The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
Last month our youngest grandchild reached a goal that many children never attain, he turned six! According to Beyond 5, part of World Vision, a Christian aid and development ministry, 16000-17000 children die from preventable causes each day before their fifth birthday, almost 6 million in 2015.
The fact of so many deaths is in itself disturbing, but that the causes of these deaths are preventable is even more so. Inadequate nutrition, unclean water, preventable diseases such as malaria and diarrhea, and lack of proper health and nutrition for mothers are the main causes.
Most of us live where these problems are largely unknown. It is hard for us to imagine that for many of the poorest in our world these conditions are a daily reality. That this is indeed a peace and justice issue should be obvious; this is not shalom – things as they ought to be; nor is it justice – having what is needed.
Adam Taylor, vice-president for advocacy for World Vision reminds us that caring for those in need, including mothers and children in poverty, is a social justice issue and one that is foundational to our Christian faith and practice.
The Bible makes social justice a mandate of faith and a fundamental expression of Christian discipleship. Social justice has its biblical roots in a triune God who time and time again shows His love and compassion for the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the disinherited. http://beyond5.org/2013/02/11/good-and-justice/
Eliminating the causes of so many deaths is not all that difficult: providing bed nets to prevent malaria, childhood immunizations, helping people develop sources of clean water and teaching about proper hygiene are some of the ways that aid workers can literally save lives.
Christians and other peacemakers can be a part of the solution by giving to programs such as World Vision’s Beyond 5 to provide needed resources. Those who are inclined to advocacy can contact congressmen and senators and ask them to support the bi-partisan “Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015.”
The U.S. has an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate its leadership and fulfill its promise to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths within a generation. Congress can help by bringing this bold new initiative forward. http://beyond5.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/MNCH-Bill-Leave-Behind-FINAL2.pdf
In this season of political activism, Christians can come together to support this bi-partisan legislation which recognizes the ability and the responsibility of our wealthy nation to truly make a difference in saving lives. If we are in any sense a “Christian nation,” then it is our mandate to support efforts such as this as well as the efforts of Christian agencies such as World Vision.
To learn more about the problem and what you can do check out these links:
- Beyond 5 – About: http://beyond5.org/about/
- Beyond 5 – Learn: Information on the problems, solutions, and success stories: http://beyond5.org/learn_sections/
- Beyond 5 – Learn: The Solutions: http://beyond5.org/2013/02/14/the-solutions/
- Reach Every Child and Mother Act of 2015: http://beyond5.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/MNCH-Bill-Leave-Behind-FINAL2.pdf