Micah Network Update, November & December 2009

General January 4, 2010

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November and December 2009

Letter to Members

Dear friends,

We are deeply grieved to hear about the sad demise of Mrs. Catalina Rene Padilla on November 21, the wife of Rene Padilla, the President of Micah Network. We convey our heartfelt condolences to Rene and his family members for the loss of his beloved wife. “Cathy was a wonderful mother, a loving grandmother, a great wife and an excellent Bible scholar and teacher. She loved her family, loved her God and also loved His people. She expressed this love in concrete actions and a radical commitment to the poor. Her life and ministry have impacted not only her family and those close to her but also several generations of pastors and lay leaders in Latin America.” (Kairos Foundation website) Pray for Rene, his children and grandchildren that in this time of grief they will also experience deep joy and abiding peace.

Please continue to pray for guidance and wisdom to the Board as they make their decision regarding the position of International Director. The final interviews to the position of International Director is to be held on December 9.

Christmas is around the corner again…a time for get-togethers, Christmas trees, gifts and cards, sweet melodious carols………. The list goes on!! To me, the Christmas season brings in a welcome break from work and time to be spent with family and friends in prayer, rejoicing and fellowship.

But just imagine, while we rejoice in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and praise Him for what He has done in this year for us and look at the coming year with great expectations, there are thousands, even millions of people around the world who don’t have the privilege of celebrating the season as we do. From India, there are two instances where Christmas seasons of the past have brought in tears and sorrow. In 2004 a day after Christmas, Tsunami destroyed the hopes and lives of thousands of people in South India. In the year 2007 Christmas day ushered in devastation and riots in the Kandhamal District of Orissa State where Christians were killed and their houses and belongings were burnt to ashes. Around the world, there are many poor families and marginalized communities for whom Christmas is just another day of their lives; no celebrations and no rejoicing, as for them, each day begins and ends with struggle and pain.

In this Christmas season let us pray the Franciscan Prayer titled “The Justice Prayer” which has become well known in many of our Micah Network Conferences and Consultations:

May God bless us with discomfort… at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, So that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger... at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears... to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war. So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them, and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness... to believe that we can make a difference in this world, So that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year ahead.

Sincerely in Christ,

Dino L. Touthang
Chair, Micah Network

Event: Conversations on Integral Mission

The IMI is pleased to announce six upcoming national conversations on integral mission, scheduled for late November and early December in Burkina Faso, Benin, UK, Cambodia and North-East India. The national conversation on integral mission in Ethiopia is postponed to January 2010. To find out more about any of these events you can contact:

Africa: John Wesley Kabango johnwesleyk@yahoo.fr,

Asia: Sundar Daniel at sundar.daniel@micahnetwork.org,

UK: Jenny Flannagan at jenny.grove@micahnetwork.org.

Resources: Integral Mission

The Integral Mission Initiative along with World Vision is working on a project titled ‘Unified Voices’, a musical production designed to nudge the Latin American Church towards a new and contextual hymnology with a focus on an integral understanding of the Christian mission. Leonardo Alvarez - known as the Chilean Psalmist - is one of the singers and songwriters for this project. We’ve asked him to share a bit of his experience:

'I thank God for having given me this beautiful opportunity to participate in the Unified Voices project. It’s an answer to my dream and desire of contributing through music with strong Latin American roots to the message of Mission. I desire that this effort be a small seed that later becomes a great harvest of many others making music out of their own contexts and responding to the needs around them.'

More details on this project will be announced in the following months.

New website www.integralmission.net

The Micah Network Integral Mission Initiative has launched a new networking website to support the main Micah Network site. www.integralmission.net has been set up to enable Micah Network members and others to share their integral mission-related stories, experiences, materials, and questions. If you visit the site you will find details from across all our regions of

  • Upcoming training and networking events on integral mission
  • Individual organisations working to encourage integral mission
  • Inspiring videos and articles about integral mission
  • Links to further materials

If you become a member of the website you can also

  • Participate in on-line discussions
  • Join a regional group and find out what is happening in different parts of the world to promote integral mission
  • Post your own events, videos or articles on integral mission
  • Network with other members and learn from their experiences


The website can be used in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, thanks to the translation tool on the homepage, and we are really excited that it will enable us to communicate and learn from one another across cultures and languages. We encourage you all to visit the website and to participate, to make the good work God is doing across the world visible to more people.

