Attika has been to hell and back. Many of you know her story: her village was destroyed in conflict between Muslims and Christians in 1999; she lived for years as a refugee before returning to a community shattered by suspicion, resentment and economic ruin.
Last year, Attika (pictured above) painstakingly built a new home with $5 weekly savings from a small business our partners helped her establish. A few months later it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes. She lives today in its shell with her daughter, waiting for the chance to rebuild. Due to begin re-construction with a team of Muslim and Christian builders funded by UnitingWorld, the work is now on hold as Ambon goes into lockdown to deal with the global threat of COVID-19.
It’s hard to predict how many of us would react to such a prolonged season of suffering. And yet here’s where this story has a new and delightful twist: Attika has become our church partner’s newest Emergency Team volunteer. Connecting with the Protestant Church in Maluku through livelihood training among a group of Christian and Muslim women, Attika is now a vital part of the volunteer effort. Together, the team deliver food, clean water and emergency supplies to those hardest hit by last year’s earthquakes on the island and check in on people isolated by COVID-19.
“I could never have believed something like this would happen to my home,” Attika told us. “I am so, so sad to see it. But working with the team at Sagu Salempeng Foundation (our church partner organisation) helps me forget my pain and makes me so happy! I have found something to keep me strong.”
N.T. Wright famously said: “Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project, not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonise earth with the life of heaven.”
Surely Attika’s experience of finding new life in service to others is what he had in mind: absolute dedication to each other in the midst of suffering; the ability to love beyond boundaries; the promise of redemption.
Attika refuses to give in to despair, and nor does she long for release. For her, there’s heaven to be found here and now, among the living. This is the reality of resurrection life.
Thank you to all who’ve been part of Lent Event this year. Your gifts are very much needed to continue this vital project, building peace while giving people the chance to increase their incomes and overcome poverty.
Help us continue this vital work with our international partners.
YOUR 2019 LENT EVENT GIFTS IN ACTION!
Our staff have just returned from critical training sessions with IPTL, our partner in Timor-Leste.
They’re delighted to report that more than 17 teachers took part in new training to implement strategies that protect children against violence, including verbal abuse. As a result:
- Attendance in Sunday School is up among children and their parents
- Education and awareness among community leaders is increasing
- Seven focal point workers to keep child protection on the agenda have been newly appointed.
Cycles of poverty and violence are deeply entrenched within Timor-Leste, and you’re playing a critical role in shaping the future for a whole new generation.