by Jonathan Self

For Nangombe, a mother of five, 2016 was a very difficult year. She lives in the Mwandi District in southwestern Zambia—an area that has suffered two successive years of crop failure due to drought.

Several years ago, Nangombe’s husband died, and she has been the sole provider for her children ever since. Like many people in her community, she depends on farming to survive, but this has been extremely challenging given the rain conditions.

World Renew is committed to walking alongside communities such as those in Mwandi. With funding from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, World Renew has responded by providing monthly food assistance to ensure that families have enough to eat. Since July 2015, World Renew has provided food to more than 31,500 community members in Mwandi, including Nangombe.

During the last year rain has started to return to the Mwandi District, and World Renew has provided families with seeds to plant. With enough rain, farmers like Nangombe will be able to harvest enough food to support their families once again.

Hope of Christ Shines Through the Ashes in Fort McMurray

by Kellie Scholma

“A young mother stopped in at a World Renew walk-in center in Fort McMurray, Alta., to meet with World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) volunteers. Her family lost their home and all of their possessions in a wildfire last May,” said Barb Bracko, a World Renew DRS volunteer.

“They are struggling to rebuild their lives, find a new home, and deal with the emotional trauma they have experienced. They are also turning to God for strength and direction in their lives.”

Bracko and other World Renew DRS volunteers met with the young mother and many other Fort McMurray residents in October and November 2016. In May 2016, wildfires destroyed roughly 2,400 structures, including homes, and 1.5 million acres of land in Alberta.

“I met one couple who described the fire that destroyed their home and all of their belongings as a blessing because it has drawn them closer to the Lord and strengthened their trust in him. They said that God has provided everything they need since the fire. They have faith that he will provide what they need in the future. The couple’s friends offered them their basement suite, rent-free, while they recover, and their church will be donating bedroom furniture, a sofa, and a table and chairs when they find their own place,” said Bracko. “They lost all their earthly possessions, but they have gained the ‘peace that passes all understanding’” (Phil 4:7).

World Renew DRS volunteers meet with disaster survivors to help communities like Fort McMurray make sure that those who need help recovering are not forgotten. Determining who needs help with rebuilding is a key step in the reconstruction process and provides a foundation for World Renew and other organizations to make plans for home reconstruction.  It is also a way that the hope of Christ shines through the ashes of people’s lives after a disaster.