift even in the midst of desperation because it is an anchor, a guidepost.