Our world can appear to be full of hopeless situations - we only need to read a paper or watch the news to see political, economic, cultural and racial situations. These can often prevent us from loving our neighbours.
Jesus in his earthly ministry repeatedly offered the Hand of Hope crossing the borders society had erected. He showed compassion to a despised Samaritan woman and ate with Zacheus, a hated tax collector and representative of Roman domination
Everywhere Jesus went there were poor people, prostitutes, heretics, diseased and unclean people - he loved them all and saw in them the image of god.
Hands of Hope seeks to follow Jesus by building relationships with some of the poorest communities in the world, initially but not exclusively in Haiti.
Our mission is to create partnerships with groups in Haiti to heal, educate and enrich the lives of the people of Haiti out of devotion to Christ by fostering, sharing and understanding across cultural and economic borders. We do this to make real the reconciliation and liberation that Christ proclaimed for our world.
Hands of Hope focuses on helping families overcome the division created by the growing economic disparity in our world.
The wealth created this decade through economic growth and globalisation has not been shared equally. The global gap between rich and poor continues to grow more extreme. Today the poorest fifth of the world's population possesses less than 1% of the world's wealth, while the wealthiest fifth owns more than 86&. Over 800 million people are chronically hungry while the greatest threat to the health of the world's most privileged is chronic overeating.
This growing disparity is unsustainable. It is those who are at the extremes of the world's economic continuum, the wealthiest and the poorest, who are by far the most destructive to the world's environment. Also, the concentration of wealth breeds resentment and imperils peace at the national and international levels. Beyond being unsustainable, this disparity is simply unjust.
Jesus indentified with the poor, lifted up the poor, and brought good news to the poor. Jesus warned the wealthy that their riches imperilled their souls. How should privileged people who claim to follow Jesus respond to poor people who live on the other side of the economic gap? We feel that the very least we can do is offer them Hands of Hope.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Its has been plagued by political unrest for most of its history and natural disasters frequently sweep the nation. Situated in the middle of the hurricane belt, Haiti is subject to regular and severe storms from June to October each year. The country also suffers from occasional flooding, earthquakes, and periodic droughts.