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Marie Fortune Jean-Babtiste, who suffers from debilitating arthritis in her hands, talks about her needs in post-earthquake Port-au-Prince, Haiti. LWR’s local partner, Haiti Christian Service, is providing support to hundreds of disabled people affected by 2010’s devastating earthquake.

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ … For all must carry their own loads. (Galatians 6:2, 5).

These verses seemed a contradiction to me for many years, until I learned more about the difference between “burdens” and “loads.” Here’s how I think of it now: a load is like a backpack full of the things one person needs to carry with them to make it through the day. A burden is like a cart. One person could pull it if they have to, but it’s really made to be pulled by a team.

That’s how I think of Lutheran World Relief ’s work in the world. Through development projects that help build resilience, deepen resources and expand knowledge, we enable people and communities to “carry their own loads.” But when an emergency comes — a flood, an earthquake, a conflict, even a drought — the load grows into something bigger. It becomes a burden.

Here’s where we come in. We are called to fulfill Christ’s law by bearing one another’s burdens. And the good news is this; because it’s Christ law, by the power of the cross it has already been fulfilled. Now it is a calling that’s given to us through grace. It’s a calling we don’t face alone but with the whole body of Christ. Through your prayers, generous gifts and donations of Quilts and Kits, we reach out together as Christ’s hands in the world. LWR is so thankful for your faithfulness in living out this call we share.

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Thank you, God, for calling us to work alongside you in our global community. Give us the strength and wisdom to reach out at the right time and in the right way to help bear one another’s burdens when the load grows too heavy. AMEN.

Melanie Gibbons is LWR’s Quilt & Kit Ministry Manager