Auschwitz. A name that stands on its own. A place synonymous with death, terror and genocide. This death camp in southern Poland is a symbol of some of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th Century. More than 1.1 million men, women and children were murdered here. And only a few hundred thousand people who had the misfortune of being interned here actually survived. How could anything good possibly come from this evil?
This week, as millions of people around the globe commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this most infamous death camp, we gain hope from the good that is found time and time again in the midst of such extreme tragedy. The Nazis murdered millions, but the Corrie ten Booms, Martin Niemöllers and Dietrich Bonhoeffers looked evil in the face and responded to God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22), no matter the consequence.
World Relief’s own history began at the same time concentration camps around Europe were being liberated and Europeans were emerging from the rubble of a devastating war. Christians around the world took notice and came alongside strangers across the ocean to show the tangible and spiritual hope of Jesus Christ. Churches in the US sacrificed their own comfort to send food and clothing to churches recovering from devastation in Europe. And here began the work of World Relief.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that good can be a reality during extreme instances of evil. We see this in our work now – mass rape and conflict in Congo, war and hunger in South Sudan or modern-day slavery in our own neighborhoods. But survivors, volunteers and churches are standing up in the midst of oppression to serve and empower the most vulnerable. By walking alongside survivors of these injustices and making sure they have enough, we are implementing good and realizing that God uses us, normal human beings, to be the peacemakers.
If you want to be a part of this modern movement of justice, visit worldrelief.org for more information about our work and how you can get involved.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead