News & Blog
Check in for the latest ServeNow news and stories from around the world
In one week alone ServeNow was able to help 500 young and old receive warm winter coverings. People walk miles just to receive a blanket. One elderly lady said, “It’s already getting cold and I have been shivering all the way here. I shall keep myself warm with this blanket on my way back home which is a 40 minute walk from here.”
ServeNow has a unique opportunity again this year to reach 7,000 orphans, refugee families, elderly and lonely people, disabled children and adults, Roma/Gypsy people and others in need through Christmas gifts! A small team from the US will be traveling again this holiday season to Ukraine to give out hundreds of those gifts all over the country.
For the pastors and churches we serve, that Christian literature is food to their soul. For the people being served by the meeting of physical needs or through programs (such as warm winter coverings, food, clean water, mosquito nets, medicine, skill-training etc) it is seen as tangible expressions of God’s goodness and love. These “good deeds” and programs bring hope, one of the greatest human needs of all. They touch the heart in a permanent and life-transforming way, not just the body in a temporary, physical way. They open doors for the Good News to be shared and received. They result in church growth, spiritual growth and strengthening of pastors and their ministries.
There are almost two million refugees (or “internally displaced people”) in Ukraine because of the war in the east and Russian occupation of Crimea. All of them face difficulties in finding a place to live, separating from relatives and changing friends. But the biggest challenge is to find a job. From personal experience, I can say that having a long-time job gives you confidence and takes away some fear. One of best way to help refugees is to teach them some skills and provide a job. This would truly be a long-term solution and will help their whole families as well.
Where we might sometimes see only a “program” “facility” “training” or “sewing machine”; these “things” mean something much deeper to those on the receiving end. It means hope. It means confidence. It means a future. It communicates the love of God in a way that truly opens hearts and meets the deeper more “intangible” human needs.
“We were hesitant to enter the camp as we thought it was only for Christians, but we now know that it was for the people from all communities and religions. We are very grateful to ServeNow for providing us with medicine and medical attention. They were a Godsend. Our health has been deteriorating due to the diseases spread through stagnant water and also the unavailability of food, supplies and medicine.”
This fall, two more classes of thirty young women each, are due to start. The first is in a slum with the highest rate of prostitution. This is a new center that ServeNow will begin operating, aimed especially for those who think prostitution is their only means of survival, but also others at risk of human-trafficking. The other, is a six-month program set to take place in a remote village where many young women are at risk of being lured away by the fake promises of traffickers.
Please remember the flood victims from Bihar and Assam in your prayer as thousands of people are still counting on us to do the medical camps in their flood affected areas. We have to go back to them fast and we also need to start working on getting winter coverings blankets for thousands of families as they have lost everything. Starting next month, with their weak bodies, they will be left to fight the biting cold. Apart from medical camps which is immediate need, the long term help would be the warm blankets to save them from winter.
ServeNow exists to holistically serve people in need in a way that produces life-transformation. Every project and effort is accomplished in, with and through local churches and national leaders/staff in each country of operation. We seek to come alongside those with the passion, compassion, vision and burden to see believers strengthened in their faith and communities reached out to in practical ways that communicates the reality of God’s love in Jesus Christ and breaks down barriers.
Therefore, we wanted to let you know of this situation and that we are ready to respond with needed relief items such as food packets, medical clinics, water, temporary tent shelters, and then winter coverings. This winter is projected to be the coldest in many years. With millions losing their homes, this will become an even greater need very shortly and a tremendous blessing to those we can serve.
ServeNow’s partner in Uganda, Pastor Moses, recently held a seminar for over 70 pastors. ServeNow had also been able to donate 24 bicycles to pastors in this district. The pastors were grateful for the means of transport as they all didn’t have any means of transport. The majority used to walk 14 miles to and from their ministries. This used to consume a lot of time as they would literally spend over 6 hours on the road. Up until now, many pastors were hindered to effectively conduct ministry due to no means of transportation.
This truly is something God has done for them, because for six years they had been praying specifically for a bakery, in order to learn baking skills as a way to sell to others and for their future husbands/family. It is that story that I would like to share with you, because this project truly is God’s Bakery.
As we have given tangible expressions of God’s love by meeting basic needs such as clothing and toiletries to people being held and possibly deported, we have had many opportunities to share the Gospel and shine His light into much darkness and despair.
