Dear CEDAR friends and supporters,
Happy New Year 2024!
The beginning of a new year is always full of anticipation and unknowns. What do we ‘see’? What is God doing in us and through us this coming year? How do we respond?
While the word ‘new’ connotates freshness and hope, it can also take on a darker meaning. New violence and conflicts. New ways of human exploitation. Washington Post warns, ‘A historic rise in global conflict deaths suggests a violent new era.’ Ukraine, Israel-Palestine, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar ── some conflicts caught the world’s attention, while others remain protracted and unseen, with people suffering and dying in neglect.
Even human trafficking is taking on a new face. The organised crime is getting more sophisticated, exploiting AI and cryptocurrency, and survivors are getting younger and younger. Trafficked persons are no longer exploited just for sex and labour but are forced to commit crimes themselves, to hurt, to scam, or even to kill (for those sold to armed forces).
It is now impossible to do relief and development work while turning a blind eye to peacebuilding. At CEDAR, we see the need to take on a new approach, known as the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, where all three things, short-term humanitarian relief, medium-term development efforts, and longer-term structural changes that promote resilience and peacebuilding, must be embraced at the same time.
New realities of suffering and new faces of poverty necessitate changes in alleviation approaches. But the conviction behind CEDAR’s relief and development work remains the same ── we live in a Kingdom that is ‘already but not yet’, and we are participating in God’s ongoing redemptive work for His world.
Jesus said in Luke 5:38 that we are to ‘put new wine into new wineskins.’ God’s new wine is the ever-refreshing presence of His Spirit, which covers all corners of the world, including the darkest, poorest, and most marginalised. In 2024, CEDAR seeks to continue living out an ongoing fresh and relevant interpretation of His Gospel for the world. This involves the preparation of new wineskins, both at the organisational and partnership levels. We greatly look forward to experiencing His grace and leading together with you.
May you and your family be blessed by His new wine in year 2024!
Your sister in Christ,