From the air, Tuvalu is a bold ribbon of green against an ocean hungry for land.
Changing climate and rising seas demand more and more of these island people, their gardens and water-table poisoned by salt. Tuvalu is both beautiful and fraught. “There are so many changes to our island,” says Malisi Alefaio, who works with the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu as Secretary for the Women’s Fellowship. “It’s not just more storms and fish that are harder to catch.
It’s the mothers without work and the kids out late. It’s families that are falling apart and not enough food.” Malisi’s job is to bring life to souls and hands. In a place where the loss of land and livelihoods due to climate change creates despair, domestic violence and a feeling of being abandoned by God,
she teaches from the Bible to bring new hope. She also trains women to be gardeners, to sew masks as protection against COVID-19 and to nurture their-families. “Our people have always had strong faith, and that’s what we need to keep drawing on,” Malisi says. “We have to call people back to the Bible so that men keep caring for their families and children know they are worthwhile and loved.”
‘Go into all the world and tell the good news.’ That’s what I’m here to do.'
The Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu is seeding purpose and hope back into their communities. In a nation where upward of 90% of people identify as Christians, the language of the Bible is a powerful voice that convicts and galvanises people for change
Throughout the Pacific, leaders of churches are discovering new ways to share light from the Scriptures that directly call people to tackle the impact of the changing climate, disasters, globalisation and domestic violence. They teach and preach God’s care for creation, the equality of men and women, and the dignity of children. “I love this work because it’s my calling to be there for the other women,” Malisi says. “I’m a minister’s wife and a primary teacher, and I love the part in Matthew where it says, ‘Go into all the world and tell the good news.’ That’s what I’m here to do.”
Love In Action
• EKT is internationally vocal against the ravages of climate change, and help communities prepare for and mitigate disasters.
• They are an influential church, serving people through schools and health services.
• They use Biblical teaching to help people respond to the changing climate and better understand child protection.
• UnitingWorld supports work promoting gender equality and child protection and care.
Give thanks for the work of the Women’s Fellowships and their leaders.
For families in Tuvalu, especially those with teenagers who are caught between ‘modern culture’ and their traditional island ways of life.
For the leaders and populations of high-polluting western countries like Australia, who contribute significantly to the global warming that disproportionately impacts our island neighbours.
We can all do simple things to stand with our Partners and show support:
Have a look in your recycling bin and count all the singleuse plastics in there. Pick one or two changes you can make to cut back on them (www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/tipsreduce-plastic). The blue waters of Tuvalu will thank you.