Resources: Climate Change

CEDRA (Climate change and Environmental Degradation Risk and Adaptation assessment)

Tearfund UK has developed a new climate risk assessment and adaptation tool called CEDRA (Climate change and Environmental Degradation Risk and Adaptation assessment) and they are keen to share the resource with other members of the Micah Network.

In this article we provide some background about CEDRA and details of upcoming training programs. CEDRA was showcased at Micah Network’s Triennial Consultation and Creation Stewardship and Climate Change in July 2009 and received excellent feedback.

Micah Network will be taking a proactive role to help share the CEDRA resources (and hopefully training programs) to interested members.

About CEDRA


CEDRA is an environmental field tool for agencies working in developing countries. It helps agencies working in developing countries to access and understand the science of climate change and environmental degradation and compare this with local community experience of environmental change.

It's essentially a logical guide to finding out what climate change projections there are for your country/ district, reviewing how resilient your programmes of work are (across all sectors), and deciding, in consultation with a sample of communities, how you may need to adjust your programmes to make them more resilient to climate and environmental change. CEDRA is deeply rooted in Biblical teaching on God's care for creations and the responsibility of humans as stewards.

Using CEDRA, civil society organisations can prioritise which environmental hazards may pose a risk to their existing project locations, enabling them to make decisions to adapt some projects, stop doing some projects or start new ones. Adaption options are discussed, and decision-making tools are provided to help organisations plan their responses to the hazards identified. NGOs working in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as well as general development NGOs will find CEDRA useful. CEDRA is designed, ideally, to be used by people who are experienced in planning and managing development projects. This is a tool endorsed by USAID and number of other international aid agencies.

You can access the CEDRA tool from this link: http://tilz.tearfund.org/Topics/Environmental+Sustainability/CEDRA.htm

Positive feedback about CEDRA


CEDRA has received significant praise from DfID, USAID and NGOs around the world and there is significant demand for training in CEDRA.

Partners have said:

'This has come when we are despairing, but with CEDRA we can do something to reverse the trend. Timely.'

'CEDRA fits so well into community development approaches.'

'CEDRA helps to simplify things and helps to check you will reach your set goals.'

'CEDRA is useful and applicable to all sectors. CEDRA is the way forward.'

Initial opportunities for CEDRA training & use


Tearfund UK is keen to hear from agencies who may already have a similar approach or for whom CEDRA training would be useful.

Micah Network is currently developing a proposal to help roll out CEDRA training in Asia, Africa and Latin America (at present we need funds to appoint a project manager to make this happen).

Tearfund is happy to hold it lightly and allow agencies to use it, or re-brand or re-write it as their own.

Upcoming workshops



Workshops will be held in

Nepal

30 Nov to 12 Dec 2009

Haiti

07 to 11 Dec 2009

DR Congo

08 to 12 Feb 2010

Australia

15 to 25 Feb 2010

Bangladesh

23 to 26 Feb 2010

New Zealand

26 to 27 Feb 2010



If you are interested in CEDRA, please contact mpw@tearfund.org or liu@tearfund.org.

Resources: Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed on the 25th of November. This monthly newsletter includes Biblical reflections from the Tamar Campaign and an update from Christian Community Services, Mt Kenya (CCS) about their response to violence against women.

The stories of Sarah (whose house was burnt and her shop looted), Mary (who was hospitalized by her husband’s beating), Martha (who is ‘possessed’ by her husband’s relatives though her husband has disowned her), and Lydia (who was blamed for her husband’s illness), shared during the work of CCS, remind us why the elimination of violence against women is so important.

TAMAR Campaign


In order to resource your own response to violence against women, below are some links to Biblical reflections from the ‘Tamar Campaign’, which aims to:

  • Encourage Churches to openly speak out against abuse and violence
  • Promote Bible studies that are centred on violence against women
  • Sensitise women to the kind of abuse that exists and to propose ways of dealing with this abuse
  • Encourage church ministers to preach against abuse and encourage activism around issues of abuse especially during the Sunday services
  • Create an awareness on the link between gender violence and HIV/AIDS


The July 2004 issue of the World Council of Churches journal ‘Ministerial Formation’ (available at http://www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/documents/p5/Ministerial_formation/mf103.pdf) focused on violence against women. The opening 'Letter from the staff states:
It may be that over the years you have found it extremely challenging to preach or teach on violence related issues, especially on rape, incest, violence and people living with disabilities, physical and/or psychological violence at place of work in the church and in multi-faith contexts then this is the issue of Ministerial Formation to read and keep close to your desk.

