After crisis: The whole story

After crisis: The whole story | World Vision Blog

Syrian refugee children head home with crowns and painted faces after another fun day at a World Vision Child Friendly Space and Early Childhood Education center in Lebanon. (Photo: 2016 Jon Warren/World Vision)

When we talk about crisis—conflict, sickness, hunger—let’s tell the whole story: one that includes our response to what God is calling us to do in the face of hardship, knowing that in the end there can be courage, hope, and love.

See how World Vision is part of the whole story, and how we can be #GreaterTogether.

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Every day in the news, we see stories of crisis—conflict, hunger, sickness, natural disaster—but when we stop hearing about them, after the media and public eye lose interest in these stories, what happens next?

Crises don’t end when the mainstream news forgets about them, and unfortunately many of them get worse over time before they get better. Today, we’re much more likely to hear about the 2016 presidential race than we are to hear about South Sudan or the Central African Republic, where for several years conflict, hunger, and abuse have been ongoing.

Right now we’re hearing about refugees from Syria and the crisis they face in the Middle East, but do we fully realize that this crisis has been a daily struggle for most of these families for almost five years?

What will happen to them tomorrow? Will we hear those stories?

For 65 years, World Vision has played an active part in stories of crisis from all around the world, working to provide hope for children and families struggling to survive in these desperate situations. In fact, crisis has been part of our DNA from day one when our founder Bob Pierce established World Vision in response to the humanitarian crisis that resulted from the Korean War.

Over the six and a half decades since, we’ve seen stories of conflict end in peace, stories of hunger end in abundance, stories of sickness end in healing. For many, fear, despair, and poverty aren’t the end of the story, and we can all be part of telling a different story: one of courage, hope, and love.

We can all be part of God’s expression of His love for the world.

More than 30 years ago, the world was awakened to the drought and resulting famine in Ethiopia’s Antsokia Valley. Having begun work in Ethiopia in 1971 (in response to a refugee crisis), World Vision was present throughout the food crisis in the 1980s and is still there today, working to build hope and resilience for children and families.

In the 1980s, the people of Peru were struggling with a different kind of crisis. The Shining Path was a terrorist organization that sparked a brutal conflict lasting (at its height) twelve years and resulting in an estimated 70,000 people killed or missing. The majority of them civilians.

This level of civil disruption and terror was paralyzing to a whole generation in Peru. But today—with the conflict mostly over, through cooperation with the government, and in partnership with World Vision’s community development work—the new generation in Peru is rising into hope and a bright future.

The 1990s had its own story of conflict transformed into peace and hope. The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 is perhaps the most horrific conflict in recent memory: somewhere between half and a full million people killed within a 100-day period. Neighbors and friends turned against one another, and after the conflict found themselves neighbors again.

Rwanda’s story is a dramatic transformation from horror to reconciliation: peace-building programs in partnership with local churches taught forgiveness, reconnecting bonds of friendship broken by conflict. And once reconnected, these friendships—together with the love of God and World Vision development programs—are leading to better futures and opportunities as well.

Today, the conflict is Syria. As a global community, we see more than 12 million people—half a nation—displaced by conflict. We see the potential loss of an entire generation of children as they miss out on an education. We see families torn apart and livelihoods lost while host countries become overburdened with refugees. And unfortunately, from the limited perspective of today, there doesn’t appear to be an end to this crisis.

After crisis: The whole story | World Vision Blog
The sun rises over the Syrian border, seen from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, which is dotted with refugee Informal Tented Settlements. (Photo: 2016 Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

There’s no end in sight for this crisis because there has been no end. However, we believe that there can be. With God, we can be greater than the hardship we see in the world today. What we know from our recent history is that even the worst, most horrific situations imaginable will change. In every story of conflict, there is room for hope, for peace, for reconciliation and redemption.

For every sickness, there is room for healing. The world just watched in shock as West Africa worked through the largest outbreak of Ebola, but—praise God—today nations are being declared Ebola free.

Right now, we’re all still waiting, holding our breath to see what happens next with the Zika virus. But we know from Africa’s Ebola story, Rwanda’s Genocide story, Peru’s terrorism story, and more that the story of Zika, too, can find healing one day.

When it comes to crisis, the whole story takes time, and World Vision is all about the whole story. In every community where we begin our work, we’ve seen our presence transform lives. Today, many of the countries where we work have stable communities because decades ago we responded to a crisis: Cambodia, Armenia, Rwanda, and many more … all the way to our first beginnings.

When we talk about crisis, conflict, sickness, hunger, let’s talk about the whole story. One that includes our response to what God is calling us to do in the face of hardship. And when we talk about the whole story, let’s tell today’s stories of fear, despair, and poverty remembering that in the end there can be courage, hope, and love.

And we can get there together. #GreaterTogether


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