Sofia is raised along with her siblings, by her mother. From the moment when the war broke out in Donetsk, the family came to the free territory of Ukraine. But the plan to start a new life failed. They came back and continue to live in occupied Donetsk. The shelling continues in the city and people live without confidence in the future. Sofia saw the shelling of residential quarters and came under fire when she was in the hospital. She saw the death of children and adults. Sofia liked the fact that there is peace and no shooting in the camp. She really liked nature and it was her first time in the Carpathians. She liked to weave bracelets and is doing it everywhere now! The camp gave her peace and quiet and the sense of security.
It is so inspiring and encouraging to read the stories that continually come forth literally every week from the ServeNow world! From people coming to faith in Jesus Christ, to those at risk of human trafficking being provided a skill and generating income, to summer camps for orphans, refugee, disabled and disadvantaged children, to Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs yielding tremendous fruit, to much more…God is at work! Enjoy these handful of stories that showcase that impact by clicking here: Summer Highlight Stories 2017.
Marina, 11 years old: This family has four children. Their father killed their mother. But the father was not imprisoned or deprived of parental rights; he was admitted as beyond of the scope of justice. The father misuses alcohol, he doesn’t look after himself or the children. The older brother takes care of the kids. He dresses them. The children rarely visit their home; there is dirt, and nothing to eat. They always return with lice to the orphanage. For the first time in her life Marina went hiking and climbed to the top of the mountain. She did not want to go home at all.
“In 2016 my friends asked me to attend a church but I kept putting it off. However, one fine day they persuaded me, so I came to church and I received the booklet about The Basic Things you Need to Know About Salvation. The book design and the word Salvation attracted me to read it. So, after going home I started reading the book and I was convinced by the Holy Spirit to confess my sins and I realized that I need salvation and it can happen through Christ Jesus! Immediately I went to the pastor and said that I accepted Jesus and I want to be baptized, so the Pastor baptized me. Now I am regularly attending church and helping in the ministry. Thank you for distributing the Basic Series and helping me to know who the real God is.”
Sasha is 10 years old. Five years ago her father died. At one of the evening services at camp it was said that Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father. On that day during the service she was crying because she remembered her father who is in heaven. Sasha was thrilled because while she does not have an earthly dad, she could have a spiritual Dad.
“An older man told me how he, for years, had kept and treasured an old bible written in Oromo. He used it very carefully because he didn’t know if he would ever be able to get another copy. He passed it on to his son, who recently passed it to his son. The grandfather in this family was overjoyed when they each received a copy of the Word of God!”
‘It was not easy for me to learn the tailoring skills as I had very low self-esteem but you always encouraged me, prayed for me and guided me to complete the training. Thank you so much for your investment in my life to make me skillful which enables me to save my expenses on sewing the clothes. I have started to sew clothes for my family. They are very happy as I repair our torn clothes. Now I even have confidence to use this skill as an income source for my career.”
Mohan is just 7 years old and lives in a temporary shed with his family right next to a dumping ground infested with mosquitoes, flies and stray dogs. His father is the only earning member in the family who struggles to meet the needs of his family. He would have never been able to afford to send him to a tuition center or VBS program on his own! Mohan says “I like the Bible stories and memory verses. I came to know that God loves me and what God has given me. I love to come to VBS and learn stories and memory verses. I thank you all for giving me booklet.”
We traveled 30 kilometres (to & from) daily to attend the VBS. But it was worth traveling, or else I would have not received the blessings I got from this camp. Besides learning beautiful Bible stories from the classes and doing nice activities and crafts, I gave my heart to Jesus and decided to follow Him. Though I knew the song ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ this time I sang it meaningfully. The finger craft taught me about how to read the Bible and how to pray every day.
We are so grateful to our faithful partners who have already made possible the funding of three camps. However, there is a wonderful possibility of a fourth camp towards the end of July for another 50 children if we can secure funding very quickly. This would be a six day camp for children 8-12 years old. They would be children from the war zone, refugee children and kids from poor and needy families surrounding the main local church that has this vision and camp dream.
One of the children, Rasmila said, “It was very hard for me to get the satisfactory grades on the exams and I was hardly promoted to the next grade. But since I have been attending the Lighthouse center, I am very excited to see the good marks on the exams. While seeing the result, my family and school teachers were amazed! I love to come here every day as this center has become a blessing for me & my friends in many ways. I would even like to come 7 days a week. While seeing the improvement in my study, I want to be a Teacher in future.”
