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From the Executive Director of Week of Compassion, Rev. Vy T. Nguyen:

There is something sacred about investing in the future.  Working toward a better future is an act of faith in and of itself.  Whether we invest time, energy, or resources, we give a part of ourselves to a future time that we can’t yet see, trusting that God will bring about good things in a new and unknown season.  Even more sacred is an investment in the future of our children .  Across time and space, and across the many cultures and places that I am privileged to visit in my work with Week of Compassion, people share this in common.  Everywhere I go, families and communities are thinking about what is best for their children and what investments of time, talent, and treasure right now will build the best world for them tomorrow.

Sometimes it is hard for families to dream of a hopeful future.  In many of the places where we serve, families have been hurt, separated, or displaced.  Their community or government might not have the infrastructure or resources to help them recover, or they might not have the possibility of education for their children.  They might not have access to safe water, adequate food, or medical care.  With so many challenges, it takes everything just to survive the day, much less dream of a future.

So we dream about the future – for our own children, and for theirs.  We dream of a future where all are empowered to thrive; where every child has what they need to grow and reach their potential.  We dream of a world where everyone can be safe and healthy, sharing the gifts God has given them.  More than twenty years ago, a group of young men were living in a refugee camp in southern Mexico.  Their families were preparing to return to their home village in Guatemala, and these buys had the opportunity to go to school in Guatemala City.  With support from WOC, they completed high school, and then university.

From the beginning, these young men made a commitment to give back, using their education not only to make a living but also to improve conditions for others.  Now, more than twenty years later, some work as human right attorneys; some provide agronomy services; and some are teachers.  They serve in leadership roles in their village of Santa Maria Tzeja, where one of them is even in local government.  Recently, a group from Central Christian Church in Indianapolis traveled to Guatemala for a visit.  Pastor Linda McCrae says, “I wish all Disciples could see the impact that these scholarships have made.  One of the men, Emiliano, is the oldest of five children.  When he finished his studies and began to work, he paid for the education of the next oldest brother.  They continued that practice until all five had completed college.  In addition to supporting their siblings, this group of former students has contributed about $5000 to educate eight other young people in the community who are not related to them.”

Through your support to Week of Compassion, 50 members of this community are now going to college – more than two decades later.  As one of the men told the recent visiting Disciples: “We are the fruit of the sacrifices that you have made.” We plant, and we water.  But God gives the growth…Giving to this ministry and planting seeds of a blessed future is a sacred act; and the land that we water together is holy ground.  Thank you for participating in this year’s special offering.  Your partnership, throughout the year, makes a big difference throughout the world. On behalf of Week of Compassion’s board and staff, thank you for your compassion and care for the least of these. With much gratitude, Vy.

See you Sunday,

Gary