Take the Advent Challenge!

flipped-advent-challenge-boyDuring Advent we celebrate the amazing gift God gave – Jesus!

This gift changed the world. It is with this same spirit of generosity that we too can make a difference for countless others in our global village this Christmas season. Together we can start an Advent revolution.

Challenge your congregation to do Advent differently.

Each week of Advent: read the stories provided on the back of the PWS&D Advent liturgies, learn more about PWS&D programs, and share the hope, peace, joy and love of Christ’s birth with those in need — at home and around the world.

Image of arrow pointing downAdvent Challenge Flyer 2016

Image of arrow pointing downAdvent Challenge 2016 - Resource

Image of arrow pointing downAdvent Challenge 2016 Instructions - Text Version

Advent 1: Give the Gift of Hope

Fitalle Boru

Read Fitalle’s story, “Food Rations Bring Hope in Ethiopia” found on the back of PWS&D’s first Advent liturgy.

A particularly serious occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon has resulted in very little rainfall in Ethiopia, Malawi and other parts of Africa. Maize crops—a staple food in the area—have failed. It is not only the food security situation that is rapidly deteriorating, but livestock are also suffering, making it so that farmers can’t sell them to earn an income.

In Ethiopia alone, 10 million people are in need of food assistance. But farmers in other parts of the global south are also suffering the effects of a changing climate. Vulnerable rural families are starving.

Take the Advent HOPE Challenge:

As a congregation, take part in the Good Soil campaign. Good Soil is a way to urge the Canadian government to invest in smallholder agriculture. With the right investment, small-scale farmers are equipped to deal with a changing climate, able to improve their food security and nutrition, and produce more to sell.

Give the gift of Food Security:

You can help supply farmers with the necessary tools and training to conserve resources and grow more food.

A gift of $11 trains a farmer in conservation agriculture techniques.

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Advent 2: Give the Gift of Peace

Food vouchers are helping Zakaria and his family rebuild their lives

Read Zakaria’s story, “Compassion in an Uprooted World” found on the back of PWS&D’s second Advent liturgy.

Imagine being forced from your home because of war, only to arrive in a new country where food and water are scare, shelter is unstable and it is nearly impossible to find work. The number of Syrians uprooted from their homes and adjusting to life in a new country is approaching a staggering five million. As the conflict endures, war-weary refugees wait anxiously for peace and the chance to return home.

Take the Advent PEACE Challenge:

PWS&D is challenging you to Be a Peacemaker this Advent season—to pray for peace in Syria and around the world and to lend your financial support so crucial humanitarian assistance can reach those enduring displacement.

Give the Gift of Emergency Relief:

Having enough to eat is not only vital for survival, it is also a significant source of stability and comfort for families taking root in a new country. You can help respond to the needs of refugees by providing much-needed food assistance.

A gift of $140 helps provide a displaced family with an emergency food package lasting one month.

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Advent 3: Give the Gift of Joy

Joy in the promise of new life is something every mother and father deserve.

Read the story “‘The community is happy with this program!’” found on the back of PWS&D’s third Advent liturgy.

Oftentimes in Canada, the news of pregnancy is met with joyful celebration. But in Malawi, where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, pregnant women often experience fear rather than hope. Cultural barriers and a lack of health services prevent women from receiving critical pre and post-natal care. As a result, becoming a mother can pose dangerous health risks.

Take the Advent JOY Challenge:

No matter where they live in the world, joy in the promise of new life is something every mother and father deserve. Challenge your friends, family and members of your congregation to read PWS&D’s Maternal Health in Malawi Study Guide and learn about the challenges women face and what PWS&D is doing to address them.

Malawi Maternal Health Study Resource

Give the Gift of Health:

You can help mothers and their babies receive necessary medical care to survive childbirth and lead healthy, abundant lives.

A gift of $40 provides a hospital maternity unit with labour and delivery supplies.

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Advent 4: Give the Gift of Love

Simiona tends to her livestock

Read the story “Four Mothers Find Strength in Partnership” found on the back of PWS&D’s fourth Advent liturgy.

The poverty affecting many indigenous Guatemalans is rooted in centuries of colonial rule and exacerbated by a 36-year civil war. In a culture that places men in positions of authority over women, Maya women in particular struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Often, they have not learned to read or write, have little access to credit and suffer domestic abuse.

Take the Advent LOVE Challenge:

Investments in education, health and economic opportunities for women and girls in the developing world will help them realize their rights, break free from poverty and lift up others in their communities. In Canada, women’s rights are widely known and accepted and yet women continue to experience unequal treatment or even suffer abuse within their homes. This Advent season, volunteer your time at a women’s shelter as an act of local ministry.

Give the Gift of Empowerment:

You can empower vulnerable women in Guatemala to create brighter futures for their families and communities through training and education that promotes self-esteem, leadership and economic opportunity.

A gift of $200 trains a woman in advocacy and empowers political participation.

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Celebrate the Gifts of Christmas

Use the Christmas liturgy and read the reflection “Christ is Born!”

In the midst of poverty, hunger and disaster, the light of the Christ candle shines.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we remember God’s promise of abundant life and give the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love to serve vulnerable communities across the globe.

Challenge your congregation to hold a special offering to support the work of PWS&D. Your contribution will make a difference in the lives of people living in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

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Share your Advent Challenge stories with us!

Add PWS&D to Facebook and Twitter. Tag us in your photos and posts. Use the hashtag #AdventChallenge on all social media.

You can also send your stories and photos to pwsd [at] presbyterian [dot] ca and we will share them online.