We visited Mallaiah, one of the village elders. He and his wife were sick and bed ridden. They were overjoyed when the doctor visited them at his doorstep. He told us, “I have been suffering with a lot of health problems and cannot afford the money for treatment in the city. Thank you ServeNow for providing free medicine right at my bedside, even though I could not walk up to the camp venue.”
Meena, a 24 year old married woman, who stays in slums, shares that she lives in a joint family of 9 members. She and her husband work as a garbage collectors. Sometimes they work as daily laborers. Every day they work very hard to meet expenses, Meena shares “I am very happy for the ServeNow water program. We used to have a water problem, we are used drinking dirty water, now we are able to get clean drinking water.”
“I came for the first time to this camp with one of my friends. I do not know who Jesus is but after attending the VBS classes I came to know that Jesus is God and He forgives every small and big mistakes. I am very happy to learn about Jesus and I learned many action songs. Thank you for allowing me to attend the camp.”
‘I was in great need of such a training but didn’t have the ability due to several reasons. We were very unskilled women, in fact, we didn’t even know to use a needle! But now we are very happy to wear the dress which we sewed by ourselves for this graduation ceremony. We are now very confident to run our own tailoring shops to generate income to maintain our family. Now we do not need to be dependent as we have skill and a sewing machine. We are so thankful to ServeNow Nepal for providing us such a valued training, sewing machine and creating awareness against human trafficking. We are committed to work as a community watchdog for our own community, thank you for opening our eyes and saving our precious lives from being lured by the traffickers.’
ServeNow’s Water for Life project is literally life saving for people who otherwise would not have access to clean drinking water during the hottest months. For example, a widow with three young children, Padma tries to provide just enough for her family of four – and there are times when the family has to do without a meal. Every day after work, Padma was forced to fetch water for the family from a nearby pond which has been gradually drying up over the past two of years and already contaminated. Being a poor family they couldn’t afford to buy clean drinking water. ServeNow’s Water for Life was a lifesaver for Padma. “Now I don’t have to worry about my children’s health deteriorate due to contaminated water,” she says.
“My relatives used to keep my plate and glass separate from the other household utensils and I was made to sleep in a cold corner of the house just because I had HIV. Sleeping alone used to scare me and I wished my parents were around me. I love to stay here at the Lighthouse center, I have found myself a home and a bigger family. I sleep in my own bed with other girls / sisters in the room and my plates are not kept separate in the kitchen. I feel like a normal girl here.”
Check out this article that a team member who went on a trip with ServeNow to Ukraine recently wrote up about her experience: Humbled by a Mighty God. Also, why not go and experience a trip for yourself? As Gandalf once said to a uncertain Hobbit in the classic novel (and perhaps Jesus is saying to you!): “I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone…you’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back..the world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there…” ServeNow Mission Trips.
In Kankanda, through reading and studying this book, seven members confessed Christ as their Lord and Savior having spent several years in church but without confessing. In Kyabasiita, an unbeliever saw the pastor with these books and requested for a copy. He was given this particular one about salvation and through it, he accepted Christ and now is a church member.
In Uganda, poverty is the most critical and serious problem. Children are deprived of basic needs like food, shelter, education and medical. Poverty remains firmly entrenched in the country’s rural areas. About 40 percent of all rural people still live in abject poverty. Most of these rural people are illiterate. They get their meager resources from small scale farming yet with the prolonged dry seasons, without irrigation facilities, it remains a very big challenge.
Sometimes there are things in the Bible that one can find difficult to understand without someone’s help. These series are perfect supplements for a Bible study which helps believers understand the teachings of the Holy Bible. The availability of these materials in different languages make these booklets even more impactful.
I do not remember my parents. I was left at a children’s hospital when quite small. I grew up in an orphanage, then studied at another orphanage till 8th grade, and then moved to the next one. There I began to desire to bake. But it was only desire: we all graduated with being diagnosed as “mentally retarded.” That stigma prevents future education for us and to even generally be accepted as a valuable part of society. But after graduation I moved to Uzhgorod and heard that there is a bakery project at the local church. I immediately went and asked them to give me the opportunity to learn. And my wish was fulfilled and I am very happy! Thank you all for not being indifferent to my fate.
