COLLINGWOOD, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA – Anglican Overseas Aid is an Australian-based FBO committed to creating partnerships with like-minded organizations to alleviate poverty, injustices, and provide disaster recovery services.
According to their website, their work “is inspired by the Gospel of Christ, with a vision for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.”
The Reverend Dr. Bob Mitchell is the senior executive officer of Anglican Overseas Aid and is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Christian Journal for Global Health. His bold and courageous observations on the global mission of the Church clearly affirm his suitability for his leadership role.
“International development work is a largely secular discipline that distances itself from faith concerns; even many faith-based groups seem to go out of their way to minimize the relationship between their religious convictions and their work.
“Secular groups often see faith-based agencies as “irritating marginal players” in the global development scene. But what if much of the value of these groups is exactly the result of that sense of religious mission?
“Contrary to popular perception, church organizations have long been major players in international development work, and many of these organizations do take the relationship between their work and the faith that underpins it very seriously. Instead of apologizing for their faith roots and expression, they should celebrate them and recognize the value they bring to every development enterprise, secular or not.”
His passion for not merely helping others but also doing so as ambassadors of Jesus Christ permeates the entire organization. That passion is like that of firemen who rush into the fire rather than away from it. Just as skill and determination are necessary for fireman to approach their work effectively, faith-based-organizations must be more than a method of co-opting into the humanitarian aid industry. The faith cannot be allowed to become incidental. It must be the foundation and essential component of the ministry.
Faith-based development should not be about redistribution of wealth. FBOs operate in faith, expecting that the Lord will provide through the sacrificial giving of believers and that the organization will provide both physical aid and spiritual hope to those who are in need.
Founded in 1984, Anglican Overseas Aid has a dynamic, capable presence in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique), Asia (India and Myanmar), the Middle East (Gaza and East Jerusalem), and the Pacific (Solomon Islands and Vanuatu).
AOA participates in many of the usual methods of poverty alleviation, including the education of children, health clinics, and nutrition. They also search for creative approaches to old problems. For instance, they teach families how to operate sustainable small businesses to provide for their families – even by introducing solar lighting into remote villages.
In fact, instead of merely providing some with solar lighting, they loan them a small inventory of lights that the native people can sell to others. The local entrepreneurs use the revenue to pay for the cost of the lights, to purchase food for their families, to build their small business, and to experience some degree of income independence.
The priority for AOA never changes. In the spirit of the Christian Gospel, Anglican Overseas Aid responds with compassion to achieve sustainable outcomes that improve the quality of life for people in developing countries where resources and the preaching of the Gospel are limited.
To read more news on Poverty Alleviation on Missions Box, go here.