Worlds Away

I am a news junkie.  I watch the news while I’m getting ready in the morning.  I watch the news while I’m falling asleep at night.  I have news headlines feeding into a scrolling sidebar on my home computer screen.  When I sit down to watch TV, if there is nothing else on, I watch the news.

Quite often I’m annoyed by the stories that get an absurd amount of lip service, like Chelsea’s wedding, when important issues like the conflict in Darfur aren’t reported on.  Then, there are stories that are news worthy that actually receive coverage.  For instance, the murder of 10 aid workers in Afghanistan is a recent news story.  I am saddened by the violence and have compassion for these 10 missionaries and their families; however, they seem worlds away and disconnected from my life.

I’m not – we’re not – disconnected from these aid workers .  The 10 aid workers were part of the International Assistance Mission (IAM).  The missionaries were from Britain, Afghanistan, Germany and Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Ohio.  The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) [DOC] is partners in mission with IAM.

The DOC and the United Church of Christ (UCC) have partnered together in global mission.  Global Ministries is the general ministry of the DOC responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of the DOC and the UCC.  That is, the DOC and UCC do world mission together as Global Ministries.  Global Ministries partners with organizations, like other denominations, ecumenical organizations, councils of churches, indigenous churches, educational and healthcare institutions, and sustainable development organizations, throughout the world to meet the deepest spiritual, physical, emotional, and/or economical needs. 

One such partner is IAM.  According to the Global Ministries web site (,

“Global Ministries joins hands with the International Assistance Mission (IAM), one of its partners in Afghanistan, which is committed to serving the people of Afghanistan in the areas of health, education, economic development and capacity building. IAM has been serving in Afghanistan since 1966 with the initial focus on eye care. Subsequently the areas of its service have expanded and now they include physiotherapy, primary mental health care, community development, renewable energy, teaching English and adult education.” 

You can learn more about IAM on their web site:  You can read the Global Ministries press release regarding the murder of the IAM team at:

Global Ministries staff member Bob Shebeck offers the following prayer for Afghanistan, the Afghan people, and the 10 aid workers:

“God of Mercy and Peace, we long for your peace on earth, but often times all we see is division. Jesus warned us of the temptation of division. Help us to see beyond our differences and to choose non-violence instead of war, reconciliation instead of conflict, love instead of hate… We pray for the nation of Afghanistan today and ask that you would be with our brothers and sisters who are struggling for peace. We pray particularly for our partners, International Assistance Mission, and the families of those who were brutally murdered as they sought to bring healing and hope in this land. Give them the courage to continue the struggle for the coming of your peace with justice on earth. Amen”

The story of these 10 missionaries serves as a reminder that news stories may seem distant, but we are connected to the people.  Whether they participate with a Global Ministries partner or are part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) or not, they are a part of Christ’s Church.  Whether they are Christians or not, they are a part of the human family to which we all belong.


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