For sixteen years I was a member of the Board of Christian Aid and on a number of occasions I visited partner organisations overseas working with some of the poorest people in the world. I went, for example, to a remote area of Guatemala to a community of refugees returning from Mexico where they had been exiled for several years by the repressive government in Guatemala. They had been violently uprooted from their homes and villages and forced to flee for their lives.

Christian Aid was helping them to resettle in new surroundings in the forest. On another occasion I visited a rural community in El Salvador and saw for myself what a huge difference the support of Christian Aid had made to the peasants through the provision of training and agricultural equipment. With that help they were harvesting their first crop of pineapples to sell in the local markets and they had organised a school for the children.

May is the month for Christian Aid’s annual house-to-house collection. With the support of local people we can make a difference to the lives and communities of people who otherwise are trapped in poverty without access to food, education and medical care. It’s amazing and heartening to see how the money raised here can help to transform seemingly hopeless situations and bring the light of new hope to forgotten people.

I hope we can all be generous when the collectors call.

Rev John Reardon
United Reformed Church