International (MNN) — If helping people in need was an easy task, everyone would do it. Some obstacles and circumstances take longer to overcome, requiring substantial time and resources. It’s a hefty investment, and few are willing to pay.
But high-risk endeavors won’t stop World Concern. Founded in 1955, the organization helps people climb out of extreme poverty and move towards something better.
“World Concern is about transforming lives and communities in some of the most remote and hard-to-reach places in the world,” Senior Communications Director Cathy Herholdt says.
“Places where some other organizations find it too dangerous, too expensive, too hard to get to – those are the places that World Concern feels uniquely called to.”
From humble beginnings as a small ministry sending unused medications overseas, World Concern grew into a missionary “sending” organization. In 1991, it began Mission Network News to rally North American Christians around global missions work.
Today, World Concern extends hope and opportunity through various relief and development projects. “We’re not a short term fix; we’re not a ‘parachute into a disaster and drop off some aid, tell people that God loves them and then leave’ [approach],” Herholdt says.
“We want to be there, present with them in their circumstances, helping them to find solutions.”
Changing lives and communities
Most of World Concern’s work begins by addressing an immediate physical need, Herholdt says, but tangible aid is a small part of this ministry’s process. “It often starts as a humanitarian response [to] a crisis or conflict or disaster. It brings us into a new community,” she explains.
“We’re able to meet those immediate needs, but then [we] walk alongside them long term as they transform their own lives and communities. Through that process, they [experience] the love of Christ.”
See reports here from the 15 countries where World Concern and its partners work alongside communities in need.
“When we go to these communities, families there say, ‘You’re the first ones that have ever come out here this far. Why are you doing this? Why are you here?’ It allows us to share that they’re not forgotten,” Herholdt says.
“God sees them, knows them and knows their needs, and wants them to have an abundant life.”
Whether their location is open to Christianity or resistant, believers share the Gospel in word and deed.
“We don’t often experience opposition from the people that we’re serving. If there’s any opposition it comes from other sources,” Herholdt notes.
Header image depicts Fatima Muhammed, who says of World Concern’s program: “I have been part of a saving’s group for about a year now. I’m so thankful for it because I know when I have an emergency, the money will be there. It gives me peace.” (Photo copyright Christena Dowsett/World Concern)