The people that run the Adventist Development Relief Agency are every bit as diverse as the people they help—and the problems they face—worldwide.
Pansi’s roots are in Malawi, where she has a house and a herd of goats. After many years spent working for the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Africa, Pansi applied to work as a Programmes Officer with the ADRA in the United Kingdom.
James is British and was ideally placed to become the CEO of an industrial firm in England. But this graduate from Oxford and Bruges is currently posted in Burkina Faso as a Programmes Officer for ADRA.
Howa is British with Nigerian ancestry and works for the ADRA in Thailand. He holds a BA in Politics and Law and an MA in International Relations. He applied to work for 12 months with ADRA as a trainee on a stipend.
Bert is Dutch. With MA degrees in theology and mass communication, he has worked for most of his career as a manager in international electronic media. He is now the Director for ADRA-UK.
All things considered, these four people have little in common except that they work for the UK office of ADRA. Each has a different story of how personal beliefs have prompted him or her to work for this humanitarian agency.
They talk about ADRA being ‘the gospel in working boots’ – putting into practice the faith in which they believe. They share a job satisfaction in ADRA beyond that of many other career paths.
“As a woman and a mother with roots in a developing country, I know how projects make a difference in people’s lives especially those of women and children,” Pansi says.
Seventh-day Adventists have a clear sense of direction when it comes to their faith. While they hold to the Biblical belief that Jesus will come again and ‘make all things new’, it does not mean that they turn a blind eye to current needs and problems. That is why people like Pansi, James, Howa and Bert are in action in 125 countries around the world, aiming to deliver aid quickly and efficiently when people need it most. With more than 100,000 congregations worldwide, the Adventist support mechanism is very strong. When disasters strike, Seventh-day Adventists take social responsibility seriously and ADRA responds.
However, the core of ADRA’s activity is development. In partnership with major governmental donors like the Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (EC), ADRA-UK is empowering and speaking out for the at-risk and forgotten to achieve durable changes in lives and society. People like Pansi and friends make a difference. They work for ADRA because of that difference.