Ever feel discouraged or powerless when you read the news headlines of suffering around the world? Wars. Famines. Families Torn Apart. You might not know it, but YOU are hard at work bringing hope to those who suffer. YOU are sharing the Gospel to people who haven’t heard it yet. YOU are feeding hungry children. YOU are providing disaster relief to countries who have been devastated. And these are thank you cards from all over the world to prove it.
We say at Westwood that we receive from God with open hands, believing he wants to give us a lot, and with open hands we give it away, knowing we cannot out-give God. The Outreach and Missions Ministry carries that out through partnering with local and global organizations to meet the needs of vulnerable people. Yes, we give tangible things like money and food and clothes, but most important is the mission behind it, to give hope– life transforming hope found in Jesus.
Over the last five years, Westwood has partnered with a Non-Governmental Organization and a church in Atlanta to bring a new cash crop called Pyrethrum to the Misuku Hills of northern Malawi. Subsistence farmers who live in this rugged and desperately poor mountainous district have little income. Growing and harvesting Pyrethrum is a long-term, sustainable, cash-generating solution for these farmers. And with that cash they can afford a roof for their home that does not leak, healthy food for their families, and an education for their children. It all started with a Westwood member wondering if this crop could flourish in northern Malawi. In time, Westwood’s impact will increase not only the overall Gross Domestic Product of this area, but the spiritual impact will be profound as well.
The Uyghurs in China
In the last six months, stories have emerged from international news sources of the merciless imprisonment and political and spiritual re-education of the Muslim people group in northwestern China called the Uyghurs. But did you know Westwood has already been working with this people group for more than 14 years, making numerous trips to Xinjiang Provence in northwestern China? Some of the trips have been covert – to reach the Uyghurs with the love of Christ. Within the last year, Westwood’s own missionaries have faced serious detention and expulsion from China, but not before leaving a lasting spiritual impact on the Uyghur people.
Syria has been devastated by seven years of civil war, terrorist infiltration and proxy wars. Surrounding countries have absorbed many Syrians fleeing their country. In one of these nearby countries, Westwood has funded a medical and dental clinic focused on helping refugees, sent medical and dental teams to provide aid and provided a traveling dental unit to add to the clinic’s portfolio of services so they can reach out into the community where the need is.
Other Outreach in Africa:
- Westwood funds Christian elementary and secondary schools in the middle of the Kinyago Dandora slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
- We are providing women’s hygiene products for the most vulnerable in Malawi.
- Team World Vision runs marathons to raise money to pay for water wells to be drilled in Africa, so villagers can have clean, safe water near their home.
- The Annual Food Pack event allows us to pack almost 300,000 meals a year to be sent to the most famished places of the world.
HSM served a church and orphanage in Haiti.
We are reaching out to the most vulnerable in Moldova and Albania. The European Ministry Team is beginning to help with church planting in Sweden.
But the impact is not just overseas. We are also active within local communities.
The Inner City of Minneapolis
We are partnering with Jesus in the City. Their congregation ministers to Native Americans and other high-risk groups. The gifts that Westwood provided this church from the Hope for the Holidays gift drive were overwhelming. We also supported Cru Inner City, Ace in the City and the poor in the care of St. Nicholas Church in Carver.
Members of the Refugee Team are caring for those who have recently arrived in the United States, teaching them how to drive, open a bank account and learning about how to integrate into the fabric of the United States.
The Biblical Justice Team has worked to stop trafficking in our area as well as overseas. The team went to Washington D.C. to lobby senators and congressmen to vote for pending legislation that would help provide the needed financial resources to help victims.
There is a team that prays for and writes letters to inmates at Shakopee Women’s Prison each week. The letter writers share encouragement to incarcerated women who are longing for hope.
Hope House as a place for teens in crisis to call home and for families to be restored through counseling on the Westwood Chanhassen campus.
The Hope Garden Team plants and grows fruit and vegetables for the Hope House residents and local food banks.
So the next time you feel discouraged by the darkness or brokenness in the world, remember we get to be the Church! We are working together to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people across the street and across the globe.
There are more ways for you to get directly involved in any of these teams. Contact Chaz Nichols, Director of Missions and Outreach for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org