The remote hilltop village of Fonseca is home to one such community. Geographically isolated, shunned socially and lacking even a basic water supply, grinding poverty was a way of life for these families.
This all changed when Tearfund partner, ACEV (meaning 'Action Church') came alongside the villagers to help dig a well in the valley, pipe the water 1,400 metres up the hill, and provide vital training on health, hygiene and water management.
Community members are enthusiastic in describing the difference ACEV has made in their lives: ‘Water in our homes.' ‘Our children are now in school.' ‘We have sufficient food.' What's more, over the last year, eight people have chosen to follow Jesus - and the community is now asking ACEV to help them build a church.
Tearfund's Chief Executive Matthew Frost, who recently visited the community, says, ‘It was the practical love, care and concern of ACEV's people that prompted them to ask questions about their motivation and faith.'
This story sums up Tearfund's approach to tackling poverty. God commands us to preach the good news (Luke 24:47), but he also calls us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), to love our neighbour (Luke 10:27) and to work for justice and mercy (Micah 6:8). We call this integral mission: the church living out its faith in Jesus in every aspect of life.
Tearfund work through churches in 50 countries to release people from spiritual and material poverty. It's our experience that local churches know the needs of their communities and are ideally placed to bring God's healing, hope and transformation. Where no established church exists, we work through Christian partners to bring lasting change.
Today Tearfund's Katie Harrison will be speaking at the services on how Tearfund supports local churches in lifting people out of poverty. At lunchtime Katie and Sarah Newnham will talk about the situation in the Middle East and share their recent experiences of meeting with Syrian refugees.
In her role as Head of Media, Katie ensures that, through Tearfund, a Christian worldview on poverty and justice issues is heard. As Head of Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sarah manages Tearfund's staff and strategy across 18 countries in an area stretching from the heights of the Andes to the deserts of Afghanistan.