These days, we’re inundated with news of famine looming in dozens of countries, a war in Europe that drags on, inflation and rising costs all around the world, political division, and more. Is it even possible to find good news or reasons to hope on our screens anymore?
As God’s people, we know that our hope isn’t contingent on worldly progress or situations. But we also hold this in tension with the belief that God does transform seemingly hopeless circumstances. And we keep praying that He’ll use His people, as He always has, to accomplish His purposes in the world. That’s why we who follow Jesus can be the most hopeful — and determined to right the wrongs we see around us.
Let these 11 reasons to have hope in 2023 build your faith in God’s work throughout the world. And praise God with us for this progress empowering kids and families out of poverty!
A life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart. —Proverbs 12:25 (TPT)
1. Over 80% of women worldwide are delivering their babies with skilled assistance.
According to UNICEF, 8 in 10 women ages 15 to 49 globally deliver their babies with the help of a doctor, nurse, or midwife, which substantially increases their chances of staying safe and healthy. This progress represents millions of babies’ and moms’ lives saved each year — and the opportunity for kids to grow up strong and flourishing.
2. More health clinics in Niger have clean water.
In Niger, many health clinics have no electricity, no running water, and few staff. Boulounguey health clinic in Dosso Region was one of those. Pregnant women had to carry their own water and cleaning supplies with them when they came to give birth. Staff like Nurse Roukaya (above) couldn’t even wash their hands before treating patients, unless they happened to find water in the shallow, unreliable well near the health center.
But other clinics that have water, like Kargui Bangou, see a massive difference. “Now that there is water in the delivery room, we do deliveries with no problem,” says Doctor Djamina Idrissa (below). “Some [patients] came with jerrycans from far away. Now deliveries are no problem. We clean everything in a few minutes.” And now, construction is underway at Boulounguey clinic on a water tower and amenities like bathrooms and sinks that will serve thousands of patients and residents.
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. —Proverbs 15:30 (NIV)
3. A new grant will allow World Vision to reach 700 facilities and communities with clean water in Ethiopia.
The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) has granted World Vision $79 million to reach 700 schools, healthcare facilities, and neighboring communities in Ethiopia with clean water over five years. CIFF is the world’s largest independent philanthropic institution focusing on improving children’s lives. We celebrate that this effort will promote transformation across Ethiopia, gather evidence and learnings for future work in schools and healthcare facilities — and play a role in solving the global water crisis. More than 1.6 million people are expected to be positively impacted by this collaboration!
4. Millions of tons of grain have shipped to reach people in hunger hotspots.
Amid a global hunger crisis exacerbated by conflict, extreme weather, rising costs, and other challenges, the international development community celebrated the United Nations’ work to ship tons of grain from Ukraine to hunger hotspots. Many countries in Africa that are suffering from prolonged drought and instability rely on Ukrainian wheat for food, so the war’s impact on those regions was severe. “Grain export cannot solve all the hunger problems … but it will hopefully de-escalate the crisis and contribute to more affordable prices for those worst affected,” said Jennifer Neelsen, World Vision’s Ukraine crisis response director.
Fortunately, global leaders have facilitated the shipment of of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports. About a third of the shipments are going to lower income countries — where residents in desperate need are starting to feel the relief.
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. —John 1:16 (NLT)
5. Malnourished children are receiving life-saving treatment — and making full recoveries.
When young kids are diagnosed with acute malnutrition of any kind, the road to recovery can be long and slow, if they survive. But over the last 10 years, 89% of the severely malnourished children we treated made a full recovery. Out of that statistic come stories like Swangirai’s: In 2010, the nearly 1-year-old was diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition amid a widespread food crisis in southern Zambia. At the health center where his mother brought him, he was treated with ready-to-use therapeutic food, which is packed with nutrients that malnourished kids need to regain strength.
Now, 11 years later, Swangirai is strong and thriving. And one of his dreams for the future? To never allow anyone in his home to go to bed hungry like he once had to.
6. The Kenya Big Dream project is empowering girls with brighter futures.
In many cultures, female genital mutilation (FGM) symbolizes the transition from girlhood to womanhood and is a valued traditional practice done on girls as young as 10 (in some places, on girls even younger). In areas of Kenya, it’s traditionally seen as a precursor to child marriage. Both FGM and child marriage can have devastating physical and psychological effects for girls.