In these pages, we hear voices and actions taken to address violence and peace-making in a variety of contexts in the church and society. We hear stories of courage, commitment and determination to make a difference in people’s lives. The issue is also rich with bibliography and endnotes that will hopefully lead you to other important resources.

A report on the ‘Tamar Campaign Seminar – Breaking the Chain of Silence’ (available at http://www.fecclaha.org/uploads/Tamar%20Report.pdf) documents a four day training workshop on the TAMAR Campaign in which contextual bible study is used as a tool to discuss and address concerns in sexual and gender based violence.

Christian Community Services (CCS), Mt Kenya


The following stories of Sarah, Mary, and Martha, shared during the work of CCS, remind us why eliminating violence against women is so important:

Sarah

Sarah is 41 years old. She married when she was 19. Her husband used to work in the government’s Ministry of Agriculture as a Divisional Agriculture Officer. They lived happily as husband and wife in the Mt Kenya Region until when the husband proceeded to further his studies. Sarah's mother–in-law insisted that her son was now an educated man and could no longer live with Sarah, who only had a basic education. The husband did not defend his wife. While he was away, in college, his younger brother attempted to burn her with petrol while she was in her house. The man burnt Sarah's house, but she was rescued by a neighbour.

Sarah was later attacked by her husband's brothers, and was hospitalized for several weeks. While she was in hospital, her shop was broken into by a hired gang. They took everything from the shop. After being discharged from the hospital, Sarah returned to her parents’ home to recover.

Today, Sarah lives with her parents and works as bar attendant at a village shopping centre. This is a job she does not enjoy. She wants to be able to start her own business again. She has two daughters, who are students. The oldest is currently at the university. The children’s fees are paid by Sarah’s relatives, while her husband lives in the city.

Mary

Mary, now 42 years old, was married in 1986 and dropped out of school . She moved from her home to the neighbouring district to live with her husband who was a soldier.

Mary's problems started after the arrival of her second child. Her husband started failing to come home. He also stopped supporting her financially. He would beat her whenever he did come home . Mary would go hungry for days before she started begging from neighbours. In 1999, when Mary was expecting her 4th child, the husband attacked her so brutally that she was hospitalized for a month. After leaving the hospital Mary went back to her parents home with her 4 children. She is currently a peasant farmer and she and her children provide farm labour to earn additional income. Her husband has since re-married.

Martha

Martha, aged 39 years met her husband after she completed primary school. She was 17 years old. She had several miscarriages before she finally bore a child in 1990. But her mother in law rejected her new grandchild and claimed that the child had not been sired by her son. Martha then realized that her husband had a second wife. When she bore a second child, Martha’s husband left home and went to work and live in Nairobi, he did not come often and Martha suffered under her mother in law who even forbid her from tilling the land. After several years of her husband's absence, Martha was driven out of her matrimonial home by her husband's relatives. Martha moved to a neighbouring village where she started a small business. She lives in great fear of her husband's relatives, who claim she is their property as their son had paid dowry for her.

The Work of CCS

The CCS has been holding trainings and meetings with village leaders to train and sensitize people about human rights. We work with the provincial administration (a Kenyan government structure) to set up committees. The community reports cases of violence against women and children to them. These committees will report cases to a chief, who then orders the arrest and aligning in district courts of those perpetuating the violence. Before we can get to this level, CCS needs to hold several meetings and campaigns with the communities.

The CCS in Mt. Kenya is positioned to serve over 2.5 Million people. We are only able to reach 250,000 in a year, at most. We have begun by working in our own parishes. Now we are working with other Churches to increase our coverage. We are trying to start a community radio programme, where we can carry out public education with a wider coverage.