ServeNow operates several “Lighthouse Centers” in India and Nepal. These centers are for children with HIV or street children who cannot afford an education and who are on their own all day while their parents work menial jobs and long hours. Others are for children in some of the worst slums who are in need of love, care and special attention
Imagine having 30 minutes to gather whatever earthly possessions you can fit in a small box and then you and your children having to squeeze into a van, meant to carry 15 people, with 40 other people. As you speed out of the war zone you wonder what will I do? Will I ever be able to return to my home and if so will that home still be there?
While biblical teaching flourishes in the US, with more resources than we know what to do with, it is the opposite for many pastors around the world. Sometimes they are the only ones that even possess a Bible. In most cases, they themselves lack any biblical teaching, training or systematic Bible study, let alone their congregation.
Among those affected by this tribal war was Pastor George and his family. He was attacked one night; four of his children were killed instantly, his wife and one-year-old baby were hit with pangas (bladed African tools like machetes) and were left unconscious. Murderers thought that they had killed them too. Thank God they didn’t die, but they were badly wounded. The wife is still in much pain and in need of medical attention.
When Ben Foley asked me to write about what drew me to ServeNow, I blanked at first. Truly, what drew me to ServeNow? Was it the people that I could help? Or was it the diversity of the people their help benefited? In all honesty, it is the fact that working with ServeNow helps me to take the focus off of myself and put it on someone else; someone who may not have a voice strong enough to help themselves.
We are excited to share the third issue of the ServeNow Gazette, filled with stories from the past several months of how lives are being impacted! Read about how a summer camp in Ukraine resulted in a girl now attending church regularly, how thousands more people are being impacted by God’s Word through the addition of a new division of ServeNow, the difference water, medical camps, bicycles, mosquito nets, school buildings and more are making in hundreds of others lives! Check it out here: ServeNow Gazette 3rd addition.
My child has been suffering from the flu for some days now, but I have not been able to visit the doctor, because I would have to travel about 50 miles to see a good doctor. This medical camp that ServeNow is hosting is exactly what I needed! I am very glad for the free treatment and medicines for my child. Thank you!
Julia, 37 years old: I have a child with special needs. He is not accepted in kindergarten or any school. So I’m staying home with him. I always have to be home. I do not know how to operate a computer at all, although it is now difficult to imagine. I really want to make money and be helpful to my family. I want to open a business. I want to grow as an individual, I want to improve my literacy. So I’m glad for this opportunity. Thank you for the chance!
*Sammy and his wife are attending Word for the World Fellowship. Sammy is very impressed by The Basic Series booklets. He said that he used to feel awkward and shy to serve people and to work for them. He also had a proud heart. Yet, after reading The Basic Things You Need to Know About Jesus, he realized that the King of Kings himself came to serve and not to be served. So, now he has a serving heart, and he helps others without feeling awkward.
One of the participants of the project said: Thanks to this project I have a new desire to live and an interest in life back again. I am an old woman, my children and grandchildren are all grown up, but I still want to live a full life and be useful to others. This training helps me a lot; I will use this knowledge to help others.
Many pastors, especially in more remote/poor villages, walk miles every week due to having no means of transportation. They cannot afford even a bicycle, let alone a motorcycle, car or truck. Some of these faithful pastors actually serve more than one congregation or are out visiting the sick, or sharing the Gospel with other villages. Their feet are blistered and dirty, but Romans 15:10 is certainly true of them: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
She says: The lessons at the bakery gave me confidence. I learned so many new things to bake, and I especially like to make croissants and biscuits. I will continue to help in the bakery as much as possible.
Every day, 23,000 people die in India; 6,000 of them died due to lack of proper medical attention and the lack of medical facilities. According to the latest statistics, there is only one doctor for every 1,700 Indians. India is a nation of 1.3 billion people, and 70% of the population live in rural areas with inadequate or no medical programs. Sadly, this results in people dying from diseases which could easily have been cured with basic medication.
We thank God for the opportunity we had to host 3 camps this summer. We were able to minister to 218 children in need; including 49 orphans, 52 children from large, poor families, 22 children from dysfunctional families (often with a single mom), 34 refugee children, 25 disabled children, 8 children whose parents are fighting in the war in Eastern Ukraine or who died during the war.
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