widows | World Challenge

widows

Seeing Blessings in Guatemala

Rachel Chimits
May 28, 2019

World Challenge partners help widows in Latin America receive back their sight. 

Rosa feels along the brick wall of her kitchen. Only the size of a living room in many Americans’ houses, her home is simple and clean. At least, she hopes it’s clean. She’s swept like always, bumping the broom between the table and chairs’ legs.

Something clatters cross the floor, and she pauses, trying to squint through grainy gloom at whatever’s fallen.

She squats and extends her hands, feeling lumps and realizes they are the plantains she purchased in the market yesterday.

Mercy in the Slum

Rachel Chimits
May 29, 2019

In Kenya’s grittiest and most impoverished sector, God is bringing incredible change to people’s hearts and lives.

As the sun rises on the eastern part of Kenya’s capital, it brings to light one of the world largest slums: Mathare.

The third largest in Africa, this slum is home to some 500,000 people scraping together a living in grinding poverty.

Despite an initiative by Kenya’s government to provide the slums with better sanitation, a single toilet in Mathare may be shared by as few as 70 people or as many as several hundred. Hygiene is an issue, to say the least.

Darkness on Peru’s Emerald Mountains

Rachel Chimits
May 24, 2019

Major challenges are facing the church in Peru as they look for ways to serve their society’s most vulnerable. 

This spring, Director of Mercy Ministries Mark Buzzetta traveled to Cusco, Peru to connect with a local church doing great work caring for widows.

The trip was eye-opening to Peru’s great natural beauty and local struggles, coming almost as often from floods of global tourists to their region as well as stifling animist traditions.

A Booming Economy Downside

The Chicago Tribune pointed out the sad state of Peru’s massive tourist attraction, Machu Picchu, and by connection, Cusco.

The Wives of ISIS

Kelly Wilkerson
July 12, 2019

Syria is now the questionable home to mothers and children who are either forgotten, ignored or condemned.

“There’s only one exit,” our guide tells us at the place where we’re staying. “If you need to evacuate, don’t turn left outside. That part of the street belongs to Assad.”

We landed in Qatar less than 24 hours before and were warned not to eat in public or carry water bottles, despite the air’s parching dryness. The entire land is in the grip of Ramadan, one of Islam’s most important religious observances.

Looking down at the bustling, dusty road, it’s hard to imagine pieces of this city belonging to a subset of al-Qaeda, one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups

Kenyan Widow Finding Freedom

Rachel Chimits
May 7, 2019

One woman refused to allow tradition to separate her and her grandchildren, and God made a way for them.

A woman in Kenya who has just lost her husband is immediately faced with a terrible choice: To be “cleansed” or not.

A widow in Kenya is generally considered to be at best cursed and at worst a witch. “Cleansing” supposedly frees them from evil magic, or at least from their neighbors’ suspicion and vitriol.

This process can range anywhere from being forced to sleep beside their husband’s dead body for three days all the way to being forced to have sex with a strange man and having their clothes burned.

The Widows of Guatemala

Rachel Chimits
April 18, 2019

Those who have lost loved ones need extra compassion, and sometimes that love can take very practical forms.

In the United States, there are nearly 14 million widows and widowers, and over 11 million of these are women.

Beatrice Schwartz, a healthcare professional and widow, commented to The Guardian, “The world is not sympathetic to what you’re going through. They don’t give you any time to grieve properly.”

Guardian writer Carla Stockton points out, “The moment a woman is at her most vulnerable, she must make choices that will have an enduring impact on her wellbeing.” Piles of paperwork and legal action face a new widow to make sure assets are taken care of or properly put in her name.

Building for Burundi’s Mothers

Rachel Chimits
April 23, 2019

A group of churches in Bujumbura are working to help widowed women achieve economic independence and a new life in Christ.

The Baptist Union of Churches was founded in 1928 and is the oldest evangelic and one of the most respected groups in Burundi. 

In 1972, during a surge of tribal conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi, churches’ pastors were either killed or fled the country. Despite the terrible devastation, the church has recovered. 

Today, there are 97 main churches and 147 satellite churches across the country with about 75,000 members. The fallout of Burundi’s civil war has led to a widespread struggle with poverty for many of the country’s people, so the church has set up programs to help many of the local widows. 

Secret Muslim to Freed Christian

Rachel Chimits
April 4, 2019

After growing up Muslim under Albania’s Communist government, a widow found spiritual and economic freedom in Christ.

In 1953, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached a sermon where he stated, “…the methods of communism are diametrically opposed to Christianity.”

That same year Stalin died, and the Soviet Union’s hold on many of its Eastern European holdings, including Albania, began to slip. However, it would not be until 1990 that communism would collapse in Albania, and its isolationist policies and rigid anti-religion laws would be abolished. 

Even today, the long wake of communism’s devastation is still being felt by many people in Albania’s rural towns and villages. 

A Village Much Like Many Others

Ibë is a small village about 12 miles south of Albania’s capital. 

Uganda’s Steadfast Mother

Rachel Chimits
March 8, 2019

After twelve years of suffering, one women's life was redeemed and renovated by God, and she became a community leader.

The Second Congo War was one of the deadliest conflicts worldwide since World War II, and its impact has rippled through Africa long after its official end in 2003.

Although the war was technically centered around the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many other east African countries felt the shock waves in the forms of desperate famine and economic depression, including Uganda.

Unseen in the Middle East

Rachel Chimits
March 19, 2019

God is reaching out and caring for those who are considered a burden by their society.

You are driving down a rural backroad in the Middle East. To pass through a check-point on the road, you must have cigarettes and spare change.

The soldiers are friendly, smiling and waving through the car windows. They’ll accept the cigarettes and coins as ‘gifts’ and not ask too many questions as you drive through, especially if your car has a license plate from the right countries. 

In town there are no sidewalks, no traffic signs, no lanes or parking rules. A faded yellow cab barrels down your side of the road as the driver lays on the horn and swerves around a donkey-drawn cart. Children dart between the cars like dragonflies.