Violence against women is criminalized, but few community members know this, it is assumed that once a man's family has paid a bride price/dowry, they own the women. Therefore "disciplining" her is their right. We support women facing violence by mobilizing community members through the local Churches. Christians pool resources to: provide temporally shelter, provide transport for a woman to return to her parents home, get a lawyer to help in getting justice, get medical care and even help a woman to settle in a different area. We are just scratching the surface but we have been blessed as the government has in the last 5 years started to train police officers to handle gender violence victims. We now also have female Chiefs and assistant chiefs. We also have some members of parliament that have spoken openly against wife beating - this helps in reducing incidences in their constituencies.

Please remember to pray for CCS

The story of Lydia

Lydia was married in 1994. She had been married for 5 years when her husband fell so ill that he was in and out of hospital for two years. During this time, Lydia struggled to support her husband’s hospital bills and also raise her three children. She did this all alone since her relationship with her in-laws had grown very cold. Her relationship with her in-laws became more strained resulting to physical fights. This fights left her injured, devastated and helpless since no one stood by her in the family. Her parent’s in-law accused her of being the cause of their son’s ailment.

In 1998, when her husband passed away they forcefully evicted her out of her matrimonial home. They pulled down her house and threw her belongings by the roadside. She took a step to report the matter to the local administration through the advice of community and church leaders. This made Lydia’s in– laws soften towards her but they were determined never to let her back to what she had called home for five years.These events caused a lot of stress to Lydia and her children. Her children dropped out of school for a year. Lydia contemplated committing suicide. She approached a community based volunteer working in the area and told her of the agony she was going through. The volunteer introduced her to the Christian Community Services. When her case was presented to local provincial administration, her in-laws were summoned to the Chief’s office. After several meetings, Lydia was given a quarter acre piece of land at her matrimonial home. She then organized a fund raiser through community support that raised Kshs. 4,000. She started buying building materials. The CCS mobilized the Christians and Kshs 5,000 more was raised which was used for buying iron sheets. A CCS board member contributed 3,000 more. Community volunteers came together and provided labour for building the house, the house was completed and occupied in less than a month.

Lydia has since become a Christian and has been trained to teach Sunday school. She has also joined a village support group for widows that was started by the CCS.

Through community support Lydia now lives a healthy social life and her children are now happily attending school. She earns her living through casual labor employment in the neighboring farms. The community is still amazed at how they all came together to support Lydia.

Resources: World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December. World AIDS Day is a specific opportunity to demonstrate Christian solidarity with all human beings. Here are two worship resources for World AIDS Day.

Advent in a time of AIDS

The following meditation is by Phumzile Zondi-Mabizela, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and a founder of the Tamar Campaign. The Tamar Campaign is also mentioned below in relation to the Elimination of Violence against women. The following meditation is taken from the resource entitled ‘Advent in a Time of AIDS’. The entire advent calendar can be downloaded from http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/keep-the-promise/advent/

Psalm 122

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. (v. 9)

The psalmist paints a wholistic picture of Jerusalem that houses both the praises and the judgement. When we read about the poor widow who gave her last coins in the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44), we realize that the temple was a headquarters of corruption; yet the widow regarded it as God’s dwelling place.

People like me, who are positively living with HIV, have chosen to use their diagnosis as an opportunity to re-evaluate their lives. This has encouraged us to be more grateful each day and to be a living witness. This has amended the sting of HIV and AIDS. The challenge is to choose – as for the psalmist – to look for the good in the midst of all the negativity and the prophecies of doom!

Our loving God, open our eyes. Teach us to claim life where death abounds! Amen.

A Song for World AIDS Day (by Dave Andrews)

Fearful – we're fearful of others
Fearful of contact with people
Unless they're just like us.
Fearful – we're fearful of difference
Fearful of conflict with strangers
Who ain't the same as us.

(But) God's embrace is great.
His amazing grace never fails to save
God's love conquers hate
So don't be afraid.


Fearful – we're fearful of changes
Fearful of fighting, fearful of winning,
Fearful of loss
Fearful – we're fearful of dangers
Fearful of following a leader
Who died on a cross

(But) God's embrace is great.
His amazing grace never fails to save
God's love conquers hate
So don't be afraid.


Listen to the song (MP3 format) and download the lyrics and sheet music for free from http://www.daveandrews.com.au/songs.html#GraceStruggle

Prayer points

We encourage all our members to contribute to the weekly prayer update. Please email any requests for prayer by each Thursday to steve@tear.org.au

Please send your emails with news and information to Sundar Daniel at sundar.daniel@micahnetwork.org

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