But World Vision’s Kenya Big Dream project is opening the door to brighter futures for girls: Through our holistic approach, harmful social norms are changing; households are becoming more economically resilient, reducing financial incentives for child marriage; and girls are being empowered with education and life-skills training.
Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. —Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)
7. Syrian refugee children are being empowered through education.
Thanks to a partnership between 10 organizations, about 20,000 Syrian children living in Jordan as refugees are being reached with education. In fact, many of these Syrian children, like Zaid* (above), were born in the refugee camp, and their parents know the opportunities for kids to flourish are limited. An education is one of the most important factors in people’s ability to lift themselves out of poverty.
At World Vision’s Early Childhood Education Center alone, nearly 5,500 students get to pursue their education and develop their personalities in a social classroom setting. It’s allowed kids like Zaid to learn and grow. Although he was shy when he first came to the education center, according to one of his teachers Zaid is now “one of the brightest students here.” In August, Zaid and 300 other children graduated from the center to the next phase of their education, where they can keep building bright futures for themselves.
*Name changed to protect identity
8. In just one year, over 15,000 pastors and youth leaders were equipped for ministry through our programs.
Our work to empower people to end poverty in their own lives is built on the belief that an impoverished spiritual condition needs healing just like an impoverished physical one. In countries where the gospel is welcomed, we equip pastors and youth leaders in theology and children’s ministry, helping them effectively address both the spiritual and physical needs of their congregations. In 2022, this work reached more than 15,000 pastors, who are now ministering to their communities with more knowledge about how to keep children safe from harm, help change mindsets of dependency, bring biblical applications into family struggles, and more.
9. Despite gang violence, the gospel is reaching people in Honduras.
Through Pastor Raul David’s church in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, youth like Jordy have not only found opportunities for a flourishing life apart from gangs — they’ve also met Jesus. Supported by World Vision, Pastor Raul David leads his congregation in ministering to the gang-controlled neighborhoods and offering a greater hope. He says the World Vision training “has revolutionized my thoughts.” And youth like Jordy are empowered to dream of more than a life in a gang.
All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. —Psalm 145:10–12 (NIV)
10. Our disability inclusion work is reaching more kids each year.
Globally, the vast majority of people with disabilities live in developing countries, where social and civic systems often aren’t set up to support their flourishing. Without resources like money for a wheelchair or specialized treatment, families often resort to leaving their children with disabilities home. Our work seeks to include people with disabilities in all we do — not only to meet their physical needs, but also to ensure that they’re a part of the solution to poverty in their own communities. We currently serve 15,000 children with disabilities, with the goal of tripling that number in coming years.
11. Students at Christian schools are being equipped to lead their generation.
Sixth-grader Michael*, who attends a Christian school in Pennsylvania, had a reputation for getting into trouble. Michael’s mom was used to hearing negative reports during parent–teacher conferences. But something changed after Michael learned about the power of advocacy through the World Vision Ignite program. Ignite, a partnership with Christian schools across the U.S., teaches young people about Jesus’ heart for people impacted by poverty and injustice. Through curriculum, experiences, and relationships with sponsored children, Ignite helps kids learn to put their faith in action, right where they are.
During the Ignite lessons, Michael paid attention and began contributing to class discussions. His teacher noticed the change and praised him for sharing his unique perspective. As time went on, Michael began taking on a leadership role in class. And at the next parent–teacher conference, Michael’s mom heard the good news about her son’s burgeoning leadership skills that are being cultivated through Ignite.
*Name changed for privacy
Join us in thanksgiving and prayer for these signs of progress and hope in 2023. May God’s people never forget that His kingdom is alive and lived out in each of us. How will you find reasons to hope in 2023?
Our good Father, we praise You for the many evidences of Your power at work in the world. Amid the world’s brokenness, we see Your Spirit moving — restoring relationships, empowering kids and families, and influencing leaders. Give Your people eyes to see glimpses of Your hope everywhere we look. We pray with Jesus, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NIV). Amen.